Injury Victims Need to Know How Important it is to File a Claim on Time
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Sat Jul 2019
While the quote is unattributed to an unknown author, it bears some significance. “One of these days, is none of these days.” For injury victims, filing a claim on time has an important meaning. Truth be told, failure to abide by the statute of limitations could result in you losing some critical rights.
Non-lawyers and even attorneys who don’t practice personal injury law often make wrongful assumptions. More than likely, you’ve already heard the play on words about those who assume. Most importantly, you may ultimately kick yourself if you’ve procrastinated about seeing an attorney if someone else caused you harm.
NOT EVERY NEW JERSEY PERSONAL INJURY CASE ALLOWS VICTIMS TO WAIT TWO YEARS TO FILE A CLAIM. At the very least, it only takes a delay of just 90 days to add some extra unnecessary work to pursuing legal action.
Filing Claims Against Public Entities
No doubt you’re confused at what constitutes a public entity. You might think of it as anything funded by taxpayer money. Therefore, if you’re in a motor vehicle accident with a city vehicle in Elizabeth, you may have a claim against the local government.
Likewise, you may be able to pursue a case for monetary damages if you slip and fall on a college campus. If you’re injured at Union County College, your attorney will investigate whether Union County should be held liable. Meanwhile, allegations of negligence against Kean University require filing a Notice of Claim with the State of New Jersey.
These are just two examples of prospective claims against public entities. Anything that happens on public property or injuries caused due to the negligence of a public employee fall into this category. The commonality between them requires filing a New Jersey Tort Claims Notice.
Claims against public entities have their own section in New Jersey law under Title 59. The State of New Jersey provides Notice of Claim Instructions as part of its risk management procedures. Notably, the State calls for filing the form within 90 days of the occurrence that caused your injuries.
In some circumstances, you may be able to file a Notice of late claim if you didn’t file the requisite paperwork within the 90 days. According to NJSA 59:8-9, this extends the time for filing the time to up to one year. However, your attorney will need to file a motion asking the court to order to allow the late filing.
After the Notice of Claim requirements are met, most public entities allow injury victims two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
Pursuing a Case Against the Port Authority
Meanwhile, there are some exceptions. You may recall the case of the Elizabeth pedestrian struck by an NJ Transit bus, which resulted in a $4.65 recovery. The horrible crash required the victim’s lawyers to comply with the regular claim procedures for public entities.
That said, the rules for cases against the Port Authority of New Jersey and New York contain even stricter deadlines. For starters, the injured party needs to file a Notice of Claim 60 days before filing a lawsuit.
It doesn’t stop there. Victims only have one year to bring a case to court. Otherwise, they lose their right to sue.
The Port Authority controls local transportation hubs and river crossings in the State of New Jersey. These include Liberty Airport aka Newark Airport and the PATH station in Jersey City. Also included are the George Washington Bridge, Holland Tunnel, and the Lincoln Tunnel.
Statute of Limitation for Injured Children
If your child suffers injuries as the result of someone else’s negligence, it’s already difficult to handle. You may already know that the statute of limitations extends the time for filing a claim.
Truth be told, you could wait until your son or daughter reaches adulthood and allow them to file a case on their own. However, you should be aware of why that’s not necessarily a great idea.
For one, investigating stale claims often proves difficult. Even with technology, it’s cumbersome to obtain dated reports. Witness recollections change over time.
That’s not to say that an adult who suffered harm as a child shouldn’t attempt legal action. This includes claims of birth injuries.
If the workers’ compensation insurance company validates your claim, you have an extended time period in which to file a claim petition. A claim petition is a legal document filed within the workers’ compensation courts for benefits when you have a work-related accident.
Contested claims must be filed within two years of the occurrence or your first knowledge that your injuries are work-related. The latter generally applies to occupational injuries. For example, if your doctor tells you that your cancer is due to exposure to dangerous substances at work, the statute of limitation starts from the date you learn your illness is work-related.
Otherwise, the statute of limitations runs from the last date you received authorized medical care or money from the insurance company related to your accident. You have two years from either of those dates to file a claim.
The bottom line is that procrastination can impact your ability to collect monetary damages for accidental harm. The Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafajlo would like to assist you. Contact us to learn how we can help you.