The term “statute of limitations” means the amount of time that a victim has to file a lawsuit after an injury. In the state of New York, there are several laws that determine the statute of limitations for various victims in certain types of accidents. It is very important that you understand how much time you have to file a lawsuit, since you can lose your right to sue if the time limit expires before you make a claim.
The best way to determine the statute of limitations in your case is to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. However, the following guidelines can help you understand how the statute of limitations can differ from one case to another:
- Injury to Person, 3 years, N.Y. Civ. Prac. L. & R. §215. When someone suffers a personal injury, which can be defined as any physical, mental or emotional trauma caused by another’s negligence, the state of New York allows the victim three years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury claim. There are some exceptions to this rule; for example, if the victim was unaware of the injury until a later time, he or she can make an argument that the statute of limitations should be extended.
- Medical Malpractice, 2 1/2 years; foreign object in body of patient, 1 year, N.Y. Civ. Prac. L. & R. §214(6) and §214-a. New York law allows more time than some states to file a medical malpractice claim at 2.5 years. However, the time for a specific claim of a surgeon or other professional having left a foreign object in the body of the patient is only one year. By and large, medical malpractice claims have much shorter statutes of limitations than other types of personal injury claims.
- Child sexual abuse, by age 23. New York has a woefully short window for filing civil claims resulting from child sexual abuse. If the victim does not file a claim by the time he or she is 23 years of age, the opportunity to sue may be lost. Currently, legislators are addressing this problem and may, in the future, extend the statute of limitations for this type of claim.
If you have been the victim of any type of accident or injury, it is very important to take action promptly. The personal injury attorneys at Fitzgerald Law Firm in New York may be able to help. Call today for a free consultation.