When you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident, it can be a lot to deal with. First, there’s the shock of the experience itself, followed by the pain of the injuries you suffer. The shock may go away but the injury remains. It can be hard to decide what you should do about the accident but it’s important to understand there are time limits to your actions.
The statute of limitations
New York imposes a duty upon the driver of every vehicle, to drive with a certain amount of care so as to avoid accidents. When someone fails in that duty, and injures another person in the process, they are considered legally negligent. For the injured person, New York grants the right to file a personal injury lawsuit – so that they can be made whole again.
But at the same time New York grants the right to sue, it also puts a time limit on that right. This is known as the statute of limitations. In most cases, the time limit is three years – which means you must file your personal injury lawsuit within three years of the date of the accident. If you do not, you lose the right to sue forever.
Practical time restrictions
Beyond the legal time limit, however, there’s a more practical one. The success of your case depends upon evidence. An investigation must be conducted – witnesses have to be interviewed and documents or others evidence must be collected. The problem is, that evidence begins to degrade immediately and, the more time that passes, the more memories fade and evidence grows stale.
Delays can be harmful to your case. Acting quickly helps ensure your suit is as strong as possible, which increases your ability to collect the compensation to which you’re entitled and to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions.