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May 19, 2024 | Car accident

New York Car Accident Statute of Limitations: Complete Guide

In the Empire State, individuals involved in automotive collisions must adhere to specific timelines when pursuing legal action. The New York car accident statute of limitations for filing a claim is typically three years from the date of the incident. However, exceptions may apply depending on the circumstances, such as cases involving government entities or minors. 

Failure to initiate legal proceedings within the prescribed time frame can mean losing your right to compensation. Knowing more about these key provisions is essential for anyone navigating the aftermath of an accident in New York.

Is there a statute of limitations on car accidents?

In New York, like in many other jurisdictions, there are indeed limitations on the time within which legal action must be initiated following a car crash. This timeframe is crucial for individuals seeking compensation for injuries and damages sustained in the collision.

Below, we look more into the specifics of New York's statute of limitations regarding car accidents, outlining important considerations and exceptions.

If you need help filing a car accident lawsuit in New York, find out how our New York City car accident lawyers can ease the burden for you

What is the statute of limitations on a car accident in New York?

The statute of limitations on a car accident in New York is generally three years. This period begins from the accident date and serves as a critical filing deadline for personal injury claims or pursuing compensation for damages sustained.

Once the statute of limitations expires, it can mean forfeiture of the right to seek recourse through the legal system. To avoid this, promptly consult with legal experts to assess your options and ensure compliance with the statute of limitations. 

Additional reading: Average Settlement for a Car Accident in New York

What is the hit-and-run New York statute of limitations?

The statute of limitations for a hit-and-run in New York usually matches the time limit for filing personal injury claims related to car accidents. This means that people injured in hit-and-run incidents have three years from the accident date to file a claim against the person responsible.

This time period might change based on the case's specific details or any exceptions that apply. That's why it's best for hit-and-run victims to quickly get legal advice to learn about their rights and choices. 

Additional reading: is it worth getting an attorney for a car accident

When does the New York car accident statute of limitations start?

The New York statute of limitations starts from the date of the accident or the discovery of the injuries relating to the accident, whichever is more recent—more on the latter below!

This date marks the beginning of the timeframe within which individuals must take legal action. This means that individuals involved in car accidents in NY have a limited window of time to file personal injury claims or pursue compensation for damages incurred.

Due to this timeline, you might be asking, "When should I get a lawyer for a car accident?" Whether you need to file a personal injury lawsuit or looking for help with an insurance claim, it's best to hire a car accident attorney as soon as possible.

Additional reading: who is at fault in a rear end collision

Does the discovery rule apply to the statute of limitations in New York for car accidents?

According to the discovery rule, the statute of limitations for a car accident may begin from when the injury is discovered or when it reasonably should have been discovered rather than from the accident itself. This is particularly relevant in situations where injuries manifest gradually over time or where the full extent of injuries is not immediately apparent.

It's important to note that the application of the discovery rule can vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case, and it may not apply universally to all car accident claims. Factors such as when the injury was or should have been reasonably discovered and whether there is evidence of the defendant's negligence can influence the application of the discovery rule.

Individuals who believe they may have a claim for injuries sustained in a car accident but were not immediately aware of the extent of their injuries should promptly seek legal advice.

How long do you have to report an accident to insurance in New York?

How long do you have to report an accident

You have 30 days to report an accident to the insurance company in New York, however, it's important to review your specific insurance policy, as some providers may have slightly different reporting requirements. While it may be tempting to delay dealing with insurance, in most cases the accident must be reported promptly (ideally within 24 to 48 hours).

Failing to report the accident within the stipulated timeframe could potentially jeopardize your ability to receive coverage for damages or injuries resulting from the accident. Generally, it's advisable to notify your insurance company as soon as possible following an accident to initiate the claims process and protect your interests.

Additional Reading: Car Accident Lawyer Fees in New York

Statute of limitations New York auto accident exceptions

There are certain circumstances to pursue legal action beyond the standard time constraints mentioned above: 

  1. Minors:The deadline for claims is typically paused until the minor reaches the age of 18. This provision ensures that minors have ample time to seek compensation for injuries sustained in accidents. Essentially, minors have three years from their 18th birthday to file a claim, affording them a fair opportunity to pursue legal recourse.
  2. Insanity or Mental Incapacity: If a plaintiff becomes legally insane or mentally incapacitated at the time of the accident or during the statute of limitations period, the clock may be paused until they regain legal competency. This ensures that individuals facing mental health challenges are not unfairly penalized for their inability to pursue legal action within the standard timeframe. It provides a measure of fairness by allowing these individuals a reasonable opportunity to assert their legal rights once they are able to do so.
  3. Undiscoverable Injuries (Discovery Rule):The discovery rule applies in cases where injuries resulting from a car accident are not immediately apparent. Under this rule, plaintiffs have a reasonable time from discovering their injury to file a claim, even after the standard statute of limitations period has expired. This exception recognizes that some injuries, such as internal or latent medical conditions, may not become apparent until weeks, months, or even years after the accident.
  4. Out-of-State Defendants: In cases involving out-of-state defendants or those who cannot be served with legal papers within New York, the statute of limitations may be extended to allow sufficient time for proper service of legal documents and initiation of legal proceedings. This extension ensures that plaintiffs have a fair opportunity to pursue legal action against defendants who may not be easily reachable within the state's jurisdiction.

Additional reading: how much can someone sue for a car accident

How Can Ajlouny Injury Law Help?

Ajlouny Injury Law is dedicated to providing legal assistance and support to individuals dealing with a car accident case. With our extensive experience and expertise in personal injury law, we strive to help car accident victims navigate the complexities of their cases and pursue the compensation they deserve. We know exactly what to do after a car accident in New York and can help you move forward toward recovery. 

We serve clients throughout New York, including New York City, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island, Westchester County, and surrounding areas. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, don't hesitate to contact us at Ajlouny Injury Law for a free consultation. Let us help you get the compensation and justice you deserve.


Who does the statute of limitations apply to?

The statute of limitations applies to anyone seeking to file a lawsuit for personal injury damages in New York. This includes individuals who have been injured in car accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice incidents, and other types of accidents caused by someone else's negligence or wrongful actions.

What happens if I miss the statute of limitations deadline?

If you miss the statute of limitations deadline for filing a personal injury claim in New York, you may lose your right to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages. Once the statute of limitations has expired, the defendant can raise the statute of limitations as a defense, and the court is likely to dismiss your case. Therefore, it's crucial to take prompt legal action and ensure compliance with the statute of limitations to protect your rights.

Additional reading: should I get a lawyer for a minor car accident

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