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New Jersey Motorcycle Accidents Involving Drunk Drivers

Your Right to Recover Compensation

Motorcycle Accidents Involving Roadway HazardsWhen you’re injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a drunk driver in New Jersey, you can always file a personal injury claim against the impaired driver. Intoxication generally does not excuse a person from liability for negligence. It’s important to understand, though, that you also may be able to pursue damages from other parties under New Jersey’s dram shop law or under a theory of social host liability.

New Jersey’s Dram Shop Law

Dram shop laws establish whether an employee or establishment are liable for serving alcohol to a patron who causes an accident. In New Jersey, a person injured by a drunk driver may seek compensation from the bar, restaurant, or other establishment that served or sold alcohol to the driver, but one of two criteria must be proven:

  • The person who was served (and subsequently caused the injuries) was visibly intoxicated when sold or served alcohol; or
  • The person served was under the age of 21 at the time, and the server knew or had reason to know that the person being served was a minor.

Social Host Liability

New Jersey’s social host liability law applies the concept of dram shop liability to persons serving alcohol in their homes or at private parties or events. Under the law, a social host may be responsible even if the guest served himself/herself, and even if the guest brought their own alcohol to the event. New Jersey law allows you to sue a social host if:

  • The person causing the accident was visibly impaired, and the host knew or should have known
  • The alcohol was consumed under circumstances “manifesting reckless disregard for the consequences;”
  • Those circumstances involved an “unreasonable risk” of harm to either people or property; and.
  • The drunk person caused injury to other persons or property.

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 online videoconference. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

Time-on-the-Road Restrictions for Commercial Truck Drivers

State and Federal Regulations Designed to Minimize Driver Fatigue That Can Cause Accidents

Motorcycle Accidents Involving Roadway HazardsA commercial truck, such as a semi, big rig, 18-wheeler, or tractor-trailer, can carry a payload of up to 80,000 pounds. Because of the inherent danger associated with a vehicle carrying that much weight on our highways, there are state and federal regulations requiring truck drivers to log their time on the road. This monitoring requirement is intended to minimize the risk that drivers will suffer fatigue from spending too much time behind the wheel. Unfortunately, because most truck drivers are paid by the mile, they have an incentive to drive for too many hours a day. This incentive, coupled with the fact that their employers expect them to reach a destination by a certain time, can lead to driver fatigue, inattention, and diminished capacity, all of which can cause accidents.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial truck drivers are subject to the following hours-of-service limitations:

  • The 14-hour “driving window” limit—After being off for a minimum of 10 consecutive hours, a truck driver has a 14-hour window within which he or she cannot exceed 11 hours on the road. At the end of the 14-hour window, the driver must be off duty for at least 10 consecutive hours. The driver may not carry over unused hours and may not extend the 14-hour window by going off duty.
  • The 11-hour driving limit—A driver may not be on duty more than 11 hours during the 14-hour window and cannot drive if more than 8 hours have elapsed since his or her last 30-minute break from driving.
  • The 7-day/8-day limit—A commercial driver may not be on the road more than 60 hoursover any 7-day period or more than 70 hours over any 8-day period. The period measured is not fixed, but floating.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

If you have been injured by a commercial truck, send us an e-mail or call us at 856-667-4666 or 877-Hoglaw1 to schedule an appointment. We are open with safety precautions and also can communicate with clients by phone, text message, and videoconference. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

Motorcycle Accidents Involving Roadway Hazards

Common Types of Roadway Hazards | Recovering Compensation for Your Injuries

Motorcycle Accidents Involving Roadway Hazards Though the vast majority of motorcycle accidents are collisions with other vehicles, a significant number of crashes are single-vehicle accidents. One of the most frequent causes is some type of roadway hazard that causes a biker to lose control and crash.

The Most Common Types of Roadway Hazards for Motorcyclists

  • Potholes, rough roads, or uneven surfaces (such as edge breaks between lanes), which can cause a sudden shift in balance;
  • Sand, gravel, water, oil, or other slippery substances on the road, causing loss of control in a turn or difficulty stopping;
  • Roadway debris, including branches, construction cones, rebar, trash, tools, or tire treads;
  • Trees, shrubs, signs, or other objects that limit or obscure your view of vehicles coming from side roads;
  • Stalled vehicles with no hazard lights on; and
  • Dead animals on the road.

Recovering Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident Caused by a Roadway Hazard

In the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, one of the first things you should do is retain an experienced attorney to represent you. At my office, I will immediately start investigating how the accident happened and who caused it. I have been representing injured clients for 28 years and riding motorcycles for over 45 years. I know how roadway hazards are dangerous to motorcyclists. Any legal action we take is based on negligence. To succeed with a claim, we will need to show that:

  • The defendant (the person or company you sue) failed to meet the standard of care expected (for example, their truck recently spilled gravel on the road, and they failed to put up warning signs to alert those on the roadway, including motorcycle riders);
  • That failure to meet the standard of care caused your accident; and
  • As a result of your accident, you suffered actual losses and injuries

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 or 877-Hoglaw1 to schedule an appointment. We are open with safety precautions and can also communicate with clients by phone, text message, and videoconference. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

Happy 4th of July 2020

Happy 4th of July 2020

On this Independence Day, let us all aspire to those principles that make our nation great—freedom, liberty, and justice for all. We wish you a safe and happy holiday with loved ones.

Motor Vehicle Fatality Rate Jumps During Lockdown

Officials Say Fewer Accidents but Higher Percentage Are More Serious

Motor Vehicle Fatality Rate Jumps During LockdownAs the COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the nation, and New Jersey, like other states, has imposed social-distancing measures, the number of vehicles on state highways has declined dramatically. When full shelter-in-place restrictions were in effect, New York and New Jersey both saw an approximate reduction in traffic congestion of 60%.

There’s a bit of a silver lining to the lighter traffic patterns—the actual number of accidents and fatalities also has dropped precipitously. April 2020 had the lowest rate of motor vehicle accident deaths in New Jersey in half a century.

Officials are not surprised at the significant decline in collisions, as research has long indicated a direct correlation between total vehicle miles driven and the number of accidents. The trend is most commonly associated with significant changes in the price of gas—as prices rise, people travel fewer miles, resulting in fewer accidents. That’s the good news.

What has surprised officials, though, is that the rate of serious and fatal accidents has spiked sharply. Typically, when gas prices change, and the number of accidents fluctuates, the percentage of serious or fatal crashes remains constant. During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the percentage of fatal accidents has gone up markedly. The National Safety Council (NSC) says statistics indicate that March motor vehicle accident deaths nationwide were up 14% compared to the same period in 2019.

  • In New York City, where traffic was down by an estimated 80%, there were actually more traffic deaths than the year before.

Many officials attribute the higher fatality rate to significantly increased speeds on the roads. With far less traffic, motorists are inclined to push down the gas pedal a bit more. Consider the data from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, where the average speed during commuter morning drive time in 2019 was 13 miles per hour and a year later was approximately 52 miles per hour.

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.

The Impact of Not Wearing a Helmet on a Motorcycle Injury Claim

Can You Still Sue for Injuries Suffered as a Result of Someone Else’s Negligence?

The Impact of Not Wearing a Helmet on a Motorcycle Injury ClaimNew Jersey is one of 19 states that currently require anyone on a moving motorcycle to wear a helmet. Motorcycle operators and passengers may be ticketed for failure to comply with the law. But what are the consequences with respect to recovering for personal injury if you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident, but weren’t wearing a helmet? Will that failure prevent you from recovering anything?

New Jersey’s Modified Comparative Negligence Statute

Like all other states, New Jersey has replaced the old concept of contributory negligence (which would prevent a person from recovering anything in a personal injury claim if he or she contributed in any way to causing the injuries) with the principle of comparative negligence. Under New Jersey’s “modified comparative negligence” law, the fact that you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident may or may not prevent you from recovering for your losses. Here’s how it works.

Under comparative negligence law, a jury first determines the entire amount of your losses. The jury will then seek to establish the extent to which you were responsible for causing your injuries, expressing that as a percentage of total liability for your losses. In New Jersey, if the jury determines you were more than 50% responsible for your losses, you cannot recover anything.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet, it’s very possible that the jury will consider your failure to wear a helmet as a form of negligence especially for a head injury. If the jury determines that your injuries were primarily the result of not wearing your helmet, you may be precluded from any recovery.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 or 877-HOGLAW1 to schedule an appointment. We are currently communicating with clients by phone, text message or online videoconferencing. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

Duties of a Nursing Home to Safeguard Residents Against COVID-19

When Is a Nursing Home Legally Liable for Neglect?

Duties of a Nursing Home to Safeguard Residents Against COVID-19According to government officials, an estimated 25% of the 15,000 nursing homes in the United States have had residents infected with COVID-19. Industry watchdogs believe that more than 40% of all coronavirus-related deaths have been among residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Even though nursing home operators are required by law to immediately notify state and local authorities of any suspected infectious diseases, many nursing homes are not fully disclosing information about confirmed cases and deaths. At least two states—Texas and Virginia—have refused to provide government officials with any information about the impact of the virus on nursing homes in their states.

What are the duties of a nursing home operator when it comes to protecting residents from illness or contagious disease? When can you pursue legal action against a nursing home or assisted living facility for the illness or death of a loved one?

The Duty of Reasonable Care

As a general rule, a lawsuit for injury or death due to carelessness or neglect in a nursing home or assisted living facility is based on a legal claim of negligence. Under the longstanding principle of negligence, all persons in society, including nursing home operators, have a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care in all actions and behavior.

There’s no codified law, though, that specifically defines what constitutes “reasonable” care. In practice, whether a person’s actions met the standard of care is a fact determined by the jury. When making such a determination, the jury attempts to identify what a typical person, exercising ordinary prudence, would do in similar circumstances.

Accordingly, there’s no absolute duty to ensure the safety of nursing home residents. But operators must take the steps that a reasonable person would. With respect to COVID-19, a jury would have to determine what measures would be reasonable—closing the facility to all visitors, requiring staff to wear masks and gloves, etc. The jury does not have unlimited discretion to establish a standard of care. The legal principle of stare decisis (“let the decision stand”) is followed in American courts and requires juries to give weight to prior rulings on similar issues.

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.

Does a Motorcycle Accident Claim Require a Collision?

Recovering Damages When There’s No Contact with Another Motor Vehicle

Does a Motorcycle Accident Claim Require a Collision?Even with national awareness programs, it’s still common for motorists to ignore or fail to see motorcycles on the roads. As a motorcyclist myself, I see how often the driver of a passenger vehicle will unexpectedly veer into the path of a motorcycle, causing driver to lay down their bike or lose control in an attempt to avert impact. If you avoid a crash in such circumstances, but still suffer personal injury or damage to your bike, can you pursue compensation for your losses? Does there have to be contact with another vehicle for you to have a valid claim?

Your Claim is Based on Negligence, Not Contact

There’s no requirement that you collide with another vehicle in order to seek damages after a motorcycle accident. In most instances, such lawsuitsare based on the legal theory of negligence. Under this concept, it is assumed that all individuals in society have a duty to exercise reasonable care at all times, including when operating a motor vehicle, manufacturing a product, or maintaining property that could possible harm others. To be entitled to compensation after a motorcycle wreck, you must convince the jury of the following:

  • The defendant (the party you want to pay for your losses) did not act reasonably under the circumstances—In other words, the driver of the passenger car “breached” the duty of care.
  • The failure to act reasonably caused an accident—You must prove that you would not have crashed had the defendant not been careless, and you must show that the injuries you sustained were “reasonably foreseeable” as a consequence of the defendant’s carelessness.
  • You suffered actual losses as a result of the accident—Any losses reimbursed by an insurance company cannot be recovered a second time against the defendant (though the insurance company may seek reimbursement from the defendant for payments made to you). In addition, if you had property damage, but the property had no meaningful value, there’s no right to recovery.

In a no-contact motorcycle accident, then, the court will simply apply the negligence standard set forth above. There is no requirement of impact for recovery.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 or 877-HOGLAW1 to schedule an appointment. We are currently communicating with clients by phone, text message, and online videoconferencing. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions

Factors that Contribute to Hitting another Car from Behind

Common Causes of Rear-End CollisionsAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about one in every three motor vehicle accidents in the United States involve one car striking another car from the rear. It’s the classic type of collision that leads to whiplash, where your head snaps back and forth, causing significant injury to your neck, as well as potential brain injury. Statistics indicate that there are a number of reasons why these accidents are so prevalent.

  • Violation of speed limit—A significant number of rear-enders occur when a motorist can’t stop in time because he or she is traveling too fast, traveling too close or both. A good rule of thumb is a car length per 10 miles an hour you’re traveling. If you going 50, you should stay at least five car lengths behind anyone in front of you.
  • Distracted driving—This may be the most common cause of accidents today—looking somewhere other than the road in front of you. It might be a handheld device, the radio dial, a child in the backseat or something along the roadside.
  • Fatigued driving—Fatigue slows down your reaction time. If you have to drive (after a long shift or a long day), take extra precaution and add some distance between you and other motorists.
  • Heavy traffic—When you’re in a traffic jam, you need to be hypersensitive to traffic around you.
  • Mechanical failure—If your brakes need work or you’re riding on old tires, you may not be able stop in time
  • Driving while intoxicated or impaired—Alcohol is a depressant, so it slows down your reaction time. One study found that, with a blood alcohol level of .08 (the legal limit in New Jersey), you’ll need an extra 12 feet to stop, if you’re traveling at 70 miles per hour.

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 online video conferencing. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

The Impact of COVID-19 on a Personal Injury Claim

How the Response to the Coronavirus Affects Existing and Potential Cases

The Impact of COVID-19 on a Personal Injury ClaimOn March 21, 2020, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order instructing state residents to stay at home and engage only in “necessary” travel. The order also requires all “non-essential” retail businesses to close until further notice. What effect has the stay-at-home order had on the state’s civil court system? If you’ve already filed a personal injury lawsuit, is it on hold? If you suffer a personal injury and need to file a complaint, can you do that?

At the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC, we are taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. Though we are available to answer your questions and assist you with legal issues, we are not requiring employees to come into our offices. We are conducting all work remotely and can communicate with you by phone, text message, or videoconference on your mobile device or desktop computer.

Are New Jersey Courts Currently Operating?

Effective March 18, 2020, all New Jersey Superior Courts were closed to in-person proceedings (except for extremely limited situations and some ongoing trials). To the extent possible, the courts are attempting to handle case management proceedings, including motions and hearings, by telephone or videoconference. Your attorney may or may not be able to schedule a hearing or motion depending on various factors, including the availability of parties and technology. If a hearing has already been scheduled, your lawyer should contact the court to determine whether it can be held by phone or videoconference.

The courts are still accepting filings, though they must be done electronically, by mail, or dropped off at a designated drop box. If you suffer a personal injury and wish to file a complaint, there should be no reason for concern that the filing deadline might expire before courts are back in session. Your attorney can submit a complaint as referenced above. In addition, though no specific action has been taken yet, there have been discussions at both the state and federal levels about suspending statutes of limitation (the laws that govern filing deadlines) until the crisis is over. At the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC, we are actively monitoring these matters and will ensure that your interests are protected.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666.

Evening and weekend meetings by phone, text message, or videoconference can be arranged upon request.

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COVID-19 Firm Update

To our clients, neighbors and members of our community who may require legal services during this uncertain time, we are here for you. Although our dedicated team is working entirely remotely, the use of telephone, texting & video conferencing allows us to stay connected with you 24/7. Furthermore, our case management system is entirely cloud-based, which gives our team members full access to your files during this national emergency. We hope you and your family stay safe during the COVID-19 situation. Continue to check our Facebook page for important updates. We are here to help.