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Personal Injuries Blog

How Long After A Car Accident Can You Claim Injury In New York? Legal Insights

Amidst the chaos and confusion following a car accident, you might not immediately think that the clock ticking may influence your ability to seek compensation for your injuries.

Yet, understanding the timeframe within which you must file an injury claim in New York is crucial as it is directly related to your legal rights and potential settlement amount.

How long after a car accident can you claim injury?

Let’s explore the importance of timely action and the steps you can take to pursue the compensation you deserve.

Looking for a car accident lawyer?

Contact our team at Spar & Bernstein!

Bradford H. Bernstein

This article was written and reviewed by Bradford H. Bernstein, a second-generation leader at Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein, P.C., who has helped over 100,000 clients with immigration and personal injury issues. Brad joined the firm in 1993, became a partner in 1997, and assumed leadership in 2000 after Harry Spar retired.


How Long Do I Have To File A Car Accident Injury Claim In New York?

The legal time limit, also known as the statute of limitations, to file a car accident injury claim in New York depends on the specific circumstances of the accident and the parties involved.

Third-Party Accidents

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims resulting from third-party accidents, such as car accidents caused by another driver’s negligence, is typically three years from the date of the accident.

For example:

  • If you were injured in a T-bone collision on May 1, 2024, you would have until May 1, 2027, to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver.
  • If you sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident on January 1, 2023, you would have until January 1, 2026, to initiate legal action against the responsible party.

Wrongful Death

The statute of limitations for filing a claim for the death of a loved one in a car accident is two years from the date of their death.

For example,

  • If you lost a loved one in a car accident on July 1, 2023, you would have until July 1, 2025, to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party responsible for the accident.
  • In the case of a fatal pedestrian accident on December 15, 2022, the family would have until December 15, 2024, to bring a wrongful death claim.

Car Accidents Involving Government Agencies

When car accidents involve government agencies or employees, such as collisions with government vehicles or accidents on government-owned property, there are shorter time frames and special rules apply.

The statute of limitations for car accident claims against municipal entities in New York is one year and 90 days.

The first step in the claim process is filing a Notice of Claim, which should be done within 90 days of the incident to preserve the right to seek compensation.

For example:

  • If your vehicle was hit by a government-owned vehicle on November 15, 2023, in New York City, you must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident. Legal action must be initiated within one year and 90 days from the date of the incident, i.e. February 13, 2025.
  • If you suffered injuries in a car accident due to bad road conditions, such as a pothole on a state-maintained highway, on December 1, 2023, you have 90 days to file a Notice of Claim and must initiate legal action by March 31, 2025.

Meeting car accident claim deadlines is crucial. Missing them could forfeit your chance to seek compensation for accident damages.

Read more about when it is too late to get a lawyer for a car accident.

Two drivers looking at their damaged cars​
The deadline to claim injury after a car accident in New York depends on the type of the accident and the at-fault parties​

Why Is It Crucial To File A Car Injury Claim Within The Legal Deadlines?

Filing a car injury claim within the statute of limitations:

  • Ensures protection of your legal rights, as missing the deadline could make you ineligible to pursue compensation for the injuries you have suffered
  • Ensures the preservation of crucial evidence, including witness statements, police reports, and medical records, which can help you support your claim
  • Increases the likelihood of a prompt resolution, allowing you to receive compensation sooner to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses resulting from the accident

Schedule a consultation with our experienced car accident attorneys at Spar & Bernstein to discuss your case specifics and get personalized guidance on how to proceed. With 60+ years of history in personal injury claims, we will review your case, compile all needed documentation and submit it on time to pursue the compensation you deserve.

Exceptions To The Statute Of Limitations

Timely action is crucial for a successful injury claim, but exceptions may allow you to seek compensation even if you miss the deadline.

These exceptions offer ways for extending the statutory timeframe under specific circumstances to help you seek justice.

Accidents With Minors

The statute of limitations may be paused if you sustained injuries in a car accident before turning 18.

In this case, you will be eligible to file a personal injury claim once you come of legal age.

Mental Incapacity

If you were mentally incapacitated at the time of the accident — for example, suffered a traumatic brain injury and could not make informed decisions — the statute of limitations may be tolled until you regain mental ability.

If you have missed the statute of limitations deadline, reach out for a free consultation with our team at Spar & Bernstein and we’ll assess whether any exceptions apply to your case.

The statute of limitations book on a desk​
The statute of limitations may be paused due to exceptions like being a minor, the discovery rule, or the defendant’s absence​

Steps To Take After A Car Accident

To protect your legal rights and ensure timely compensation after a car accident, follow these important steps:

  • Turn on your car’s hazard lights and move to the side to avoid subsequent injuries.
  • Check yourself and your passengers for injuries.
  • If there are injuries, call 911.
  • Exchange contact, insurance, and vehicle details with the other driver(s).
  • Take photos of the accident scene, including vehicle position and damage, road conditions, and any relevant signage.
  • Notify the police — especially if the accident caused injuries or significant property damage.
  • Seek medical evaluation to assess injuries.
  • Inform your insurance provider about the accident.
  • Keep records of medical treatment, repair estimates, and communication with insurance companies.
  • Consult a personal injury attorney for advice on your rights and options.

Were You Injured In A Car Accident? Contact Spar & Bernstein

With a proven track record of successful outcomes, including million-dollar settlements, our experienced lawyers at Spa & Bernstein are well-equipped to handle complex car accident injury claims in New York.

We approach each client with professionalism and empathy, recognizing the challenges they face during such difficult times. Our dedicated team works tirelessly to investigate the details of each case, gather evidence, and build a strong legal strategy to obtain maximum compensation.

If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, reach out to our attorneys.

From negotiating with insurance companies to representing you in court, we will advocate for your rights every step of the way. With a committed team fighting on your behalf, you will have the time to focus on your recovery and your loved ones.

Were you injured in a car accident?

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How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Injury Claim in NY? FAQs

For more information on how long after a car accident you can claim injury, check out the frequently asked questions below.

When does the statute of limitations start for a car accident injury claim?

The statute of limitations typically begins from the date of the car accident that caused your injuries.

Does the statute of limitations vary depending on the severity of the injuries?

No, the statute of limitations is generally the same regardless of the severity of the injuries sustained in the car accident. The severity of your injuries, however, might affect the time a car accident settlement takes in New York— read more about this in our recent article.

Should I wait until the statute of limitations is close to expiring before filing a car accident injury claim?

No, file your claim well before the statute of limitations expires — ensure you have sufficient time to gather evidence and build a strong case.

Do I need to consult a lawyer regarding the statute of limitations for a car accident injury claim?

Consulting a personal injury lawyer is not mandatory but can help you understand your rights and meet all claim filing deadlines. Schedule a free initial consultation with our knowledgeable attorneys at Spar & Bernstein.

If I was partially at fault for the car accident, does the statute of limitations still apply to my claim?

Yes, the statute of limitations applies regardless of whether you were partially at fault for the accident.

Need a personal injury lawyer?

Contact our team at Spar & Bernstein!