Smith + Schwartzstein
Located In Morristown, NJ and New York, NY

What is the statute of limitations for a car accident matter?

If you are injured in a car accident, there are a number of things to consider. The first is your health. If you are injured, you have to make sure you get the proper care. If someone hit you, you only have a certain amount of time to file a claim against them. It is called the “statute of limitations.” It is a legal rule that says how much time you will have to sue their insurance company and get the lawsuit settled.

What is the statute of limitations?

The statute of limitations varies by state. It also depends on the type of claim filed. The statute of limitations exist in both civil and criminal cases. If you live in New Jersey, for criminal cases, no statute of limitations exists for manslaughter or murder, which means you can be prosecuted for this crime at any time. For misdemeanors, prosecutors have one year to file charges for petty offenses, while other crimes have five to seven years. For civil cases like your car accident, in New Jersey you have two years to file claims for any injuries you sustained and six years for any property that was damaged.


For damage to your car or property and you suffered minor injuries, the statute of limitations can be anywhere from two to six years. However, if someone dies in the crash, then a wrongful death suit can be filed and the time to sue is even longer. It all depends on what state you live in. The statute of limitations was created to ensure what is called a fair case. What makes a case fair is that setting a short deadline for a lawsuit can be ideal. Other possible reasons for the quick turn-around may include:

  • Witnesses die or possibly move away
  • Evidence may be lost
  • People may forget what they see

You will more than likely have to work with the insurance company of the person who hit you. It is also a good idea to notify your insurance company as soon as the accident happens. Your claim for reimbursement should be taken care of by the insurance of the person who hit you. Having an attorney could help you work with the insurance companies, file your personal injury claim with the court and help you better understand the statute of limitations.

If you are involved in a car accident, the statute of limitations depends on where you live. It is best to find out the laws in your state. If you live in New Jersey consulting an attorney will help you make the right decisions if you are involved in an accident.

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