Statutes of Limitation

A statute of limitation is a law that limits the time period within which you may sue a person or company. There are different statutes of limitations for various types of lawsuits.

So if I am injured, is there a statute of limitation?

Yes. New York (as well as other jurisdictions) places time limits on your right to sue for personal injury. These limits vary, depending on the type of injury you receive, and on who caused it—for instance, there are strict, separate rules when the government has caused an injury, because governments are ordinarily immune from lawsuits for torts.

Am I too late to file my claim? Call 212-626-7373 or submit a Lawyer Referral Form

If I was injured by a private citizen or company, how long do I have to sue?

The following is a representative chart of the time you have to sue for personal injury in New York (NYS Statutes of Limitation) when the potential defendant is not the government:

Type of CaseTime to Sue
Slip and Fall3 years from date of accident
Car Accidents3 years from date of accident
Product Liability3 years from date of accident
Other Negligence Resulting in Personal Injury3 years from date of accident
Emotional Distress (Negligent)3 years from date of accident
Medical MalpracticeA legal action must be commenced within 2 years and 6 months of the act, omission or failure complained of or from the last treatment where there is continuous treatment of the same illness, injury or condition. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule:

  • Cancer Misdiagnosis – if the medical malpractice involved a failure to diagnose cancer, the statute of limitations begins running when you first learn of the misdiagnosis, and you have 2 years to file your lawsuit;
  • Foreign Object - an action is based upon discovery of a foreign object left in your body after a medical procedure must be filed within one year of the date you discovered the foreign object or within one year of the date you discovered facts that would lead a reasonable person to discover such foreign object, whichever is earlier.
  • Infancy – the statute of limitations is extended if you are a minor when the malpractice occurs. A minor must file a medical malpractice action within 10 years of the date of the malpractice, unless one of the two extensions above applies for discovery of a foreign object or discovery of a missed cancer diagnosis.
  • Insanity – the statute of limitations does not run against a person who is not sane. A medical malpractice action involving an insane person must be filed within 2 years and 6 months of the date the insanity is cured.
  • Wrongful Death – a wrongful death action involving medical malpractice must be filed within 2 years of the death of the patient.
Libel/Slander1 year from act
Assault/Battery1 year from act
Emotional Distress (Intentional)1 year from act

I think I have been injured by the wrongful conduct of another:

  • Seek medical attention immediately
  • Document your claims as thoroughly as possible
  • Your time to sue is limited; contact a personal injury lawyer ASAP

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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