Frequently Asked Questions about New York Personal Injury Cases
- How long do I have to sue?
- In New York this depends on the type of action being brought. Most negligence cases require that a lawsuit be brought within 3 years of the accident that occurred. Medical Malpractice is more complicated. To be safe one should sue within 2 1/2 years from the treatment in question. Continuous treatment for the same condition can extend the statute but "continuous treatment" is subject to interpretation and does not include examinations undertaken at the request of the patient for the sole purpose of ascertaining the state of the patient's condition. The statute of limitations is extended for infants up to 10 years. There is also a limited "discovery" rule under some circumstances. For example, if an instrument has negligently been left in one's body during surgery, an action may be commenced within one year of the date of discovering that the instrument is there or the date of discovery of facts which would reasonably lead to such discovery, whichever is earlier.
- How is my lawyer paid?
- Your lawyer is usually paid by receiving a contingency fee which is calculated on the net recovery from your case. In general negligence cases, like auto accidents or fall down cases, usually the retainer agreement calls for a contingency fee of one third of the net recovery. This means that the out-of-pocket expenses (not attorney or time) loaned to the file by the attorney is taken off the top and then the fee calculated. Medical malpractice retainer agreements are based on a sliding scale of the net recovery which decreases as the amount of recovery increases. This means that the attorney's fee is less than one third but the exact percentage cannot be ascertained until the recovery amount is known.
- What if the injured party dies?
- The case can be prosecuted by the next of kin.
- How can I help my lawyer?
- If you have any accident reports, medical records, or lost earnings information, bring these to the interview with you. Try to know the dates and names and addresses of the treating medical care providers. Keep the facts of your case to your immediate circle. It is advisable to not randomly discuss your case since non-party witnesses can be called to testify about your statements or admissions to them and what you tell them in casual conversation may be misinterpreted.
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