Statutes of limitations are legal time limits on a person’s right to file a lawsuit. These vary from state to state. It is critical that you consult an attorney promptly after the occurrence of an event that may be the basis of a lawsuit, so that you can know how long you have to sue. If the lawsuit is filed after the expiration of the statute of limitations, it may be dismissed by the court.
For example, in New Jersey, the statute of limitations for a personal injury action is two years, while the statute of limitations for most breach of contract cases is six years. If you wish to file a complaint containing multiple claims with differing statutes of limitations, it must be filed within the shortest of the time limits.
Your attorney must make a careful analysis in all cases to determine from what date the statute period should be counted.There are some rules which may apply to a certain situation to toll or extend the statute of limitations. For example, in a medical malpractice case where the physician concealed the truth from the patient, the period of limitations begins to run from the discovery of the fraud or the time when, by reasonable diligence, it could have been discovered.
Typically, the court will hold a special hearing early in such cases to determine how this “discovery rule” should be applied to a particular case.Also, if a claimant is under the age of 21 years at the time of the accrual of his cause of action, the time period to sue does not begin to run until the claimant reaches 21 years of age. There is an exception to this rule for medical malpractice actions involving minors, in which a case for an injury sustained at birth must be filed before the minor’s 13th birthday.The primary source for a particular statute of limitations is the New Jersey Statutes Annotated. However, you must seek legal counsel to determine how a particular statute would apply to the facts of your case.The foregoing information should not be construed as legal advice. The posting of this article does not create an attorney/client relationship. Please contact this law firm for more specific information.