I was the victim of an assault and the perpetrator was found guilty. I contacted a lawyer about pursuing monetary damages against the individual. The attorney determined that I had a valid legal claim and agreed to represent me.
Months passed and I heard very little from my attorney. When I called, I was informed that the case was moving ahead, but I have not been copied on any correspondence or been notified of any court hearings.
It’s been nearly two years since the crime was committed. Should I be worried?
What you need to know
All state and federal cases are subject to what is called a “statute of limitations.” A statute is another way of saying a “law.” Limitations means a time limit. In New Jersey, the time limit for bringing a civil case against someone who has assaulted you is two years. If your attorney misses that date, he may be guilty of malpractice.
What is malpractice?
An attorney has many duties and requirements he must meet in representing a client. Among those many duties is the responsibility to safeguard a client’s case. Meeting a deadline is a paramount requirement for an attorney.
Some deadlines can be extended by the court. The statute of limitations, however, is not one of them. If an attorney misses the deadline for the statute of limitations, your claim will have ended and the perpetrator can no longer be held civilly liable.
If you are getting close to the two-year mark, you should consult another attorney as soon as possible. If it has passed the two-year mark, you should seek guidance from a legal malpractice attorney.