New York Statutes of Limitations and Legal Deadlines - A Primer
A statue of limitations is the legally defined time period for commencing a given type of court proceeding. Legal deadlines may apply to actions required before commencing a court proceeding, or while a proceeding is pending. The following summary of Statute of Limitations and Legal Deadlines is not intended to be complete, but is provided to illustrate just how much there is to know about the subject
Public Body or Officer
The shortest Statute of Limitations in New York law is that for commencing certain actions against a public body or officer - just four months.
Collection of Judgements
The longest is an action to enforce a judgment - twenty years.
Personal Injury and Contracts
The more common time periods for commencing some common actions are those for intentional acts such as assault (one year); for wrongful death (two years); for medical malpractice (two and one half years); for ordinary negligence (three years) and for contracts (six years).
When a Statute Runs
There are special rules for determining when the time period to commence a legal action starts to run, and certain exceptions and extensions to the time periods. The time to commence fraud actions may be extended until the fraud is discovered. The time for children and disabled people to commence actions is extended, or tolled for varying periods of time.
Notices of Claims Against Public Bodies. Notices of claim against various public bodies must be filed within a very short periods of time as a condition to filing suit. The most common such period of time is ninety days as to claims against most municipalities and the State of New York. Some public authorities have even shorter notice of claim periods. The notice of claim period against the United States is two years. In addition to these notice of claim periods, actions against public entities are governed by special statutes of limitations that often are shorter than those against private parties.
Notice of Appeal. There are also specific time periods within which certain legal notices must be given. A notice of appeal must be filed within thirty days after service of the order appealed from.
What to Do if a Lawyer Misses a Legal Deadline
If a person with a possible lawsuit waits too long to consult with a lawyer, usually nothing can solve the problem. If a lawyer is retained in time, but fails to file papers on time, sues the wrong defendant, or misses a time limitation after accepting the case, so that the case is dismissed, the lawyer may be liable for legal malpractice. A lawyer can even be held responsible for giving a potential client wrong advice so that the lawsuit is not filed. If a lawyer is responsible for missing an important deadline, and the client's lawsuit is dismissed, a legal malpractice lawyer should be consulted.