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Accidents Involving Company Cars?

What Are Your Rights If You’re Injured by Someone Driving for Work Purposes?

Accidents Involving Company Cars?Say you’re injured in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident in New Jersey, and the accident was caused by the negligence of another person. What if that person was driving a company car or engaged in some work-related errand or task at the time of the accident? Does that change your rights? If so, how?

Employer Liability for Accidents That Occur During Working Hours

As a general rule, if a person is driving for work and causes an accident through carelessness or negligence, the employer can be held liable. If found to be liable, the employer may be required to pay damages for personal injury and property damage sustained in the crash.

The legal doctrine of “respondeat superior” holds that an employer is responsible for the negligent acts or omissions of an employee that cause injury. This doctrine applies to any type of employer and covers losses suffered by other drivers, their passengers, the at-fault driver’s passengers, and pedestrians.

The critical question, when looking at the potential liability of an employer, is the determination of whether the employee was “on the job” at the time of the accident. If the employee was visiting clients, accounts, or other work-related entities, the doctrine of respondeat superior applies, and an injured person may sue both the at-fault driver and the employer. However, if the employee was conducting personal business during work hours—getting lunch, stopping by the post office, or going to a doctor’s appointment, for example—the employer will not be responsible. If, on the other hand, the employee is mixing work-related and personal business—taking company letters to the post office and mailing a personal letter at the same time—the employer is likely to have some liability.

Often, after a motor vehicle accident, one of the most difficult challenges is recovering full and fair compensation for all your losses. If the at-fault party was engaged in work-related business at the time of the collision, you can seek compensation from the company, as well as the employee. That approach can improve your chances of getting damages for all your losses.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

Memorial Day 2021: Remember & Honor

Memorial Day 2021: Remember & Honor

Left-Turn Accidents in New Jersey

Is the Person Turning Left Always at Fault?

Left-Turn Accidents in New JerseyA motorist making a left turn must wait until the traffic is clear, and the turn can be safely completed, before proceeding through an intersection. Unfortunately, many motorists get impatient and pull in front of an oncoming vehicle. Is the driver making the turn always responsible for the accident? If not, under what circumstances might the other driver have some liability?

The Legal Principle of Negligence as Applied to Left-Turn Accidents

Under New Jersey law, the person turning left is not always responsible for the accident. Instead, liability is determined based on the legal principle of negligence. To prove negligence, you must show that a person’s behavior or actions were not consistent with what a reasonable person would have done under the circumstances. With a left-turn accident, a court determines whether attempting to complete the left turn was reasonable, given the distance between the two cars, the speed they were traveling, weather conditions, and other relevant factors.

In the vast majority of left-turn accidents, the person making the turn is found liable. There are, however, a few limited exceptions:

  • When the oncoming car is speeding—This can be difficult to prove. Furthermore, if the driving making the left turn could tell that the other driver was speeding, a jury may determine that it was unreasonable to make the left turn.
  • When the oncoming car runs a red light or stop sign
  • When it appears the turn can be safely completed at the time the driver begins the left turn—This exception involves an intervening circumstance that forces the driver to stop or slow down, e.g., an animal or pedestrian veers into the path of the car turning left.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. We are currently communicating with clients by phone, text message, and videoconference. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

How Much Is Your Car-Accident-Injury Claim Worth?

Determining Compensation in a Motor-Vehicle-Accident Lawsuit

How Much Is Your Car-Accident-Injury Claim Worth?If you’re hurt in a motor vehicle accident, you have a right to pursue legal action to require that that person t0 compensate you for your losses, including wages and income, unreimbursed medical expenses, and physical pain and suffering. Your immediate concern might be how much you can expect to receive from a personal injury lawsuit. How will the court calculate the amount of your losses? What factors will affect the amount you receive?

Establishing Liability for the Accident

Most legal claims are based on allegations of negligence. To prove negligence, you must show that the defendant—the person being sued—did not act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances, and that their failure to do so caused the accident. In a motor vehicle accident, the failure to act reasonably can take a variety of forms, including:

  • Failing to obey known or posted traffic laws; for example, using excessive speed, failing to stop at a red light or stop sign, or making an illegal turn or lane change
  • Failing to pay attention to the roadway while looking at a handheld device, adjusting the radio, looking in the backseat, or looking at the side of the road
  • Failing to maintain a vehicle in safe operating condition
  • Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Failing to adjust driving to account for an adverse weather or road condition

You must also convince the jury that the accident would not have occurred if the defendant had acted reasonably, and that the accident and the injuries you suffered were a foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s failure to act reasonably.

Damages in a Motor-Vehicle-Accident Claim

You can only recover compensation for actual losses. Losses covered by insurance are typically not available in a personal injury lawsuit. The damages available fall into two general categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are those that can be precisely calculated, such as lost wages or income, unreimbursed medical expenses, and property damage. Non-economic damages are intangible and include physical pain and suffering, loss of companionship or consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.

The amount you recover can be reduced if you are found to be partially liable for the accident. The legal theory of comparative negligence allows the court to determine the percentage of your fault and lower your damage award accordingly.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. We are currently communicating with clients by phone, text message, or videoconference. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

Police Reports and Motor Vehicle Accidents

Can You Recover Insurance Benefits or File a Personal Injury Lawsuit If Police Don’t Come to the Scene of the Accident?

Police Reports and Motor Vehicle AccidentsIt’s long been assumed that the first thing you do, in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, is call the police, so they can come to the scene of the accident and prepare a report. In fact, it’s a common belief that, without a police report, you can’t file an insurance claim. Is that true? Can you file a personal injury lawsuit after a car wreck if you don’t have a police report?

You Don’t Need a Police Report to Collect Insurance or Damages in a Personal Injury Claim

You should contact the police as you are required to report the accident to them if the accident involves injury, death or property damage in excess of $500. Furthermore, a police report provides evidence to support your claim in either instance. However, there is no legal requirement that the police come to the scene and prepare a report in order for you to qualify for either insurance benefits or compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.

Your right to insurance is for a covered loss. If you can prove your loss is covered, your insurer is legally bound to reimburse you, provided your premiums are up-to-date and you haven’t violated any provisions of the insurance policy.

To recover a monetary award in a personal injury lawsuit, you must show that the otherdriver acted intentionally, recklessly, or negligently, thereby causing an accident in which you suffered actual losses. Most motor vehicle accident claims are based on allegations that the other driver engaged in unreasonable behavior and was therefore negligent. While a police report may include information that helps establish negligence or carelessness, such conduct can also be proven through the testimony of eyewitnesses and others.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. We can schedule a conference by phone, text message, in person or online videoconference. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

An Expired or Suspended Driver’s License

Will It Affect Your Right to Compensation After an Auto Accident?

An Expired or Suspended Driver’s LicenseWe all make mistakes—maybe we forget to renew our driver’s license, or we get too many points and lose our driving privileges. What happens if we decide to drive anyway and are involved in a motor vehicle accident, one where we’re not at fault? Can the person who caused the accident argue that we’re not entitled to any compensation because we weren’t legally on the road at the time? The answer is no.

The Legal Principle of Negligence

Most personal injury lawsuits are based on the legal principle of negligence. To recover compensation under a claim of negligence, you must show three things:

  • That the defendant (the party who allegedly committed a wrongful act) was not acting as a reasonable person would at the time of the accident;
  • That the failure to act reasonably caused the accident; and
  • That you suffered actual losses as a result of the accident.

The Concept of Comparative Negligence

As discussed in previous blogs, New Jersey has adopted the principle of comparative negligence in personal injury claims. With comparative negligence, the judge and jury look at the actions of both parties and can reduce the amount of compensation to an injured person if he or she engaged in conduct that contributed to causing the accident. For example, if one party to a motor vehicle accident runs a stop sign and the other party is speeding, both parties may have some liability.

Courts in New Jersey have never recognized driving on an expired or suspended license to be a form of comparative negligence.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. We are currently communicating with clients by phone, text message, or videoconference. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

Recovering Damages After a Personal Injury

What Types of Losses Can You Sue For?

Recovering Damages After a Personal InjuryA personal injury suffered in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence can change your life in an instant. You may be unable to work and pay your bills. You may need extensive medical treatment, and some of it might not be covered by insurance. You may be forced to stop doing many of the things you loved to do before the accident simply because the pain is too much. After an accident, what losses can you reasonably expect the at-fault party to pay?

The Two Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

At the most fundamental level, the damages (compensation for losses) available for personal injuries fall into two categories:

  • Compensatory damages—Those damages intended to reimburse or compensate you for an actual loss.
  • Punitive damages—Damages designed to penalize the wrongdoer, generally available only upon a showing of gross negligence or reckless indifference to the value of life. Punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury lawsuits.

The Different Types of Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are further identified as either economic or non-economic. Economic damages are those that are tangible and easily calculated in dollars and cents. They include lost wages and income, as well as any medical expenses not covered by insurance.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, involve non-tangible losses that don’t have a readily discernible monetary value. They include:

  • Compensation for pain and suffering
  • Compensation for loss of enjoyment of life—These damages include the loss of the ability to do things that brought you joy or fulfillment before the accident or to engage in the simple activities of daily life, such as walking, sitting, dressing yourself, feeding yourself, driving a car, etc.
  • Compensation for loss of consortium or companionship—These damages are available when your injuries prevent intimate contact with a spouse or the physical company of others.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. We are currently communicating with clients by phone, text message, and videoconference. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

Motorcycle Accident Injuries in New Jersey

What Happens When Both Parties Are at Fault?

Motorcycle Accident Injuries in New JerseyMost motorcycle accident claims are based on a legal theory of negligence. In essence, negligence occurs when a person acts carelessly, contrary to the behavior that society expects from a “reasonable person.”

Furthermore, though many accidents are caused entirely by the wrongful acts of one person, it’s frequently the case that both parties share responsibility. For example, a motorcyclist might exceed the speed limit to get through an intersection before the light changes at the same time that another motorist pulls into the path of the bike without looking. How is liability determined when both parties contribute to a wreck?

Contributory and Comparative Negligence in New Jersey

For much of the early history of the state of New Jersey, the legal principle of contributory negligence applied to personal injury claims. Under that legal theory, if a person seeking damages for a personal injury contributed to causing the accident in any way or to any degree, the person had no right to recover for any losses.

As contributory negligence evolved over the years, defense attorneys looked for any evidence to suggest even the slightest degree of carelessness by the injured party. The application of contributory negligence was often perceived to be harsh and unfair, allowing grossly negligent defendants to sometimes escape liability for seriously injuring a person who contributed to causing the accident in an insignificant way.

Around the turn of the 20th century, states started to replace the concept of contributory negligence with comparative negligence. New Jersey now applies that legal principle.

With the comparative negligence approach, the court first determines the full amount of the injured party’s losses, and then allocates to each party a percentage of responsibility for the accident. The damage award is then reduced by the injured party’s percentage of liability. For example, if you’re seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident and suffer $1,000,000 in losses, but the court determines you were 10% responsible, you would recover only $900,000.

There is another wrinkle, though. In states like New Jersey, which take a “modified comparative negligence” approach, a party may only recover damages if his or her responsibility is determined to be less than 50%.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. We are currently communicating with clients by phone, text message, or videoconference. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

Construction Site Injuries in New Jersey Winters

Common Injuries Suffered in Cold Weather

Construction Site Injuries in New Jersey WintersThough many construction jobs are seasonal, a large number of construction workers in New Jersey work all through the winter, often with protective gear and space heaters. Those workers face increased risk of injury in snowy and icy conditions. Among the most common winter construction site injuries are:

  • Slip-and-falls, including falls from heights—Falls are the most common type of construction site accident year-round. When you add snow and ice into the equation, the risk goes up dramatically, putting workers at significant risk of broken bones, concussion and other traumatic brain injury, and back or spinal cord trauma. The risk can be reduced by ensuring that there are proper safety barriers at elevated construction levels, that workers wear boots with good rubber treads, and that workers slow the pace of movement to account for slippery conditions.
  • Cold stress—According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), exposure to too much cold weather can be fatal, with the average annual number of cold-related deaths exceeding 1,300. Non-fatal conditions that can result from working in sub-freezing weather include trench foot, frostbite, and hypothermia. Hypothermia, the result of your body temperature going below 95 degrees, is the most dangerous, causing reduced blood flow and breathing, unconsciousness, and even death. Frostbite can lead to the loss of fingers, toes, ear lobes, and even your nose. Trench foot, caused when your feet stay wet and cold for long periods of time, can lead to blisters and loss of skin/tissue on your feet.
  • Injuries caused by accumulated snow or ice—The accumulation of snow and ice can alsopose serious risks. The weight of snow can bring down power lines, putting workers at risk of exposure to live current. Snow also can accumulate on a roof and then fall off and crush workers below.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. We are currently communicating with clients by phone, text message, or videoconference. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

Slip-and-Falls in New Jersey Winters

The Duties of Property Owners to Respond to Snow and Ice

Slip-and-Falls in New Jersey WintersWith record snowfalls reported in some parts of New Jersey this week, conditions have been treacherous for motorists and pedestrians. Even a small accumulation of snow, if not cleared in a timely manner, can pose a risk of injury, quickly turning to ice as temperatures rise or people pack it down.

If you’re injured in a slip-and-fall on accumulated snow or ice on someone else’s property, you may have questions about your right to recover for your losses. Let’s look at the duties of New Jersey residential and commercial property owners with respect to dangers presented by snowy and icy conditions

New Jersey Premises Liability Law

In New Jersey, as in other states, property owners have a duty to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of anyone legally on the property; however, that duty is not absolute. A property owner need not guarantee the safety of visitors. The law requires only that an owner takes reasonable steps to protect people who come on the property. Such reasonable steps might involve removing the conditions that pose the risk of injury, or it may involve either reasonably warning visitors of potential dangers or preventing visitors from obtaining access to those areas that pose the risk of injury.

The Duties of Property Owners in New Jersey Related to Snow and Ice

The duties of a property owner differ in New Jersey based on whether the property is primarily commercial or residential. Commercial property owners have a higher duty than residential property holders. Owners of commercial property must take reasonable action to remedy the situation—either remove the snow or put down salt or sand to minimize the risk that someone will slip on icy pavement or steps.

In contrast, a residential property owner need not remove the snow and ice. If the residential property owner does attempt to clear sidewalks or other walkways, however, he must not make the condition more dangerous by doing so, or he will incur liability.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. We are currently communicating with clients by phone, text message, and videoconference. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

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