If you suffered injuries in a car crash in Suffolk or Nassau Counties, New York Civil Practice Law & Rules establishes that the statute of limitations for Long Island vehicle collision (CPLR § 214) is generally three years from the date of your car collision. This is the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit.
In the event that a loved one passed away from injuries they sustained in a collision, New York Estates, Powers, & Trusts Law (EPTL § 5-4.1) generally gives you two years from the date of the crash in which to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
There are exceptions to these time frames which can significantly shorten the time you have to act.
What Are Statutes of Limitation?
The State of New York establishes the statute of limitations for Long Island vehicle collisions. State laws set a maximum amount of time that you have to file a lawsuit against negligent parties in the collision.
New York State Unified Court System provides an overview of the state’s various statutes of limitation, including personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and product liability, among others.
Our car collision lawyers can help you understand what these statutes mean if you aim to recover damages for your collision injuries or from the death of a loved one as the result of a car crash.
Why do Statutes of Limitation Matter if I Plan to Settle with an Insurer?
It is true that in the majority of car crashes, the insurance claim process resolves the recovery of damages for people with crash injuries. However, our car crash lawyers find it is a good strategy to give yourself ample time to file a lawsuit.
When the insurance company knows you have the option to file a lawsuit, it is more motivated to reach a settlement. Insurers do all they can to avoid the uncertainty and cost of a trial. It gives us leverage during settlement negotiations if the insurance representative with whom we are negotiating knows you still have time to file a lawsuit to recover damages.
The opposite holds true. If the insurance company realizes that the deadline for the statute of limitations in your case expired, the negotiators know you cannot threaten them with a lawsuit if you do not like their offer. In that scenario, there is no need for them to compensate you for your injuries.
Start Your Case Early – It Takes Time to Get to the Lawsuit Stage
Three years might seem like a long time to file a lawsuit. Keep in mind, however, that much must happen before you get to the point of suing a negligent party after a car crash. For starters, you should wait until you understand your prognosis and any necessary future costs of your injury. This way, you do not later find – after you settled your case – hat you have additional complications for which you should be compensated.
Our lawyers must take time to build your case, starting with a careful investigation of the collision. We will gather evidence, work with experts, interview witnesses, and calculate your damages before we ever sit down with the insurance company. Typically, we can reach an agreement with the insurer, but if they refuse to cooperate, we will take your case to trial to decide your damages. If we need to take your case to trial, we must file the lawsuit before the statute’s deadline expires.
Exceptions to New York’s Statute of Limitations
New York does provide some exceptions to the state’s statute of limitations.
When your lawsuit involves government entities, the timeline for taking legal action shortens. If your case involves suing the State of New York or other municipality or municipal organization, you must file notice of your claim within 90 days of the date the crash occurred.
There are some circumstances where you could have more time to file a suit. This can include when the injured party is incapacitated or an infant.
Statutes must be carefully evaluated to determine the time period which applies in your case. If you miss the deadline, you cannot recover for your injuries.
Our Lawyers Can Prove Negligence and Seek Damages in Your Car Crash Case
Insurance companies are also more likely to agree to a fair settlement if they know you have a compelling case of negligence. Our lawyers establish negligence by gathering evidence that proves four essential elements:
Duty of Care
Personal injury laws require that we establish the other party had a legal duty to act in a way that would keep you from harm. In a car crash case, duty of care is a given, as all motorists must, by law, exercise reasonable caution when operating their motor vehicles.
Many driver duties are imposed and enforced by New York law. Violating these duties means that the driver was negligent. For example, violations may include:
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Failing to yield right of way
- Driving over the speed limit
- Failure to maintain control of their motor vehicle
- Driving at a speed unsafe for road or weather conditions (a common risk on Long Island’s icy winter roads)
- Failure to remain alert to their surroundings
- Failure to maintain their motor vehicles (brakes, lights, tires, etc.)
Breach of Duty
The defendant violated their duty of care. In a car crash, if one driver’s conduct fell short of how a reasonable person would have conducted themselves in the same situation, the driver has breached their duty of care – and therefore was negligent.
Our lawyers can work with collision reconstruction specialists, interview witnesses, and review footage from nearby surveillance cameras or traffic signal cameras to provide evidence of a breach of duty. We will also obtain a copy of the police report from the Suffolk County Police Department, the Nassau County Auxiliary Police, or the Nassau County Police Department.
This means that the defendant’s violation of their duty of care caused you to suffer an injury. Our lawyers must gather evidence showing not only that the defendant’s conduct caused your collision, but also that the collision caused your injury.
This is where the importance of seeking medical treatment comes in. Having documentation of your injury that ties it to the crash will help establish causation.
You experienced collision-related losses that you are entitled to recover from the defendant. Our law firm gathers your medical records and talks to medical experts about medical expenses you will face down the road. We also obtain wage statements from your employer to establish a rate of compensation for your lost income.
If your injury will prevent you from working or working at the same job, we work with occupational therapy experts who can lend their expertise to calculating this economic loss. We may also reach out to psychology experts who can speak to your emotional losses so we can demand these damages, too.
Our Lawyers Can Keep You on Track to Meet Long Island’s Statute of Limitations
If you suffered an injury in a collision or a loved one died from injuries they sustained in a car crash, our law firm will work to recover your damages. Remember, the sooner you hire us, the more time you give us to work through your case. If we have to file a lawsuit to get you compensation, don’t let your time run out.
Call Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. today for a free case review. We are able to assist clients in English and Spanish.