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Every day in New York State a person is injured through the negligent or intentional acts of another person.  The injured party begins to consider whether or not to commence a lawsuit against the party that injured them.  Sometimes the injured party acts quickly and retains a lawyer very quickly and other times the injured party takes their time before they retain a lawyer and start a lawsuit.  However, there are instances where the injured party takes too much time before they decide to retain a lawyer and they lose their opportunity to sue the party that injured them because the applicable statute of limitations expired.

When it comes to injuring others, there are two types of injuries: intentional injuries and accidental injuries. In the first category, the at-fault party made intentional actions to injure someone.  The at-fault party may have assaulted the injured party, in which case the at-fault party is likely be facing criminal charges for assault, battery, manslaughter or murder.  The at-fault party could also intentionally defame the injured party by making false hurtful statements against the injured party, either orally or in writing.

What about accidental injuries? If someone seriously injures someone else by “accident,” the at-fault party could be sued for their negligent conduct.  In some instances the at-fault party could face criminal charges for their negligent conduct, but that depends on what the at-fault party did.  In those instances, the at-fault party can be prosecuted in criminal court and they can face a personal injury lawsuit filed against them by the injured party.

A good example of this would be a drunk driving accident that left an innocent person paralyzed from the waist down. Not only would the drunk driver face criminal charges (because drunk driving is against the law in New York), the injured party can sue the drunk driver for damages sustained because of their negligent conduct.

Most of the time, the at-fault party will NOT face criminal prosecution; however, that does not mean they are off the hook for the injuries the injured party sustained because of the at-fault party’s negligent conduct. In many accidental injury or death cases, the injured party can file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party to collect damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income, etc.

Let’s say that a child drowned in a backyard swimming pool. In this case, the nanny was watching the two-year-old swim in her pool while the parents were away at work. The nanny went inside to fix the child’s lunch, leaving him unsupervised for five minutes. When she came back, the child was floating lifeless in her pool. Though she was responsible for the child’s accidental death, she didn’t necessarily commit a crime. In this case, the child’s parents can sue the nanny for their toddler’s wrongful death. Usually, a claim of this nature would be filed against the homeowner’s (the nanny) property insurance policy.

New York’s Statute of Limitations

If you were injured in a car accident, a pedestrian accident, or because of a dangerous product, a dangerous dog, or hazardous property condition, you must file a claim within New York’s statute of limitations, which is the deadline for filing a claim. If you delay and you file after this time period expires, the court will deny your claim and you will have no legal recourse.

In New York, you must file a personal injury claim within three years. If the injury claim is against a city, county, New York City Housing Authority or any other municipal agency, you have just 90 days to file a Notice of Claim against the city or municipal agency and one year and 90 days to commence the lawsuit.  However, if you want to sue the State of New York or any State agency, you have 90 days to file a Notice of Claim with the State and you have two years to file a lawsuit against the state.  Any lawsuit against the State of New York or a State agency can only be brought in the New York Court of Claims.

If you have been injured as a result of the malpractice of a doctor, hospital, physical therapists, radiologist, nurse or other medical professional, you must file a medical malpractice claim against the at-fault party within two and a half years (30 months).  If the at-fault medical professional is employed at a City hospital the statute of limitations is shortened because a Notice of Claim has to be filed against the City hospital and its employees and agents.

Some states have “damage caps” in personal injury cases, which limit how much victims can collect in personal injury claims. New York does not have a cap on damages for personal injury or medical malpractice cases.

For more information about the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in New York, check out Article 2 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules.

If you have been injured, time may be of the essence.  If you do not take the appropriate action, you may barred from commencing a lawsuit against an at-fault party.  Our experienced team of attorneys stand ready to fight for justice on behalf of personal injury and medical malpractice victims in the New York area and to explain your legal rights. To schedule a free initial consultation with our firm, please call our office at (646) 504-7384 or email us at