Is the Injury Statute of Limitations Different for Children and Adults in New York?

People may sue for various injuries under numerous circumstances, but certain deadlines must be followed. These deadlines, imposed by statutes of limitations, sometimes affect minor plaintiffs differently than adults, depending on the circumstances.

Here at the Martello Law Firm, we help adults and families successfully navigate the personal injury process. If you live anywhere in New York State and would like to speak about your case for free, call us at 914-685-6950.

Standard statutes of limitations in injury cases tend to affect children and adults differently, often because children are too young to file a lawsuit on their own. While the overall time limit is the same for adults and children, the statute of limitation in injury cases may be tolled for children until they turn 18, although there might be limits on how long the statute can be tolled. In other cases, special statutes of limitations might apply specifically to children in specific kinds of injury cases. If your child is injured, you should get medical attention immediately before contacting an attorney to figure out how and when you can file a lawsuit for damages.

Taking legal action after an injury is never easy, especially if the injured victim is a child. Our Westchester personal injury attorneys can help you and your child get justice and compensation. For a free case evaluation, call The Martello Law Firm, PLLC at (914) 685-6950.

How Statutes of Limitations for Injury Affect Children and Adults in New York

The standard statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in New York can be found under C.V.P. Law § 214(5). The standard limit is 3 years, which applies equally to children and adults unless another statute or rule says otherwise. Statutes of limitations are rigid but not entirely unyielding. There might be circumstances where additional time is allowed, such as when the plaintiff is a child. Our Yonkers personal injury attorneys can help you figure out the deadlines in your case.

When a child is a plaintiff, the statute of limitations can be tolled on account of their “infancy.” Infancy is a legal term that refers to being under 18. This “tolling” pauses the statute of limitations from running, giving children a fair chance to file their lawsuits for their injuries when they are adults who can better understand what happened to them and their legal rights to file a lawsuit.

According to C.V.P. Law § 208(a), the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the victim turns 18. Since a 3-year statute of limitations generally governs personal injury cases, minors end up having until they turn 21 to file the case. Without this rule, a plaintiff could lose their right to sue while still a child. If the statute is tolled for infancy, the injured plaintiff has 3 years from the day they turn 18 to file the case.

It is important to know that some statutes can only be tolled for so long. “Statutes of repose” are like statutes of limitations in that they impose deadlines for filing lawsuits. However, a statute of repose is far stricter and cannot be tolled, making it the final word on the matter. For example, in medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations cannot be tolled for more than 10 years, even for infancy.

Special Statutes of Limitations for Children in New York

Separate statutes of limitations govern certain types of injuries with caveats or provisions specifically for minors. One such injury is child sexual abuse. People who were victims of sexual abuse as children are provided much more time to file a lawsuit against their abuser. This is likely because child sex abuse is an incredibly heinous offense, and victims of this offense are often abused for years, making it very difficult to take legal action or even report the abuse.

Under C.V.P. Law § 208(b), the law effectively extends the deadline to file a lawsuit for sexual abuse experienced in childhood. Previously, child victims of sexual crimes only had a few years after they turned 18 to sue for damages. Many abuse survivors do not report the abuse or recognize that what happened to them was indeed abuse until much later in life. The short deadline to file blocked many of these cases, so it was extended to allow additional victims to come forward and seek justice.

Under the new law, which took effect in 2019, if you experience sexual abuse as a child, you have until your 55th birthday to file an injury lawsuit. This means if someone was sexually abused when they were very young, they have decades to report the abuse and file the case. If this sounds like your situation, our New Rochelle personal injury attorneys can help you start your case. This law applies retroactively to child abuse cases that occurred before the new law was enacted in 2019.

What to Do if Your Child is Injured in New York

If your child has been injured because of someone else’s negligence, your child might have a valid personal injury claim. Unfortunately, parents are often unsure about taking legal action. By the time the child becomes an adult, the evidence might be lost, and the odds of winning the case and getting compensation goes down.

If your child is injured, the very first thing you should do is get emergency help. Once your child is recovering, you should speak to our Mount Vernon personal injury lawyers about when you or your child can take legal action. The deadline for your child’s case might vary based on their age and the kind of injuries involved. Even if you are unsure whether you want to take legal action, it is a good idea to speak to an attorney.

While your child might be able to have the statute tolled until they turn 18, it is best to take legal action now while the case is still fresh. Waiting until your child turns 18 to file a lawsuit means important evidence, witnesses, and records that might be used as evidence could be lost. Even if we do not file the case immediately, we can still collect and preserve evidence.

Call Our New York Personal Injury Attorneys for a Free Evaluation of Your Case

Statutes of limitations in injury cases generally apply to adults and children equally, but children might still be treated differently under other statutes that allow them more time to file. Our White Plains personal injury attorneys can help your child get the compensation they deserve. For a free case review, call The Martello Law Firm, PLLC at (914) 685-6950.

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