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Motor Vehicle Accidents in New Jersey

What Do You Need to Do If the Accident Was Caused by a Roadway Defect?

Motor Vehicle Accidents in New JerseyWhen you’ve been hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, you typically look first at the actions of all parties directly involved in the crash. Did another motorist run a red light, make an illegal lane change or hit you from behind? But what if your accident was caused by a pothole, loose gravel, uneven pavement or a missing or non-functioning traffic signal? Can you still pursue compensation for your losses?

Municipal Liability for Personal Injury in New Jersey

In New Jersey, as in all states, the legal concept of “sovereign immunity” generally limits a private citizen’s ability to sue the government for personal injury. That doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t be able to recover damages from the state for personal injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident caused by roadway defects. It does mean, however, that the process will be different (and a bit more complicated).

Seeking Damages under the New Jersey Tort Claims Act

While the New Jersey Tort Claims Act generally prohibits private individuals and entities from filing personal injury claims against the state, there are enumerated exceptions. Specifically, the Tort Claims Act holds a public entity liable for personal injuries caused by an employee “within the scope of his employment in the same manner and to the same extent as a private individual under like circumstances.” In essence, that means that if you could bring a personal injury claim against a government employee if he or she were acting outside of the scope of their employment, you bring a claim against the public entity if they were acting within the scope of their employment.

How Does the Process Differ under the Tort Claims Act?

Unlike a claim against a private defendant, a claim under the Tort Claims Act must first be submitted to the state of New Jersey. Furthermore, any claim against the state government under the TCA must be filed within 90 days 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 to schedule an appointment. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

Common Accidents in the Fall

Dangers to Watch for When the Leaves Start to Turn Color

Common Accidents in the FallIt’s October—officially fall—when the temperature starts to drop and the world comes ablaze in color. Some of the unique attributes of autumn can lead to an increase in certain types of accidents.

Slips and Falls

As the trees start to shed, fallen leaves can pose a serious risk of injury, accumulating on sidewalks, steps, ramps, and other public thoroughfares. Often, they’ll accumulate for days or weeks, getting wet and slippery with every rain. A pile of leaves on a driveway or sidewalk can mask a potentially dangerous situation. If possible, when you’re walking in fall weather, avoid uneven piles of leaves. If you need to climb stairs that are covered with leaves, take the time to clear a clean path first.

The lower temperatures at night can also leave dew on steps or stairs in the early morning, making ascending or descending treacherous.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

The days can still be pretty warm, with the nights cooling off significantly. Those conditions are ideal for fog, particularly at dawn or dusk. If you have to drive in foggy or misty weather, make certain you turn your headlights on so others can see you better. Lower your speed and take time to look both ways at any intersection.

Unfortunately, the natural beauty that comes with the changing colors in the fall can also be a distraction, causing drivers to take their eyes off the road.

Furthermore, many forest creatures are more active in the fall, which is not only hunting season but also mating season. Studies show increased movement among deer populations between October and the end of December and, consequently, more deer-car accidents.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

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

Recovering Damages After a Car Accident

What If the Driver of Your Vehicle Was at Fault?

Recovering Damages After a Car AccidentIf you’re hurt in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, there’s a tendency to look at the other vehicles involved in the wreck and determine whether they were careless or negligent. But what if you’re a passenger in a vehicle, and the driver of that vehicle causes the crash? Can you file a legal claim for compensation for your losses? What if the driver is a family member?

Can You Sue the Driver of the Vehicle in Which You Were Traveling?

Absolutely! When you suffer a personal injury caused by another person, you generally have a right to seek compensation for any associated costs. Most personal injury claims are based on a legal theory of negligence. Negligence requires you to prove that the other person:

  • failed to act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances,
  • thereby causing an accident
  • that led you to suffer actual losses.

Accordingly, if you’re hurt in a motor vehicle collision that occurred because the driver of the car in which you were traveling was speeding, ran a red light, or was driving while distracted, you can generally include them as defendants in a lawsuit to reimburse you for your losses. In fact, as a general rule, you can sue both the driver of your car and any other driver who was potentially at fault.

What If the Driver of Your Car Was a Family Member?

Your right to sue can potentially change if the driver was a family member, based on the circumstances of your relationship and living arrangements. In New Jersey, auto insurance policies generally cover the policyholder and all resident relatives—any family members with whom they live. Accordingly, if you’re injured in an accident as a passenger in a car driven by someone with whom you live, you cannot sue that family member as you’re already covered by their policy. On the other hand, if you were riding with a relative with whom you don’t live, you can take legal action against them to get compensation for your losses.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

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

Who Is At Fault in a Left-Turn Accident?

Is the Driver Turning Left Always at Fault?

Who Is At Fault in a Left-Turn Accident?Under the rules of the road in New Jersey, drivers making a left turn must yield to oncoming vehicles. There are two exceptions: when the driver has a green left-turn arrow and when there are stop signs on both sides of the intersection and the driver turning has arrived at the intersection first. These rules suggest that in all other accidents where a driver was turning left, that driver caused the accident and should be liable.

While practically speaking that may be the result in an overwhelming number of such accidents, there is no hard and fast rule that makes the driver executing a left turn liable for causing the accident. Instead, the jury must look at all the facts to determine if there was any wrongdoing on the part of the driver traveling straight through the intersection.

Most personal injury claims are based on a legal theory of negligence, which requires that persons in society act reasonably at all times, whether driving a car, maintaining property, or manufacturing a product. The jury can look at the actions of both parties—if they were both acting unreasonably, they may both have some liability.

In some instances, a jury may even find that the driver traveling straight was solely responsible for the accident. Examples include exceeding the speed limit or running a red light. The jury may also determine that the driver traveling straight had a reasonable opportunity to avoid the accident but acted carelessly or negligently.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

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

Compensation for Loss of Enjoyment of Life After an Accident

What Is It? How Is It Calculated?

Compensation for Loss of Enjoyment of Life After an AccidentWhen you’re in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have a right to seek financial compensation for your losses. Some losses are easily understood and fairly simple to calculate:

  • Wages and other income, if you can’t work
  • Medical expenses not covered by insurance
  • Property damage

Among the less obvious forms of compensation you can pursue are damages for pain and suffering, loss of companionship or consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. What types of injury or loss make up that last category? How does the law define “loss of enjoyment of life?” How will the court determine the dollar amount of such a loss?

What Is Loss of Enjoyment of Life?

In essence, the term means exactly what the words suggest—the inability to do those things that brought you enjoyment before the accident. Loss of enjoyment of life can cover many things:

  • The inability to engage in the simple acts of daily life, such as walking, sitting, dressing yourself, or handling your own affairs—Being able to live a normal life is deemed to bring enjoyment, and the inability to do so can lead to a loss of enjoyment in your life.
  • An inability to engage in activities that brought you enjoyment, including hobbies, sports, or other activities—If you were an avid and active golfer before the accident but can’t play now, you could make an argument for the loss of enjoyment that golfing brought to your life.

It’s important to understand that “loss” here does not mean total loss. If you can still do the things you used to do but it’s painful to do so, or you can’t perform at the level you could before the accident, you can still recover damages.

How Does the Court Calculate Damages for Loss of Enjoyment of Life?

Damages for loss of enjoyment of life are in the category of “non-economic” damages. They are not tied to a tangible expense or loss, such as a medical bill or lost income. Accordingly, juries don’t have numerical data to compute the exact loss. Instead, juries have some discretion and typically look at factors such as the age of the injured party or the severity of the injury when assessing these damages. An experienced personal injury attorney can help jurors understand the full magnitude of the loss of enjoyment of life.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an email today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. 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 and Automobile Accident Claims

Why You Want a Lawyer Who Has Successfully Handled Motorcycle Claims

The Differences Between Motorcycle and Automobile Accident ClaimsWhen you’re hurt while riding a motorcycle, whether as a passenger or driver, you may think that it’s just like any other motor vehicle accident, so you just need a good auto accident attorney. That’s not true, though. There are significant differences between bike accidents and other motor vehicle wrecks. Here are a few.

As a Motorcyclist, You Can Expect Bias From the Jury

When your lawyer selects a jury, you hope that he or she will eliminate anyone with an unfair perception of motorcyclists. Jurors tend to carry a few biases against bikers:

  • There’s an unfair and unfounded societal perception that most bikers are rebels or outsiders, reckless or even lawless—you’ll need an attorney who has the experience to overcome that.
  • There’s also the perception that riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous, leading to less sympathy among jurors.

Most Jurors Won’t Understand the Challenges of Riding a Motorcycle

Virtually every adult drives a car, but less than one U.S. household in ten has a motorcycle parked in the driveway. For that reason, you can expect that a minority of the jurors have ever been on a bike and most won’t understand how the wrongful actions of another motorist could cause you to lose control of your bike. Most jurors also won’t understand that you need to maintain a certain speed to ensure stability and balance while operating a motorcycle—they may attribute that speed to carelessness or recklessness. You want an attorney who can clearly explain the details of safely operating a bike.

Serious Injuries Can Occur Even at Low Speeds

In virtually every motorcycle accident, you’re going to go down. Because you’re essentially unprotected–other than by a helmet, gloves, and other protective gear–the likelihood is that you’ll suffer serious injury, even if you’re traveling at a relatively slow speed. You want a lawyer who knows the potential injuries that can arise and how to work with experts to convey full and accurate information to the jury.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

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

Accidental or Wrongful Death in New Jersey

Who Qualifies to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Accidental or Wrongful Death in New JerseyThe accidental or wrongful death of anyone can have a devastating impact on a wide range of people—family, friends, associates, and co-workers, just to name a few. New Jersey law allows certain parties to seek financial compensation after the accidental or wrongful death of another person. What are the restrictions on who can file such a claim? Who qualifies to file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Only a “Real Party in Interest” Can Bring a Wrongful Death Action

Before determining who qualifies to file a wrongful death claim in New Jersey, it’s important to first distinguish between a wrongful death claim and a survival action. A survival action is filed on behalf of the estate of the decedent and must be brought by the personal representative of the estate. If the person died without a will, the court will appoint a personal representative.

A wrongful death lawsuit, on the other hand, is intended to compensate certain parties for losses suffered because of a wrongful or accidental death. In New Jersey, to qualify to file a wrongful death action, you must demonstrate to the court that you are a “real party in interest.” The New Jersey wrongful death statute lists all persons who can qualify as real parties in interest:

  • The surviving spouse of the deceased
  • A surviving child or grandchild of the person who died
  • A surviving parent of the deceased
  • Any surviving nieces, nephews, or siblings of the deceased
  • Any other person who can demonstrate “actual (financial) dependence” on the decedent
  • The above-listed individuals are eligible to file in certain situations. If there is a surviving spouse or surviving children, they have an exclusive right to any wrongful death award. The parents of the person who died can recover compensation only if there is no surviving spouse and no surviving children. Nieces, nephews, and siblings may pursue damages only if no spouse, child, or parent of the deceased is still living.

    Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

    Send us an email today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. 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 Motor-Vehicle-Accident-Injury Claims

How Does Your Own Negligence Affect a Claim for Injuries?

New Jersey Motor-Vehicle-Accident-Injury ClaimsIn a personal injury lawsuit, one of the primary things to determine is liability—who caused the accident. It’s not uncommon for a number of parties to be at fault, including the injured party. What happens if you contribute to the chain of events that leads to an accident and causes you injury? Do you still have legal recourse? The answer—maybe.

Contributory vs. Comparative Negligence

For centuries, the principle of contributory negligence determined the rights of injured parties. If you engaged in any action that contributed in any way to the accident and your injuries, you were without legal recourse. Under such a rule, the objective of defense counsel was clear—find any way (even the slightest) that the injured party contributed to causing the accident and get the claim dismissed.

The contributory negligence approach often resulted in great inequity; for example, grossly negligent defendants could escape liability entirely by showing an insignificant careless act by the plaintiff. For that reason, New Jersey abandoned contributory negligence and instituted the concept of comparative negligence in personal injury claims.

Under the theory of comparative negligence, the court first determines the full amount of an injured party’s losses. Next, the court determines the extent to which the injured party caused his or her losses, expressed as a percentage of liability. The court then reduces the damage award by that percentage. For example, if the total damages are $1,000,000 and the plaintiff is was 15% responsible, the total damage award will be $850,000 ($1,000,000 minus $150,000).

Modified vs. Pure Comparative Negligence

The 45 states that have adopted comparative negligence principles take two different approaches:

  • Pure comparative negligence—Under this scheme, an injured party always receives something, even if his or her liability is deemed to be greater than that of other parties.
  • Modified comparative negligence—With this approach, an injured party may only recover compensation if his or her fault falls below a certain threshold, typically 50%.

New Jersey follows the modified comparative negligence approach.

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 can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary..

Happy 4th of July 2021

Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

New Jersey Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents

How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

New Jersey Statute of Limitations for Car AccidentsAfter a motor vehicle accident, your first concern should always be your health. You need to make certain you get the medical attention you need, without unnecessary delays. Doing so will give you a better chance of a full physical recovery, and you’ll have less risk that any legal claims will be compromised.

As soon as you’re on the road to physical recovery, you want to retain an experienced attorney. Your lawyer will move quickly to preserve crucial evidence before memories fade or witnesses become unavailable.

In New Jersey, as in all states, a written law known as the “statute of limitations” sets a specific time limit within which certain types of lawsuits must be filed. The statute of limitations varies based on the type of claim—for example, it may be different for a personal injury case than for a breach of contract matter. It can also vary from state to state.

In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for motor vehicle accident claims falls under the broader time frame set for all personal injury claims: a lawsuit must be filed “within two years next after the cause of any such action shall have accrued.” As a general rule, that means a civil complaint must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. If the motor vehicle accident causes a wrongful death, the statute of limitations (still two years) on the wrongful death claim starts to run on the date of death.

In cases where an injury is not immediately apparent, the “discovery rule” applies to the filing of a claim. The discovery rule holds that the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the injured person actually discovers the injury or would have discovered the injury through the exercise of reasonable diligence.

Effect of Failing to File Before the Statute of Limitations Expires

If you file a complaint after the statute of limitations has run out, the defendant can make the court aware of that failure and ask that the lawsuit be dismissed.

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.

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