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New York Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury & accidents in New York  is three (3) years (Ref: N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214). 

What this means is that you (or your attorney) must file a lawsuit against a defendant within three years of the date of your accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within three years, generally you forfeit any potential claim against the defendant as a matter of law - meaning there will be no opportunity for a settlement, arbitration or trial. 

Disclaimer: Although the information presented on this page is generally true there are some exceptions to this information, and the New York  Statute of Limitations (and the exceptions) may change over time. If you or a family member was involved in an accident and considering seeking compensation for your injuries it is crucial that you speak to an New York  personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and potential recovery.

Variations on Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit in New York 

There are some variations & exceptions to the 3 years statute of limitations on personal injury cases in New York . Because of this, it is critical you discuss your matter with a lawyer who is highly experienced in personal injury law. 

  • If the injured person is considered under a legal disability at the time of the underlying accident -- he or she is a minor under the age of 18, or is considered to be of unsound mind -- then the tree-year "clock" for filing the personal injury lawsuit probably won't begin to run until the legal disability is "lifted", meaning the person turns 18, or is declared sane.
  • If the person who allegedly caused the injury (the defendant) leaves the state of New York at some point after the underlying accident, and before the lawsuit can be filed, and is gone for four months or more, the period of absence likely won't be counted as part of the three years. The deadline will also likely be extended if the defendant resides within the state, but under a "false name."

What if You Miss the Deadline to File a Lawsuit?

If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit and the New York  statute of limitations passes (barring any exceptions), the opposing party will almost surely move for case dismissal and it will likely be granted. This also means that nearly any hope of a settlement will also be forfeited because there is no leverage to potentially pursue a trial (since it would immediately be dismissed). 

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