Understanding Personal Injury Laws in New Jersey
New Jersey, the Garden State, is not only known for its scenic landscapes but also for its intricate legal system. If you’ve found yourself in the unfortunate situation of being involved in a New Jersey injury lawsuit, fear not. In this post, we breakdown NJ personal injury lawsuits to their basic components in an effort to demystify the complexities of personal injury lawsuits in the heart of the Northeast.
Statute of Limitations
Every legal journey has a starting point, and in New Jersey, it begins with understanding the statute of limitations. This crucial timeline dictates the period within which you must file your personal injury claim. Missing this window could hinder your pursuit of justice and bar any recovery for your loss(es).
In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for most personal injury actions is two (2) years from the date of occurrence. For minors, within 2 years of the date of the person’s 18th birthday. (N.J. Stat. § 2A-14-2(a)). For other types of cases, different limitations on actions might apply.
It is important to note that laws are always changing. Consulting a licensed attorney in New Jersey or anywhere else is prudent and well worth the effort. Attorneys are charged with keeping up on new or changes in law and/or their applications.
New Jersey follows a comparative negligence system as it pertains to the burden of proof in personal injury actions. Comparative negligence applies where both parties involved in an accident are found to share a degree of fault.
For example, under New Jersey’s Comparative Negligence law, an individual’s fault for the accident cannot be more than the individual from whom damages are sought. Therefore, recovery of personal injury damages is permitted when each person in a 2 car accident is 50% at fault, but not if the plaintiff was at fault more than the defendant. A plaintiff who was found 51% or more is barred from recovery.
Choosing the Right Legal Partner
Selecting the right attorney is pivotal in navigating the legal intricacies of New Jersey injury lawsuits. Some key considerations when choosing the best New Jersey personal injury attorney might include:
- specialization in personal injury cases
- trial experience
- positive reputation
- proven track record of success
- sufficient support staff and monetary resources
- client references
- and more
A competent NJ personal injury law firm understands New Jersey’s unique legal landscape, has positive reviews online and a proven track record in personal injury cases. By carefully considering these factors, you can make an informed decision when choosing the best personal injury lawyer for your specific needs.
The Role of PIP Insurance in New Jersey Injury Lawsuits
New Jersey operates under a no-fault system, requiring drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. PIP coverage pays medical expenses for injured parties in automobile accidents and is a part of every driver’s insurance policy. The idea is that medical expenses are paid regardless of fault. However, PIP and other New Jersey insurance laws can affect a plaintiff’s ability to seek compensation in New Jersey injury lawsuits. For example, “verbal” threshold provisions limit pain and suffering damages to certain injury types.
Public Entity Liability
When your New Jersey injury lawsuit involves a public entity, whether it’s a government agency or municipality, the legal process becomes more complex. Specific rules govern pursuing personal injury damages in a New Jersey injury lawsuit. These are codified in what is known as the “The New Jersey Tort Claims Act” found at N.J.S.A.59:2-2.
The Act has specific procedural requirements which must be followed in order to bring an action against a public entity. For example, the law requires an individual with a potential claim against a public entity or their employees to file such a claim within 90 days of the alleged incident. This is an extremely nuanced area of the law so legal representation is strongly recommended.
Types of Damages Available
New Jersey injury lawsuits often involve various types of personal injury damages. Medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity and pain and suffering are examples of different categories of compensation available to New Jersey injury lawsuit plaintiffs.
Settlements vs. Trials in New Jersey Injury Lawsuits
As your case progresses, you’ll need to decide whether to pursue a settlement or go to trial. There are pros and cons for each option.
Trials are very costly in both time and money. Attorneys invest both their time and also a fair amount of money going to trial in New Jersey injury lawsuits. Filing fees and expert appearances are only a few of the costs associated with going to trial. Trials are also risky as anything can happen when a small number of individuals collectively decide a case.
Avoiding both additional cost and mitigating risk are often factors in choosing settlement. Lawsuit settlements make sense for all parties in that the settlement amount is known, both parties are willing to accept it, and the matter is concluded without any further delay.
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Support for New Jersey Injury Lawsuit Plaintiffs
Lawsuit loans, also known as legal funding or pre-settlement funding, provide financial support to personal injury plaintiffs in New Jersey and elsewhere while they are awaiting the resolution of their legal claims. Here’s what lawsuit loans can do for plaintiffs with New Jersey injury lawsuits:
Cover Living Expenses
New Jersey injury lawsuits can take time to reach a settlement or verdict. In the meantime, plaintiffs may struggle with medical bills, living expenses, and other financial obligations. Lawsuit loans can help cover these costs, allowing plaintiffs to focus on their recovery and legal case.
Level the Playing Field in New Jersey Injury Lawsuits
Defendants in New Jersey injury cases, especially large corporations or insurance companies, often have significant resources. Lawsuit loans help level the playing field by providing plaintiffs with the financial means to pursue their cases without being forced into early, unfavorable settlements. These low-ball settlement offers can be rejected with the help of lawsuit loans.
Since lawsuit loans are non-recourse, meaning they are repaid only if the plaintiff wins the case, they do not impact the plaintiff’s credit score. This allows individuals to seek financial support without worrying about the long-term implications on their creditworthiness.
Provide Peace of Mind
Dealing with a New Jersey injury lawsuit is inherently stressful. Knowing that financial support is available provides plaintiffs with peace of mind, allowing them to concentrate on their recovery and legal proceedings.
Navigating New Jersey injury lawsuits requires a nuanced understanding of the state’s legal landscape. By arming yourself with knowledge, choosing the right legal representation, and understanding the intricacies of the system, you can confidently pursue justice and seek the compensation you deserve in the Garden State.
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