Suing for Personal Injury from a Criminal Act...

by Sid
(Queens, New York)

I'm writing about a car accident that took place in Queens, NY in 1994. It was a criminal act of hit and run. I was walking on the road when some bad people hit me then asked for money and grabbed my wallet. I was just 17 years old at the time.

I had a serious and permanent jaw injury caused by this accident that's permanently changed my life for the worse. Both sides of my lower jaw were completely broken and the doctors implanted titanium screws and plates. Several teeth were also broken and I was only able to drink liquids for six months when my jaw did not heal completely after surgery.

I had a total of three jaw surgeries because of this accident: first one in 1994, second in 1996 and third in 1997. My parents never filed an injury claim or lawsuit and I was too young to file a lawsuit myself at that time.

Now I've decided to file a lawsuit for this accident because of its profoundly negative effect on my personal life. I have been suffering from pain since I was 18 years old (anytime I eat something or move my jaw). I also was not able to complete my studies because of this accident.

The pain makes me aggressive, angry and cranky. It makes my quality of life so much worse with my wife and children. I am not able to concentrate or focus on my work due to my attitude and behavior. I was not like that before this happened to me.

I have all the medical bills and records of surgeries and treatment from the hospital, and medicine slips and police report. Do you have any thoughts on this case? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Suing for Personal Injury from a Criminal Act...":

Sid (Queens, New York):

Regrettably the Statute Of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases in the State of New York is 2 years. That means from the date of the injury, you or your parents had only 2 years to either settle a claim for the damages you suffered, or to file a lawsuit. From the facts you present it appears neither was accomplished.

There are some rare circumstances where a parent failed to settle a claim or file a lawsuit on behalf of their child. Then when the minor became an adult he or she had two years from that date within which to settle their claim or file a lawsuit.

Although you didn't tell us your age, because you mentioned your wife and children we can only presume you are older than 23. As such, your age would be prohibitive in the filing of suit.

Even if you were able to file suit you would have to somehow seek out the men who broke your jaw. If you were able to find them you would have to have them served with the lawsuit and then hope they had enough assets to be able to pay any judgment you might secure from the court.

Regrettably, you will almost certainly not be able to recover for your injuries and resulting medical bills.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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