New York State Laws: How They May Affect Your Injury Lawsuit

After an accident, when someone is injured, many questions come into play. Questions such as:

  • Who is at fault?
  • What do I do next?
  • How do laws affect my lawsuit?

Actions taken following an injury, as a result of an accident, are often contingent on state laws and the type of case you choose to follow. The following are some brief answers to some pressing questions you may have regarding New York state laws and your lawsuit.

How much time do I have to file after an accident-related injury?

The statute of limitations is how long an individual has to file a lawsuit after it occurs. After this period of time and depending on the type of lawsuit you wish to file, lawsuits will be dismissed; your right to compensation will no longer exist.
New York GENERALLY has a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases, which means an injured person has three years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit against those responsible for the injury. The New York statute of limitations on personal injury cases can be found at N.Y. Civ. Prac. R. section 214. There are exceptions to this rule and it is imperative if you are injured to speak with an attorney as quickly as possible.

How much liability is on me and how much is on the other person?

Sometimes accident fault is a gray area. It can be the victim’s fault, another person’s or a combination of both. The amount of liability you have versus the other person often affects the amount of compensation you receive.

New York State’s shared fault injury cases fall under a “pure comparative negligence rule.” This means that the amount of compensation you receive is commensurate to the amount of fault you are to blame for the accident.

For example, if you are in a car accident where the other driver rear-ended you after an abrupt stop, but they may have been driving above the speed limit, the blame may be shared. You may share about 20 percent blame for stopping abruptly, but the other driver may be at approximately 70 percent fault for speeding and not paying attention. Say your damages add up to $10,000, your total compensation would be reduced to $8,000 under the pure comparative negligence rule.

What if I am in a car accident with another vehicle? Can I receive compensation through the other person’s insurance?

Under New York State’s “no-fault” law, you have to first collect from your own insurance policy, regardless of who caused the accident. This is usually the case unless you fall under the “serious injury” threshold.

The no-fault law limits the accident victim from having to make a claim for personal injury damages. This is the case unless medical bills reach a certain level, or the injury is deemed serious.

If I suffered an injury from an animal bite, is the owner liable?

Pet owners in New York State are held liable for injuries caused by their animal if the injured party can prove that the owner should have known the animal was dangerous (known as the “one bite” rule).

Is New York State liable for injuries due to government negligence?

If you suffered an injury due to the negligence of a state-run agency, victims often have to file a claim with the appropriate government agency.

Here is a list of the filing rules in New York:

  • You have 90 days to file a formal claim against a municipality in New York, and one year and 90 days to file a lawsuit against a municipality. (N.Y. Gen. Mun. Laws § 50-e.)
  • You also have 90 days to file a formal claim against a county in New York, and one year and 90 days to file a lawsuit. (N.Y. County Law § 52.)
  • You have 90 days to file a claim against the state of New York (or notice of intent to file claim if, within the 90 days, you are unable to arrive at a final claim figure, such as if medical treatment is incomplete). (N.Y. Court of Claims Act § 10.)

Regardless of how your injury was caused, it is important to consult with a trusted attorney. Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP has been helping people in personal injury cases since 1994; we understand. Contact us by calling 1-800-LAW-1010 (800-529-1010) or fill out a form.