Statute of Limitations New Jersey Statute of Limitations, Civil Actions

  1. The New Jersey Statute of Limitations for civil actions sets a time limit after an injury or civil wrong occurs, during which an injured party can file a lawsuit. After that period of time expires, the injured party is no longer permitted to file a claim in a New Jersey state court to litigate that matter. The statute ensures that lawsuits that have merit and worthy of being heard are filed within a reasonable time or not at all.

    How Does the Statute of Limitations Operate?

    The period of time to file a claim will vary depending upon the type of incident that occurred. A claim against a doctor for medical malpractice may be for a different length of time than against an accountant for negligence or fraud. The New Jersey statute of limitations can generally be found within the New Jersey Statutes, Title 2A Chapter 14 and covers the following rules and exceptions in greater detail.

    When does the New Jersey Statute of Limitations Begin?

    Other than for specific exceptions, the New Jersey statute of limitations generally begins to run at the time when a "cause of action arises" - in other words, at the time when an injury occurs that would qualify for a lawsuit to be filed in a New Jersey state court.

    What is the Discovery Rule?

    There are times when a person is unable to discover that they have been injured. For example, fraud that is concealed by an accountant and is not easily discoverable or a medical condition resulting from a doctor's misdiagnosis that can only be detected after the patient's health deteriorates. It wouldn't be fair or reasonable to require the injured party to file a lawsuit when they could not have detected the injury. As a result, in some instances the New Jersey statute of limitations begins to run from the time the injured party discovers or should have discovered that they have been injured.

    Delaying or Tolling the New Jersey Statute of Limitations

    In certain circumstances, fairness would require that the statute of limitations be delayed for a period of time. A party may not have the ability to bring a case even though they are aware of an injury or damages. Delaying or "tolling" the statute of limitations typically occurs when the plaintiff is "disabled" - such as a minor child or a person who is mentally incompetent or bankrupt. Once the disability ends, the statute of limitations begins to run.

    Calculating the length of time that a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit is complicated and involves many factors and exceptions. Parties that have suffered significant injuries or damages may wish to consult with a New Jersey attorney to ensure that all claims and notices are filed within the time limits set forth by law.

    New Jersey Legislature: New Jersey Statutes Annotated

    Personal Injury and Negligence

    2 years, generally and see Discovery Rule. NJSA § 2A:14-2, 2A:14-3
    • 2A:14-2. a. Every action at law for an injury to the person caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of any person within this State shall be commenced within two years next after the cause of any such action shall have accrued; except that an action by or on behalf of a minor that has accrued for medical malpractice for injuries sustained at birth shall be commenced prior to the minor's 13th birthday.
    • b.In the event that an action by or on behalf of a minor that has accrued for medical malpractice for injuries sustained at birth is not commenced by the minor's parent or guardian prior to the minor's 12th birthday, the minor or a person 18 years of age or older designated by the minor to act on the minor's behalf may commence such an action. For this purpose, the minor or designated person may petition the court for the appointment of a guardian ad litem to act on the minor's behalf.

    Medical Malpractice

    2 years and see Discovery Rule. NJSA § 2A:14-2

    Discovery Rule

    New Jersey uses the standard Discovery Rule.

    Wrongful Death

    2 years. NJSA § 2A:31-3

    Legal and Professional Malpractice

    2 years. NJSA § 2A:14-2

    Products Liability

    2 years.

    Assault and Battery

    2 years.

    False Imprisonment

    2 years.


    Written contracts 6 years. § 2A:14-1;
    Oral contracts 6 years. NJSA § 2A:14-1


    6 years. NJSA § 2A:14-1

    Personal Property Damages

    6 years. NJSA § 2A:14-1


    6 years. NJSA § 2A:14-1

    Libel / Slander / Defamation

    1 year from the date of publication (or the date when spoken). NJSA § 2A:14-3

    Debt Collection Accounts

    6 years, generally. NJSA § 2A:14-1

    Collection of Rents

    16 years, generally. NJSA § 2A:14-4
    Actions on lease, specialty, recognizance or award; 16 years; effect of payments; action on instrument under seal brought by merchant or financial institution; 6 years

    Judgment Enforcement

    20 years. NJSA § 2A:14-5

    Liability of State and Municipalities

    Once can sue a public entity for tort liability or acts or omissions, including public employees acting within the scope of their employment. Other exceptions exist.

    Comparative Negligence

    New Jersey uses comparative negligence for recovery unless the plaintiff's negligence exceeds 50%.

    No-Fault Insurance

    Yes - no-fault insurance applies.

    Consumer Fraud Complaints

    New Jersey Office of the Attorney General

    Telephone: (609) 292-4925
    Consumer Affairs: (973) 504-6200

    Please Take Note: The statute of limitations laws presented are strictly provided to you “as-is”. While we believe that the legal information is accurate as of the date created, we cannot and do not provide any guarantee, analysis or conclusions. The law may have changed since this article was published. The only way to ensure that the statute of limitations law you are reading is up to date and applies to your specific issue, is to have a legal consultation with an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of New Jersey.
    • New Jersey
    Lawsuits, Disputes:
    Statute Of Limitations

    Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler
    Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.


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