What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in New York?

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In New York state, the statute of limitations for car accidents is three years from the occurrence or diagnosis of injury. You may be eligible for compensation if you had a car crash and suffered injuries due to someone else’s fault.

However, it’s essential to file a lawsuit within specified time limits.  Moreover, the limitations deadline is stringent and should not be taken lightly. Not filing a lawsuit within the specified time limit could stop you from seeking damages to cover your losses.

If you suspect that you may have missed the statute of limitations period, Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, car accident attorneys can check if you can extend the statute of limitations and pursue a lawsuit. Contact us today at 917-540-8728 and schedule a free case review.

What Are the Statute of Limitations?

The statutes of limitations are legal deadlines for filing a lawsuit. Once this time limit runs out, you cannot bring your case to court. These timelines serve two crucial purposes:

  • Ensure that legal actions are taken timely to preserve witness memories and prevent the loss of evidence.
  • Protect defendants from unjust legal claims.

What’s the Insurance Claims Time Limit for New York Car Accidents?

The deadline for an insurance claim in New York depends on the circumstances of the claim and the insurance policy. While insurance claims don’t have the same statute of limitations as car accident lawsuits, insurance companies often set their own deadlines.

For example, the time limit for filing a claim for property damage to your car is typically within 30 days of the incident. However, the time limit for filing a claim for personal injury can range from 30 days to three years, depending on the type of insurance policy and the specific circumstances of the claim.

It’s important to review your insurance policy carefully and to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible after an incident to ensure that you meet any applicable deadlines and receive the compensation you deserve.

In New York, individuals can file a personal injury protection (PIP) claim under their no-fault insurance policy to pay for medical expenses. However, it’s essential to understand that PIP doesn’t include vehicle repair expenses. So, if your car is damaged in an accident, you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company or your own insurance company.

If you were walking or biking during the accident, your car insurance won’t cover the expenses. In these cases, rely on the at-fault driver’s car insurance for medical treatment and lost income costs.

Moreover, initiating your insurance claims sooner is beneficial, similar to lawsuits. Your car accident attorney can assist you throughout the legal process, ensuring you meet deadlines and provide the required documentation.

What Is the Timeframe for Filing Injury Claims After a New York Car Accident?

In New York, injury claims following a car accident must typically be filed within three years from the accident date. This timeframe is reffered to as the statute of limitations. Below are different types of claims you may file after a car accident:

General Personal Injury Claims

Remember that there’s generally a three-year limit to initiate a personal injury claim in New York after a car accident. Fortunately, this time limit can change depending on the specific circumstances of your case and the parties involved.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

There is a stricter two-year limitation period for filing wrongful death lawsuits. If you have lost a loved one and want to recover compensation for your loss, you need to file a wrongful death claim within the 2-year time limit.

No-Fault Accident Claims

If you intend to file a no-fault accident claim, you typically have 30 days from the accident date. Remember that this deadline can be extended if you provide written proof with clear and reasonable justification for the delay.

Lawsuits Against Municipalities

If you are filing a lawsuit against a municipality, the statutes of limitations are shorter. For instance, if your lawsuit involves the City of New York, you must file a claim notice within 90 days and serve it to the City before you can take legal action in court. In New York, you have one year and ninety days from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against a municipality. Adhere to these guidelines to ensure your lawsuit is filed timely.

It’s essential to understand that the actual time period for filing a claim depends on the nature of each case. Therefore, it’s highly advisable to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer who can identify and clarify all applicable deadlines tailored to your specific situation.

Why Should You File an Auto Accident Claim Immediately?

Waiting until the last minute to file a personal injury lawsuit can harm your case. If you submit it late, your case could get dismissed, which means that the party responsible for your injuries would not have to cover your damages, and you would have to cover the costs yourself.

Not Losing Validity of Solid Evidence

Delaying to start working on your case could lead to the loss of vital evidence, such as surveillance footage, witness testimony, photos of the accident scene, and dashcam footage.

Difficult to Link Injuries to the Accident

Proving the link between your injuries and the car accident could become challenging over time. Therefore, taking action as soon as possible is crucial, even if you are unsure if you qualify for a personal injury lawsuit.

One essential step towards getting compensation is to establish that your injuries are due to an accident caused by the liable party. You should see a doctor immediately and get medical reports proving your injuries.

Prompt medical intervention can strengthen your claim, and it also offers additional benefits:

  • It gives you the best possible chance of fully recovering.
  • It reassures you that your injuries are not more severe than they seem.
  • Saves your life by quickly treating serious injuries.
  • Identifies hidden injuries that might not have become apparent until it was too late.

Insurance Minimizing Settlement Payout

If you file a case against someone’s insurance company, their defense lawyers may try to pay you less than what you deserve. They might use various tactics to do this, like saying you missed a deadline or pressuring you to accept a lower settlement amount. 

Filing a car accident lawsuit on your own can be challenging because there are many rules and deadlines. Making even a tiny mistake could lead to your case being dismissed.

So, if you have been in a car accident, don’t hesitate to take action. Uptown Injury car accident lawyers can review your case and guide you on how to proceed. 

Can You Delay the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents?

Certain circumstances act as notable exceptions in delaying the timelines, also known as tolling the statute of limitations, such as:


If you are a minor, the statute of limitations will not be applicable until you turn 18. You can file a personal injury case right after you turn 18. For young children having more than ten years before they turn 18, their parents or guardians can file a lawsuit on their behalf.

Mentally Unfit Individuals

Individuals experiencing mental health issues may also have the statute of limitations paused until they are mentally fit to file a lawsuit. It is important to note that the limitations deadline does not exceed more than ten years.

Criminal Conviction

If the defendant intentionally hits the car accident victim, the defendant may face criminal prosecution. The personal injury lawsuit may take a backseat to criminal proceedings in such a case. Eventually, the injured person is allowed to file a personal injury claim within seven years from the date of the accident.

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What If You Miss the Deadline to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in New York?

Once the three-year period has passed, you lose your ability to pursue legal action entirely. You’re responsible for any bills or expenses resulting from the accident, and you can’t seek compensation through a lawsuit.

Numerous factors can cause accident victims to miss the statute of limitations. These factors can include hospital stays, disputes with insurance companies, and the struggle to manage mounting medical bills. While these situations are undeniably challenging, the legal system offers little leniency.

If you miss the deadline to file a car accident lawsuit in New York, speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. They can help you determine if any exceptions apply to your case and advise you on your legal options. 

How to Recover Compensation Even if You Share Fault For an Accident?

If you’re involved in a car accident where you share some of the fault, don’t worry. You may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries and other losses.

New York’s comparative negligence law allows a person partially responsible for an accident to receive compensation. This means that even if your actions contributed to the accident, you can still receive a percentage of compensation equal to the other party’s fault.

For example, you were driving over the speed limit and collided with another vehicle that suddenly changed lanes. In this scenario, you may be found partially at fault for the accident. However, under New York’s comparative negligence law, you can still receive compensation equal to the other party’s percentage of fault.

If the investigation concludes that you were 20% liable and the other driver was 80% liable, you can still get 80% of your compensation. So, if the value of your case was $50,000, you could recover $40,000.

Seek Help from Uptown Injury New York Lawyers Today!

If you’ve been in a car accident, we know how overwhelming it can be. But you don’t have to go through it alone. At Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, we have a team of experienced car accident lawyers with 15 years of experience in cases like yours. They are ready to fight for your rights and help you get maximum compensation.

Even if your deadline is approaching, we can still help you initiate legal proceedings and seek maximum compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. Our no-win, no-fee policy ensures you don’t worry about upfront costs.If you need legal assistance after a New York car accident case, contact us or call 917-540-8728 to schedule a FREEconsultation.


What Should You Do After a Car Accident in New York?

If you’ve been in a car accident in New York due to someone else’s negligence, it’s essential to ensure your and others’ safety. Furthermore, report the car accident to the authorities and seek medical attention. 
It’s also advisable to exchange insurance information with the other parties involved and gather evidence, such as photos and witness statements. Thus, consult an experienced car accident lawyer to guide you regarding the personal injury case.

How Can New York Personal Injury Lawyers Help With Car Accident Cases?

New York personal injury lawyers specialize in representing individuals injured in car accidents. An experienced personal injury attorney can initiate the legal process on your behalf. This includes filing insurance claims, undergoing settlement negotiations, and seeking compensation for damages. A lawyer’s expertise ensures you receive a fair settlement or succeed in a personal injury lawsuit.

What Should You Do if You’ve Suffered Serious Injuries in a Car Crash?

If you’ve sustained severe injuries in a car crash, your top priority should be seeking immediate medical attention. After that, consult an experienced car accident lawyer to guide you through the claims process. They can help you cover damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages or income, property damage, emotional trauma, and other losses resulting from the accident.

Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer If the Other Driver Was at Fault?

Yes, it’s still advisable to consult a car accident attorney even if the other driver was at fault. An experienced attorney can help you get fairly compensated for your injuries and damages. They will negotiate with insurance companies and help you submit a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

What if a Car Accident Results in a Wrongful Death Case?

If a car accident leads to a wrongful death, it’s a tragic situation that requires legal action. In such cases, the deceased’s family members can seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. The compensation may cover medical expenses, funeral expenses, and the trauma of losing a loved one.

Do You Need to Send a Notice to the At-Fault Party Before Suing in New York?

While not always required, providing notice to the at-fault party or their insurance company can be beneficial. Sometimes, the other party is eager to reach a settlement and avoid going to court. Consult with your car accident lawyer to decide whether notice is necessary based on the circumstances of your case and the applicable limitations.

Can You File a Case Directly in Court Without Considering Limitations?

Filing a car accident case directly in court without considering limitations is not advisable. Understanding and adhering to the applicable statutes of limitations is crucial to ensure your case is strong. Consult with an attorney to assess the limited time that applies to your specific situation before taking legal action.


Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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