The term “statute of limitations” refers to the period between a cause of action, such as an accident, crime or loan default, and the deadline to file a case. A complaint that is not filed within that time is time-barred, meaning the court will not hear the case. Certain felonies are not subject to a statute of limitations.
This is an important aspect of personal injury law. If the harmed person delays filing a lawsuit against the party liable for the injuries, he or she may forever forfeit the right to do so, though there are certain exceptions.
Statute of limitations in New Jersey
Under New Jersey law, an injured party has two years from the cause of action to file a lawsuit. The cause of action is usually the event, i.e., the accident. However, if the injury is not immediately apparent, the statute of limitations begins when symptoms appear or a physician makes a diagnosis. This is one reason medical records are such vital evidence in an injury lawsuit.
Some circumstances pause the clock on the statute of limitations, giving the injured party additional time. For example, if the harmed individual was underage when the accident took place, the statute of limitations pauses until he or she turns 18.
For the nearly 13 percent of people who suffer an injury from an accident in any given year and someone else is responsible, the important thing to keep in mind is that time is of the essence when filing a claim.