When you have suffered any type of loss because of someone else’s wrongdoing, you must take legal action to seek damages within a specific period of time. This rule, known as the “statute of limitations,” serves a number of important objectives. First, it minimizes the risk that witnesses will disappear, die or forget what they saw or heard. It also helps ensure that critical physical evidence isn’t lost or destroyed. In addition, the statute of limitations identifies an end to the matter, so that the potential defendant does not have to have the threat of a lawsuit hanging over him or her for an indeterminate amount of time.
The statute of limitations is a state law and can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It’s also different based on the type of lawsuit filed. In New Jersey, for a personal injury lawsuit, the law requires that legal action be filed no later than “two years after the cause of any such action shall have accrued.” The same time period applies for wrongful death claims, but the clock starts to run at the date of death, not the date of injury.
There are times, however, when an injured party may not be aware of certain injuries until months or even years after sustaining the injury. For example, with certain types of pharmaceutical products, side effects may not appear for a long time. Fortunately, New Jersey has adopted the “discovery” rule with respect to the running of the statute of limitations. Under this rule, the clock does not start ticking on the statute of limitations until “the injured party discovers, or by the exercise of reasonable diligence and intelligence, should have discovered” the injury. Therefore, you’ll have two years from the date you either actually became aware of the injury or should have reasonably discovered the injury.
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For professional and knowledgeable legal counsel with a personal approach, contact our office by e-mail or call us at 856-424-6400. We are available evenings and weekends upon request. We take all major credit cards. Home and hospital visits can be arranged for personal injury victims.
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