If you were injured in an accident, you may have a legal remedy against the party who caused it. A personal injury claim asserts that someone’s negligent, unlawful, or intentional conduct caused your accident or contributed to it, and as a result of that conduct, you suffered financial, physical, and/or emotional damages. Typical personal injury claims include car accidents, slip and falls or premises liability, medical malpractice, product liability, and wrongful death.
The New York Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Lawsuit filings have time limits, so you may not sue for a personal injury claim against a defendant after a certain time has passed. In New York, you have three years from the date of the accident to file for most personal injury actions. You could be barred from obtaining compensation for your injuries unless certain factors exist for extending the time limit.
A wrongful death action must be filed in New York within two years of the date the victim died. For medical malpractice claims, however, the deadline is 30 months from the date of the negligent act by a medical professional, but you only have one year to file from the time a foreign object was found in your body cavity. This time limit can be extended to one year from the time the object should have been discovered under the discovery rule.
The discovery rule may also be extended to exposure cases where you may not have been diagnosed with a condition such as mesothelioma or asbestosis until many years after being exposed to a toxic substance.
Before filing a lawsuit against the state of New York or any state government entity, you must provide written notice within 90 days of the negligent act and file suit within one year and 90 days.
What You Should Expect
To start a claim, you have to contact the defendant or the defendant's insurance company to notify it of your claim for damages alleging that the defendant was responsible for causing your injuries.
To file a lawsuit through an attorney, you first complete and file a Summons and Complaint in the proper New York court. These documents contain: the name and address of the defendant, the facts surrounding the accident, allegations that the defendant was responsible, the causes of action being alleged, the damages being sought, and notice that the defendant must file an Answer within 30 days or face a default judgment.
These papers are served on the defendants who generally retain a personal injury attorney or turn them over to their insurer to provide a defense.
How Are Damages Awarded?
Most states are generally uniform on the type of damages awarded in personal injury cases, though each typically imposes limits on whether punitive damages may be awarded; damages may be capped in cases such as medical malpractice.
New York allows you to collect losses for medical expenses, wage loss, and property damages if you prove they were caused by the defendant’s negligent or wrongful act. Loss of consortium is permitted if you show that intimate relations with your spouse have been diminished. You can also collect for pain and suffering and for your loss of enjoyment of life based on any permanent disability you may have suffered. Damages in wrongful death cases are more difficult to determine and can involve complicated issues.
New York is one of 15 states that does not impose a cap on how much you can recover in any type of personal injury case, including medical malpractice.
Consult a New York Personal Injury Lawyer
It is often difficult to ascertain if you have an actionable personal injury claim or how to support your right to compensation. Consulting with a New York personal injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a viable claim, who the defendants may be, and what you can expect.