Understanding the Statute of Limitations
In New Jersey, as in all states, when you have a legal claim against another person, whether it’s based on a personal injury, breach of contract or other legal wrong, you must generally file a lawsuit within a specific period of time. The time period varies, based on the type of legal claim. The time frames are found in a written law, known as the “statute of limitations.” Typically, if you wait until the statute of limitations has expired to bring a lawsuit, the defendant (person being sued) will likely file a motion to dismiss. It is possible, but extremely difficult, to have your claim reinstated after the statute of limitations has run out.
There are good reasons why the statute of limitations exists. The longer a plaintiff (person bringing a civil suit) waits to file legal action, the greater the risk that:
- Witnesses will move, die or forget what they saw or heard
- Evidence will be lost, destroyed or compromised
In addition, it is generally considered unfair to make a defendant live in perpetual fear of a potential lawsuit.
In New Jersey, the statute of limitations with respect to personal injury lawsuits requires that a complaint be filed within two years of the accident that caused the injury. If a person dies as a result of an accident, though, the clock does not start running on the statute of limitation until the date of death.
Under New Jersey’s “discovery rule,” the time period for the statute of limitations will typically not start until the injured person becomes aware or reasonably should have known of an injury.
Contact Attorney Gregg A. Wisotsky—Partner at Javerbaum, Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, PC
I offer a free phone consultation to every prospective client. For a complimentary evaluation of your case, contact my office online or call me at 973-241-7468. I will come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary. All major credit cards are accepted.