As New York personal injury attorneys, one of the most frustrating things we experience is when a potential new client calls us after being involved in a personal injury accident, but we can’t help them for the simple reason that they waited too long and the time allowed for them to make a claim or start a lawsuit has passed.
How long do I have to file a Notice of Claim and lawsuit ?
Every type of personal injury accident has its established time within which you must start your lawsuit. This is called a statute of limitations. This time period varies depending on how you suffered your personal injury, so is always advisable to consult with an accident attorney in NYC as soon as possible after your accident.
Depending on the type of case you have, you may commonly have from one to three years to start your lawsuit. However, there are exceptions. The most frequently encountered exception is when a city, village, town or government agency is responsible for your personal injury accident.
If you are injured through the fault of the City of New York or one of it’s agencies or employees, in order to bring a lawsuit you must first file a Notice of Claim and it must be done within 90 days of the date of the accident or incident which caused your personal injury.
This means that if you have a claim against the City of New York, the Police Department, Transit Authority, Department of Education, a public hospital or other government agency you must file the Notice of Claim within 90 days or you will lose your right to sue. If you don’t file within 90 days you may ask the court to extend your time, but often they will say no (there are very limited circumstances under which a late Notice of Claim is permitted).
Ignorance of the Notice of Claim requirement is no defense. This is why it is so critical to consult an New York Accident Attorney as soon as possible after your accident or personal injury.
Do I need to hire my New York Accident Attorney before I file my claim?
You do not need an attorney to file the Notice of Claim. However, it is always advisable to consult with an experienced New York personal injury attorney. Often it takes some investigation to determine if a government agency is involved, or to properly identify which agency it is. Without the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney, you may make a mistake in preparing or filing your Notice of Claim that is fatal to your claim.
At Carro, Carro & Mitchell, when a client contacts us about any accident resulting in personal injury, we do whatever necessary to determine if a government agency is involved. This often requires property owner searches, freedom of information requests and city record searches.
The Legislature made the 90 day limit so short to eliminate personal injury cases against municipal and government agencies. If you have a potential personal injury accident lawsuit against a municipality, city agency or other government agency it is vital that you seek out an experienced accident attorney in NYC as soon as possible.
Have you been involved in a personal injury accident? Contact Carro, Carro & Mitchell today.