Impact of COVID-19 on the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury & Sexual Abuse Claims in NJ
The term “statute of limitations” is a legal concept that sets a strict time limit on a plaintiff’s right to file a case in order to be considered valid. Since this can be true within both civil and criminal law, the current COVID-19 pandemic and recent stay-at-home orders have left many confused about their legal rights and options, and how they can stay within the legal time frame, especially when filing an accident injury personal injury claim. Unfortunately, this is also the case with many victims of sexual abuse who because of shelter-in-place, had or have been trapped at home with their abusers with limited or no access to social workers, teachers, coaches, doctors, friends, family members or anyone else to whom they might have been able to report the abuse to.
Due to either a fear of retribution, not being believed, shame, self-blame, or uncertainty of resources available to them, many victims of sexual abuse may not speak up or come forward. Despite these factors, now is the time to speak up and speak out about your abuse.
Everyone who is wrongly injured has a right to seek justice. It is vital that victims of abuse and injurious accidents understand these statutes of limitations and act within the legal time frame so that they can get justice or compensation for the trauma and injury that they are entitled to, especially if they need it to help them recover from those injuries. The inability at present to manage the spread of the coronavirus has drastically impacted and restructured aspects of the judicial process, and how people file, so it is challenging to say exactly what will happen if as a result of being infected by the virus or as a result of quarantine restrictions, you missed or were unaware of the statute of limitations for your civil or criminal case.
To speak with an empathetic, resourceful and uniquely qualified attorney and learn more about extensions, if any, to criminal and civil statutes of limitations and how they might impact your case filing, please contact us online today or through our Bensalem, PA offices at (215) 337-4915 for a free and confidential consultation.
Mercer County and Middlesex County Lawyers Help You Understand Options Related to Statute of Limitations
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey is generally two years, which means you will have approximately two years from the date of your accident to sue the party responsible. However, for personal injury claims made against government entities – claims filed against the state, county, or city governments must be filed within six (6) months of the accident.
Pennsylvania law contains a discovery rule for personal injury claims, which grants an extension for individuals who were not aware of their injuries right away; which allows for victims to file personal injury claims up to two (2) years after they knew or should have reasonably known that they were injured.
If prior to or during the corona pandemic and state executive orders to self-quarantine you or a loved one were injured in a motor vehicle accident, construction accident, defective product accident, slip-and-fall accident, or sustained a traumatic injury, and you waited to file a personal injury claim because you wanted to limit contact with others, were either unsure about the process or were unaware of the severity of your injuries, you may have a unique situation on your hands amidst the outbreak that an experienced attorney can help you with.
Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations
Child sexual abuse victims are treated differently under the law. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2A:61B-1(c) the statute of limitations for a sexual abuse case does not begin until the victim realizes that they were injured as a result of the abuse. This is commonly the case with the delayed discovery of past sexual abuse (i.e., in school or church, etc.) among childhood sexual abuse victims, where this realization or the horrific memory of abuse has been blocked or is recalled during therapy. The stress of the coronavirus has resulted in many seeking therapy to manage or better understand previous mental health issues. Speaking with an attorney as soon as possible can preserve your legal rights and ability to hold your abuser accountable for their actions.
Without talking to an experienced attorney who is up-to-date on the rapidly changing court process, and who can protect your rights and help you better understand the time limit, you may be at a disadvantage as to the alternatives and options of your particular legal matter.
Contact our Experienced New Jersey & Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyers for Immediate Assistance
The skilled legal team at Kamensky Cohen & Riec2helson knows how to identify the most keys facts of a personal injury claim and find the evidence needed to prove negligence and wrongdoing. If you or a loved one suffered a serious personal injury and are uncertain about the statute of limitations & filing guidelines, our experienced attorneys are here to help you.
Contact us online or phone (215) 337-4915 to arrange a free and confidential consultation. One of our knowledgeable attorneys will be happy to answer your questions and advise you on the most effective legal options available in your case.