How Much Time Do I have To File a Lawsuit for a Car Accident in Syracuse, New York
Our Syracuse car accident lawyers can figure this out for you, but we would need all the facts to know for sure.
Generally, though, the answer is three years. And that is a New York-State-wide rule. Whether your car accident is in Syracuse or anywhere else in New York State, your statute of limitations is going to usually be three years from the date of the accident.
But as with almost any rule, there are exceptions. First, if the injured person is a minor (under 18 years old), the three years does not start running until he or she turns 18, so that his or her statute of limitations ends on his or her 21st birthday.
If the injured person is severely injured enough, especially in the brain, a court might decide to “toll” the statute of limitations because it would be unfair to expect the severely injured person to file a lawsuit on time. But that “tolling” is rare, and a good car accident lawyer representing Syracuse (or other) victims would never count on the “toll”.
Also, if the family is suing because the accident victim died, the “wrongful death” suit has only a two-year statute of limitations.
There are still other exceptions to the three-year rule. If the vehicle that struck you was operated by a municipal, “public corporation” or State employee who was in the scope of employment while driving, you may have to serve on the governmental agency something called a “notice of claim” or a “notice of intention to file a claim” within 90 days of the car accident. And then, if the defendant is a New York State municipality or “public corporation”, you will have to file suit within a year and 90 days of the accident date. If the defendant is the State of New York itself, generally you are going to have to file a Claim within two years of the date of the accident.
Even if you know for sure the Statute of limitations for your car accident case, you should not wait till it is almost run before contacting a lawyer. You should instead contact one as soon as possible. That’s because there are other time limitations that come up soon after the accident, such as the requirement to fill out a no-fault application (30 days). And many car accident cases require a good, prompt investigation to preserve the evidence. Also, witness statements should be taken before the witnesses’ memory starts to fade, and the accident scene should be photographed before it is altered or skid marks fade.
As you can see, figuring out the correct statute of limitations for a New York car accident case is complicated. If you are hurt in a car accident in Syracuse, the only way to know for sure whether you have a case is to consult with a Syracuse car accident lawyer. Don’t worry; here at Michaels & Smolak, the consultation is FREE.