When someone else causes you injuries in an accident, your immediate focus is to get your injuries diagnosed and start the necessary treatment. However, as your treatment progresses and the medical bills start piling up, you might wonder whether you should contact a New Jersey personal injury attorney.
While you already have a lot on your plate, you do not want to put off contacting an attorney to start the claim process. This is because waiting too long can jeopardize your right to financial recovery.
The Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in New Jersey
Under New Jersey law, the statute of limitations (or time limit) to file a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the injury in most cases. We say “in most cases” because, as with most legal concepts, there are some exceptions to the rule.
The two-year time limit applies to filing a lawsuit in civil court against the negligent party that injured you. You do not have to complete your case by then, but there are steps you likely need to complete before you file a case. These include trying to obtain a settlement directly from an insurance company, as well as gathering evidence, and preparing the lawsuit paperwork to file. This all takes time, and two years can pass by quickly.
Some exceptions to the statute of limitations include:
- If you did not discover your injury right away
- If the injury victim is a child
- If the negligent party used fraudulent tactics to hide their liability
- If you are filing a claim for injuries stemming from child sexual abuse
Always discuss how long you have to file with a lawyer sooner rather than later.
Other Time-Related Considerations
It’s important to keep in mind that just because you can wait two years to file your injury claim, that doesn’t mean that you should. There are various reasons that it’s a good idea to start your claim as soon as possible. First of all, it’s a good idea to act while the evidence is still fresh. Witness memories are less reliable as time goes on, and physical evidence can be lost, destroyed, or degraded over time. For this reason, you should reach out to a lawyer as soon as you can after an accident.
Secondly, it’s a good idea to give your attorney as much time as possible to develop your case, and last-minute filings may not serve your interests well.
You should also keep in mind, however, that once your case is filed, it’s typically not a good idea to rush into a settlement agreement. In many cases, it takes time to recognize the full extent of your injuries and other losses.
Now is Time to Contact a New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney
At Leonard Legal Group, we are ready to help you file an insurance claim or injury lawsuit. When you are ready to learn about your legal rights, you should never wait to get us working on your case and protecting your rights. Contact us for a free case evaluation as soon as you can.