New Jersey Personal Injury Law: What You Need to Know
March 8 2023
Generally speaking, in New Jersey, an injured person must prove that another party acted negligently or intentionally wronged them in order to recover compensation for their injuries through a personal injury claim. Additionally, the state of New Jersey has placed a two-year deadline on filing a personal injury lawsuit.
What is New Jersey Personal Injury Law?
New Jersey personal injury law codifies the state’s recognition of citizens’ rights to seek compensation for injuries or illnesses that are caused by others’ negligent or intentional acts. Personal injury is the area of law that protects victims from being overridden by powerful entities in civil court and ensures that they are given a fair hearing. Negligence and intentional wrongs are the primary grounds for filing a personal injury lawsuit in New Jersey.
Negligence claims involve circumstances where a person does not act as a reasonable, responsible person would under similar circumstances. When someone fails to meet this “standard of care,” their behavior falls below the accepted safety norms. For example, if a driver failed to yield the right of way and caused an auto accident, they would likely be found liable for negligence.
Intentional wrongdoing occurs when someone deliberately causes harm to another person—such as false imprisonment or assault and battery—or when someone engages in conduct that is intrinsically dangerous (e.g., setting off fireworks). Intentional torts go beyond the realm of negligence, as there must be actual intent on the part of the perpetrator to cause harm.
The two types of injuries generally recognized in New Jersey are economic losses and non-economic damages. Economic losses encompass lost wages, medical bills, court fees, and other measurable costs incurred due to an injury or illness. Non-economic damages refer to subjective losses such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, or permanently reduced quality of life due to an injury or illness. In some cases, punitive damages may be available if it can be shown that a defendant acted with malice or recklessness in causing an injury or death.
Ultimately, the goal of pursuing a personal injury claim is to obtain compensation for one’s injuries. This can take many forms: cash awards directly from the defendant(s), insurance settlements, arbitration awards, or judgments from a successful jury trial.
Given the broad range of potential claims and procedures related to personal injury law in New Jersey, delving into further detail about specific types of claims is essential for any individual who believes that they have been wrongfully victimized. The following section will examine the various types of personal injury claims available in New Jersey so readers may gain an understanding of which type best applies to their situation and how they can proceed accordingly.
Types of Personal Injury Claims
New Jersey courts recognize three primary types of personal injury claims: negligence, strict liability, and intentional acts. Negligence refers to instances when a person or entity has acted carelessly in a way that resulted in harm. Strict liability is when an individual or corporation is held responsible for damages without having to prove fault (in some cases). Intentional acts refer to circumstances where a person or organization deliberately set out to injure another party.
If you have been the victim of any of these entities, you could be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and other forms of loss associated with the injury. Negligence claims typically involve proving the defendant’s breach of duty of care. This requires providing evidence that the defendant failed to act responsibly and as a result caused harm. Common examples are car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace injuries, dangerous premises, product liability claims, and defamation.
Strict liability cases usually include offenses such as defective products that resulted in injuries regardless of whether there was any negligence involved. For example, if a manufacturer sold a defective product that injured someone without warning them beforehand, then they would be found strictly liable under New Jersey law.
Finally, intentional tort claims include scenarios like assault, battery, fraud, and false imprisonment – all cases where the offender knowingly intended to cause harm or damage.
No matter what type of personal injury claim you may pursue in New Jersey – whether it be via negligence or something else – it is important to remember that this is a complex area of law that requires extensive legal knowledge. An experienced New Jersey attorney can help you navigate the process from start to finish so that you receive the just compensation you are entitled to.
As we move on to discuss filing an injury claim in New Jersey, it’s important to understand how your specific injury or circumstance affects your legal rights going forward.
- According to the National Center for State Courts, New Jersey is one of the most litigious states for personal injury cases in the United States.
- In 2020, awards for personal injury settlements in the state of New Jersey totaled over half a billion dollars.
- New Jersey is one of the few states that recognize “Non Economic Loss” as an element of damages for some personal injury cases.
Filing an Injury Claim in New Jersey
Filing an Injury Claim in New Jersey is not a complicated process but it is important to gather all the necessary information before beginning. First, the injured party must identify who is responsible for the injury. This means gathering evidence such as police reports and medical records that support their claim and prove that someone else is to blame for the accident or negligence which injured them. If a person believes they are entitled to compensation for their pain, suffering and loss of earnings, they can file a lawsuit with the insurance company of the liable party or take their case to court.
When deciding who to sue and how much money damages should be sought, claimants must evaluate their own role in causing the accident or otherwise understand legal concepts such as comparative negligence and contributory negligence. Comparative occurs when each party is partially at fault and damages are awarded in proportion to each party’s individual liability. Contributory negligence is less common and requires the plaintiff (the person bringing the claim) prove that they were not at all responsible for the incident. Additionally, since New Jersey has established a three-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, victims must be aware that they do not have an indefinite amount of time to file a lawsuit. It’s important to seek advice from an experienced legal advisor if you’re considering an injury claim so you can make sure you have met all statutory requirements and have taken into account any additional considerations when filing your claim.
The next section will examine Negligence and Responsibility for Injuries; how does this factor into your personal injury case?
Negligence and Responsibility for Injuries
Negligence, or careless disregard for the safety of another party, is a key element in determining legal responsibility for a personal injury. An injured person seeking damages from the responsible party must prove that their injuries resulted from negligence and that the other party was at fault. Negligence serves as the basis for most personal injury claims and understanding how it applies in New Jersey can help individuals determine if they have a valid case.
For an injured person to hold another responsible for their injury, they must be able to demonstrate negligence on the part of the accused. To succeed in this mission, the plaintiff must prove four main elements: duty, breach of duty, causation, and harm. This means that there was a specific duty obligated by law (or contract) to avoid the act that led to injury, then a subsequent breach of that duty occurred due to inaction or defective action; and this ‘breach’ then caused and actual harm (injury), both physical and/or financial.
In personal injury cases, determining liability can be complicated and often involves investigating many different factors to understand the context behind an accident or incident. Oftentimes claimants will face challenges proving that negligence actually caused their injuries, especially in scenarios with multiple parties involved who acted negligently or expressed varying degrees of fault. In such cases, clear evidence must be demonstrated to establish direct causation between an individual’s actions and another’s injuries.
The debate between personal responsibility/reckless behavior versus accepted industry standards will also come into play during litigation proceedings. Open discussion between attorneys representing both parties allows each side to make arguments as to why or why not their client should be held accountable for any unavoidable dangers associated with an event or operation taking place before the incident occurred.
By successfully demonstrating negligence in court, plaintiffs may be awarded financial compensation for medical fees, lost wages and pain and suffering related to their injuries. Establishing negligence thus serves as an important step towards recovering damages for those harmed due to carelessness or wrongdoing of another party.
In the next section we will discuss further situations on establishing negligence, including what are known as “per se” laws and statutes of limitations.
Establishing negligence is a core element in determining fault for damages incurred from a personal injury. Negligence applies to a situation where one person fails to exercise reasonable care, resulting in an injury or damage to another party. Injury awards are typically based on the injured party’s financial losses, such as medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering, but only if the other party is found to be negligent.
Under New Jersey law, negligence can be established in one of two ways:
1) With direct proof of the other party’s negligence and/or;
2) By using circumstantial evidence to support a claim that the other party was negligent.
In cases where direct evidence isn’t available, the injured party will have to prove that there existed an opportunity in which reasonable care should have been taken by the other party to prevent any injury or damage, but wasn’t taken. This is called breach of duty or “duty of care”. The injured party must also establish that this breach was the direct cause of their injury (known as causation).
The defendant may potentially argue that they exercised reasonable care, or that there was no expectations of their responsibility to act at all, and thus no breach occurred. In some cases even if it is proved that due care was not executed, it may be argued that credible alternative courses could have resulted in no harm coming at all. It would then be up to the jury or judge presiding for review and decision on these arguments.
Establishing negligence and determining liability for damages is critical for obtaining compensation for personal injuries sustained in New Jersey. The next section will discuss how potential damages are evaluated and how compensation is determined for any damages incurred.
Determining Compensation for Damages
Determining compensation for damages in a personal injury claim in New Jersey is highly complex. It is important to know the value of your case in terms of damages before you choose to file a lawsuit or settle with an insurance company. While many cases involve the calculation of medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket costs, there are other aspects of calculating various types of damages that can vary greatly based on the individual circumstances of each case.
In considering economic losses, pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of consortium claims must all be considered by the courts when determining damages awards. Monetary settlements related to these types of non-economic losses are largely subjective and can depend on several factors such as the extent of physical pain suffered by the injured party, the emotional toll caused by the incident leading to injury, and how much the injury has interfered with the injured party’s life. Finally, punitive damage awards are possible under certain conditions in some states such as New Jersey. Punitive damages are designed to send a message to negligent parties that such behavior will not be tolerated and should never be taken lightly.
When deciding whether or not pursue a personal injury claim, having a full understanding of potential recovery options is imperative. Whether working with an attorney or going through negotiations alone with an insurance adjuster, knowing what types and amounts of compensable damages an individual may qualify for can help them make the most informed decision for their case. The next section will focus on legal representation for personal injury in New Jersey and evaluating whether seeking an attorney is the best option for pursuing a claim.
Legal Representation for Personal Injury in New Jersey
Legal representation is a critical component of resolving a personal injury matter in New Jersey. Selecting an experienced attorney to represent you can have an immense impact on the outcome of the case, including the amount of compensation that may eventually be awarded for the damages. Those who attempt to navigate the complex legal matters associated with personal injury cases without seeking legal counsel may not adequately protect their rights and interests, or understand applicable laws and procedures. Conversely, those who retain a qualified attorney may benefit from receiving knowledgeable advice, accurate filed paperwork, skillful negotiations, a thorough understanding of claims processes, and effective representation in court.
It is important to recognize that not all attorneys are alike and it is wise to thoroughly research a law firm before making the decision to hire them. In addition to qualifications such as experience level, past client reviews and familiarity with your type of case should also be considered. Injury attorneys in New Jersey typically work on contingency basis and often do not collect fees until a payout has been reached or awarded at trial. When interviewing potential legal counsel, questions related to expenses and administrative fees also should be addressed.
Having professional legal representation is generally thought to be beneficial when it comes to pursuing a personal injury claim in New Jersey; however the decision ultimately rests with the individual seeking recompense for damages due to negligence or willful misconduct. Ultimately, those who decide against working with an attorney should educate themselves about the relevant laws and regulations and remain aware of local court procedures while navigating the entire process from start to finish.
There are many considerations involved in working with personal injury attorneys in New Jersey; from finding reliable counsel to determining how legal fees are assessed. The next section will discuss these topics further and provide additional information about what you should look for when selecting a personal injury lawyer in New Jersey.
Working with Personal Injury Attorneys
When you suffer an injury due to the negligence of another, receiving legal advice and representation can be invaluable. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney is often seen as the best option for those involved in a personal injury claim. An experienced attorney can help victims of accidents pursue the legal action they may be entitled to without the stress associated with such a situation.
Hiring a qualified personal injury lawyer can potentially save you time, stress and money. Lawyers understand the legal process and have familiarity with the court system, including insurance companies and their tactics. They can advise you on your situation, recommend what options may be available to you and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. An experienced attorney can assess your case and work to maximize your potential compensation through settlements or trial awards.
On the other hand, there are some drawbacks to hiring a personal injury attorney that should also be considered. First, working with such an attorney may be expensive. While most attorneys work on a contingency fee basis (meaning they do not get paid unless you win your case), there are typically certain out-of-pocket expenses associated with the litigation costs of your case. Additionally, even if you win your case, that does not guarantee that you will receive a high monetary award or sufficient recovery for all of your damages. Litigation can also take much longer than anticipated and require multiple court appearances.
Overall, when deciding whether or not to hire a personal injury attorney, it is important to carefully assess your specific needs and consider all aspects—the benefits and drawbacks—involved in making such a decision. Ultimately, no one should have to face the complexity of filing an accident claim alone; enlisting an experienced lawyer can prove very beneficial both legally and mentally during a difficult time in life.
Frequently Asked Questions Answered
What types of personal injury cases are covered by New Jersey law?
New Jersey law covers a wide range of personal injury cases, including automobile and other motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, workplace injuries, premises liabilities, product defects, and many other kinds of negligence-based claims.
An injured person may be able to pursue compensation for a variety of losses and damages arising from their injury, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability, or funeral costs in the event of wrongful death.
It’s important for individuals injured in an accident or otherwise harmed due to another person’s or entity’s negligence to understand their rights under New Jersey law and help protect against further injury or harm.
What is the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in New Jersey?
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in New Jersey is two years. This means that an injured party must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the injury, or they will be barred from pursuing their case in court. However, there are some exceptions to this two-year statute of limitation. For instance, under certain circumstances a minor does not need to adhere to the two-year time limit or if the defendant left the state for a period of time than the time limit may be extended. Additionally, it is important to note that there are very specific filing guidelines to follow when filing a lawsuit in New Jersey so it is recommended that you seek legal advice prior to initiating any legal action.
How does New Jersey law define negligence in a personal injury case?
Under New Jersey law, negligence is defined as the failure of someone to behave as a reasonable person would in similar circumstances. This includes not only a carelessness or lack of attention to one’s actions or surroundings, but also a complete disregard for the potential consequences of such actions. Generally, when a person’s negligent behavior directly results in another person’s injury or damages, then the injured party can hold them liable in a personal injury lawsuit.
To prove negligence in court, an injured party must satisfy five elements: duty, breach, causation, harm and damages. First, it must be established that the defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff. For example, drivers owe other drivers on the road a duty of reasonable care while operating their vehicles. Second, it must be shown that the defendant breached this duty – i.e., they did not act as a reasonable person would have under similar circumstances. Third and fourth, it must be demonstrated that this breach was both the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injury/damages and that actual physical or economic harm has been suffered by the plaintiff as a result. Finally, “actual damages” must be proven – in other words, the plaintiff must provide evidence of physical or economic losses due to their injury or damages. If all five elements are successfully proven in court then negligence may be found and damages may be awarded accordingly.