What Is the Statute of Limitations On My Case? Mercer County Personal Injury Attorneys
When these injuries occur, the victim frequently wants to seek justice for their pain and suffering.
Accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. While they can sometimes be avoided by being cautious, they can also occur suddenly due to the negligence of another party. Also, injuries may be sustained through assault and battery or a physical attack of some kind. When these injuries occur, the victim frequently wants to seek justice for their pain and suffering. This can be done by pursuing legal action in the form of a personal injury lawsuit.
While it is understandable that some people may hesitate to file a personal injury claim, it is important to not wait too long to do so. This is because a statute of limitations is in place. When dealing with these matters, it is beneficial to have an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney on your side to help.
What are some common types of personal injury claims?
Personal injury cases include but are not limited to:
- Automobile accidents, including car, truck, boat, and motorcycle crashes
- Mass transit accidents, including trains, airplane accidents, and bus crashes
- Construction accidents
- Medical malpractice cases, including serious birth injuries and birth defects
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
- Spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and other catastrophic injuries
- Product liability claims, product recalls, dangerous drug lawsuits
- Slip and fall accidents, and other premises liability cases
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Environmental accidents, injuries, and toxic torts
- Consumer fraud
- Workers compensation claims
- Abuse, harassment, and/or other intentional torts
What is a Statute of Limitations?
Statutes of limitations are laws that set forth how long a person has in order to file a lawsuit or claim in different types of cases. If a plaintiff fails to file the lawsuit within this time, then he or she is usually barred from pursuing the case.
Why Do the Statutes of Limitations Exist?
To Preserve Evidence
The more time that passes, the more likely that evidence can be lost or circumstances change, and witnesses’ memories may fade. Physical evidence may be lost, damaged, or tainted
For Fairness to the Parties
If lawsuits could be brought at any time, defendants would be at a disadvantage because they might not have access to evidence if too much time has passed.
Nevertheless, there are exceptions to the above periods. For example, if an injury is not immediately obvious – say environmental exposure has caused a later illness – that period can be “tolled.” In this instance, the time limit clock does not start until the injury is discovered.
Every second that passes following a car accident or other personal injury is important. The passage of time blurs memories, erases evidence, and makes it less likely that you will receive the full compensation you deserve. While a personal injury lawsuit may take weeks, months, or even more than a year resolve, the sooner the investigation can commence, the better your chances of getting the desired result.
What If You Miss the Filing Deadline?
If more than two years have passed since the underlying accident, but you try to file your personal injury lawsuit anyway, the defendant (the person you’re trying to sue) will almost certainly file a “motion to dismiss” and point this fact out to the court. Unless a rare exception gives you extra time (more details on these exceptions below), the court will summarily dismiss your case. Once that happens, your right to ask a court to award you damages for your injuries, no matter how significant they might be, and no matter how obvious the defendant’s liability, is terminated.
New Jersey has identified a number of different scenarios that might delay the running of the statute of limitations “clock,” or pause the clock after it has started to run, effectively extending the filing deadline. Here are some examples of circumstances that are likely to modify the standard timeline:
- If the injured person, at the time of the underlying accident, is under 18 years of age or has a mental disability that prevents him or her from understanding his/her legal rights or commencing legal action, then once the person turns 18 or re-gains the proper mental capacity, he or she will be entitled to the full two years to get their personal injury lawsuit filed.
- If the person who is allegedly responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries leaves the state of New Jersey at some point after the underlying accident, but before the lawsuit can be filed, the time of absence probably won’t be counted as part of the two years. But in this situation, in order to get the filing deadline extended, the plaintiff (or the plaintiff’s attorney) will likely need to file an affidavit saying that, after diligent inquiry and effort, the delivery of copies of legal documents such as summons, complaints, or subpoenas to the absent defendant is impossible.
Two years might seem like plenty of time, however, not all instances of personal injury claims are cut and dried. If you or a family member is injured as a result of another’s actions, be they intentional or otherwise, it is imperative to seek legal advice as soon as possible in order to preserve your ability to recover any potential monetary damages by filing a personal injury or negligence claim. There are exceptions which could fall in your favor and others which if you are unaware, could leave you without a case to pursue. Conversely, your circumstances may be such that the time has not started running and you and your attorney will have more time to build a case.
Contact Our Trenton and Bensalem Personal Injury Lawyers Today
At Cohen & Riechelson, our attorneys are focused on providing constructive and effective legal solutions for clients across Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and the greater Mercer County Area.
Our unique approach to personal injury law centers around building a solid case that best represents your claim. By listening carefully to all of your needs and concerns, and keeping you highly informed and involved throughout the legal process, we believe we can work together to achieve the results you need in your unique legal situation.