Understanding Statutes of Limitations in Personal Injury Claims in NJ
Personal injury claims can arise from a variety of situations, such as slip and fall accidents, car accidents, medical malpractice, and more. If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. However, it’s important to be aware of the statutes of limitations in New Jersey, as these can impact your ability to pursue a claim.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
A “statute of limitations” is a law that sets a time limit for filing a lawsuit. The purpose of a statute of limitations is to encourage the timely resolution of legal claims and to prevent the evidence from becoming stale or unreliable. If a plaintiff fails to file a lawsuit within the time allowed by the statute of limitations, they may lose their right to pursue the claim.
In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the accident or incident that caused the injury. However, there are some exceptions and nuances to this rule that you should be aware of.
Why Do Statutes of Limitations Exist?
Statutes of limitations serve several purposes. One is to encourage plaintiffs to file lawsuits promptly while the evidence is still fresh and witnesses are still available. Another is to protect defendants from the risk of being sued for an indefinite period, which could make it difficult for them to defend themselves effectively. Statutes of limitations also promote the efficient administration of justice by preventing claims from lingering indefinitely.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
There are some exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims in New Jersey. These exceptions are known as tolling provisions, and they suspend or extend the time limit for filing a lawsuit under certain circumstances.
One exception to the two-year rule is the discovery rule. Under this rule, the statute of limitations begins to run from the date that the plaintiff discovered or should have discovered the injury, rather than from the date of the accident or incident. For example, if a patient discovers a surgical instrument left inside their body several months after the surgery, the statute of limitations may not begin to run until the discovery of the instrument.
Another exception is the tolling of the statute of limitations for minors. If a minor is injured, the statute of limitations is tolled, or put on hold, until the minor reaches the age of 18. This means that the minor has until their 20th birthday to file a lawsuit.
Nuances to the Two-Year Rule
There are also some nuances to the two-year rule that you should be aware of. For example, if the defendant is a government entity or employee, you may need to file a notice of claim within 90 days of the incident in order to preserve your right to file a lawsuit. Failure to file a notice of claim may result in the dismissal of your case.
Additionally, in cases involving medical malpractice, the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the act or omission that caused the injury, but it can be extended to up to seven years in some circumstances.
Why You Shouldn’t Wait to File a Lawsuit
It is always best to file a personal injury lawsuit as soon as possible after an accident or injury. Waiting too long to file can result in the loss of important evidence or witness testimony. It can also make it more difficult to negotiate a settlement or litigate the case effectively. Additionally, failing to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations can result in the loss of your right to pursue the claim. If you are unsure whether you have a valid claim, it is still a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney promptly to discuss your legal options.
Contacting a Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and guide you through the legal process. They can also help you navigate the nuances of the statute of limitations in your particular case.
Contact Drazin & Warshaw Today for a Free Consultation About Your Personal Injury Case
At Drazin & Warshaw, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that a personal injury can take on you and your loved ones. That’s why we’re here to help. Our team of skilled attorneys has been serving clients in Red Bank and throughout New Jersey for over 70 years, and we have the experience and expertise to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. We handle a wide range of personal injury cases, including car accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and product defects. Our attorneys work tirelessly to investigate the facts of your case, gather evidence, and build a strong legal strategy designed to maximize your recovery.
We believe that every client deserves personalized attention and dedicated advocacy. We take the time to get to know you and your case, answer your questions, and keep you informed every step of the way. We understand the stress and uncertainty that come with a personal injury claim, and we’re here to provide the guidance and support you need. Our commitment to our clients has earned us a reputation as one of New Jersey’s leading personal injury law firms. We have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients, and we are proud of our track record of success. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident or as a result of someone else’s negligence, don’t wait to get the help you need. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Let us fight for your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve.