What is the statute of limitations and why should I care?
First off, the statute of limitations is not like the Statue of Liberty, a statute is a law and a statue is a work of art. Next you should know that the statute of limitations limits the amount of time within that you can bring a lawsuit. The time usually begins to run from the date of incident or in some cases, the date of discovery of the injury. This is important because you can lose your right to sue if you wait too long to file a complaint with the court or appropriate tribunal. Speaking to an attorney about your legal issues will give you the best idea on how to preserve your rights for a legal claim.
Different states have different statutes of limitations regarding different matters, some of the time limits in New York are:
Personal Injury: 3 years;
Contracts: 6 years;
Injury to personal property: 3 years; and
Intentional tort: 1 year.
While the above is not exhaustive, it demonstrates the diverse burdens placed upon someone seeking to bring a lawsuit. The federal Government also has its own statutes of limitations when bringing federal claims.
And as if this weren’t complicated enough, there are even shorter periods of time and additional requirements when trying to sue state government, a municipality or a municipal actor/agency like the city or state of New York. The time limit to sue the City of New York over any matter whatsoever is 1 year and 90 days, but that shouldn’t be confused with the 90 day period you are given to file a notice of claim. The amount of time you have to sue the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey is only 1 year.
If in doubt about your rights, contact a knowledgeable attorney.
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