Statutes of limitations provide a reasonable timeframe for you to file a case, while also putting a deadline for attorneys to process claims promptly. Time has its effect on evidence and testimony and the clearer your case, the more likely justice may prevail.
Each state has different statutes though and so it is vital that your attorney pay attention to the nuances between each. If they waste your time pursuing a case in the wrong state, it may be too late to pursue it in the right state after the dust clears. According to New York’s government website, the statutes vary from case to case. Knowing them for yourself may help you know if your attorney is on the right track or if you are the victim of legal malpractice.
Short statutes of limitations
Some charges require a quick start on the process including civil assault, intentional emotional distress and libel/slander. Each of these has a 1 year limit from the time of the act. Since court cases sometimes require months of investigation, a misdirected claim may fall through without the time enough to course-correct.
Long statutes of limitations
Car accidents and legal malpractice have a three-year limitation while fraud and contracts stretch out to six years. Other charges such as rape, first-degree murder and Class A felonies have no time limit.
Variable statutes of limitations
Some charges’ limitations change on a case by case basis. Theft and burglary have a two or five-year limitation depending on the facts. Other charges like child sex abuse have limitations based on age rather than on time passed since an incident.
No matter the statutes of limitations, having your case lapse with no recourse due to a mishandled case filed too late may hamstring your ability to get the justice you deserve.