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Time Limits and Statutes of Limitations
All claims have time limits. The reasons for limits include that courts want claims brought before the evidence gets stale and that even wrongdoers are afforded the right to know that after a certain time claims cannot be brought against them and they can breathe a sigh of relief. These limits are often referred to as Statutes of Limitations. What follows below is a general discussion of some of the more common time limits, but there are others and there are also circumstances when the periods can be extended, a common one being where the injured party is less than eighteen years of age. It is therefore vital that you contact an attorney as soon as possible after you sustain injuries or damages in order to protect against the expiration and loss of your rights.
Some limits are as short as one day. For example, if you are injured by a hit and run driver, then to fully protect your rights you must report the accident to the police within twenty four hours. You have thirty days from the date of an automobile accident to file a claim for No Fault insurance benefits. To make a claim against your own automobile insurance company for the recovery of damages for pain and suffering in the event that you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or poorly insured motor vehicle, then you must notify your insurer as soon as practicable, which basically means as soon as you learn or should have learned of the claim.
To make a claim against a municipality, a public authority, a school district or a department, branch or arm of a city or local government such as the police or a parks department, sewer district or highways department, then you must file a notice of claim within ninety days of the incident. For a claim against the State of New York, you must generally file a notice of intention to make claim within ninety days and thereafter commence a lawsuit within two years. If you want to have a court review the action or inaction of a public official, such as the refusal of a town clerk to accept a zoning application for filing, then you must commence your action within four months.
An intentional tort claim, that is, a claim that someone intentionally caused injury to another by, for example, an assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest or malicious prosecution, must be commenced within one year. Punitive damages are often available for intentional torts. Claims against the New York City Transit Authority must also be commenced within one year, but only if a notice of claim had been served within ninety days. Provided that you have timely filed a notice of claim, a lawsuit against a municipality, a public authority, a school district or a department, branch or arm of a city or local government must generally be commenced within one year and ninety days.
Claims for wrongful death must generally be commenced within two years of death. Medical, podiatric and dental malpractice claims must be generally commenced within two and one half years of the commission of the malpractice. The most common claims for personal injury and accident claims must be commenced within three years of the incident.
Claims under the Uniform Commercial Code for breach of contract or warranty involving the sale of goods must be brought within four years of the breach. Claims for breach of contract or warranty in other areas, on a bond or mortgage, or for fraud, must be commenced within six years.
Please remember that the above is just a summary of some of the more common deadlines and limitations periods. Every situation presents its own unique facts to which special rules and exceptions, including extensions of time, may apply. The best way to protect your rights is to contact an attorney right away. Call Mr. Altman for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your claim and learn about the applicable deadlines and Statutes of Limitations. Also, remember that there is no attorney fee in personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims unless and until there is a recovery.
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