Statutes of Limitation for Infants: More, but Not Unlimited, Time
Statutes of limitation – laws that limit the time within which you can file a lawsuit after you suffer a personal injury accident – are the strictest, most inflexible, rules that apply to personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York. One of the few exceptions to the absolute bar to a lawsuit presented by a case that is past its statute of limitation is one in which an infant – the legal term for a person under 18 years old – is the “toll” (legalese for “delay”) granted to infants under the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (the “CPLR”), which is the body of law that governs most of the procedural aspects of every personal injury and medical malpractice case filed in New York courts. Skilled personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers know how to take advantage of the infant’s statutory toll to ensure that you and your familiy do not forego your rights to seek compensation for your injuries. The following article explains the basics of the “infant’s toll” of statutes of limitation in New York personal injury and medical malpractice cases.
CPLR Section 208 contains the infant’s statutory toll for personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Please be aware that different rules – which are addressed in a subsequent article and not at all considered in this article – apply; so, if you have a personal injury case against a government-owned entity, you must make sure that your attorney is aware of this so that you do not give up any rights that you or your child may have. With respect to personal injury cases, it extends the statute of limitation so that it will only run out once a plaintiff who was injured when they were a minor turns 21. However, if an infant plaintiff dies of his or her personal injuries sustatained in an accident that occurred while he or she was a minor, the cause of action for personal injuries converts to causes of action for wrongful death and conscious pain and suffering, and the statute of limitation runs out after the shorter of three years after the date of death or the day that would have been the decedent-minor’s 21st birthday. In medical malpractice cases, an infant plaintiff’s statutory toll runs for the shorter of ten years or the occurrence of the infant plaintiff’s 18th birthday.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at (718) 354-8000 to discuss issues relating to statutes of limitation and your New York personal injury or medical malpractice case. We stand ready to help you and your family in your time of need.