Call for a Free Consultation : 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT

Protecting Your Rights after a Dog Bite or Attack in New Jersey

What Legal Action Can You Take? What Should You Do First?

Protecting Your Rights after a Dog Bite or Attack in New JerseyMore often than not, a dog is man’s best friend. Occasionally, though, you can encounter one with a mean streak. The consequences can be serious, leaving both physical and emotional scars. What are your rights with respect to dog bites and attacks? When can you sue for any injuries suffered? What must you show to successfully recover damages? What should you do immediately after being bitten or attacked by a canine?

The New Jersey Laws Governing Dog Owners and Dog Attacks

Like most states, New Jersey has a statute that imposes “strict liability” on dog owners for certain actions and in certain situations. Strict liability means that an injured person doesn’t have to prove negligence or carelessness by the dog owner. Accordingly, under the New Jersey law, a dog’s owner will be responsible for any injuries suffered if the dog bites a person who is either on public property or legally on private property. The victim does not need to show that the dog owner knew or should have known of the dog’s violent or aggressive tendencies or that the dog had previously bitten or tried to bite another person.

The strict liability law applies, however, only to dog bites. If you were mauled or knocked down by a dog, the strict liability statute will not cover your situation. Instead, to recover compensation, you will need to allege negligence in a personal injury lawsuit. In such a claim, the jury can take your own liability into consideration, applying New Jersey’s comparative liability approach, potentially reducing or preventing your recovery. If, for example, you were trespassing at the time of the attack or you provoked the dog, your recovery may be limited.

What Should You Do Immediately after a Dog Attack?

Your first course of action, after any encounter with an aggressive dog, is seek necessary medical care, so that you can minimize the potential consequences of the attack. You’ll want to obtain contact information from the dog’s owner, as well as any witnesses, and you should report the incident to your local animal control or police department. Furthermore, the sooner you hire an experienced personal injury lawyer, the better you’ll be able to protect your legal rights.

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.

New Jersey Motorcycle Accidents

What Happens If You Weren’t Wearing a Helmet at the Time of the Crash?

New Jersey Motorcycle AccidentsUnder New Jersey law, anyone operating a motorcycle on the road in the Garden State, as well as any passengers on a motorcycle, must wear an authorized helmet. The helmet must be the right size and must be properly secured with a neck or chin strap. So what happens if you are involved in a motorcycle accident and you weren’t wearing a helmet? Do you still have a claim for compensation for your injuries?

Failure to Wear a Helmet Does Not Bar Recovery

In New Jersey, the fact that you were not wearing a helmet at the time of a motorcycle accident will not prevent you from seeking and recovering some level of compensation for your injuries. It may, however, reduce or limit the amount that you may recover, based on the principle of comparative negligence in New Jersey.

How Comparative Negligence Will Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

In any personal injury claim in New Jersey, there are essentially two determinations that must be made:

  • The total amount of loss suffered by each party
  • The extent to which each party is responsible for either causing the accident or causing the injuries

Under the comparative negligence approach, if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, but were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, the first thing a jury will do is determine the full extent of your losses. Let’s assume, for example, that you were unable to work for some period of time, and had unreimbursed medical expenses, totaling $250,000.

Once the full amount of your losses is calculated, the jury will then determine the extent to which your actions caused your injuries. That will likely include a consideration of whether your injuries would have been as severe if you had been wearing a helmet (as a reasonable person would). If the jury determines that the failure to wear a helmet had no impact on the injuries suffered (you had no head injuries), you may get the full amount of damages. However, if the jury determines that you would not have suffered any head injuries if you’d worn a helmet, you may be barred from recovering for those 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 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.

Factors that Can Have an Impact on a Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawsuit

Things that May Affect How Much You Can Recover

Factors that Can Have an Impact on a Motorcycle Accident Injury LawsuitYou’ve been involved in an accident while riding a motorcycle, either as the operator or a passenger. There’s clear evidence that another driver acted carelessly or negligently, contributing to the circumstances that led to the crash. You want to file a lawsuit to recover full and fair compensation for your losses, but you’ve never been involved in this type of matter and you’re not sure what to expect. What factors will have an impact on your right to recover, and on how much you can potentially recover?

The Concept of Comparative (or Shared) Liability

If the accident was caused entirely by the wrongful acts of other persons, this won’t have any effect on your case. A common strategy among defense attorneys, though, is to argue that you were at least partially liable for causing the accident. Perhaps another motorist ran through a red light or stop sign, but you were exceeding the speed limit at the time of the collision. Opposing counsel may argue that, had you not been speeding, the accident would not have occurred.

In New Jersey, such a circumstance is governed by the law of comparative liability. In such a situation, the court will first determine the full amount of your losses. Next, the court will establish the extent to which you were liable, typically stated as a percentage. For example, you may have $100,000 in losses and the court may find that you were 25% responsible for causing the accident. In such a case, your damage award would be reduced by 25% and you would receive $75,000 for your losses. It’s important to remember, though, that New Jersey’s “modified comparative negligence” approach will only allow you to receive compensation if you are less than 50% liable for the crash.

Other Factors that May Affect Your Recovery

The amount you receive in a verdict or settlement may also be affected by:

  • The nature and severity of your injuries—Often, the more serious your injury, the more likely you’ll be able to settle for a fair amount, as defense attorneys won’t want to put your case before a sympathetic jury
  • The types of insurance coverage available—In New Jersey, there’s a requirement for minimum coverage, but drivers can have varying levels of liability coverage
  • Stereotypes about bikers—You’ll want an aggressive and knowledgeable attorney to counteract attempts to stereotype you in the minds of jurors

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.

What Is Strict Liability in a Personal Injury Claim?

How Is It Different from Negligence?

What Is Strict Liability in a Personal Injury Claim?In most personal injury claims in New Jersey, the legal theory supporting your right to recover compensation is negligence. There are, however, certain circumstances where a different standard, known as “strict liability,” applies. What is strict liability and how is it distinguished from negligence.

What Is Negligence?

Negligence is a legal principle that has developed over hundreds of years. To establish negligence in a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove three things:

  • That the person from whom you seek compensation did not act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances (in legal terms, this is referred to as a “breach of the duty of care)
  • That the failure to act reasonably caused an event or accident
  • That, as a result of the event or accident, you suffered actual losses

The rules governing negligence are generally found in the “common law,” in opinions written by judges.

What Is Strict Liability?

Unlike the laws of negligence, the laws governing and establishing strict liability are generally found in statutes, written laws enacted by legislative bodies. The principle of strict liability evolved as lawmakers identified certain types of activities, which, by their inherently dangerous nature, created a greater risk of injury to innocent bystanders and thereby imposed a greater duty on those who engaged in them. Common examples include manufacturing and selling fireworks, transporting hazardous materials, and harboring or owning wild or dangerous animals. In fact, the state of New Jersey imposes strict liability on dog owners.

Why Is Strict Liability Important?

With cases governed by strict liability, there’s generally no requirement that the injured party show carelessness or negligence. Typically, you must only show that the defendant (person from whom you seek compensation) met the requirements of the statute. For example, in New Jersey, to recover damages after a dog bite, you need only show that the defendant owned or controlled the dog that bit you. You don’t need to prove that the defendant knew or should have known that the dog would act aggressively toward a human. You don’t have to show any history of aggressive behavior. You need only show that you were on public property (or legally on private property) and that you did not provoke the dog.

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.

Proving Medical Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Recovering for Past and Future Medical Treatment after an Accident

Proving Medical Damages in a Personal Injury LawsuitWhen you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s carelessness or negligence, you have a right to seek reimbursement for any medical expenses not covered by insurance or otherwise paid, including both those already incurred and any you may need in the future as a result of your injuries. How do you prove to a judge and jury exactly what your unreimbursed medical bills have been and, more importantly, what projected medical expenses you can anticipate in the weeks, months and years ahead?

Establishing Past Medical Expenses

Proving past medical expenses is a pretty straightforward process. These types of damages, known as “economic” damages, are typically established through documentary evidence, such as medical bills or receipts for medication or other products needed to treat your injuries. Of course, you’ll have to introduce evidence demonstrating that the expenses were incurred because of the accident caused by the defendant’s negligence.

Establishing Projected Future Medical Costs

This is a far more complicated process, as you won’t have any documentary evidence at the time of trial (or settlement). Perhaps the most common way of introducing and establishing potential medical expenses is through medical testimony. That testimony may come from your primary care or personal physician, if the injuries you have suffered are the kind that he or she commonly treats.

If they are outside of your doctor’s area of specialty or practice, your attorney will often bring in an expert witness, someone with extensive knowledge of the long-term consequences of your injuries. As a general rule, your attorney will need to introduce evidence of the witness’s expertise, so that the court can qualify him or her as an expert.

There are two important things you need to remember about future medical expenses:

  • If you receive a lump sum settlement or verdict, the total amount will typically be discounted to the “present value” of all potential costs, assuming a certain interest rate
  • You won’t have to prove future medical expenses beyond a reasonable doubt—In a civil lawsuit, you only need to show that the losses you project are more likely than not to occur.

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.

The Calculation of Damages for Pain and Suffering

How a Jury Determines the Monetary Value of Physical and Emotional Distress

The Calculation of Damages for Pain and SufferingWhen you have been involved in any type of accident caused by the carelessness or negligence of another person, you have a right to seek monetary compensation for any loss of injury resulting from the wrongful actions. Some of those losses are easy to calculate, such as lost wages, unreimbursed medical expenses and property damages—those losses are commonly referred to as “economic losses.” You also have a right to recover damages for less tangible losses, including loss of companionship/consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and physical and emotional pain and suffering.

What Is Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering is a legal term used to describe physical and/or emotional stress resulting from an accident/injury. The types of discomfort that are compensable include aches, temporary or chronic physical irritation or soreness, temporary or permanent limitations on physical or mental abilities, limitations on length of life, depression or permanent scarring.

How Does a Jury Calculate Damages for Pain and Suffering?

Damages for pain and suffering are what are referred to as “non-economic” damages. These kinds of damages are intangible and difficult to calculate. Accordingly, judges and juries take different approaches to determine damage awards for pain and suffering:

  • Some use a “multiplier,” where they calculate the amount of economic damages and multiply it by a factor, typically between one and ten. For example, if damages for lost wages, medical expenses and property damage total $50,000, a jury may apply a factor of three (just an example) and multiply 3 x $50,000 and award $150,000 for pain and suffering.
  • Many judges instruct jurors to use their judgment to identify a “reasonable” amount of compensation for pain and suffering, based on the severity of the injury and the type of pain associated with it

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.

The Damages Available in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

What Losses Can You Recover through Legal Action?

The Damages Available in a Personal Injury LawsuitWhen you have been hurt in any kind of accident, as a result of the wrongful acts of another person, you have a right to seek compensation for injury losses suffered as a consequence. What types of losses can you seek to recover?

In a personal injury lawsuit, there are generally six different types of damages available:

  • Lost wages or income—If your injury prevents you from working, either temporarily or permanently, you have a right to ask the defendant to reimburse you for any lost income. Future losses will typically be calculated based on a reasonable date of retirement.
  • Unreimbursed medical expenses—You cannot recover for any medical bills that are covered by insurance, but you have a right to ask the defendant to pay those costs that are uninsured. That may include retrofitting your home or car to accommodate a permanent injury
  • Physical pain and suffering—You have a right to compensation for any physical pain or discomfort caused by or related to an accident caused by someone else’s wrongful act.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life—If you are unable to engage in certain activities because of your injuries (including situations where the pain associated with those injuries makes if difficult or impossible to do certain things), you can recover compensation. Those activities may be simple functions of daily life, such as walking, sitting, bending, standing or lying down. They can also include activities that you previously engaged in, such as hobbies or recreational activities, that you can no longer enjoy because of your injuries.
  • Loss of companionship or consortium—Loss of consortium is the inability to be in an intimate relationship with a partner. Loss of companionship includes the loss of camaraderie, guidance, love, affection or other close human relationships.
  • Property damage or loss—If you lost or suffered damage to personal property, you have a right to compensation to either repair or replace that property

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.

Liability for “No Contact” Motorcycle Accidents

Can A Motorist Be Found Liable for Injuries if There Was No Collision?

Liability for “No Contact” Motorcycle AccidentsYou’re out riding your motorcycle on a beautiful spring day in New Jersey. Another motorist makes an illegal turn in front of you, veers into your lane, or fails to stop at a light or traffic signal. You take evasive action, avoiding a collision, but you lose control of your bike and crash, suffering significant injury. There was no collision and the other motorist wasn’t hurt at all. Can you still bring a lawsuit to recover for all your losses, even if there wasn’t any contact?

Your Rights in a “No Contact” Crash

There is no requirement that there be any contact between two vehicles for an injured party to recover compensation for any losses. As a general rule, any legal claim you have will be based on a theory of negligence. That requires that you show:

  • The defendant (the person from whom you seek damages) failed to act as a reasonable person would
  • The defendant’s failure to act reasonably (also known as “breach of the duty of reasonable care) caused an accident
  • You suffered actual losses as a result of the accident

To prove that the defendant breached the duty of reasonable care, you must only show that the behavior or actions of the defendant did not rise to the level of care generally expected in society. There’s no specific benchmark to establish this—whether or not the actions were reasonable will be determined by the jury.

The law does not require that the breach of duty cause a collision, but only an accident. To establish cause, you must prove first that the accident (loss of control of the bike) would not have happened if the defendant had acted reasonably. You must also show that your loss of control of the bike (or any accident that occurred) was reasonably foreseeable as a consequence of the failure to exercise reasonable care.

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.

When You Are Partially Responsible for Your Injuries

What Happens If Your Carelessness Helped Cause an Accident?

When You Are Partially Responsible for Your InjuriesThere’s an old saying that it “takes two to tango.” While that may not always be the case with a personal injury, it’s not uncommon for an accident to happen because both parties engaged in negligence or carelessness. For example, suppose you were in a motor vehicle accident caused when another person ran a stop sign or red light. At the time of the accident, you weren’t wearing a seatbelt. Chances are you would have suffered injuries, even if you’d been buckled in, but the other party contends that your injuries were worse because you didn’t have your seat belt on. What happens in such a situation?

Contributory vs. Comparative Negligence

For most of the history of personal injury law, including that of New Jersey, the legal principle governing such a circumstance was known as “contributory negligence.” Under the concept of contributory negligence, if it could be shown that you contributed in any way to causing the accident where you suffered injury, you could not recover anything for your losses. When this rule prevailed, defense attorneys would commonly look for any indication that you had acted carelessly or unreasonably, claiming that you were not entitled to recovery. Such an approach led to frequent miscarriages of justice, where persons who were grossly negligent had no responsibility for injuries to persons whose careless was insignificant or inconsequential.

About one hundred years ago, courts and legislatures across the country, recognizing the inherent injustices brought about by the concept of contributory negligence, began to replace it with the legal principle of “comparative negligence.”

With comparative negligence, the court first establishes the full amount of your losses—let’s assume your total injuries amounted to $500,000. Next, the court decides the degree to which you were responsible for causing the accident, expressed as a percentage of liability—again, suppose the court finds you 25% liable. The court will then reduce your total damage award by your degree of liability. Your $500,000 award will be reduced by $125,000 (25%) and you will receive $375,000.

States take two different approaches to comparative negligence:

  • Pure comparative negligence, where you will receive something regardless of your degree of liability, as long as you can show liability on behalf of the other party
  • Modified comparative negligence, where your liability must be below a certain threshold (usually 50%), or you cannot recover for your losses.

New Jersey is a modified comparative negligence state.

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.

Who Can Testify as an Expert Witness at a Trial?

How Does a Person Qualify to Give an Expert Opinion in a Court Case?

Who Can Testify as an Expert Witness at a Trial?In many types of personal injury claims, there may be factual disputes that are complex—medical malpractice and product liability cases often focus on engineering or surgical practices unfamiliar to the layman. In those situations, to help the jurors better understand what happened and why a party may be liable, it’s common practice to bring an expert witness to the stand, someone who can provide a clear and compelling picture for the jury.

Can anyone take the stand as an expert witness? If not, what are the qualifications so testify in a court case as an expert? Are there differences between the subject matter of expert witness testimony and other statements made in court?

The Rules Governing Expert Witnesses

Before you can testify at trial as an expert witness, you must be approved to do so by the court. The admissibility of expert witness testimony is governed by state and federal rules of evidence.

According to the federal rules of evidence, a person may only give expert witness testimony if the court believes that they have knowledge, skill, education, experience or training in a specialized field. Most states have similar requirements.

With respect to witnesses who are not qualified as experts, any opinions expressed will typically be inadmissible in court. However, an expert witness may (and typically does) express an opinion based on an interpretation of facts that have been introduced into evidence. When that evidence involves scientific matters, some state courts will ask for evidence of the reliability of the scientific testing before permitting the testimony at trial. Others will accept the expert witness testimony if it has been “acknowledged by the scientific community.” It’s fairly common for each side to produce its own expert, with conflicting testimony. The judge may choose to admit some testimony and prohibit some, or may allow all expert testimony and defer to the jury to make a determination of which testimony carries more weight.

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.

© 2019 karbasianlaw All Rights Reserved.
Concept, Design & Hosting by GetLegal's Practice Builder Team Sitemap | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy