Q: NYS- Do I have to settle a liability claim in 3 years or I lose my rights? (struck by car in a crosswalk while on a bike
I was technically at fault due to being on a bike. Woman driving the car was messing with radio making a left hand turn. Insurance adjustor is pressuring me to settle tonight or I'll get nothing because tomorrow is 3 years.
Follow-up questions: Police report places blame on me because I was on bike in cross-walk (driver WAS making left turn coming opposite me). I tried to get a lawyer to see me but I didn't break a bone. I suffered a concussion & major contusions (looked like a beating victim). I have a small permanent scar above my eyebrow. I am still pursuing treatment and have a consultation about muscle/tissue damage to my thigh that looks like a fatty lump where the muscle or connective tissue isn't supporting the fat layer right. I think lipo or surgery is needed to fix the appearance of this. Do you feel a lawyer would see me now? I verbally agree to settle over the weekend for $1500 because she said 8/1 was the cutoff. Is this binding now?
I am going to assume that since you have let three years pass without hiring a lawyer, you did not suffer any serious injury in the accident. If you did suffer a serious injury (broken bone, significant disfigurement, limitation of use of a body part, or disabled for 90 days, or had some type of surgery or procedure, you should contact a lawyer immediately.
As for the expiration of the three year statute of limitations, there are a number of considerations.
1. Statute of limitation (SOL) cannot expire on a weekend or holiday, so you always get until the next business day.
2. If you were under 18 when the accident happened, the SOL doesn’t begin to run until your 18th birthday.
3. Because of COVID, the governor tolled all SOL on civil cases adding approximately seven and a half months to your SOL. The validity of the tolling however is being litigated in NYS court and no final decision has yet been handed down by an appellate court.
Again, you should consult with a lawyer immediately to discuss your case, and not rely on an insurance company to treat you fairly. They won’t! They are counting the minutes until they can close your file, because once the SOL expires they will never speak to you again and any offer disappears.
If you are in Plattsburgh, you should find a lawyer there. If you are in the NYC metropolitan area, please feel free to call us at 212-307-5800.
Jonathan R. Ratchik agrees with this answer
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A: I should have added, being on a bike does NOT “make you technically at fault”. A vehicle making a left turn is required to yield right of way to pedestrians and bicyclists. I have no idea how the accident happened, but that too is something to discuss with an attorney.
A: If you were over 18 at the time of the incident and were not otherwise under a disability, you had three (3) years in which to file a lawsuit for personal injuries. If you did not commence the lawsuit within the three (3) year the statute of limitations, your time in which to file any such lawsuit will have expired and you will be unable to obtain any compensation for your injuries. Also, as my colleague correctly advised, that you were on a bicycle did not make you "at fault" as a matter of law. Bicyclists have as much right to use the road as motor vehicles.
1 user found this answer helpful
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