What is a statute of limitations and how does it work?

statute of limitations
Statute of limitations (SOL) on a court desk.

A statute of limitations is defined as a statute prescribing a period of limitation for the bringing of certain kinds of legal action.

There are definite time limits regarding how late you can file a lawsuit after a triggering event—depending on the nature of the case, the state law where your case is heard, or federal law if the case will be heard in federal court.

When does the statute of limitations begin?

Once you’ve figured out what statute of limitations applies to your case, your next step is to determine when the window to file begins.

In most circumstances, the statute of limitations starts:

  • The “date of harm.” An example of this is the date of a car accident is typically when the statute of limitations begins in a personal injury or property damage lawsuit.
  • The date you first discover harm. An example of this is hidden damage to real estate that you may not find until an inspection—the breach of contract is the action to file a lawsuit.
  • The date you should have discovered harm. Sometimes, a legal claim triggers when you should have discovered the harm, not when you actually did.

Because the law is complex, consulting with a lawyer about exactly how long you have to pursue a lawsuit—including what kind of lawsuit(s) is most applicable—remains your best protection.

What is the statute of limitations for suing a government agency?

You typically can’t sue a government agency before you file an administrative claim with the city, county, or state of which the agency is a part.

You may have as little as 60 days to submit an administrative claim should the government deny your claim.

If that happens, the denial letter will tell you how long you have to file a lawsuit in court.

An example is that you have two years to file a claim against the federal government based on negligence.

Look up your state’s rules quickly after you suffer harm so that you can meet any statute of limitations requirements.

Again, consider talking to an attorney for a full explanation of the relevant time periods.

What is the statute of limitations rules for New York?

New York’s civil statutes of limitations laws are largely in line with those in other states. 

While the point at which the statutes of limitations begin is typically the date of the incident (or discovery of harm), New York’s statutes of limitations generally range from one (1) year to six (6) years depending on the case or procedure type.

The Law Office of Steven Gacovino can help you with statutes of limitations.

Missing a deadline could mean you’re barred from filing your case—if you’re dealing with a personal injury or other dispute, you’ll want to make sure you check with Steven Gacovino’s team to file before the deadline.

About the Law Office of Steven Gacovino

Steven Gacovino provides counsel to hundreds of individuals, families, and businesses involved in complex legal disputes, including personal injury, child sex abuse, ovarian cancer lawsuits, paraquat exposure, and much more. For a no-cost evaluation of your case, call (833) 688-9521 or visit https://gaclawyer.com/contact-us/.