Burlington County Statute of Limitations for Minors

A statute of limitations is the amount of time permitted for a lawsuit to be filed, the length of which depends upon the nature of the lawsuit. For adults, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is just two years after the injury occurred or damages were discovered. However, if an accident involves minors, know that the state of New Jersey uses a separate set of criteria in establishing their statute of limitations. An experienced Burlington County accident lawyer could help you abide by the Burlington County statute of limitations for minors, ensuring that you or your child is not barred from pursuing your case and receiving compensation.

Statute of Limitations for Birth Injuries

Each year, thousands of infants are injured at birth because of medical malpractice. Their lives can be greatly affected by this incident, as may those of their parents and families. Afflicted children may incur enormous medical expenses and need constant care for the rest of their lives.  

For some children, the full extent of their birth injuries does not become apparent until they are older. Under New Jersey statute 2A:14-2, a lawsuit for injuries sustained at birth must commence prior to the child’s 13th birthday.

Appointing a Guardian Ad Litem

If the parents or guardian have not filed suit by the time of the child’s 12th birthday, the minor—or their designee, aged 18 and up—may file such an action themselves. Either the minor or their designated representative may petition the court to appoint a representative known as a guardian ad litem to act on the minor’s behalf. A guardian ad litem does not directly represent the minor under state law, but represents the minor’s best interests in all services to the court.  

Burlington County Statute of Limitations for Minors with Personal Injuries

If a child under 18 years of age is involved in an accident in Burlington County caused by another party’s negligence or recklessness, the statute of limitations differs from that of an adult in the same situation. While an adult must file suit within two years of the incident, a minor may wait until their 20th birthday, as the statute of limitations does not start accruing time until their 18th birthday.  

The extra time permitted for a minor may give their parents or guardians more opportunities for considering their options. However, the extra time is not always an advantage, as in the interim evidence may disappear and witnesses may no longer recall the events of the incident as clearly as they did in the past.

Contact a Burlington County Injury Attorney Today

In a personal injury case, time is always of the essence, even when a minor is involved, and it is often important to make sure you and your child understand the entire procedure as well as your rights. While most personal injury and medical malpractice cases are settled, some may go to trial if the defendant’s insurance company does not offer a fair settlement—and both options may be restricted if too much time passes between the incident and the first attempt to file a claim.

A personal injury attorney could not only help you comply with the Burlington County statute of limitations for minors, but also represent you and your child in insurance negotiations or in court as necessary. If you or your loved one have been seriously injured as a minor, it may be worth getting in touch with a Burlington County personal injury lawyer to explore your options for a lawsuit.