New York Personal Injury Law
Statutes of Limitations: The amount of time you have to sue whoever caused your injury or damage.
- Personal Injury– 3 years. If toxic substances are involved, three years from the date of injury.
- Damage to Personal Property– 3 years
- Medical malpractice – 2 ½ years from the end of treatment
- Legal malpractice – 3 years
- Other professional malpractice – 3 years
Where to Sue:
How to Sue:
- Personal injury claims under $5,000 – New York Small Claims Court
- Personal injury claims between $5,000 and $15,000 – City Court (outside of NYC);
New York City Civil Court (in NYC)
Small Claims Court:
- Forms: New York Statement of Claim; Notice of Your Claim. The clerk will ask you to complete the Notice of Claim form when you file your Statement of Claim.
- Where to file: In the Small Claims Court Clerk’s Office where the defendant resides,
has a business, or is employed.
- How to notify the defendant (service): The clerk will send the Notice of Claim to the defendant
by certified or first class mail. If not by mail, a person over age 18, not a party to the case,
may deliver the Notice of Claim to the defendant
- Proving the defendant was notified: After defendant is served, the person serving process
should file proof of service of process with the clerk of the New York Small Claims Court.
- Attorneys: Legal representation in New York Small Claims Court is allowed.
- Appealing a small claim: Either side may appeal a Small Claims Court’s decision
by filing an appeal with the Appellate Division of the Superior Court within 45 days.
- Attorneys:You must file a Notice of Appeal within 30 days to a New York County Court.
New York City Court:
When filing your case, seek advice from a New York personal injury attorney. Personal injury lawsuits
can be intricate. Errors in filing could result in serious consequences, like having your claim dismissed
and losing your right to sue in the future.
What to Do if You Are Being Sued:
- Forms: Summons and Complaint.
- How to File: File the Complaint and get a Summons from the clerk of the New York City Court.
- How to Notify the Defendant: A sheriff or disinterested adult, over age 18, may give a stamped
Complaint and Summons to the defendant, and file Proof of Service with the clerk of the
New York City Court. Alternatively, the forms may be mailed to the defendant by certified or first class mail.
Time to Set Aside a Judgment in New York: 20 days if the defendant is personally served;
30 days if the defendant is served by mail.
- Ask for an attorney’s advice.
- Notify your insurance company of the injury if it is related to an occurrence at your residence
or place of business. If your insurance covers the personal injury claim, your insurance
company should provide you with a lawyer.
What to Do if a Judgment Was Entered Against You:
In New York, if you do not reply to a summons and complaint within 20 days (or 30 days if the defendant
is served by mail), the court will enter a default judgment against you. If a default judgment is entered
against you, it means that the plaintiff automatically wins the case.
- Time to Set Aside a Judgment in New York:
- A New York court can set aside a judgment for lack of jurisdiction,
newly discovered evidence, fraud, or misrepresentation
- A New York court may set aside a judgment for excusable default within
one year of entry of judgment
- Ask for a lawyer’s counsel if a default judgment has been entered against you.
Ways to Collect Your Judgment:
- If you succeed in your personal injury suit in New York, you should contact the defendant
and request that he pay the judgment. If the defendant does not pay the judgment, you can
request that an enforcement officer seize the defendant’s assets.
- See a New York debt collection attorney to assist you in collecting your judgment.