What is the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit in New Jersey?

Question

What is the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit in New Jersey?

Answer

New Jersey, like a number of states, has a broad injury-related statute of limitations that also applies to medical malpractice cases.

In case your legalese is rusty, a “statute of limitations” sets a time limit on a prospective plaintiff’s right to file a lawsuit after suffering some kind of harm. If you try to file the case after the deadline has passed, the court will almost certainly throw it out. In a malpractice case, usually what happens is the doctor or health care entity you are trying to sue points out that the statutory deadline has passed, they file a motion to dismiss the case, the court grants it, and that’s the end of the story. So, it’s crucial to pay attention to the statute of limitations as it applies to your case.

What does the law say in New Jersey? The standard statute of limitations as it applies to a medical malpractice lawsuit gives you two years to get your lawsuit filed, starting from the date the harm was inflicted. That typically means two years from when the alleged medical error occurred, but in some cases it can mean two years from the date on which you discover -- or could reasonably have been expected to discover -- that you were harmed by medical malpractice.

You can find New Jersey’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits at New Jersey Statutes section 2A:14-2.

New Jersey also has a special lawsuit filing rule for birth-related medical malpractice. The statute says that these cases “shall be commenced prior to the minor's 13th birthday.”

More: Medical Malpractice Cases In-Depth

by: David Goguen, J.D.

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