One of the most commonly cited accidents in personal injury claims in New Jersey is car accidents. If you are hurt in a crash, you can file a lawsuit against the negligent driver, but you have limited time to do so.

A plaintiff has 2 years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. If the deadline arrives and no case is filed, the plaintiff might lose their right to bring the cause of the action. However, certain exceptions allow plaintiffs to have the statute of limitations tolled if they cannot file their case on time. Generally, minors or those under a legal disability when they are injured may have the statute tolled, and their deadline may be pushed back. If the defendant is no longer in New Jersey, you can have the statute of limitations tolled until you can find them and bring them within the state’s jurisdiction. If the defendant in your case passes away before the statute of limitations expires, the 6 months after the death may be tolled.

Contact our New Jersey car accident lawyers for a free, confidential case evaluation by calling Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769.

How Much Time You Have to File an Injury Claim for a New Jersey Car Accident

Many car accident cases fall under the legal umbrella of personal injury claims. A personal injury claim inherently involves some form of bodily harm, which is often present in car accident cases. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims can be found under N.J.S.A. § 2A:14-2(a) and provides plaintiffs with 2 years to file their claims. This time begins on the date of the accident, so the clock begins ticking almost immediately.

Not all car accidents involve physical injuries to plaintiffs. For example, many car accidents involve negligent drivers hitting parked cars. Even though you were not inside your vehicle and uninjured in the crash, you can still sue for the damage to your car. Since no personal injuries exist, a different statute of limitations might apply instead. According to N.J.S.A. § 2A:14-1(a), a plaintiff may have 6 years to file claims of tortious injury to real or personal property.

Remember, your claims for the damage to your car and your bodily injuries should be filed together if they occurred in the same accident. If you sue for your personal injuries, you cannot file a separate case at a later date for the damage to your car. Our Jersey City car accident lawyers can review your case to make sure all possible claims are filed together, and you do not miss out on valuable compensation.

What if I am Unable to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in New Jersey Because of Age or Disability?

Not everyone involved in a car accident can take legal action on their own. If a certain condition or disability gets in the way, you might be able to have the statute of limitations tolled under N.J.S.A. § 2A:14-21. Under this law, minors may have the statute of limitations tolled until they turn 18. This is often crucial for kids involved in accidents because they cannot file a lawsuit or even begin to explore legal options without the help of an adult. If no adult steps forward, the child has until age 20 to file a claim.

People with disabilities when the car accident happened may also have the statute of limitations tolled until their disability ceases or is lifted. This usually involves disabilities that prevent people from filing their claims or understanding their legal rights. Generally, the disability must be present when the accident first occurs.

Your Time to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in New Jersey if the Defendant Leaves the State

One of the more troubling aspects of a car accident case is that the defendant might not be from New Jersey. They might have been passing through the state while visiting loved ones, traveling on vacation, or commuting to work. According to N.J.S.A. § 2A:14-22(a), a plaintiff may have the statute of limitations tolled if the defendant is outside the state and cannot be reached.

If the defendant is not within New Jersey, you might be unable to file a lawsuit against them because they are outside the state’s jurisdiction. Long-arm statutes might help plaintiffs bring defendants back within New Jersey’s jurisdiction, but this is not guaranteed. If you are unable to locate the defendant or bring them within New Jersey’s jurisdiction despite your due diligence in trying to do so, you may have the statute of limitations tolled.

The statute may be tolled for the duration of time that the defendant is outside the jurisdiction of the state. If the defendant ever returns to the state or is brought within the state’s jurisdiction by long-arm statutes, the statute of limitations will pick back up and begin running again.

This is not an uncommon problem in car accident cases. Many drivers who cause accidents live in other states and only pass through New Jersey. Another possibility is that you were the victim of a hit-and-run accident, and you might not know who the defendant is or where they went.

Limitations on Filing a Car Accident Case in New Jersey After the Defendant Dies

In some car accidents, the negligent driver who caused the crash does not survive. In other cases, the negligent driver might pass away later from their injuries or from something totally unrelated to the accident. This can throw a wrench in your plans for a lawsuit. However, your claim may still go forward despite the defendant’s passing.

According to N.J.S.A. § 2A:14-23, the 6 months after the defendant’s death may not be counted toward your time limit set by the statute of limitations. Often, the defendant’s family needs this time to get their estate and other affairs in order. When ready, you may file your case against the deceased defendant’s estate.

Contact Our New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers to Get Help Now

Contact our Elizabeth, NJ car accident lawyers for a free, confidential case evaluation by calling Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769.