You have an accident, suffer personal injury and hire a New Jersey lawyer. At the time you suffered the personal injury, you worked for a company in Clifton that rents chairs to customers who need them to stage lectures, musical performances, etc. You were in the process of arranging the chairs at a customer’s premises in Passaic.
While you set up the chairs, an employee of the customer that rented them acted carelessly. The employee tried to unload too many chairs at one time from a rack. Consequently, the worker dropped some of the chairs on you. The employee’s carelessness thus caused you to fall.
In turn, the fall caused your personal injury. You suffered great pain to your lower back. In fact, the pain arose in an area of your back where you previously suffered a herniated disc.
However, after a long recovery period, much medical treatment and physical therapy, you feel better. Indeed, your lawyer on your personal injury claim tells you that your doctor says that the accident did not cause any permanent injury, beyond that which you previously suffered from your prior herniated disk.
Accordingly, you wonder if you still have a valid personal injury claim. You wonder if your personal injury lawyer can still sue on your behalf over an injury that wasn’t permanent.
The answer is, it depends on whom you are suing, and what you are suing for. In general, you CAN sue for non-permanent personal injury.
WHEN A LAWYER CAN’T SUE FOR NON-PERMANENT PERSONAL INJURY
However, there are exceptions. Your right to sue a public (i.e., government) entity or employee for non-permanent injuries is limited. So if the careless employee in my example worked for say, a local school board, you would probably be out of luck.
A further exception pertains to the worker’s compensation claim that you could file against your employer’s insurance, since the accident happened on the job. Although you likely would be eligible for some compensation, such as temporary disability benefits to replace lost income, you might not be eligible for a permanency award. (A permanency award compensates a worker for a permanent loss of bodily function.)
Another exception applies in some car accident cases. Say that your injury came from a car accident. Depending on what type of car insurance coverage you bought, and the type of vehicle that hit you, you might not be able to sue for car accident injuries that aren’t permanent.
The laws respecting compensation for non-permanent injuries are complicated. There may be other exceptions applicable to any given case that I haven’t mentioned in this brief post. Therefore, never assume that you aren’t eligible for compensation, no matter what the facts of your personal injury case are. There are exceptions to the exceptions.
Your best bet is to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after any accident. An experienced lawyer can often find a way to get you compensation, even if you don’t think at first that you are eligible.
Remember, too, that there are deadlines to take legal action. In some cases, the first deadline expires as soon as 90 days from the date of the accident.