A personal injury is an injury that has occurred to the body or property of a victim due to the negligent or intentional actions of another person. In New Jersey, the victim is allowed to file a lawsuit in the court to claim his compensation for his loss. There are various forms of personal injury cases:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Construction defects
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitation i.e. the maximum time limit for filing a personal injury claim in the state of New Jersey is TWO YEARS. It is highly important to understand the laws associated with the statute of limitations. This time starts from the time of the injury occurrence. If the injured party is unable to file a lawsuit within two years, the court will refuse to hear his or her case.
Motor Vehicle Insurance Policies
In motor vehicle accidents, New Jersey follows a ‘no-fault’ rule. Under this rule, the injury claims are made by the injured against his or her own insurer. This rule, however does not apply if the injured meets the threshold for personal injuries. This threshold usually includes serious injuries like disfigurements, loss of body part and dislocations.
Comparative Fault Rules in New Jersey
For determining the shared fault in a personal injury case, New Jersey follows the rule called ‘modified comparative negligence’ rule. In legalese, this means that the amount of compensation to be received by the injured person gets reduced if he or she shares part of the fault in the accident. However, if the injured party shares more than 50 percent of fault, he or she would not be eligible for any compensation at all. Here is an EXAMPLE of modified comparative negligence rule:
Suppose a person named Lara is standing at a red light and her car’s break lights are not working. Moments later, she gets rear ended by another car driver. During the trial, it is found that the other driver was at 90 percent fault while Lara was at 10 percent fault. As a result her compensation amount that would have been $10,000 gets reduced to $9,000 due to her own partial fault.
Personal Injury Damage Caps
Many states impose limitations on the amount of compensation to be received by the injured party in a personal injury case. New Jersey law has capped punitive damages in personal injury cases to five times the damage or $350,000 (whichever comes first).