The aftermath of a car accident can be time-consuming and overwhelming, and it is a good idea to hire an attorney sooner rather than later. Even so, many injured drivers want to know when exactly the best time to seek a lawyer’s assistance.
Insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits must be filed before specific deadlines. It is best to speak with an attorney quickly after an accident so you can determine these deadlines as soon as possible. It is also best to speak to an attorney before you file an insurance claim. New York has strict legal restrictions that might prevent you from suing if you did not suffer a “serious injury.” A lawyer can help you navigate the insurance process and prove your injuries are serious. If you have gotten a late start on your case for whatever reason, it is still a good idea to speak to an attorney.
After a car accident, you should contact an attorney about exploring legal options as soon as possible. Our Westchester car accident attorneys can help you get started with a free case review. Call The Martello Law Firm, PLLC at (914) 685-6950.
Deadlines to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in New York
According to C.V.P. Law § 214, personal injury lawsuits, including those for car accidents, must be filed no later than 3 years after the injuries occurred. If this deadline passes and you have not yet filed the lawsuit, you might be barred from doing so. Our New York car accident lawyers can help you determine the date of your deadline and file your case as soon as possible.
Statutes of limitations are rigidly enforced, but they are not without exceptions. Under specific circumstances, the statute may be tolled, and you may be granted extra time to file your case. Often, the statute is tolled when the plaintiff is a minor or is under a disability that prevents them from filing the case.
If the other driver is criminally charged for the accident, such as in a DUI or vehicular homicide case, you might be operating under a different statute of limitations. According to C.V.P. Law § 213-B, if the other driver in your case is convicted of criminal charges related to the accident, you may have 7 years from the date of conviction to file a civil lawsuit.
You should hire an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Our New Rochelle car accident attorney can help you file your lawsuit to avoid running afoul of the statute of limitations. We can also help you determine if you should wait for criminal proceedings to complete, as it might affect your deadline.
Speaking to a New York Car Accident Lawyer Before Filing an Insurance Claim
Before filing a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident, most injured drivers explore insurance options first. This is incredibly important because of New York’s no-fault insurance laws and related restrictions on suing. Our Yonkers car accident attorneys can help you through the insurance claims process while preparing for a lawsuit.
According to I.S.C. Law § 5104(a), injured drivers cannot file a lawsuit unless they meet the “serious injury” requirement. A serious injury is defined under I.C.S. Law § 5102(d) and includes the following:
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- Broken bones
- Permanent loss or limitation of a bodily organ, function, or system
- A non-permanent, medically determined injury that hinders you from doing substantially all your normal daily tasks
Speaking to an attorney before beginning the insurance claims process is important because your lawyer can help you determine if a lawsuit is necessary after filing an insurance claim. If you and your lawyer decide to sue, your attorney can help you gather the evidence and information you need to show that your injuries are serious.
Is it Too Late to Hire a Lawyer for My New York Car Accident Case?
It is not unusual for injured drivers to hesitate to take legal action or speak to a lawyer. People more familiar with the insurance claims process might feel that a lawyer is unnecessary until they realize they must file a lawsuit. In other cases, injured drivers need time to consider their options and decide whether they want to pursue a lawsuit. As long as the statute of limitations has not expired, our New York car accident lawyers can help you start your case and get compensation for your injuries.
Waiting to take legal action is normal, as many potential plaintiffs need time to mull the situation over. However, if you wait too long, it becomes more difficult to win the case, as evidence and witnesses might be lost. This is why it is important to talk to a lawyer about your accident as soon as possible, even if you are still unsure about filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Just remember, as long as the statute of limitations has not expired, there is still time to hire an attorney for your car accident case. Our Mount Vernon car accident lawyers can help you even as the deadline to file is fast approaching.
How Soon Should I Speak to a Lawyer After a Car Accident in New York?
Ideally, you should contact an attorney about your case immediately after the accident. If possible, a close friend or family member can reach out to our New York car accident attorneys while you focus on recovering in the hospital.
There are multiple reasons why talking to a lawyer sooner rather than later is best for your case. First, an attorney can help you quickly identify and gather important evidence before it is lost. For example, if you wait too long, witnesses might leave the area, or security camera footage of the accident might be deleted.
Second, your attorney can help you clear legal hurdles that might stand in your way, such as the serious injury requirement. For example, your attorney can help you prove your injuries meet the serious injury requirement after filing an insurance claim. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to clear these obstacles.
Call Our New York Car Accident Lawyers for Help Now
If you were injured in a car accident, you should speak to a lawyer about your case as soon as you can. Our White Plains car accident attorneys are here to assist you in getting compensation for your injuries. Call The Martello Law Firm, PLLC at (914) 685-6950 for a free case review.