New Jersey Statute of Limitations for Lawsuits

Since time is limited to bring a claim in, find an attorney as soon as possible after an accident
When you are injured, the last thing you may want to think about is suing the responsible party. With your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering, just getting through the ordeal is enough to consider. However who will pay for all the costs and losses? At the Bergen County Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg, our lawyers help you tackle the legal aspects of your accident so you can focus on your recovery. By working with us as soon as possible after an accident, you protect your right to recover compensation through an insurance company or a lawsuit. However because your time to sue is limited, you must act quickly.

What is a statute of limitations?
A statute of limitations limits the period you have to seek a legal remedy for negligence, recklessness or other default. If you do not start a lawsuit within the legally specified time period, you generally lose the right to sue and recover the compensation you may need for the harm you’ve suffered. In some cases, for example if you were injured when you were a child, the period may be temporarily paused. Many different statutes of limitations — and exceptions — apply in various types of cases. A knowledgeable lawyer like those at our Bergen County law firm can help you understand the time limits that apply in your case and protect your rights to monetary damages.

Time limits for your injury case
Under New Jersey law, you must start a lawsuit within a specific limited time period or you may lose your right to sue for:

Personal injury — In general, the New Jersey statute of limitations for a personal injury case limits the amount of time you have to bring a lawsuit to within two years. If you were injured because of a defective and unsafe property condition, you may have up to six years.
Auto accidents — As with most types of personal injury claims, you have two years to start a lawsuit if you are injured in a motorcycle, truck or auto accident.
Products liability — If you are injured by a defect in the manufacture or design of an item or because of a failure to warn, you have two years to sue product manufacturers and sellers for products liability.
Workers’ compensation — You must file a formal claim petition within two years of the date you were injured or the date of the last payment of compensation, whichever is later. Payment of compensation includes medical treatment that the employer authorizes. If you suffer an occupational illness, including asbestosis, lead poisoning or hearing loss, you must file your claim petition within two years from the date you first learned about the condition and that it related to your employment.
How the discovery rule applies to you
Under the law, the time period in which you need to either sue or lose your right to recover compensation through a trial usually begins when the negligence first occurs. In some cases, you may not immediately discover your injury. For example, some internal injuries, like traumatic brain injury may not present symptoms until days or even weeks after an accident. In those cases, the time period begins when you discover the injury or when you reasonably should have discovered the injury.


Understanding Negligence Laws in New Jersey

Experienced Bergen County lawyers help you recover compensation for personal injury
An accident can leave you seriously injured and in need of compensation. Our lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg help you secure the compensation you need when your accident was caused by the negligence of another. We have decades of experience in all types of injury cases, including helping clients recover fair settlements through tough negotiation with insurers and strong courtroom advocacy in personal injury litigation.

How do you prove fault under New Jersey negligence laws?
To collect on a personal injury claim in New Jersey, you usually must prove the person who caused the injury was negligent and did not exercise reasonable care. You must prove certain essential elements, such as:

The person who caused your injury owed you a duty.
The person failed to carry out that duty.
You suffered damages.
The other person’s failure caused your injury.
People in different circumstances have different duties of care. For example, drivers have a duty to drive safely and obey the rules of the road, while property owners generally have a duty reasonably to maintain their properties or warn of known dangers that cannot be remedied.

New Jersey law has become stricter in recent years, requiring victims to demonstrate a serious injury. While injuries do not have to be life-threatening, a victim must have an injury backed by real medical evidence to win a personal injury lawsuit.

How comparative negligence works in New Jersey
New Jersey is one of many states in which the law considers comparative negligence. Under New Jersey’s modified comparative negligence system, each person is assigned a degree of fault in the cause of an accident. If you were injured, you may collect damages from a negligent party, even if you were also negligent as long as your negligence was 50 percent or less. However, if you are 51 percent at fault, you cannot recover damages. For example, if you were determined to be 50 percent at fault and your damages were $50,000, you could still receive $25,000.

The degree of fault is determined by an insurer or judge or jury based on an investigation and the evidence presented. In auto insurance claims, the insurance company determines fault when you file a claim against another driver who you believe caused the accident. An insurer may consider such things as the primary cause of the accident, if either driver had a greater duty of care and if either driver may have avoided the accident. Under New Jersey no-fault accidents law, you can also to choose to recover compensation directly from your own insurer without consideration of fault. Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg can advise you about the merits of your case, especially when comparative negligence and multiple parties are issues.

What is my claim worth?
Under New Jersey law, the person who injured you is responsible for a broad range of economic and noneconomic damages, including:

Past, current and future estimated medical expenses
Time lost from work, including time spent going to medical appointments or therapy
Property that was damaged, such as your vehicle
The cost of hiring someone to do household chores when you could not do them
Permanent disfigurement or disability
Your emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, fright, shock and any interference with your family relationships
Physical pain and suffering
Change in future earning ability because of the injury you suffered
Any other costs that resulted from your injury
When you are awarded a sum based on these damages, the sum may be reduced if your negligence contributed to the accident.


Recovering for DUI-Related Accidents in Northern New Jersey

When a drunk driver injures you, our attorneys fight for justice
Each day, almost 30 people across the United States are killed in motor vehicle crashes involving a driver who is impaired by drugs or alcohol. At almost one death every 48 minutes, the chances of a collision with a drunk driver are far too high.

If you were injured in New Jersey because of the negligent or reckless actions of a driver who was using drugs or alcohol, our attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg are passionate about getting you the monetary damages you need to get your life back on track. Drunk driving accidents can — and should — be avoided. We work hard to ensure that each party is held responsible through a lawsuit or settlement for the harm caused to you.

Is a drunk driver responsible to pay for my injuries?
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) refer to alcohol- and drug-impaired driving. Drunk and drug-impaired drivers endanger us all — not only other drivers, but also passengers and unsuspecting pedestrians. Across the nation in 2011, 8,878 fatalities resulted from alcohol-impaired driving. Drugs other than alcohol, including marijuana and cocaine, are generally involved in about 18 percent of deaths to drivers. In New Jersey alone, more than 190 fatal accidents were related to alcohol consumption.

Under New Jersey law, it is a crime to drive while intoxicated. Intoxication is determined through a test of blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Anyone with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher while driving a car or boat can be charged with DUI. The penalties for DUI include fines and fees, license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device on a vehicle, community service and jail time. In addition to pursuing criminal penalties, our attorneys help you sue the intoxicated driver who causes an accident for personal injury or the wrongful death of a loved one.

What is dram shop liability and how does it affect my accident?
While a drunk or drug-impaired driver will likely be found negligent or reckless, he or she may not be solely responsible for your accident. Under dram shop liability laws in New Jersey, a bar, club, tavern, liquor store, restaurant or other business that sells alcohol — known as a dram shop — may be held responsible when selling alcohol to a person who is visibly drunk and causes an accident.

Our Bergen County lawyers help you determine which persons and businesses are responsible for your injuries and property damages. When a business is responsible in addition to a drunk driver, we work hard to make that business pay for your losses through a lawsuit or settlement.