After a serious accident you often have rising medical bills and expenses. These bills come at a time when you are unable to work and collect a paycheck. This can cause a tremendous amount of stress and financial burden for accident victims and their loved ones. Fortunately, New Jersey law allows injured accident survivors to file an injury claim or personal injury lawsuit against responsible parties. However, you cannot wait long. There is a deadline for filing this claim. This deadline is the New Jersey personal injury statute of limitations. It is important to understand this deadline, so you can avoid missing it!
Understanding New Jersey Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
All states, including New Jersey, have strict deadlines when it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit. These deadlines are important because they accomplish two things. They preserve the integrity of evidence and guard against a lifetime of indefinite lawsuits. This prevents individuals and businesses from looking over their shoulders for decades worried about impending lawsuits and litigation.
Yet, the law does value personal injury victims and their suffering as well. As such, injury victims over the age of 18 have two years from the date of their accident and injuries to file a personal injury claim. While this may seem like a long time, it is remarkable how quickly it can pass.
Preserving Evidence is Key
To prevent missing this deadline, it is important to contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. While you may have two years from your accident to file a claim if you are over the age of 18, evidence that could help you win your case is often lost or destroyed quickly. Eyewitnesses will not recall the events of the crash in accurate detail after several months. Tire tracks fade, malfunctioning lights fixed, and car damage repaired. All this evidence can help your case, but only if your attorney can collect and preserve it quickly.
Exceptions to Statute of Limitations
In addition to gathering evidence, your New Jersey personal injury attorney will need to examine the details of your accident to determine how long you really have to file a lawsuit. While most accident victims have 2 years from the date of the crash, others may be subject to a different deadline. When filing a lawsuit against a government agency, such as a city or county, injured accident survivors must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days. This is just three months and if you miss this deadline, you may find that you can no longer file a lawsuit.
In some cases, injured accident victims may find that they have longer than two years to file a claim. This is most common when minors suffer an injury. Minors have two years from their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit for bodily injuries. In addition, individuals who did not realize they suffered an injury can sometimes have longer to file a claim for certain medical benefits or for medical malpractice claims. This is the discovery rule. The discovery rule can sometimes expand or enlarge the time within which a claim must be brought.
As you can see, the New Jersey personal injury statute of limitations is complex. Even if you believe you missed a deadline, it is important to discuss your case with an attorney. You may have more time than you think.
Call Our New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers Today
Did you suffer an injury in an accident in New Jersey? Call our New Jersey personal injury law firm today to discuss your legal options. We can help you avoid missing deadlines that could impact your case. Our attorneys are here to talk to you today and we want to hear your story. Call us at (856) 692-6500 or fill out our confidential contact form.