Personal Injury: Understand Your Statute of Limitations this Winter

A man stands out of focus in the background behind a gavel and several law books.

It's that time of year again when accidents are more prevalent. The winter months bring accidents and bad weather, leading to personal injuries and property damage. Many accidents happen on highways and roads where traffic laws, speed limits, and driver conduct are in play, and unfortunately, many accidents happen due to the negligence of another party. This winter, make sure you understand your statute of limitations for personal injury so you know what action can be taken.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is a legal claim that determines the maximum time period in which an injured party or plaintiff has to file suit against another party who may have caused the injury. While there are different variations among states, the statute of limitations typically starts upon the date when an individual realizes they are injured and/or discovers who caused their injuries.

For those who have been injured in an accident that was not their fault, they only have a few years to file a legal claim against the negligent party for damages related to their injuries. In New York State, claimants must file a lawsuit within three years from the accident date or discovery of the injury, or else they lose their right to sue forever. However, some cases involving minors (under 18) or injury-related psychological problems may have different filing deadlines.

This can get confusing because many accident victims delay hiring an attorney; however, if you get an attorney quickly, they can usually get the suit filed before the statute of limitations runs out.

What’s an Example of the Statute of Limitations?

Depending on the situation, your statute of limitations can vary. For example, if someone slips and falls on the ice at a store parking lot and sues for injuries sustained by going to the emergency room, they must file their claim within three years, as mentioned above. However, if instead, the injured party claimed that the store's security guard assaulted or battered them by pushing them when they approached their car, a different statute of limitations could apply.

Or, for example, let’s say you were driving in the ice and snow and you were hit by a car that was speeding and driving recklessly in the winter weather. Injuries you incurred from that accident may have been in part because of the other driver’s negligence. If you and your attorney are able to prove their negligence, you may have a case to receive compensation for your injuries. We recommend consulting with an attorney first and to be sure you’re within the statute of limitations when filing.

Are There Any Exceptions?

The statute of limitations is different from other legal deadlines because it is usually strictly enforced. This means cases may be dismissed if they reach the statute of limitations. These cases sometimes cannot be refiled later, even if new evidence has been found after the ruling, or if there was some mistake on behalf of the defendant during court proceedings.

Exceptions can apply, and any statute of limitations issue should be discussed with an experienced New York personal injury lawyer. Sometimes, the statute of limitations can be paused if fraudulent concealment is discovered. Fraudulent concealment may happen if a defendant tries to hide evidence or is misleading with information.

Additionally, the statute of limitations varies by state, so it is helpful to have an attorney on your side to understand what type of personal injury claims and which statute of limitations may apply to your accident. For instance, in Connecticut, the statute of limitations is two years. This means that if you were visiting New York and suffered an injury here, you would have three years to file your case based on New York’s statute of limitations, but only two under Connecticut's.

Contact Us at Loscalzo & Loscalzo, P.C.

If you’re concerned about the statute of limitations expiring soon on your case, please speak with our New York personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible.

For more information about the statute of limitations or how this applies specifically to personal injury cases in New York, please contact Loscalzo & Loscalzo, P.C. today.