If you’ve been hurt in an auto collision, slip and fall accident on property, or other type of personal injury accident, you’ve probably got some concerns about your legal options. After all, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has disrupted the personal and professional lives of people across the US, with New York being especially hard-hit. Because you probably know that there are time limitations on your claim, you might be worried about how the statute of limitations will affect your rights and remedies.
Fortunately, you can rest assured that the legal process has not come to a halt. According to an April 6, 2020 press release, the New York State Unified Court system is fully operational through virtual proceedings. At the same time, many market sectors have been forced to slow or shut down, including the insurance industry. Delays in processing claims are imminent, so it’s wise to trust a New York personal injury lawyer for assistance. An overview of the statute of limitations and associated legal concepts may also be useful.
Legal Impact of the Statute of Limitations: In New York, you have three years to file a lawsuit in court under the personal injury statute of limitations. As such, the law operates as a sort of deadline and the implications of allowing it to pass are extreme. If you wait even one day too long, you lose your right to seek compensation forever. There are some exceptions to this rule, but it’s rare that you’d be able to take advantage of them. The three-year statute of limitations applies to all personal injury cases, including:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle crashes;
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Slips, trips, and falls, and other incidents that occur because of dangerous conditions on property;
- Workplace accidents that aren’t covered by workers’ comp laws; and,
- Intentional criminal acts, including assault, battery, sex crimes, and other offenses.
Note that a different deadline applies in cases alleging medical negligence. Under the medical malpractice statute of limitations, you have two years and six months to initiate litigation in civil court.
The Clock Starts Ticking Right Away: The statute of limitations begins to run in most personal injury matters on the date of the accident in which you were injured. Again, the law is different for medical malpractice actions. There are three dates that start the clock:
- The date that the act or omission of alleged medical malpractice occurred;
- The date that you ended continuous treatment from the health care provider that you’re suing; or,
- The date which falls two years and six months AFTER you discovered the injuries from medical malpractice. This concept is termed the “discovery” rule for purposes of the statute of limitations.
Implications for Your Insurance Claim: Both the three-year and 30-month statutes of limitations seem like a long time, but the deadline can come quickly – even when we’re not in the middle of a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. The claims process with an insurance company, especially settlement negotiations, can extend several months or even years. You should always keep the time restriction in mind and reach out to a lawyer right away, rather than letting weeks or months go by.
Discuss Your Claim with a New York Personal Injury Attorney Right Away
Though this overview may be informative on the basics of New York’s statute of limitations, there are additional complications that could affect your rights. For more information on how time restrictions affect your claim during the COVID-19, please contact The Mandel Law Firm. You can set up a consultation by calling our Manhattan office at (646) 770-3868 or completing our online contact form. Once we review your situation, we can develop a strategy for moving forward.