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Protecting Your Rights After a Motor Vehicle Accident

Taking the Right Steps to Maximize Your Potential Recovery

Protecting Your Rights After a Motor Vehicle AccidentWhen you suffer any type of injury in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you have a right to take legal action to recover your losses. That includes any lost income resulting from your injuries, any medical expenses not covered by insurance, and any physical or mental pain or suffering caused by your injuries. You can also seek compensation for your inability to engage in activities you love (e.g., hobbies) because of your injuries, as well as your inability to have close and meaningful relationships with family members (loss of companionship or consortium).

The steps you take in the immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, though, can make a big difference in your ability to recover compensation and how much you receive. Here are the most important things to do right after a crash:

  • Get the medical care you need —Before you do anything else, conduct a medical self-assessment. If you have injuries to your head, neck, or back, it’s best to wait until emergency responders arrive and defer to their expertise. Don’t risk further injury by trying to get up and move under your own power. Even if you can walk away from the accident, you should immediately seek treatment from a hospital emergency room, an urgent care facility, or your primary care physician. The longer you wait, the greater the risk of jeopardizing your claim.
  • Gather information —Don’t rely on police officers to gather necessary information about the parties to the accident or any witnesses. To the extent possible, get names and contact information for anyone involved in the accident and anyone who saw what happened. This will be tremendously beneficial to your attorney when you get ready to file a personal injury lawsuit.
  • Take pictures, if possible —You don’t need a fancy camera—your phone will do. Try to get pictures of anything potentially relevant to your claim, including all vehicle damage, your injuries, any roadway hazards or defects, and even weather conditions.
  • Hire an attorney as soon as possible —The sooner you hire legal counsel, the sooner you’ll have someone aggressively advocating for you. That can be critical when dealing with your insurance company. Your attorney will also ensure that critical evidence is preserved.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

Risk of Motor Vehicle Accidents Goes Up in Summer

A Number of Factors Contribute to Increase in Summer Auto Wrecks

Risk of Motor Vehicle Accidents Goes Up in SummerStatistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) consistently show that the number of motor vehicle accidents rises nationwide in the summer months. Officials cite a number of reasons for the increase:

  • There are more young, inexperienced drivers on the roads —Studies show that one in every five motor vehicle accidents involves a driver under the age of 20. Younger drivers have less experience, are typically less familiar with the roads, and may not know exactly what their vehicle can do. They also tend to be more inclined to risky behaviors behind the wheel, such as joyriding, aggressive driving, and speeding.
  • There are more drivers on the roads overall, and many drivers are putting more miles on their vehicles —School’s out, so many of those younger drivers who were in school all day are now out and about. The weather’s nice, so people are more inclined to spend time outdoors, whether it’s going to the park or the beach or just out for a drive. In addition, it’s vacation time, so families are traveling more, typically traveling longer distances, and often traveling on unfamiliar roadways. When the number of total miles being driven goes up, the number of accidents increases as well.
  • Summer is the season for parties and picnics —Summer starts and ends with a holiday weekend. Whether it’s a cookout, a beach party, or a picnic, many of those gatherings involve the consumption of alcohol. It should come as no surprise, then, that the number of alcohol-related accidents also increases in the summer.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal accident injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

The Differences Between Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Car Accident Injuries

How Do Typical Injuries Differ?

The Differences Between Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Car Accident InjuriesThere are tradeoffs with taking a motorcycle on the open road. There’s a sense of freedom that you’ll never get behind the wheel of a car, and there’s nothing like the feel of the wind in your face. But it comes with a potential cost, as there’s little to protect you if you get in an accident.

The Nature of the Injuries Suffered in a Motorcycle Accident

Over the past quarter of a century, extensive research and development has made automobile travel much safer. In addition to seatbelts and airbags, many automobiles now offer electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, backup and side-view cameras, and even collision warning systems. Most of those features are simply not available on a motorcycle.

The bottom line is that most injuries suffered in auto accidents result from impact with the interior of the car or from the effects of whiplash. Most injuries suffered by bikers come from impact with the roadway or another vehicle.

Because of the lack of protection on a motorcycle, the injuries sustained in a motorcycle wreck tend to be far more serious. Bikers are more likely to suffer traumatic brain injury (TBI) than occupants of an automobile or truck. Road rash is a common consequence of a motorcycle accident, but virtually unheard of in an auto accident. Additionally, broken bones are far more common in motorcycle accidents.

The evidence suggests that, while a helmet will not provide absolute protection against a head injury, it can reduce the likelihood of a TBI. A study reported by the National Institute of Health found that, for unhelmeted motorcyclists under the age of 40, the most common injury is a TBI, accounting for almost 30% of all injuries. When bikers of that same age wore a helmet, the incidence of TBI was reduced to 20%, whereas the likelihood of lower extremity injury was 34%.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

Not Wearing a Helmet at the Time of a Motorcycle Accident?

Can You Still Recover Compensation for Your Losses in New Jersey?

Under New Jersey law, if you are operating a motorcycle on New Jersey roads or riding as a passenger on a bike, you must wear a properly fitting helmet approved for use by the federal Department of Transportation.Under New Jersey law, if you are operating a motorcycle on New Jersey roads or riding as a passenger on a bike, you must wear a properly fitting helmet approved for use by the federal Department of Transportation. The helmet must have either a neck or chin strap and must have reflective tape or similar markings on both sides. What if you’re out on the road without a helmet and you’re hurt in an accident caused entirely by the wrongful act of another motorist? Will you be prohibited from seeking compensation for your losses because you weren’t wearing a helmet?

How the Failure to Wear a Helmet Affects a Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim in New Jersey

Though you can always file a personal injury claim against another person who intentionally caused you harm, as a practical matter, most personal injury claims in New Jersey are based on allegations of negligence. To establish negligence, you need to prove that:

  • The defendant (person from whom you seek compensation) failed to act reasonably;
  • The defendants failure to act reasonably caused an accident; and
  • You suffered actual losses (injuries, etc.) as a result of the accident.

The fact that you were not wearing a helmet will not automatically disqualify you from seeking and recovering damages. Instead, the jury will attempt to determine what caused the accident—was it the wrongful act of the defendant or was it some type of carelessness or negligence on your part. While the fact that you were not wearing a helmet may have contributed to the severity of your injuries, it did not actually cause the crash or your injuries. The jury may conclude, though, that your injuries would not have been as severe if you had been wearing a helmet. Accordingly, if they determine that the accident itself was caused by the defendant’s negligence or carelessness, they will likely rule in your favor. However, if they determine that your injuries would not have been as severe if you had been wearing a helmet, they may reduce your damage award.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal accident injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

The Potentially Responsible Parties in a Motorcycle Accident

How Do You Know If You Can Sue Someone for Your Losses?

The Potentially Responsible Parties in a Motorcycle AccidentWhen you think about motor vehicle accidents, there’s a tendency to assume that there must be two drivers involved, that you have to show that another motorist caused a collision that led to your injuries. That’s not necessarily the case. Let’s take a closer look at how liability is determined in any motor vehicle accident, including a motorcycle crash.

The Basis for Liability in a Motorcycle Accident

Though you can always seek compensation from someone who intentionally harms you, as a practical matter most personal injury claims, including most motorcycle accident lawsuits, are based on the legal concept of negligence. Negligence is essentially a failure to act reasonably under the circumstances. Negligence is a centuries-old legal principle that holds that all people in society, in all their actions, must employ the standard of care that a reasonable person would. That applies to people operating a motor vehicle.

When Can You Recover Monetary Compensation from Someone with Whom There Was No Impact?

If a person’s actions were unreasonable and if those actions caused or contributed to an accident where you suffered losses, you can seek damages from that person. There are a number of situations where a person’s carelessness may cause a motorcycle accident without any impact with your bike:

  • A person serves alcohol to someone, who, in an inebriated state, causes you injury in a motorcycle accident
  • A person fails to secure materials or debris on a truck or other motor vehicle, and they fall off into your pathway, causing an accident
  • A municipality or municipal worker fails to properly maintain the roadway, leading to potholes, excessive gravel or water, broken or missing signs
  • Another motorist disobeys traffic laws, veering into your path or coming too close to your bike, causing you to take evasive action and lose control
  • A person fails to use reasonable care to design or manufacture vehicle components, either on your vehicle or some other vehicle,

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

Injured in a Motorcycle Accident Caused by Debris in the Road?

What Are Your Options for Recovering Compensation?

Injured in a Motorcycle Accident Caused by Debris in the Road?When you’re on a motorcycle, any type of debris in the roadway, from trash or construction materials that have fallen off a truck to a muffler or chunk of tire, can be treacherous. You may need to brake suddenly or take evasive action, which can cause you to lose control of your bike and put you at risk of serious injury. What are your options, if you’ve been in an accident caused by roadway debris, of recovering any compensation for your losses?

Can You Determine Where the Debris Came From?

If you can, you can always bring a lawsuit against the person who caused the debris to obstruct your path. Anyone who takes a car or truck on the road must use reasonable care to ensure that his or her actions don’t cause injury to others. If another motorist failed to secure a load or otherwise carelessly caused debris to fall into the roadway, that motorist can be held liable. The challenge, of course, is knowing who that person was and how to contact them. If you saw the debris fall in the roadway, or if there were witnesses, you may be able to find the driver.

When You Can’t Identify Where the Debris Came From?

Even if you can’t determine how the object came to be in the road, you may still be able to seek damages for your losses. A common approach is to pursue compensation through your own insurance company. However, you’ll need to have coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorists. That’s available in New Jersey, but typically as a rider to your policy with an additional premium. Hire an experienced personal injury attorney who knows understands the language of auto insurance policies, who can look at yours and determine whether you have any coverage.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal accident injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary

Injured in New Jersey When Your Motorcycle Broke Down?

Can You Recover Damages for Defective Parts or Negligent Repair?

Injured in New Jersey When Your Motorcycle Broke Down?When you’re involved in a collision with another vehicle while riding your bike, you can bring a lawsuit against the other motorist, provided you can show that he or she acted carelessly or negligently, causing the accident and your injuries. But what are your rights when your motorcycle breaks down, causing you to lose control? There’s no other motorist to blame for your losses. What are your options?

Product Liability Claims for Defective or Dangerous Parts

If your bike broke down because of a poorly designed or manufactured component, such as the brakes, a tire or the steering mechanism, you may be able to file what is commonly referred to as a “product liability” claim. There are typically three types of product liability claims, ones based on:

  • Negligent design—Carelessness in the design of a product
  • Negligent manufacture—Lack of care in the fabrication, construction, assembly or manufacture of the bike or one of its component parts, including the use of substandard materials
  • Negligent marketing—Failure to warn of known dangers associated with a product

In a product liability claim, you may typically bring in any party in the chain of distribution, from the designer to the retailer.

Negligence Claims for Careless Maintenance or Repair

If the failure of a mechanic or garage to properly maintain or repair your motorcycle caused the accident, you can bring a lawsuit based on negligence. To succeed, you will need to show that the garage or mechanic failed to act as a reasonable person would, that the failure to do so caused the accident, and that you suffered actual losses as a result of the accident.

The Potential for Comparative Negligence

Under the comparative negligence principles in New Jersey, you may be partially responsible for your losses if it can be shown that you were partially at fault. For example, if you failed to maintain your bike, you could be held somewhat liable. With New Jersey’s modified comparative negligence, the defendant would need to show that you were more than 50% responsible to prevent you from recovering something for your losses.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal accident injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

Can a Parent Be Held Responsible for Injuries Caused by His or Her Child?

Is There Parental Liability in New Jersey for the Negligence of a Minor Child?

Can a Parent Be Held Responsible for Injuries Caused by His or Her ChildYour child now has a drivers’ license and occasional use of the family car. While out driving, he or she causes a motor vehicle accident, resulting in injuries to another person. Can your child be held legally responsible in a personal injury lawsuit? Can you be held liable for the negligence of your minor child?

Can a Minor Be Held Responsible for Personal Injury in New Jersey?

Under prevailing New Jersey law, certain minors have a duty to “act with the same amount of care as children of similar age, judgment and experience.” As a general rule, children under the age of 7 are presumed in New Jersey to be unable to engage in negligence. If, however, a jury determines that a minor had the ability to understand the consequences of his or her actions and had received proper training to minimize the risk of injury, the minor may be held liable for negligence. As a practical matter, though, a minor child will typically lack the resources to satisfy a personal injury judgment. Accordingly, the injured party will typically look to either the parents of the minor child or the parents’ insurance company.

Can the Parents’ Insurer Be Held Liable?

As a general rule, if the parent lists the minor child as a potential driver of the vehicle, the insurance company will be required to pay any claims related to accidents caused by the minor child.

Can a Parent Be Sued for the Negligence of a Minor Child in a Motor Vehicle Accident in New Jersey?

As a general rule, a parent will only be held liable for accidents caused by a minor child if it can be shown that the parent’s negligence caused or contributed to causing the accident. For example, if the parent allowed the child to drive the family car, knowing that child was an unskilled, inexperienced or poor driver, that may be sufficient basis to establish negligence or carelessness.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send as an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

What Is Loss of Enjoyment of Life in a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawsuit?

What Losses Does It Cover? How Are Damages Calculated?

What Is Loss of Enjoyment of Life in a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawsuit?In the aftermath of any personal injury, you may find it difficult or impossible to do some or many of the things that you loved doing before the accident. You may find it challenging to complete many of the most basic tasks required in everyday life, such as personal grooming, playing sports, or engaging in a beloved hobby. You have a right to seek full and fair compensation for the changes that have come to your life because of the carelessness or negligence of another person. These types of damages are commonly referred to as “loss of enjoyment of life.”

How Does the Law Define “Loss of Enjoyment of Life”?

There are two specific ways that “loss of enjoyment of life” can be construed in New Jersey. Most commonly, the term refers to your loss of the ability to engage in or pursue those activities that previously brought you joy, pleasure or fulfillment. For example, you may have been a passionate club-level tennis player before a car accident, but find that you can’t play the game you love anymore because of pain or physical limitations resulting from a motor vehicle accident.

Loss of enjoyment of life can also describe the impact of your inability to engage in the ordinary acts of daily life. You may suffer some level of paralysis or some other permanent injury that makes it difficult for you to move about under your own power, requiring a wheelchair or other device. As a consequence, you may find it too difficult to simply go outside and enjoy some fresh air.

How Are Damages for Loss of Enjoyment of Life Calculated?

There are no objective measures by which these damages can be determined (like you would have with lost wages or unpaid medical bills). These are what are commonly referred to as “non-economic damages.” The jury will still ultimately decide how much you should receive for your losses, employing one of a variety of methods:

  • The multiplier approach—Under this method, the jury will calculate all economic damages (lost wages and unreimbursed medical expenses) and multiply that number by some factor, usually between 1 and 5. The factor used will commonly be based on the severity of your injuries, as well as the degree of culpability of the defendant.
  • The determination of a “reasonable” amount—The judge may instruct the jury to identify a “reasonable” amount of damages, based on the unique circumstances of the case

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send as an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

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