The statute of limitations for legal malpractice varies depending on the jurisdiction in which the claim is being brought. In New York, the statute of limitations for legal malpractice claims is generally three years from the date of the alleged malpractice. This means that a client has three years from the time the attorney’s negligence occurred to file a lawsuit against the attorney.
While three years might seem like plenty of time, gathering what you need for these cases may take longer. In some cases, it might not be evident that something was amiss for a while after the representation concludes.
Pauses in the statute of limitations are possible
New York follows the continuous representation doctrine, which may extend the statute of limitations in some cases. Under this doctrine, the statute of limitations is tolled, or paused, while the attorney continues to represent the client in the same matter in which the alleged malpractice occurred. Once the attorney’s representation ends, the statute of limitations begins to run.
You must determine how the specific statute of limitations applies to your case and whether the continuous representation doctrine might extend the time frame for filing a claim. Failure to file a claim within the appropriate time frame may result in losing your right to seek compensation for the attorney’s negligence.
It’s always best to keep documentation of how the attorney’s actions impacted you. Being able to show the legal malpractice and how it affected your life and finances may make your claim a bit easier to prove. Ideally, you’ll work with someone who’s familiar with these cases and how New York law applies so you can work through it all with as little stress as possible.