What Can I do if I Think I Missed the Statute of Limitations?
In New Jersey, if you have been injured in a car accident, you probably already know that there is a statute of limitations to be aware of. You have two years in the state of New Jersey to file a claim for your injuries. In fact, the New Jersey Statutes section 2A:14-2 states, “Every action at law for an injury to the person caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of any person within this State shall be commenced within two years next after the cause of any such action shall have accrued.” When you are working with an attorney to file your claim, they will teach you why it is important to leave yourself time to file a lawsuit when you deem it necessary. However, what happens when you miss the statute of limitations?
Risks of Waiting Too Long
If you wait too long to speak to an attorney and go through with your claim, there is always the chance that your accident case could be dismissed – which is possibly the worst outcome to be expected. However, your case can also be devalued in many other ways. For instance, witnesses could have time to change their story after they speak to the other party’s insurance company. Physical evidence not captured in photographs could disappear forever. Valuable information relating to your vehicles could be lost, all because the time limits passed. If there was a defective product involved in the accident, which caused a car to veer out of control, you could miss the deadline for a product liability suit. All of these reasons are why it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.
Do I Have Other Options?
If you miss the deadline, you may wonder if all hope is lost. Usually, when you miss the deadline and attempt to file an injury lawsuit, the defendant will file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit and the motion will be granted. This could leave you without any choices as far as your damages are concerned. However, there may be exceptions to your lawsuit, which we will discuss.
Discovery: If you did not know that you had a personal injury claim, you could use this rule as a way to bring a claim. This makes it so that the statute of limitations actually begins when you know that you suffered an injury.
Absence: When the defendant is absent from the state after your accident, you can use absence as an exception. However, you must actually have proof that they were out of state.
Disability: If you are a minor or are deemed mentally ill, this could be an exception. You could possibly see up to two to three years extra in these cases.
Even when you have an exception, it is still sometimes difficult to bring a personal injury case after the statute of limitations has passed. This is why it is always important to speak to an injury attorney about your case, so that you don’t miss the deadlines and your ability to recover is not affected. Call us today at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi for more information on how we can help you.