How Long After a Car Accident in New Jersey Can You Claim Compensation?
After you have been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may wonder how long you may need to wait before you can seek financial compensation for your personal injuries or property damage. Here is what you need to know about the wait for compensation that you may have after a car accident.
The Statute of Limitations
In New Jersey, the statute of limitations imposes a deadline on filing a car accident lawsuit against the driver or other parties at fault for the crash. Typically, you have two years from the date of a car accident to file a lawsuit against parties liable for the accident and your injuries and losses. If you file a car accident lawsuit after the statute of limitations expires on your claim, the opposing parties can file a motion to permanently dismiss your case and you can lose your opportunity to demand financial recovery for your injuries and losses.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
However, various circumstances can lengthen or even shorten the time you have to file a compensation claim after a car accident. For example, if you were involved in a car accident caused by a state or local government employee in the course of their job, the New Jersey Tort Claims Act requires you to give notice of your claim to the appropriate government agency within 90 days of the crash.
Other circumstances can pause or “toll” the running of the statute of limitations for a car accident claim. When minors are injured in a car accident, the statute of limitations does not begin running on their claim until they turn 18, giving them two years from their 18th birthday to file suit. Similarly, the statute of limitations is paused for a car accident victim who is physically or cognitively incapacitated from being able to file suit. Courts may rule that the statute of limitations is tolled in situations where a car accident victim was prevented from filing suit against an at-fault driver, such as in a hit-and-run accident where the fleeing driver is only identified much later.
Pursuing a Settlement
Most car accident claims are resolved through a negotiated settlement rather than a court trial. These settlements take place with the insurance companies who insure the drivers involved in the accident and any other at-fault parties. While it is critical to notify insurers of a car accident as soon as possible to permit them to conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, in some cases you may want to delay formally presenting your compensation claim to the insurance company. This usually occurs when you have suffered serious injuries and are still undergoing treatment and rehabilitation. Since you cannot demand more compensation after settling your claim, you will want to have a full picture of your financial losses from your medical expenses and lost income and of any permanent impairment or pain you might experience from your injuries before demanding a settlement figure. Thus, it can sometimes be helpful to wait to make a formal demand for compensation until after you fully recover from your injuries or reach maximum medical improvement.
Contact a Scotch Plains Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to someone else’s fault in a car accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC represent clients injured because of car accidents in Scotch Plains, Edison, Elizabeth, Clifton, and throughout New Jersey. Call (908) 325-5571 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 1827 E. 2nd St., Scotch Plains, NJ 07076, as well as offices in Westfield, Newark, East Brunswick, Clifton, Cherry Hill, and Elizabeth.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.