How Long After an Accident Can You Sue in New York?
Last Updated on March 10, 2020
Severe car accidents can be devastating, financially, physically, and emotionally. If you have experienced a car accident that has severely affected your life and you weren’t the one at fault, you may want to consider suing the other party for damages, particularly if you have large medical bills to pay. However, there are legal limitations to keep in mind if you want to sue someone. In particular, there is a statute of limitations, so you need to put your case together in a timely manner if you want it to be successful. Here’s what you need to know about suing after an auto accident in New York.
When can I sue?
In New York, the statute of limitations on personal injury cases, like a car accident, is three years in most cases. This is how long you have to go to the courthouse and file your case – otherwise, the court will most likely throw the case out. The three years are counted from the date of your injury. There are some exceptions to this rule, but generally, the sooner you can file your case, the more effective it is going to be.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that New York is a no-fault car insurance state, which could make it very difficult for your case to be successful. In order for you to file a lawsuit, your injury needs to legally qualify as a ‘serious injury’ by New York’s legal threshold. This means you need to have experienced a bone fracture, permanent or significant limitations of an organ or system, significant disfigurement, or be on full disability for at least three months. If you are unsure if you qualify, it may help to consult with a lawyer. This no-fault rule is designed to encourage people to seek payouts from their insurance policies, and to encourage insurance companies to provide better coverage for their clients.
Can I sue if we’re both at fault?
One of the most common questions for people deciding whether or not to sue after an accident is if they can sue if both parties are at fault. This situation is complex, and the results will be different in every situation depending on exactly what happened. However, the short answer is that yes, you can sue even if you had some fault in the accident. The caveat is that you should expect to receive far less than if you were not at fault. The court will ultimately determine whether or not you were at fault, and if both parties were at fault, they will assign you each a percentage based on how much of the accident you were responsible for. The other party will only have to pay the percentage of the damages that were their fault.
What should I do if I want to sue the other party?
The decision to sue the other party in a car accident should not be taken lightly, as it can result in a long and stressful legal process. The costs of hiring a lawyer can also be quite expensive, so it’s important to only sue if you are confident you can win the case. It’s always important to go to your insurance company as well as the insurance company of the other party to see if they will pay the damages first, before immediately jumping to legal action.
However, if you do decide you would like to sue, there are a few steps you should take to get started. First, you will need to document every aspect of the car accident to prove you were not at fault and that the other party caused severe physical and mental damage to your life. This should start as soon as the accident happens, if possible. Get pictures of the accident as well as medical reports and scans from the injury you experienced. You should also save your medical bills, car bills, and police reports related to the accident, and document any lost pay from the time you had to take away from work.
Next, you will need to find a car accident lawyer to help with your case. If you can, talk to a few different lawyers and compare their expertise, services, and fees. You also want to find a lawyer that you are totally comfortable talking to about the accident and surrounding circumstances. The lawyer will need to know as many details as possible to help you with your case. Consulting with a lawyer directly after the accident can also help you determine the best course of action from a legal perspective.
If you have experienced severe injuries after an accident and aren’t getting the compensation you need from insurance, it may be worthwhile to sue the other party. Make sure you start the process as soon as possible after the accident before the three-year statute of limitations starts to take effect.