When we’re talking about personal injury cases in the state of New York, there is a statute of limitations which means that the injured party (or parties) have a time limit in which to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their injuries. It is an expiration date, if you will, and after a certain number of years, you no longer may file a claim.
New York’s civil statute of limitations laws typically give the injured party one to six years in which to file a lawsuit. However, if you have been injured due to what you perceive to be someone else’s negligence, there is no rationale to wait – see a knowledgeable attorney immediately after the accident. He or she can determine whether you have a case, and know what specific deadlines each personal injury claim requires. For instance, in the case of a motor vehicle accident, you have three years from the injury. The same goes for product liability. Medical malpractice, on the other hand, requires you to file suit within two and a half years of the incident. Wrongful death suits require you to file within one year.
Basically, in a personal injury lawsuit, you and your attorney will have to prove liability and damages. Liability determines who, exactly, is at fault. The answer is not always clear-cut. For instance, if you were walking across the street when the traffic light was red, and were hit by a speeding car, the liability might well be split; the jury may decide that you had some blame in the accident. Damages include any medical injuries or impairments that resulted from the accident; and could include any future medical expenses.
Of course, as in every personal injury lawsuit, solid medical evidence can mean the difference between prevailing and not prevailing at trial. But, again, it is crucial that you find an experienced attorney who can assess your case, see you through some of the pitfalls, and who will be knowledgeable about any and all changes in the law, itself. That is because personal injury law is constantly changing. This is better known as “tort reform,” and even the subtlest changes can have an impact on your current case.
Do I Have A Case?
That all depends upon the specific circumstances surrounding your injury. As I said, sometimes it is not a clear-cut case. However, if you sustained serious injury, have supportive medical documentation, can prove, mostly, that the injury is not your fault, and have proper legal representation, you probably have a case. But, remember, lawsuits and trials are not an exact science. Much also depends upon whether your case actually goes to trial, and whether you have an experienced attorney who knows how to effectively present your case.