The Ins and Outs of Filing Personal Injury Cases in NJ
Personal injury claims can cover a wide range of situations or accidents. Everything from injuries caused by a car accident to a bite from the neighbor’s dog are considered personal injuries. However, to build a successful personal injury claim, there must be valid proof of injury and fault. Before embarking on any legal battle, it is important to first understand the specifics of a certain type of claim, the statute of limitations, and when to contact a lawyer for help. Below, we will explore the ins and outs of filing personal injury claims in NJ.
The Role of Negligence
The basis of most personal injury claims in NJ is negligence. The plaintiff (person filing the lawsuit), most often must be able to prove that the defendant (person being sued) owed them a duty of care, but negligently or intentionally breached that duty, thus causing harm. With New Jersey being a modified comparative negligence state, a plaintiff is required to prove they are less than 50% at fault for their injuries. For clarity, this means the other party, the party being sued, must be over 50% responsible for the injuries caused.
What Will You Gain From Filing a Personal Injury Claim?
Generally, what you are fighting for in a personal injury claim is compensation for damages. Damages refer to both the losses a victim suffered and the means of recovery. Some examples of damages covered by the state of New Jersey include: medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish, household expenses, wrongful death damages, and punitive damages. Again, before deciding if a lawsuit will be worth it, it is important to understand the monetary value of your damages. If your injuries are minor, you might find that a simple insurance claim will provide efficient enough compensation. Furthermore, if your damages are worth more than $3,000, the settlement limit for small claims court in New Jersey, you may want to seek legal assistance.
Statute of Limitations
Every state and every type of claim has different statutes of limitations. In New Jersey, you must file a personal injury claim within two years of sustaining an injury. These time limits help to preserve the integrity of evidence and eliminate the indefinite threat of lawsuits. If you file a personal injury claim outside of the two year window, it is likely the courts will refuse to hear your case. Nonetheless, there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations.
Getting the Best Settlement
Most personal injury claims are settled before they are ever taken to court. In other words, the plaintiff and the defendant usually work together to negotiate a fair settlement amount without the need for a court case. Before entering these negotiations, have a minimum acceptable settlement amount in mind and never settle on the first offer. It is often useful to have a lawyer to help with negotiations when you are asking for compensation greater than a few thousand dollars, you are seeking future damages, or there is a question of fault. A lawyer will work with you to build the best possible case for getting you the settlement amount you deserve.
When to Get a Lawyer
As mentioned above, to get the best settlement amount it may be advantageous to contact a lawyer. In fact, one study showed that legal assistance helped the average person gain 3.5 times more settlement money than those without. Additionally, if you are dealing with major injuries, struggling to prove fault, or believe you may have a case that is an exception to the statute of limitations, contact a legal professional for guidance. David Kaplan, a New Jersey attorney at law, has spent his 30 year legal career specializing in personal injury claims. His expertise paired with his dedication to justice will help you build the best legal case possible. For more information, or a free case evaluation, visit his website or Instagram.