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How Long After Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

Being in a car accident can be devastating. Besides the damage, stress, and possible injuries, the internal conflict about what to do first or how to go about the claim process can be maddening, especially if the mishap is your first one. How long after a car accident can you make a personal injury claim? What are the time limitations for a lawsuit?  Find out here from the New York car accident lawyers at Brand Brand Nomberg & Rosenbaum, LLP.

One of the most common questions many New York car accident victims ask is how long they have to file a lawsuit and claim compensation. If you ever find yourself in a car accident, here’s what you need to know about claiming injury, including the amount of time you have to report the accident and file a personal injury claim.

How Much Time is there to Make a Claim for Medical Expenses and Lost Wages?

When a person is injured in a car accident in New York State, they are entitled to a combined $50,000 worth of benefits for medical expenses and lost earnings, regardless of fault.  However, a person must file a No-Fault application within 30 days of the accident to the proper auto insurance policy.  Many times, that will be the auto policy for the vehicle being driven, but not always.  Depending upon a person’s policy of insurance, there may be additional benefits beyond the $50,000.

When a person is injured in a car accident in New York State, they are entitled to a combined $50,000 worth of benefits for medical expenses and lost earnings, regardless of fault.  However, a person must file a No-Fault application within 30 days of the accident to the proper auto insurance policy.  Many times, that will be the auto policy for the vehicle being driven, but not always.  Depending upon a person’s policy of insurance, there may be additional benefits beyond the $50,000.

What is the Deadline to start a lawsuit for a New York Car Accident?

How long after a car accident can you file a lawsuit for personal injuries in New York? Separate from medical bills, a person can file a claim for their pain and suffering as a result of their injuries from a car accident.  However, when you get into an accident and experience injuries, you must file a lawsuit within the time limit legislated by your state, usually referred to as the “statute of limitations.”

Every state has its own statute of limitations. If you live in New York, then in general, you must file a lawsuit within three years of the accident to claim compensation for the injuries you sustained. As with all things in life, there are many exceptions to this rule which is why it is crucial to immediately contact an experienced attorney after an accident.

Why does it make a difference if the defendant driver is a federal, local, or state government employee?

If the person who caused the motor vehicle accident worked for a local municipality, for example, was a police officer for the City of New York, or local village, then different time limitations apply.  A person injured must first serve a Notice of Claim within 90 days upon the government.  Specific details of the car accident must be contained within the Notice of Claim and it must be timely and properly served.  To prevent mistakes in filling out the form, a car accident victim should immediately contact an attorney.

The government will then have an opportunity to take sworn testimony of the injured person before any lawsuit is even filed. It is important to have proper representation by an attorney at this deposition, also referred to as a 50(h) hearing.

The time to file a lawsuit for the motor vehicle accident against the local or State government is 1 year and 90 days from the date of accident.  The complaint must have specific language that if not put in can result in the dismissal of the suit.

With that in mind, hiring a lawyer as soon as possible is essential if you have been injured in a car accident. With the help of an attorney at Brand Brand Nomberg & Rosenbaum, LLP, you will have an experienced personal injury law firm fighting on your side against the defendant, their insurance company, and their defense lawyers.

Are there more exceptions to the New York Motor Vehicle Accidents deadlines?

There are many other quasi-government entities that also require the service of a Notice of claim within 90 days of an accident such as the MTA and MABSTOA.  If the person who caused the accident was a federal government employee, then a Notice of Claim also must be served, but the time limit to start a suit is two years instead of three.

If the person injured is under 18 years old, then the time to commence the suit may be tolled until they reach their 18th birthday.  However, the Notice of Claim must still be served within 90 days of the accident.  These are just some of the many exceptions to all the different rules and deadlines in New York State. If it appears confusing, it’s because it is, which is why a person injured in a car accident should immediately contact an attorney to help protect your rights.

What if the driver left the scene of the accident?

In New York State if the person who caused the accident left the scene and cannot be identified through a license plate or other means, then a person may still be entitled to submit a claim with their own auto insurance policy for uninsured benefits and no fault benefits.  If the person injured did not have auto insurance coverage, through his own policy or that of a family household member, then that person can make a claim through an entity known as MVAIC.

This claim should be made within 30 days of the accident and an experienced lawyer should be contacted to help prepare this claim.  A police report will need to be filed within 24 hours of the accident, so you should not delay calling 911 from the scene.

Why You Need a New York Auto Accident Attorney

With so many rules, deadlines, and exceptions to rules, it is crucial that you contact an attorney focusing on car accidents right away if you are facing a personal injury after a motor vehicle crash. When you turn to Brand Brand Nomberg & Rosenbaum, LLP, we will help you understand your options and file a claim within the legal time limit. Contact us as soon as possible to request a free consultation and begin moving forward with the help of a top-rated personal injury attorney.

Disclaimer: This is stated to be Attorney Advertising in compliance with NYS Ethical rules. This article  is meant for general information and not legal advice. No attorney client relationship exists by viewing this website or submitting an email. You should immediately contact an experienced attorney to protect your rights if involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Filing Personal Injury Car Accident Claims

A very small percentage of New York car accident cases end up in court as they’re usually first settled beforehand between insurance companies. If the accident you’re involved in was caused by another motorist, contact their insurance company as soon as you can. Make sure you’re as accurate and honest as you can because getting caught lying about certain details of the bodily injury or property damage can ruin your credibility and the ability to get full compensation.

Moreover, note your injuries either at the scene of the accident or shortly afterward. Sometimes, injuries like concussions and whiplashes tend to show up long after an accident. You, therefore, need to keep ongoing notes of your health state and see a doctor regardless of symptom severity to get the most of your car accident claim. It is also a good idea to take pictures of the accident, including your injuries, on the scene if you are able to.

One of the most challenging things car accident victims go through is claiming compensation. This is one of the main reasons why it’s important to hire an accident attorney. A good attorney can assist you when it comes to filing a claim and negotiating with the insurance company to make sure you get properly compensated.

Since a lawyer is likely more familiar with the law than you, it makes sense that they’d achieve a better settlement from the insurance company than you can on your own, especially when you’re busy dealing with the fallout of the car accident and your injuries. As you know, negotiation is a critical part of the whole process of dealing with insurance companies.

Other things an experienced lawyer can assist you with include:

  • Proving your injuries.
  • Determining compensation.
  • Filing a suit if necessary.

How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident to Your Insurance?

Like mentioned earlier, in New York, you need to file an injury claim with your insurance company within three years. Although the time frame for reporting a car accident often depends on the complainant’s specific contract, you need to note that reporting the accident within the shortest possible time is prudent. This ensures that a proper insurance claim is prepared.

How Long Do You Have To Report An Accident?

You need to note that filing a claim and reporting an accident are two different things. In the State of New York, you only have ten days to report a car accident once it occurs.

Notably, when an accident involving serious injuries occurs, the driver, a passenger, or witnesses should report it to the authorities through 911. So, if you are in a position to use your phone after a car accident, do so as soon as you can. The call can ensure everyone who was involved in the accident receives medical care as soon as possible. It can also ensure that the police begin investigating the car accident and filing a report in good time.

Remember that your insurance company might require this report, especially if you or someone else was injured. Seeking immediate medical care can also ensure that your injuries are properly documented — just be sure to get a copy of all your medical records and the resulting medical bills. Both the police report and your medical records will be key pieces of evidence for your attorney when investigating and building your claim.

Auto Insurance Claim Process

The auto insurance claim process in New York is fairly simple for auto accidents that do not involve significant bodily injury. It involves the following steps:

  1. Contacting the insurance company to report the accident and providing the police report if the company requests it.
  2. Following up with the insurance adjuster provided by the insurance company.
  3. Evaluation. This is where the adjuster goes through your policy’s details, inspects the damage, and determines whether to make an early payment.
  4. Resolution. At this point, the adjuster authorizes the ultimate payment. You have to sign a release document saying that you accept the payment for your case.

For those cases that do result in a personal injury, the injury claims process can be much more complicated. Since these cases usually involve significantly higher monetary damages than cases only involving simple property damage, insurance companies are hesitant to pay the full amount owed to the victim and will do everything in their power to minimize their payout.

Select A Practice Area

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    I did not think myself that we will win this difficult matter and become victorious, especially after being rejected by numerous other attorneys…but your professionalism Brett, dedication and determination, not to mention a huge heart, was how we prevailed


    When I brought my situation to a local attorney he directed me to Brett Nomberg, and I’m so glad he did. Someone always was able to give me a status of what was going on. Your team made my wife and I realize we were dealing with a truly professional firm and at the same time, sympathetic to our needs. Great job. Excellent Customer Service.


    I want to thank you for all the help and support that was given to my parents by you and your colleagues. Your firm’s time, effort and dedication, is without question second to none and this led to a successful settlement


    We can’t thank you enough for the wonderful representation you provided and for believing in our case. It was very vindicating to have a judge and jury decide in our favor.


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