Personal injuries in NJ
Personal injury law allows you to recover just compensation for your injuries caused by another person’s negligence, recklessness or deliberate act. Not every claim requires a lawsuit, and not every lawsuit requires an actual trial. Most personal injury cases reach negotiated settlements. The Anthony Pope Law Firm in New Jersey offers these brief answers to questions we’re often asked. For further information, please contact our firm.
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The Anthony Pope Law Firm firm accepts injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t pay any attorney’s fees until we recover an award of compensation. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation, call us at 973.536.2346 or contact us online.
- Can I recover for emotional harm in a New Jersey personal injury case?
- What is a statute of limitations, and how does it apply to New Jersey personal injury claims?
- How does the “discovery rule” influence the statute of limitations in New Jersey?
- How long will it take before I recover compensation?
Adding causes of action is one way an attorney can help maximize your outcome. Emotional harm is a legitimate cause of action, but New Jersey law only allows recovery of the costs related to the physical manifestation of emotional distress. So, if you were in a car accident and saw your children horribly injured and that caused you deep distress, you could not recover monetary damages unless your distress gave you physical symptoms. You could recover the costs of treatment for your physical symptoms, such as migraine headaches or ulcers, if you could prove the accident was the proximate cause.
The statute of limitations is the time limit after which you can no longer hold anyone accountable for your injuries. In New Jersey, the usual statute of limitations for filing your personal injury claim is two years. If you do not file a lawsuit within two years of the event that caused your injuries, you are forever barred from seeking compensation from the person who hurt you.
The discovery rule extends the statute of limitations beyond two years, so you are no longer limited by the moment in time when your injury occurred, but by the moment you knew or should have known that you’d been injured. This is a narrow exception to the law that only applies to latent injuries whose causes are difficult to pinpoint. One example would be a prescription drug with a hidden side effect that isn’t apparent until years after a patient stopped using the drug. Ask your personal injury attorney if the discovery rule applies to you.
The ability to close a case in a timely fashion is one of the things to look for in a personal injury attorney. But the length of a personal injury action depends upon the facts of the case. Since no two cases are exactly alike, it’s impossible to give an average. Factors leading to extended negotiations and litigations include:
- The complexity of the chain of events that led to the injury – If the defendant’s liability is not cut and dry, the defense will stall and try to wear you down.
- The cost of the injury – The higher the price tag for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, etc., the more motivated the defense is to deny liability.
- The complexity in calculating future losses – If your injury is one from which you will never fully recover, the two sides must engage in educated speculation about what your future medical expenses, income loss and pain and suffering will be.