The New York Personal Injury Blog

What is the Statute of Limitations For Car Accidents in New York?

What is the statute of limitations for a motor vehicle accident in the state of New York?

That depends.

First, for the uninitiated, let's go back to what the word "statute of limitations" even means. The statute of limitations is the time limit within which a lawsuit can be started. The rule is thi s-- a lawsuit must be started within a certain amount of time from the incident or from the discovery of the injury, otherwise the party loses his right to bring a lawsuit.

Depending on the nature of the injury, the statute of limitations could start running on the date of the accident, or it could start running on the date that the injury was discovered. This depends on the state law affecting that particular kind of lawsuit.

While you might think that all car accident lawsuits are the same, they really aren't. Each one comes with a different set of facts and circumstances.

Some car accident lawsuits involve the usual accident and property damage. Some involve physical injury. Other car accident lawsuits involve a fault or defect with the car. Some involve motorcycles, where the helmet might come into issue (i.e. people sometimes sue the helmet maker if the case involves head injury).

The nature of the lawsuit plays a huge role in the amount of time to bring the lawsuit. A car accident lawsuit could be based on negligence, product liability, wrongful death or property damage.

In New York, a plaintiff has 3 years from the date of the injury to bring a lawsuit for personal injury. The same goes for lawsuits to recover for damage to personal property. In wrongful death claims, the plaintiff has 2 years from the date of death to bring a claim.

The time limit to bring a lawsuit stemming from a car accident depends on many factors. It is important to understand the statue of limitations because if you miss the deadline, you cannot recover for your injury, no matter how good your case.

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