What are the Statute of Limitations on a Personal Injury Case in New Jersey?

It is important to realize that in New Jersey, several laws impose time limits on your ability to file a claim after a car accident. If you suffered serious injuries or property damage and are seeking financial reimbursement, it is critical to take legal action as soon as possible to avoid missing your deadline. If the time limit expires, you will most likely lose your right to recover any financial compensation.

Insurance Claim Deadline: As Soon As Possible

Although this is not a specific deadline, you should always file an insurance claim as soon as possible after an automobile accident in New Jersey. Most insurance policies require prompt or immediate crash reporting. You should call your own car insurance provider to file your initial claim right away – ideally, the same day as the accident. Then, if you have grounds to bring a tort claim against the other driver under New Jersey’s choice no-fault law, your insurer can proceed with this type of claim.

Statute of Limitations: 2 Years From the Accident

Most New Jersey car accident cases are resolved with insurance settlements. However, if a car insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable settlement or wrongfully rejects a valid claim, the crash victim may need to file a lawsuit with the civil courts to receive a fair payout, instead. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is two years. This is the deadline for both bodily injury and property damage claims after a car accident. 

The clock normally starts ticking on the date that the car accident takes place. There is an exception known as the discovery rule, however, for cases where the victim doesn’t notice or discover his or her injuries right away. Many injuries have delayed symptoms, including concussions, whiplash and internal injuries. The discovery rule gives a claimant two years from the date that he or she discovered or reasonably should have discovered the injury to file a claim.

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations: 2 Years From the Date of Death

If one of your family members passed away in a fatal car accident in New Jersey, your time limit for filing a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party is two years from the date that the victim died. This could be the same day as the car accident or days or weeks, depending on the circumstances. 

Injured Minor: Age of 20

New Jersey law has a special rule for car accident cases involving injured minors. If the minor wishes to file a claim for his or her own injuries, such as a permanent injury or disability, he or she has two years from his or her 18th birthday. In other words, minors have until the age of 20 to file claims for car accidents that injured them as children.

Claim Against the Government: 90 Days

If a government agency or employee caused your car accident – such as a police officer or public agent who was driving in the course or scope of employment – your injury claim may come with special rules. A lawsuit against the government in New Jersey, such as the state or a local municipality, must be filed within just 90 days of the accident according to the state’s Tort Claims Act.

What Happens if You Miss Your Time Limit?

The New Jersey courts take filing deadlines very seriously. Statutes of limitations exist to keep the justice system just; without a deadline, a claimant could potentially hang the possibility of a lawsuit over a defendant’s head indefinitely. If you miss your time limit, you will most likely lose the right to recover financial compensation for your car accident. The defendant in your case will use the expired statute of limitations as grounds to file a motion for case dismissal, which the courts will most likely grant. Act quickly and contact an attorney right away if you get injured in a car accident in New Jersey to protect your right to recover compensation.