After an accident, you do not have unlimited time to file a claim or lawsuit. New Jersey imposes a statute of limitations in personal injury cases. You should be familiar with this concept because missing the deadline will likely cost you the ability to receive a settlement check.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations
The legal system aims to be fair to the plaintiff and the defendant. The statute of limitations protects the defendant from being served with a lawsuit long after they expect it and no longer have access to the evidence they can use to prove their case.
The statute of limitations is a deadline in your case. If you miss the statute of limitations, you likely can no longer file a lawsuit even by a day. Your legal rights have a limited shelf life. Thus, it is crucial that you get legal help well before that time so you have an opportunity to pursue your claim.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases in New Jersey
Unlike other states with different statutes of limitations for varying personal injury actions, the statute of limitations in New Jersey is two years from the date that you were injured or should have known you were injured. This time limit applies to the following:
- Car accidents
- Slip and falls
- Truck accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death cases (starting from the date of death)
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations does not always begin to run on the date of the accident itself. You may not have known that you were injured at the time. For example, whiplash could take weeks or months to show symptoms in a car accident case. The time clock may begin to tick when you start feeling the effects of the accident because that is when you should have known that you were injured.
Further, you may not have learned that someone else was responsible for your injuries. They could have kept you from learning that they were at fault, or you may not have known the cause of your injury until later. The statute of limitations begins when you discover your injury and who was responsible for it.
Resources: What is the Discovery Rule in Personal Injury Cases?
Steps to Take When Filing a Personal Injury Claim
When filing a personal injury claim, the first step is to contact an attorney. They can investigate the circumstances of your accident and gather the evidence you need to prove your case. Your lawyer can advise you about whether it is better for you to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit. They will then advocate for you throughout the process.
You would not have to worry about missing any critical deadlines because your lawyer keeps track of everything you need to know. You just need to give them enough time so they can properly investigate and prepare your case.
Contact Our New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers at Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC to Learn About Your Legal Rights
Contact our Manasquan personal injury lawyers at Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC to learn more about filing a personal injury lawsuit in New Jersey. You can schedule a free consultation by calling us today at 732-920-8383 or by contacting us online. Located in Manasquan and Brick, New Jersey, we serve clients in Middlesex County, Atlantic County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, and Ocean County.