How Does the Statute of Limitations Affect My Personal Injury Case?
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on May 3, 2019 in Personal Injury News. Updated on February 24, 2022
If you have been injured in a car accident, slip and fall or any other accident that has caused you injury, you may be considering filing a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit to obtain compensation for the damages you are dealing with. However, you should be aware that there is a time limit for filing your claim.
Our Hasbrouck Heights personal injury attorneys discuss the statute of limitations and how it affects your case below. For assistance with your personal injury case, schedule a free, no obligation consultation today with one of our skilled lawyers today.
Time Limits for Your Claim
Under New Jersey’s statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for personal injuries you have two years from the date of the accident that caused your injury to file a lawsuit. The two-year statute of limitations covers all types of personal injury cases, whether based on negligence or an intentional act.
Your case must be filed in court before the two-year statute runs out. This means that you have two years from the date of the incident to file a complaint and any other required paperwork with the court.
If your personal injury lawsuit is not filed within the statute of limitations, it is likely that your case will be dismissed. When your case is dismissed, you lose your right to pursue compensation for your injuries through a lawsuit.
If your personal injury case is against a New Jersey government entity or employee, there is a much shorter time limit for initiating a claim for damages. You must file a claim with the state government within 90 days from the date the injury occurred. You must also wait six months before filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Exceptions to the Rule
The two-year statute of limitations applies in most personal injury cases, but there are a few exceptions to this rule.
In situations where the victim did not discover the injury right when it occurred, the statute of limitations does not begin on the date the injury occurred. This is common in medical malpractice claims, as an injury resulting from a doctor’s negligence is often not detected by the victim until later. In these situations, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date the victim discovers the injury or should have discovered the injury. However, victims have the burden of proving that the injury could not have been found before they discovered it.
The statute of limitations may be delayed or tolled in some situations such as when the victim is unable to file a case, even if he or she knows about the injury. For example, the statute of limitations will be tolled if the victim is considered disabled or mentally incompetent or when the victim is a minor. In these situations, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date the disability ends, the date a person is declared mentally competent or when a minor turns 18.
The statute of limitations is also tolled if the defendant leaves New Jersey after the incident occurs but before the case is filed in court. The period of absence is typically not included in the two-year statute of limitations period. In this scenario, you likely need to complete an affidavit stating service of process for the defendant is not possible, despite your best efforts.
To avoid issues with the statute of limitations, it is best to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your injury occurs. When you get an attorney involved early on, he or she will work to get your case filed within the two-year deadline.
Hiring a personal injury attorney also helps you in the negotiation process prior to filing a lawsuit. Your attorney works to negotiate a favorable settlement to prevent going to trial.
How Our Lawyers Help Injury Victims
If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our personal injury attorneys will review your case and inform you of the legal options that may be available for pursuing compensation for your injuries.
Request a free, no obligation consultation today. We charge no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.
Call (800) 518-0508 today.