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Legal rights always come with time limitations and if you let too much time pass, you can lose your right to sue. Different legal rights have different time limitations. The time limitation for a contract claim is ordinarily six years. Personal injury is ordinarily three years. Medical malpractice is two years and six months. Workers’ compensation is two years (as is wrongful death). Intentional tort (assault) is one year.

In addition, your time to sue may depend not just on the type of case, but also who you are suing. The state, the City, and governmental entities (counties, towns, school districts, the Port Authority) all have their own time limitations that are different than the general rules. In most cases, the time limitation for a lawsuit against a city or governmental entity is one year and 90 days from the date of the accident, not three years as it would be against a private individual or company.

Not only does the government benefit from a shorter time limitation to sue, it also has the special requirement of a “Notice of Claim.” In most cases, this means that it is entitled to a written notification within 90 days of the accident with information about the claim. The city or municipal entity may then require you to testify about the accident (known as a 50-h hearing) before you are allowed to bring a lawsuit.

There are many other special rules that apply to cases against the government or government entities, including “prior written notice” of any street or sidewalk defect. As always, it is best to consult a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who is familiar with all of these rules.


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