UNDERSTANDING THE NEW JERSEY STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS

In the context of legal claims, the statute of limitations determines the amount of time in which a person can initiate a lawsuit after suffering a personal injury or other undue damage. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for many civil claims is two years.

In most situations, if an injury victim fails to take legal action within the statute of limitations, he or she no longer has standing and loses the opportunity to sue for damages. Beyond simple negligence or accident claims, the most common types of civil lawsuits that fall into the two-year New Jersey statute of limitations include the following:

  • General personal injury
  • Wrongful death
  • Product liability
  • Medical malpractice
  • Legal malpractice
  • False imprisonment
  • Assault and battery

In certain situations, injuries may be exempt from the two-year cut-off. In New Jersey, the "discovery rule" allows plaintiffs more time in which to file a lawsuit if they developed conditions gradually or could not reasonably have known of their injuries immediately after an accident or incident. Specifically, according to the discovery rule, instead of beginning on the date that an injury occurred, the statute of limitations begins when the plaintiff becomes aware, or should have become aware of the injury. Plaintiffs most often invoke the discovery rule in cases involving chemical exposure, which can cause illnesses that take many years to show physical symptoms. The rule is not consistently applied, however, and may not be honored by judges who disagree with the claim.

Acting within the statute of limitations is essential to your case. Consult an attorney as soon as possible after suffering or discovering a personal injury in New Jersey in order to maximize your legal options and avoid unnecessary complications that could jeopardize your right to compensation.

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