Maybe you fell trying to get through an unlit parking lot filled with potholes. Perhaps you got hit by a distracted driver. Whatever the cause, you’re injured through no fault of your own — and the last thing on your mind right now is filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the responsible party.
That’s normal. Most people are primarily concerned with getting the medical care they need and getting back on their feet — at first. Eventually, however, the bills will start rolling in and you realize that you have to take action against the responsible party.
That’s where the statute of limitations come in.
What’s a statute of limitations?
Every state puts a time limit on how long claimants have to bring personal injury lawsuits against other parties. These limitations exist so that nobody has to wonder if they’ll suddenly be sued for a decades-old accident — and they help make sure that evidence in a claim is still reasonably fresh by the time it gets to court (if necessary).
In New Jersey, you generally have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit from the date of your accident, although there are exceptions involved if your claim is against a government entity or involves medical malpractice.
What does this mean in practical terms?
While you have two years to file a lawsuit, this doesn’t mean you have two years to start your claim. Most personal injury claims are resolved without going to court. Filing a lawsuit is usually the last resort when the insurance company or the other party involved won’t be reasonable or fair.
Ideally, you want to begin the injury claim process as soon as practical. Talking with an experienced advocate even before you’re recovered is the best way to protect your interests.