The statute of limitations: The importance of limiting lawsuits

The statute of limitations is an important rule that establishes how long a victim has to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations varies depending on what the case or lawsuit is about. For example, New York's statutes of limitations are usually between one and six years in length.

Sometimes, even if the statute of limitations passed without a claim, a person can pursue a claim through the courts. There are, occasionally, exceptional circumstances. This is why anyone who is close to the statute of limitations or who isn't sure if they can file a claim should consider seeking legal help before making a decision.

New York's Statutes of Limitations

New York's rules vary significantly. For a personal injury, for example, the victim has up to three years to file a lawsuit. For libel or slander, there is a one-year limit. Fraud extends the limit to six years, while professional malpractice has a three year limit for all types other than medical, which has a 2.5 year limitation. Contract disputes are limited at the six-year mark, and collections on accounts are limited at six years as well.

What if the statute of limitations ended?

If you're past the date for the statute of limitations, then the other party has a right to seek the dismissal of the case. The opposing party may ask the judge to dismiss the case, and if that happens, you may lose the right to file your claim completely. You will not be able to file again unless there is a reason that you can show for setting the regulations aside.

What can you do to avoid the statute of limitations limiting your options?

If you plan to file a lawsuit against another party, you should speak with your attorney and file it as soon as possible, even if you don't have all your evidence or information ready or prepared. Beginning the process allows the court to acknowledge your right to proceed with the case. If you fail to file a case before the statute of limitations, you won't be able to in most situations.

Remember that filing a case does take time. You don't want to wait until the last minute to file. That's why it's a better plan to speak with your attorney soon after an incident that could lead to a lawsuit. He or she may be able to tell you the latest possible date you can file a lawsuit and help you collect the information you receive to have a lawsuit that is likely to be successful in court.

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