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What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Car Accident in New Jersey?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you should be aware that the statute of limitations sets the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit or lose your legal rights forever. If you are only claiming property damage, you have as much as six years from the date of the accident to file a claim for your car or any other personal property you might have lost in the crash. However, if you are claiming losses due to a personal injury, you must file within two years in most cases.

The statute of limitations exists to protect defendants who otherwise could live under the threat of a lawsuit for the rest of their lives. It also promotes justice by forcing a plaintiff to bring an action within a reasonable amount of time, before evidence degrades or disappears. Imagine the injustice that might occur if a plaintiff could wait until key witnesses for the defense forgot their testimony, moved out of the jurisdiction or passed away.

On the other hand, the law takes into account circumstances that might reasonably prevent a plaintiff from filing a lawsuit within the statutory period and provides extensions for certain exceptions:

  • Latent injury — Under the discovery rule, a plaintiff who was unaware that a hidden injury occurred on a certain date does not have to count all the way back to the date of the accident. Instead, the statutory period of two years only begins when the plaintiff discovers the injury, or when the plaintiff should reasonably have known an injury occurred.
  • Injury to a child — In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for an injured child does not start to run until the child’s 18th birthday.
  • Plaintiff’s incapacity — The statute of limitations tolls (stops running) if a plaintiff is not legally sane and only begins again when the plaintiff regains sanity.
  • Defendant’s bankruptcy — When a defendant declares bankruptcy, the statute tolls until the bankruptcy process has run its course.
  • Defendant leaves the state — The statute of limitations may toll when a defendant leaves the state and the court cannot exercise jurisdiction.

If an injured party treats a claim conscientiously, the statute of limitations should not be an issue. A plaintiff should retain an attorney immediately so that that physical evidence can be preserved and witness statements can be taken under oath. In many cases, the attorney will file a lawsuit early to use discovery powers to obtain necessary evidence.

The deadline that presents a greater threat to a plaintiff’s rights involves claims against a government entity. If you are involved in an accident with a New Jersey state vehicle, the law says you must submit a Notice of Claim to the appropriate public entity within 90 days, or you lose your right to compensation.    

For experienced representation after your vehicle accident, call Seigel Law at 201.444.4000 or contact us online. We offer free consultations for injured clients in Bergen County and throughout New Jersey.

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  • (95 Reviews)

    By Teresa R Perez - January, 2018

    I have had a great experience thus far. The personal injury process is stressful and they have been helpful and courteous in getting me the right referrals. I was injured while visiting NJ and live in another state, my case is not an easy one but they are working diligently to help. I appreciate the personalized attention and highly recommend this firm.

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    By Miriam Smith-Leone - December, 2017

    The law office was great with my back and neck injury. They directed me to the right doctors and got me a huge settlement. Being a single mom, it help pay off all my debt and bills. Me and my kids can have a bill free christmas, with plenty of food and happiness, stress free. They are the best ever and I would highly recommend them to anyone rich or poor, who has been in an accident and need legal help...

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    By L C - October, 2017

    After the misfortune of suffering an injury, I had the good fortune to choose Seigel Law to represent me. During my initial meeting with Jan Seigel, I found him to be extremely confident and reassuring---he totally put me at ease. I was represented by Mark Mc Bratney---an EXCELLENT attorney. He was supportive and professional through the entire process, and provided an excellent outcome for my case.

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    By Liliana Paredes - October, 2017

    Honest, trustworthy and very straight forward. In unvarnished truth Jonas Siegel will tell you exactly where you stand and what direction you should go. Jonas has tenacity coupled with a degree of tenderness, but never losing site of the end goal, which is to protect, defend and have the best outcome for his clients. I defenetly recoment this law firm. Thanks for helping me out in my case.

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    By Oren Goldshmidt - September, 2017

    I'd like to thank everyone at segal law for the amazing experience they provided me. From the moment I stepped in to the end of the case , segal and his team delivered exactly what they promised. I couldn't have received any better treatment from a law firm. Any concerns, questions or problems I had were addressed and dealt with accordingly...

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What we offer our clients


Personal injury and medical knowledge

Our knowledgeable team of personal injury lawyers includes a medical doctor who advises on complex medical topics


One-on-one attorney attention

By maintaining a limited number of cases, our attorneys can provide personalized attention to each client we serve


Results-oriented strategies

Our lawyers have won numerous high verdicts and settlements, many in the high six- and seven-figure range, for our injured clients


Trial experience

Every trial attorney in our firm is a certified trial attorney by the New Jersey Supreme Court


Communication as a priority

We understand how important communication is to a successful attorney-client relationship, we return calls within 24 hours


Community involvement

Our lawyers and staff are active in community outreach and community service programs

  • "The lawyers at Seigel Law know how to get you the results you want. Jan Seigel and His team returned every one of my phone calls, listened to me and worked with me to a desirable outcome. Seigel Law definitely goes above and beyond to protect the injured." - B.M.

  • "After my car accident, my life turned into a disaster. Dealing with everything became impossible. Jan Seigel and his people helped me with every aspect of my injuries and the insurance companies so I could focus on healing. They helped me through everything and they got me what I was due." - M.P.

  • "I found the personnel to be very efficient, and work very quickly. I'm happy that I was referred to this firm, because I found that I was very comfortable working with them." - F.V.

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