TORT CLAIMS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT FOR PERSONAL INJURY
Tort claims against the government for personal injury can be tricky. (The term “tort” is just a fancy word for a wrongful action). Let’s say you are struck and injured by a car in New Jersey. If it was a private car, you likely have two years to file a lawsuit. Thus, after two years, if you haven’t filed a lawsuit, you would likely lose your right to recover compensation.
Now imagine the same scenario, except that a New Jersey state car struck you. In this case, you have only 90 days to file what is known as a notice of claim. If you don’t properly file a notice of claim within those 90 days, you will very likely lose your right to recover compensation. No matter how severely you were injured.
It is not always clear in an accident if the government has responsibility. Therefore, you must contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after any accident. Only an experienced personal injury attorney can protect your rights.
Sometimes, even if the other party in the accident had no affiliation with the government, there still might be some government liability. For example, the government may be responsible for a broken traffic signal. There are many other examples I could give.
CAN YOU EXTEND THE 90-DAY DEADLINE?
The 90 day deadline can on rare occasions be extended to up to one year from the accident date. However, you would have to prove that there were extraordinary circumstances that prevented you from filing the notice of claim within 90 days. Such extensions are not frequently granted. Thus, they should not be relied upon.
For some people, the deadline may be longer. These include juveniles, and the mentally incompetent.
The law establishing the above procedure is known as the Tort Claims Act. Each state has its own version. The deadlines may vary state to state. The federal government also has a tort claims law in its favor.