New York Civil
Statute of Limitations

The state of New York allows those harmed by the negligent conduct of others to file civil actions to recover damages that stem from their injuries. These claims must comply with the statute of limitations as defined by New York law.

A statute of limitations is a law that bars action after a specified time period. The timeline for the statute of limitations generally commences on the date the offense occurs.

In some cases, the offense may not become known until a later date. In these instances, New York laws sometimes allow the statute of limitations period to commence on the date the injury is discovered or should reasonably have been discovered. This is known as the discovery rule.

The statutes of limitations in New York are not always straightforward. The experienced New York personal injury attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm can determine the correct statute of limitations for your specific situation and ensure your claim is filed within the appropriate time limits.

New York Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for most personal injuries in New York is three years from the date the injury occurred. This applies to personal injuries that result from the following:

Medical Malpractice

The medical malpractice statute of limitations in New York § 214-A specifies the time limit for malpractice cases against health care providers at two years and six months. The discovery rule applies to these cases as follows:

  • Foreign objects left after surgery
    • One year after discovery
  • Negligent failure to diagnose cancer or malignancy
    • Two years, six months after discovery, with a seven-year maximum time limit
    • Two years, six months after the last continuous treatment

Harmful Substances

Civil claims for injuries stemming from exposure to harmful substances must be filed within three years after the date the injury is or should reasonably have been discovered. If the cause of the injury is discovered within five years of the injury’s identification itself, an action may be filed within one year of the discovery of the cause.

The most common type of toxic exposure case we handle at The Lanier Law Firm is asbestos exposure. Many of these torts are nationwide, which could impact whether the New York statute of limitations applies. The Lanier Law Firm is one of the top asbestos exposure law firms in the world.

a person holding asbestos

Human Trafficking and Sex Offenses

The Lanier Law Firm is committed to ensuring those who exploit others for forced labor or sex trades are held accountable. Victims of human trafficking can file civil claims against those responsible, including businesses that ignore or facilitate such activities, for up to 15 years after the conduct ends.

Victims of rape, incest, or other criminal sexual acts can file civil damage claims for up to 20 years after the conduct has ended.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Child Victims Act in 2019, increasing the statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Survivors may file civil actions until they reach 55 years of age—up to 37 years after reaching 18.

Criminal Offenses

Victims of misdemeanor criminal offenses may file civil lawsuits foikj;l.r damages. The statute of limitations is seven years after the criminal case concludes. If the conviction is for a felony or if the essential elements of a felony are present, a 10-year statute of limitations applies, commencing at the conclusion of the criminal action.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death claims must be filed by the personal representative of the family of an individual whose death resulted from the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another within two years of the date of death, with the following exceptions:

  • If the defendant is convicted of criminal charges in connection with the death, the statute of limitations is extended to one year after the case’s conclusion.
  • If the death is the result of medical malpractice, the statute of limitations is two years and six months.
  • If the sole beneficiary is legally incompetent because of insanity or due to being a minor (under 18) without a legal guardian, the statute of limitations will commence at such a time as the incompetence ceases.

Business Litigation

The statute of limitations for most business-related claims is the greater of six years from the date of the offense or two years from the date of discovery. This applies to the following matters:

  • Breach of contract
  • Fraud
  • Waste
  • Injury to property
  • Business disputes not otherwise specified

Civil actions in antitrust cases have a statute of limitations of four years after the cause of action has accrued.

Business disputes sometimes fall under Federal jurisdiction, even if they occur in New York State. Federal statutes of limitations differ from the state statutes. The experienced New York business litigation attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm have extensive experience in both federal and state business law. We can provide legal advice to help you determine the correct jurisdiction and ensure your claim is filed within statutory deadlines.

When to Contact a Lawyer

While the New York statutes of limitations seem to provide sufficient time to file legal actions, it is crucial that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. Legal teams must have adequate time to investigate and prepare strong cases. This process often requires collaboration with third parties, such as forensic investigators, expert witnesses and medical professionals.

The attorneys at Lanier Law have extensive experience in nearly all areas of personal injury law for individuals and businesses. We are well known nationally and internationally for the record-setting settlements and verdicts we have achieved for our clients. Our New York City law office is conveniently located in Midtown East Manhattan at:

  • Tower 56
  • 126 East 56th Street 6th Floor New York, NY 10022

If you have been injured, don’t let time run out. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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