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New Jersey Personal Injury Laws

There are several different types of personal injury cases, including medical malpractice, product liability, breach of contract, property damage, etc. New Jersey's personal injury laws address each type of case and their countless variables, meaning that no two lawsuits are handled similarly. The many complex personal injury laws ensure that your lawsuit receives the scrutiny and fairness it deserves in court.

If you've been injured in Newark, Jersey City or Paterson, use LawInfo's New Jersey personal injury articles to learn about the laws surrounding your case and to find a qualified attorney.

New Jersey Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations (see § 2A:14) limits how much time after an injury occurs that a plaintiff has to pursue legal action against a defendant. Once the statute "runs out," a lawsuit cannot be pursued. New Jersey's civil statute of limitations includes:

  • Two years for personal injury.
  • Six years for fraud.
  • Six years for written and oral contracts.
  • Two years for medical malpractice.
  • Two years for wrongful death.
  • Six years for injury (or damage) to property.

Proving Negligence in New Jersey

Except for strict liability cases, you will have to prove that another person or entity's negligence was responsible for causing your personal injury to recover compensation. A negligence claim carries a high burden of proof in a personal injury lawsuit to protect the defendant's rights.

To better prepare your negligence claim, it's important to understand some of the standards New Jersey courts use to determine a defendant's negligence and liability. Two of those standards are the "reasonably prudent person" principle and the four elements of negligence.

The reasonably prudent person principle is a standard of care which courts measure a defendant's choices and actions against. If a defendant's actions surrounding the injuring incident are different from those of a responsible and law-abiding person, they may have been negligent.

The four elements of negligence examine a defendant's responsibilities and liability to the plaintiff's injury. The four elements are:

  1. Duty—Did the defendant possess a duty of care to the plaintiff's safety in the given situation?
  2. Breach of Duty—Did the defendant's actions during the injuring incident constitute a breach of that duty?
  3. Causation—Was the breach of duty responsible for causing injury to the plaintiff?
  4. Damages—Does the plaintiff's injury constitute an actual economic or noneconomic damage that the defendant is liable for?

New Jersey Medical Malpractice

While medical malpractice is another branch of personal injury law, it's often a much more serious and high-stakes litigation than other types of personal injury lawsuits. This is because injured plaintiffs are suing health care providers, which can often result in multimillion dollar settlements and a damaged public image for the providers.

Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider such as a hospital or a doctor negligently cause injury to a patient during treatment or surgery. However, an injury from medical malpractice may not manifest symptoms until months or years after the initial injuring incident. Therefore, New Jersey's discovery rule delays the medical malpractice statute of limitations for most cases from running until the plaintiff has discovered the injury.

Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney

Injuries cost money, including time away from work, medical bills and other complications. You should have an attorney help you with your claim. Not sure if you have a good injury case? Speak to a local personal injury attorney about the merits of your case. This one step can help you protect your rights and take the proper next steps.

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