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Proving Fault in a New Jersey Truck Accident

What You Need to Show to Recover Compensation for Your Losses

Proving Fault in a New Jersey Truck AccidentWhen you’ve been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, chances are your injuries are significant. After all, a semi, tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler or big rig can legally carry up to 80,000 pounds. Even the largest passenger vehicles (the Chevy Suburban is the heaviest) come in at less than 7,000 pounds. Though it can often seem to you that the causes of the accident were obvious, proving liability in a truck accident claim can be challenging, mostly because there are so many different factors that can contribute to an accident:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Poor maintenance of the truck
  • Dangerous or defective components (brakes, steering mechanism, tires)
  • Poorly maintained roadways
  • Operator error
  • Lack of training, experience or supervision

What Must You Prove to Win a Truck Accident Lawsuit?

Though you can always file a lawsuit based on the intentional and wrongful acts of another person, as a practical matter, most personal injury claims are based on allegations of negligence. To succeed with a negligence claim, you must show three things:

  • That the person from whom you seek compensation (the defendant) failed to act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances (drove too fast, failed to properly maintain the truck, etc.)
  • That the failure to act reasonably caused the accident
  • That you suffered actual losses as a consequence of the accident

What Types of Evidence Can Be Used to Support Your Claim?

Evidence can be obtained from a variety of sources:

  • Eyewitness testimony from persons involved in the accident or from bystanders
  • Testimony from expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists
  • Data gathered from the truck’s “black box recorder”
  • The official accident report filed with law enforcement officers
  • Forensic evidence, such as examination of vehicles, roadway conditions or injuries sustained
  • Pictures taken at the scene of the accident

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.

Protecting Your Legal Rights after a Motorcycle Accident

The Most Important Things You Need to Do

Protecting Your Legal Rights after a Motorcycle Accident imageThere’s nothing like hitting the open road on a motorcycle—nothing compares to the responsiveness of a bike and the feel of the wind on your body. But there’s a tradeoff—you can often be invisible to other motorists and, if you are involved in an accident, you have less to protect you from serious injury. If you have been hurt while operating or riding on a motorcycle, there are some specific steps you need to take to protect your legal rights.

Immediately Get the Medical Attention You Need

There’s a certain toughness in the face of pain or injury that’s a part of the motorcycle culture. That won’t serve you well in the aftermath of an accident. If you hope to get full and fair compensation for all your losses, you need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Delaying medical care can have a number of undesirable consequences:

  • You run a high risk that your condition will unnecessarily worsen
  • You may compromise some of your injury claims if you have any other type of mishap before you seek medical care. Insurance companies and opposing counsel may argue that your injuries were not caused by the motorcycle accident.
  • Insurers and defense attorneys may also use your delay in seeking medical attention to argue that your injuries were not that serious

Your first action, then, after a motorcycle accident, should be to assess your injuries. Don’t try to shake things off or be strong. If you are in considerable pain or can’t move under your own power, be willing to travel to the hospital by ambulance. If you can get up and walk away, immediately seek medical care at a hospital emergency room, an urgent care facility or with your primary care physician.

Gather Evidence, If Possible

You can help your lawyer by:

  • Getting contact information from witnesses or other parties to the accident
  • Taking pictures of anything that might be related to the accident, including weather or roadway conditions, your injuries and any damage to your vehicle
  • Take the necessary steps to get a police report

Hire an Experienced Attorney as Soon as Possible

You want a lawyer who has extensive experience successfully handling personal injury claims. Ideally, that attorney will have litigated motorcycle accident injury claims for others. Your attorney can also act as your liaison with insurers, helping you get the benefits to which you are entitled.

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.

Potentially Liable Parties in a New Jersey Truck Accident

Determining Who Caused the Wreck

Potentially Liable Parties in a New Jersey Truck AccidentWhen you’re involved in a collision with an 18-wheeler, big rig, semi, tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle, your injuries can be serious, even if the accident occurred at relatively slow speeds. A fully loaded semi can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, under current trucking regulations and your passenger vehicle will rarely weigh more than a couple tons. In most instances, you’re going to get the worst of it. To recover compensation, though, you’ll need to establish liability—who caused the accident. In many cases, you may actually be able to show that a number of different parties contributed to the crash.

Who Are the Potentially Liable Parties in a Commercial Trucking Accident?

In the aftermath of a truck accident, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against:

  • The person driving the truck—The driver may have made driving mistakes, may have been distracted by a mobile device or a passenger, may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs, may have violated state or federal regulations governing “time on the road,” or may have failed to conduct required maintenance
  • The owner of the truck—If the driver was employed by a trucking company, you may have a claim against the business or the owner. That may involve negligence in hiring, training or monitoring. It can also include failure to ensure that the driver took required rests or that the vehicle was properly maintained.
  • The cargo loader—Many accidents are caused because 18-wheelers or delivery vans are overloaded or because the loads are imbalanced, causing rollovers or loss of control
  • The manufacturer of the truck or of a part or component of the truck—You may have a product liability claim for negligent design, manufacture or marketing if the accident was caused by the breakdown or failure of a part or product
  • The local government, if the accident was caused by a poorly maintained or designed road

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.

Wishing You And Yours A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Wishing You And Yours A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Recovering Compensation When You Were Partially at Fault

You May Be Able to Get Damages under New Jersey’s Comparative Negligence Rules

Recovering Compensation When You Were Partially at FaultYou’ve been in a motor vehicle accident or you were hurt in a slip and fall on an icy sidewalk or driveway. Maybe you didn’t come to a complete stop, partially causing the accident. Perhaps you saw the buildup of ice and snow and ignored it. Can you still seek compensation for your losses, if the accident wouldn’t have happened without your negligence? Maybe…

Contributory and Comparative Negligence in New Jersey

Before 1973, if you were injured in an accident, but the defendant could show that you contributed in any way to causing the accident, there was a good chance you wouldn’t recover anything. That’s because New Jersey used to follow the legal principle of contributory negligence. Under that approach, any wrongdoing by the injured party could prevent financial recovery. Not surprisingly, defense attorneys abused the principle, seeking dismissal of a personal injury claim if there was even the slightest indication of minimal carelessness or negligence. As a consequence, many individuals who committed acts of extreme negligence avoided responsibility for their actions.

In 1973, New Jersey legally adopted the principle of comparative negligence. With comparative negligence, the jury first determines the full extent of the plaintiff’s (person who filed the lawsuit) injuries. Next, the jury establishes the degree to which the plaintiff’s actions caused the accident, expressed as a percentage of liability. Then, the jury reduces the damage award, based on the percentage of liability.

For example, suppose you were injured in a car accident and your total losses were $500,000. The jury rules that you were 20% responsible for causing the accident and reduces the total damage award by $100,000 (20% of $500,000), awarding you $400,000.

New Jersey follows the principle of modified comparative negligence (as opposed to pure comparative negligence). That means that you can only recover a damage award if your liability for the accident is 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 / 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.

Riding a Motorcycle in Winter Weather

Tips for Maximizing Your Safety in New Jersey

Riding a Motorcycle in Winter WeatherYou love the feeling of freedom that comes from getting on your bike, with the wind in your face. When winter comes to New Jersey, with the potential for snow and ice on the roads, you still want to ride. How can you enjoy the thrill of the open road, even in the winter, while staying safe? Here are some tips for avoiding needless injury on your motorcycle this winter:

  • Make certain you’ve winterized your bike—Check the tread on your tires, as well as your brakes, and replace your antifreeze (if necessary). Always clean your helmet and windshield before you hit the road.
  • Know what’s out there—Pay attention to the weather and to weather reports. Know if there’s been a thaw and a freeze, with the potential for black ice or accumulations of snow.
  • Take your time—This applies to every motorist, not just bikers. Everyone needs a little more time to stop in the winter. Every driver needs to take those turns with a bit more caution, in order to avoid spinouts.
  • Always check your tires before you ride—Cold temperatures will lower the pressure in your tires. Don’t risk a blowout.
  • Remember that you’ll have less traction until your tires warm up—The colder your tires are, the harder the rubber will be. The harder the rubber, the less traction you’ll have. As you ride, you’ll generate heat and increase traction, but even a short stop can reduce the traction from your tires.
  • Have the right gear—You’ll be safer when you’re comfortable. Make certain you protect your ears, nose, fingers and toes—those are the parts of your body most susceptible to cold or frostbite.
  • Limit your distractions—This is true at all times, but even more important in inclement weather

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.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving 2022

Does the Standard of Care Change in Winter Weather?

Can a Person Be Held to a Higher Standard in Snowy or Icy Weather?

does-the-standard-of-care-change-in-winter-weatherIt’s winter in New Jersey and that means you can expect snow and ice on the roads, making conditions potentially more dangerous. Can a jury find that you were negligent and caused an accident, even if you were obeying the posted speed limit? In other words, is there a higher standard of care in inclement weather? Let’s take a closer look at how the law defines negligence.

To successfully prove negligence in a personal injury lawsuit, you must show three things:

  • That the defendant (person from whom you seek compensation) did not act as a reasonable person would
  • That the failure to act reasonably caused an accident
  • That you suffered actual losses because of the accident

How Does a Jury Determine the Standard of Care?

When determining liability, the jury will compare the actions of the defendant to what “a reasonable person” would have done, under the same circumstances. The law does not specifically identify exactly what that behavior would be, but allows the jury to make a determination, on a case-by-case basis, as to whether or not the actions of the potentially at-fault driver were reasonable. The two key components of that test are:

  • What would be considered reasonable behavior?
  • What were the unique circumstances?

Though there’s no guarantee that a jury would hold a driver to higher standard in snowy or icy weather, it’s highly likely. The jury could easily conclude that a reasonable person would know (or expect) that it would be more difficult to stop or control a car in snow or ice, requiring that the driver take extra precautions to minimize the risk of a collision. Those extra precautions would include driving at a slower speed and allowing more room for braking. Accordingly, even if the defendant was traveling below the posted speed limit, the jury may conclude that the speed was unreasonable, given the weather conditions.

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.

How the Judge and Jury Work Together in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

What Does the Judge Do? What Is the Responsibility of the Jury?

how-the-judge-and-jury-work-together-in-a-personal-injury-lawsuitWhen you’ve suffered any type of loss in New Jersey because of the wrongful acts or negligence of another person, you have the right to file a lawsuit to recover damages (financial compensation) for your losses. While most personal injury claims settle before going to trial, you may need to take your case to a judge and jury to get the outcome you want. Why is there both a judge and a jury at trial? What are their respective roles and responsibilities, and how do they work together?

The Role of the Judge

In any trial, whether it’s a criminal prosecution or a civil lawsuit for damages, the judge makes all decisions of law. For example, if one of the parties seeks to introduce certain evidence, and the other party objects, the judge will consider the laws of evidence and make a ruling as to whether the evidence may legally be permitted at trial.

The Role of the Jury

The jurors are charged, in either a civil or a criminal proceeding, with making determinations of “fact.” Commonly, attorneys for each side will make factual assertions, which may often be vastly different. It is ultimately up to the jury to decide which version of the facts is more believable.

How Do the Judge and Jury Work Together in a Personal Injury Trial?

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the jury to determine the facts and to then apply the facts to the law. Because the jurors don’t know the law, they will receive instructions of law from the judge. For example, the judge will typically tell the jury that, if they make a particular factual conclusion—that the defendant failed to stop at a stop sign—they must come to the legal conclusion that the defendant was negligent, and potentially liable for damages.

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.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! 2022

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