A statute of limitations is a law that effectively places a time limit on suing another party. While there are some important reasons for having statutes of limitations, there are also some good reasons why these time limits in New Jersey are too short. In New Jersey, the limitations on suits for Personal Injury, Negligence, Wrongful Death and Medical Malpractice are all two years after the discovery of the injury. The date of the discovery of the injury is included in the two year period. While at first two years may seem like a reasonable amount of time for some injuries, it certainly is not for many others.
Consider a hypothetical situation where a patient, with no family to act on his/her behalf, suffers from some kind of substantial medical malpractice that makes a short hospital visit into one taking months. This incapacitated patient discovered the malpractice as soon as it occurred, leaving him two years to bring a suit against the doctor or hospital. Because of the hospital stay and because this patient has no family to act on his/her behalf, s/he is left with very little time to bring a lawsuit, for which preparations can be time-consuming. Choosing the right lawyer in itself can be a difficult task and is the most important part of bringing a successful lawsuit. A victim, such as the one in this hypothetical, is left with little time to act, because of this short time period from the New Jersey statute of limitations.
In some states, these statutes of limitations are even shorter for medical malpractice than other types of professional malpractice suits, such as suing lawyers or financial advisors. New Jersey ought to do two things for its citizens. First, they must disseminate these laws to the public. Many people in New Jersey have no idea that a time limit exists on these types of law suits and, therefore, fail to bring them within a timely fashion. Second, the politicians should reconsider the time limits that these laws create. While total abolishment of the Statutes of Limitations would not be a perfect solution to this problem, extending the time limits to a more reasonable amount of time for a victimized party is necessary. It appears as though these limitations protect the party who has caused harm to another, rather than the other way around.
Free Legal Advice: Medical Malpractice