Statute of Limitations to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in NJ
Suffering an accident that causes personal injury can throw your whole life into chaos. Whether another driver collides into you, you suffer a bad fall because a grocery store failed to clean up a spill in a shopping aisle, you are attacked by a dog, or a doctor prescribes you the wrong drug or botches your operation, you will likely find yourself in pain, debilitated at least to some extent, and possibly wondering how you are going to make your mortgage payment, afford your rent, or pay for your astronomical medical expenses. Filing a personal injury lawsuit may be one of the last things on your mind, but unfortunately, the law places a time limit on how long you can wait before bringing a legal action against the person who injured you. Whether you suffered injuries from a car accident, slip and fall, dog bite, or another event caused by someone else’s negligence, you have limited time to file a claim. Here is what you need to know about the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in New Jersey.
If you would like to discuss your specific case with an experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney, contact us online or call 732-825-6120 today. A member of our team is available immediately to assist you and consultations are provided free of charge.
Is there a Time Limit on Personal Injury Claims?
Time limits applicable to bringing various types of lawsuits are known as “statutes of limitations.” State governments typically apply a statute of limitations to a particular type of lawsuit, such as personal injury, to encourage people to file their claims quickly. The rationale behind these laws is roughly that, the longer people wait, the more likely evidence will be destroyed, witnesses’ memories will fade, and the search for the truth of what happened will become much more difficult. Statute of limitations laws in New Jersey are also based in part on an interest in providing certainty to people who may be defendants in lawsuits. In other words, legislators reason that individuals should not have to live in constant fear of a lawsuit that may be filed based on conduct that happened decades ago.
Statutes of limitations for personal injury encourage finality and certainty, but they pose a significant burden on the victim, who is undoubtedly dealing with a lot after suffering an injury. While it may be far from your mind, it is critically important for you to seek out a knowledgeable New Jersey personal injury attorney if someone has injured you through negligent or reckless conduct. Missing a deadline like this means you may forfeit your right to pursue compensation through personal injury litigation.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, the statute of limitations applicable to a personal injury lawsuit is two (2) years. This law is explained in section 2A:14-2 of the New Jersey statutes. Generally, NJS 2A:14-2 states that you must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years from the date on which your claim “accrued,” which typically means the date upon which you were injured. This is true in both an intentional personal injury case (ie. when someone assaults you), or when someone negligently causes personal injury. Common examples of negligent conduct resulting in personal injury include: driving carelessly and colliding with your car, not maintaining the safety of a property, or any other failure to exercise appropriate care that causes injury to you. If you fail to file a claim within two years from the date of your injury, you are typically barred from litigating a personal injury claim in court. Thus, it is vital to consult a qualified NJ personal injury attorney as soon as possible after you have been injured.
Are there Exceptions to the Two-Year Deadline for NJ Personal Injury Claims?
There are some exceptions to the two-year personal injury statute of limitations in New Jersey. If you were a minor at the time of the injury, the statute of limitations may be extended. Specifically, if you were under the age of 18 at the time of your injury, the two-year time limit to file a lawsuit begins once you turn 18. This often applies in dog bite cases, as children are among the most vulnerable to dog bites and dog attack-related injuries. The extension also applies to people who have a mental disability and recover their mental capacity at some later date.
In addition, if you suffer an injury resulting from medical malpractice, you can file a claim within two years of the date upon which you become aware of, or should reasonably have known, that you suffered an injury. This exception allows for the fact that the effects of medical malpractice may not be apparent until days, weeks, or months after the initial medical negligence took place. If you believe that you may be entitled to an exception to the statute of limitations for your personal injury case, it is highly advisable to consult with an attorney about your potential eligibility for filing a claim.
Want to Sue for Personal Injury in New Jersey, What Next?
If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit in New Jersey, seek knowledgeable legal counsel as soon as possible. Discussing your unique situation with a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer and learning more about the legal process to file a claim can provide you with crucial information before you proceed. Feel free to contact our legal team at 732-825-6120 for more information and receive a free case evaluation. We are here to answer all of your questions and explain the steps toward recovering compensation for your injuries.