How long do I have to file a personal injury suit in NJ?

If you or a loved one has been injured because of the negligence of someone else, you have a right to seek compensation for the damages suffered in terms of medical bills, lost time at work or school, and for any permanent or debilitating injuries. However, this right does not exist in perpetuity. There is a time limit after which you lose your right to file suit for personal injury.

The New Jersey statute of limitations

The statute of limitations prescribes the time limit for instituting a legal claim for personal injury. It essentially sets the deadlines for suing. If you, as the plaintiff, miss the deadline, the court will dismiss your claim for personal injury.

In New Jersey, typical claims for personal injury have a statute of limitations of 2 years from the date when the injury occurred. The clock starts ticking the date when the injury happened.

For example, if you were the victim of a car accident, you have until two years after the accident occurred to file suit.

This statute of limitations applies to personal injuries suffered as a result of a:

  • Car accident
  • Truck accident
  • Motor vehicle accident
  • Slip and fall at school, work, hospital or on a boardwalk
  • Product liability
  • Nursing home negligence
  • Wrongful death

Interestingly, there are exceptions to the 2-year statute of limitations for personal injury. Here are a few:

Minors

Because the case for minors is special, the law grants them additional privilege with regard to their right to sue. For minors, the statute of limitations is 2 years from the child’s 18th birthday.   For example, if a 12-year-old child fell and suffered a serious injury, as a result of the negligence of someone, while playing in school, that child can exercise his/her right to sue any time between when the injury occurred and within two years from his/her18th birthday.

Medical malpractice

If you have been injured as a result of the negligence of a physician or surgeon, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries. However, some surgery-related injuries take time before they manifest themselves.

Because of this, the law prescribes a statute of limitation of 2 years from the date the malpractice was discovered or should have been discovered. The difference here is when the clock starts ticking. While in ordinary personal injury cases time starts running when the injury occurs, in medical malpractice the time starts running when the malpractice was discovered or should have been discovered. This can be three, five or even ten years after the actual surgery.

Birth injuries

Birth injuries incurred by children born before July 2004 give rise to a personal injury claim running all the way to within 2 years of the child’s 18th birthday. Birth injuries incurred in children after July 2004 give rise to a personal injury claim that runs only until the child’s 13th birthday.

There are other exceptions to the statute of limitations especially when dealing with government agencies. In addition, the courts’ interpretations of statute may render some aspects of statute unenforceable.

If you or a loved one is unsure as to whether you have a right to sue for personal injury after delaying, contact a Nagel Rice Law personal injury attorney immediately at 973.618.0400 to discuss your options.

Posted in: Automobile Accidents, Personal Injury