Statute of Limitations  

All actions must be commenced within a designated period of time established by law. That time period within which a lawsuit must be brought is called a statute of limitation. In New York, there are different time periods for the commencement of different cases. For example, the statute of iimitation for a personal injury automobile accident is three (3) years, but two (2) years for a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations for product liability, medical malpractice and other claims are also different. There are also exceptions and other conditions precedent (e.g. Notice of Claim) that may apply for any particular claim determined by Whether the defendant is an individual or public entity. Therefore, it is critical to know which statute of limitation applies to any matter because the right to sue and recover damages is forever lost once that period expires. It is also important to know the time period of any condition precedent to an action. For these reasons, any person suffering an injury should contact an attorney as soon as possible so that the appropriate statute of limitations can be determined. You may have less than ninety (90) days from the date of the incident which led to your injuries to file a Notice of Claim. At The Prerno Law Firm, all aspects of your case are considered as soon as possible to ensure that no claims are lost as a result of untimely action.

The Discovery Rule

Measuring the statute of limitations for a particular situation can be a complex issue. In general, the time accrues or begins to run on the date of the incident causing the injury, but there are exceptions. For exampie, the "discovery rule" may apply if the injury is suffered but unknown and undiscoverable until later. Under the discovery rule, the time begins to run from when the person who is injured knew, or by the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, that he or she was injured. The discovery rule is commonly applied in cases of exposure to toxic substances, surgical implantation, surgical injuries, and misdiagnosis where the person does not manifest symptoms of injury until well after it has occurred. Obviously, such is not normally the case in situations involving motor vehicle collisions and other accidents, where injuries are generally immediately apparent.


Special rules apply in measuring the statute of limitations when an infant (Le. a person under 18 years old) is injured. In general, the time limitation is "extended to three years after" an injured infant becomes 18 years of age or dies, "whichever event first occurs." However, if the time limitation is less than three (3) years, as with medical malpractice claims, the limitation period is extended untii the child becomes 18 years of age. These rules also apply where a person is disabled because of insanity. However, the limitation is not extended beyond ten (10) years from its accrual except, in any action other than for medical, dental or podiatric malpractice, where the injured person is an infant. CPLR Of course, it is usually beneficial to bring a lawsuit as soon as practical because the availability (and memory) of witnesses to an accident and related physical evidence is usually much greater shortly after an accident than after years have passed.