Understanding the Deadline for a Car Accident Lawsuit in Buffalo, NY

If you’ve been injured in a car accident that left you unable to work during recovery, and with medical bills piling up, you are surely wondering how fast you can receive compensation for your injuries. New York has different laws and regulations governing personal injury claims and car accident lawsuits and how quickly you should file for damages.

A competent car crash lawyer in Buffalo, NY, will know what path to take to increase your chance of success and make sure justice is done in your case.

The Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations refers to the deadline for filing a lawsuit. In New York, you typically have three (3) years from the date of a car accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, there are exceptions, such as if the victim is under 18 or deemed legally incapacitated. The clock starts ticking from the date of the crash, not the date you discover the injury.

The three-year limit only applies to lawsuits. You have additional time to settle out of court. It’s best to consult with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash to understand your options fully. They can determine if your case qualifies for an exception and help you take action promptly.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Lawsuits

The following exceptions to the three-year statute of limitations can provide more or less time to take legal action:

If the Injured Party Is a Minor

For cases involving injuries to minors (under 18 years old), the statute of limitations is paused until the minor turns 18, at which point the clock starts ticking again. The minor then has 3 years from their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit for their car accident injuries.

If the Injured Party Is Considered to Be of “Unsound Mind”

If a person is mentally or physically incapacitated and unable to make decisions or manage their care due to their injuries from the car crash, the statute of limitations is paused. Once the individual has recovered enough to function and make legal decisions again, they have 3 years from that date to pursue a claim.

your lawyer will make sure your lawsuit is filed within the statute of limitations

If the At-Fault Party Leaves the State Before the Lawsuit Is Filed

If the person responsible for your injuries leaves New York before you have filed a lawsuit, the statute of limitations is suspended until they return. You then have 3 years from the date they return to New York to take legal action against them.

If a Government Agency Caused the Accident

If the liable party in your accident is a government agency, you may have to act much sooner. Under New York General Municipal Law § 50-E, victims of accidents caused by employees of public corporations, such as cities, counties, or the state, must file a notice of claim within 90 days of the incident.

While these exceptions exist to protect people who cannot pursue claims due to circumstances outside their control, you should not assume you automatically qualify for an extension or pause in the statute of limitations.

A Buffalo, NY Car Crash Lawyer Can Help File Your Case on Time

To avoid missing important deadlines, the best thing you can do is contact a Buffalo car accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash. At our law firm, we have years of experience handling car accident lawsuits in Buffalo and throughout New York.

Call our Buffalo law offices today at (716) 261-2614 for a free consultation about your car accident claim. The sooner you call, the sooner we can get to work protecting you and fighting for the outcome you deserve. Don’t delay—let our experience work for you.