There is a variety of reasons an individual may sustain a personal injury in New Jersey. This is because this category is a broad area of the law covering many different types of suits, most of which are common. These range from medical malpractice to slip and fall accidents or even dog bites. In many cases, physical or mental trauma are involved due to the carelessness of another person or company. Regardless of the reason for such injuries, it is always in one’s best interest to have personal injury assistance from a qualified attorney. Below are some interesting facts about New Jersey personal injury laws:
Shared Fault Laws in New Jersey
In certain instances, the party you are planning to hold responsible for your injuries may state that you are partially to blame. If there is some amount of liability shared by you, it can affect the monetary settlement you receive as compensation. This is the “modified comparative negligence rule,” and it simply means that you may receive a reduced amount of compensation commensurate with your percentage of blame for the accident or incident that caused you harm.
The courts are required to closely follow this law whenever a personal injury suit goes to a full trial. However, when professional advice is sought, such cases are seldom heard in court by a magistrate or jury. Rather, they are settled between the lawyers of the two parties who negotiate a settlement on behalf of their clients.
No-Fault Regulations for Motor Vehicle Accidents
In motor vehicle collision cases only, New Jersey’s “no-fault” system requires that you turn in a claim for compensation to your own insurance company. However, if you can prove that your damages meet or exceed the threshold for serious injury in the state, you can pursue compensation for pain and suffering, physical or mental trauma or other damages by suing the careless or negligent party. Your demand for compensation may be somewhat limited if your injuries cannot be clearly proven. For this reason, it is very important to be evaluated by a licensed health care practitioner immediately following the incident to ensure your claim is handled in an expeditious manner.
Caps on Damages in New Jersey Personal Injury Cases
Certain states place limits on the type of damage that an injured individual can receive through filing a lawsuit. New Jersey codes state that punitive damages may be capped at an amount equaling $350,000 or five times the amount of what is referred to as compensatory damages. However, these laws can be somewhat complicated and it is never wise to try to argue your own case if circumstances make it subject to this law. Because compensation is rarely awarded to begin with, you should definitely discuss this with an attorney if the topic is relevant to your case.
New Jersey Injury Laws Regarding Dog Bite Cases
If you have been attacked or bitten by a dog, you definitely need personal injury assistance from an experienced lawyer. This is because statistics show that dog owners often take their cases to trial rather than settle out of court, as they are convinced they can present a good argument concerning why they should not be blamed for the incident. In certain areas of the country, dog owners are to some degree protected from dog bite liability if it was the first time the dog attacked someone and had no prior history of attacking others. However, because this is such an easy circumstance to lie about, New Jersey has adopted a “one bite” rule that prevents owners from avoiding liability for the attack. Even though dog owners typically lose such cases, it is never in your best interest to go to court without the help of a qualified attorney who is familiar with all the New Jersey personal injury laws.
Time is of the Essence
If you have ever heard legal terms concerning lawsuits, you may be familiar with the phrase “time is of the essence.” Regardless of where you live, somewhere on the books is a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Various deadlines exist, and these are dependent upon the kind of case you are asking a magistrate or jury to hear. In most cases, the New Jersey statute of limitations for lawsuits involving physical or mental injuries give the plaintiff 24 months from the date of the incident to file a suit against the party he or she believes is responsible. A qualified attorney who is familiar with New Jersey personal injury laws will ensure that you do not inadvertently go past this deadline and subsequently reduce or eliminate any amount of compensation you may win.
New Jersey Personal Injury Laws When the Plaintiff is a Government Agency
If you were injured due to the negligence or carelessness of an agency or employee of the New Jersey government, different laws apply. For example, within three months from the date of the injury, you must submit a formal complaint to the New Jersey state government. At this point, a six-month waiting period begins, during which time the government can contact you to attempt to resolve your claim without litigation. If the waiting period ends without an agreed-upon settlement or if it ends with you not having heard from any government official about your complaint, you may then file a lawsuit to have your case heard in court. Regardless of the type of injury you sustained or what you think your damages may be, it is always in your best interest to obtain personal injury advice from an experienced and qualified legal firm.