How Long Do I Have to Sue After a Car Accident in NJ
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A statute of limitations is an important aspect of any personal injury lawsuit. It sets the maximum time for parties to initiate legal proceedings from the date of an accident. According to state law, if you are involved in a car accident in New Jersey, you have just two years to file a lawsuit. This New Jersey statute of limitations also applies to filing wrongful death lawsuits.
While two years may seem like a significant amount of time, it really isn’t, especially in the aftermath of a serious car accident involving injury or death. Consulting an attorney as quickly as possible following an accident is important. As you recover and work through the insurance claim process, remember that the clock is ticking, and the countdown starts on the accident date.
Anyone filing a suit after the date allowed by New Jersey’s statute of limitations will have their case dismissed. Therefore, you must quickly act and explore all options before your time runs out.
At Richard J. Hollawell and Associates, our New Jersey car accident experts can help you determine whether a lawsuit is warranted in your case. Since 2001, Richard J. Hollawell and his team of personal injury attorneys have helped clients who were seriously injured and families who have lost loved ones in New Jersey car accidents.
What should I do if I’ve been in a New Jersey Car Accident?
In the immediate aftermath of a New Jersey car accident, your first step should be to file a claim with your insurance company. New Jersey is a “no-fault” state. Therefore, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy should keep you covered regardless of fault. The policy should cover medical expenses, including home care, medication costs, medical equipment, and therapy.
Should the limits of your policy fail to cover all of your medical expenses and property damages, or in cases of severe injuries, you may also be compensated through another party’s bodily injury coverage. Often, that policy will cover damages like lost body parts, the loss of a fetus, a permanent injury, death, scarring, or significant disfigurement.
When these options do not cover your medical expenses and financial losses, or if the other party is uninsured, you may be eligible to sue them and their insurance company for additional compensation. In some situations, you can recover damages from a third party, such as a vehicle manufacturer or an agency responsible for the roadway, if it was a factor in the accident.
When is it appropriate to sue after a New Jersey car accident?
New Jersey’s insurance laws are incredibly complex and often limit an individual’s right to sue after a car crash. Many New Jersey drivers have a tort threshold in their insurance policy that eliminates the right to sue in exchange for reduced premiums unless certain injuries are sustained, even if they are not at fault.
For example, a New Jersey driver with the most basic insurance cover may have limited rights to sue an at-fault individual or party unless there were severe injuries suffered or death. Other types of insurance allow policyholders to choose between limited right-to-sue policies, which are cheaper, or unlimited right-to-sue options, which are more expensive.
If that wasn’t complicated enough, the state also follows what is known as a comparative negligence system, which states that you cannot recover any damages should you be found 51% or more at fault for the car accident.
These are just a few of the many subtleties in New Jersey’s personal injury statutes that require the help of a highly skilled attorney to get the maximum compensation you deserve following an accident.
Begin preparing for your NJ car accident lawsuit now
Consult a car accident attorney immediately following your accident. It will give them the time they need to collect evidence that will help not only should you decide to file a lawsuit but also throughout the entire claims process.
Accident victims should collect evidence such as medical records, police reports, photos, videos, and eyewitness information. This evidence will help an attorney to negotiate the appropriate compensation from insurers. Experienced attorneys can help get you the necessary payment for adequate medical care and other expenses while also addressing any long-term needs.
How long does a New Jersey car accident lawsuit take?
Determining how long a car accident lawsuit will take is nearly impossible. Once the suit is filed, the process may take months or even years to reach a final verdict. A case comprises a discovery phase, motions, a pretrial phase, and an actual trial. Thankfully, most NJ car accident lawsuits are settled out of court, and accident victims are compensated within months.
Let Richard Hollawell and Associates help you
The unique circumstances of the car accident will ultimately decide if a lawsuit is warranted. Whether you were a driver, pedestrian, cyclist, or a passenger in someone else’s vehicle are all factors that an NJ car accident attorney will consider.
Don’t try to navigate New Jersey’s complex personal injury and insurance laws alone. The experienced car accident attorneys from Richard J. Hollawell and Associates can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 1-800-681-3550 or click here for a free case evaluation.