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

The Rights of Passengers in New Jersey Motor Vehicle Accident Claims

Can You Sue More than One Driver? What about Single Car Accidents?

The Rights of Passengers in New Jersey Motor Vehicle Accident ClaimsYou’ve been hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident in New Jersey. Maybe it was a collision where the facts indicate that both drivers had some degree of fault. Maybe it was a single-vehicle accident. What are your rights as a passenger? Can you bring a lawsuit for damages against both drivers in a collision? Can you sue the driver of your vehicle if there was no other motorist involved?

Your Rights as a Passenger in New Jersey

In New Jersey, most personal injury claims are based on a legal theory of negligence. To succeed with such a claim, you must show the following:

  • The defendant (person you are seeking compensation from) failed to act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances
  • That failure to act reasonably caused the accident
  • You suffered actual losses as a result of the accident/your injuries

If you can show that more than one person failed to act reasonably and caused the accident, you can recover damages from all liable parties. That means you can bring a lawsuit against the driver of your vehicle and the driver of the other vehicle.

What If the Driver Was a Family Member?

What if you were a passenger in a vehicle driven by a spouse, parent or other family member? Can you still file a lawsuit for damages if the at-fault party was related to you?

There is nothing to prohibit you from seeking compensation from a family member after a car accident. As a practical matter, your losses will typically be covered by an insurance policy. Accordingly, it’s not as if you are asking your loved one to pay for your losses out of pocket.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us 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.

Gathering Evidence in a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawsuit

How Your Lawyer Finds Evidence to Support Your Claim

Motorcycle and helmet on the street after dangerous traffic inciWhen you’ve been hurt because of someone else’s carelessness or negligence, you have the right to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your losses. If your case goes to trial, your attorney will need to introduce evidence to support your claims. Ultimately, if a jury finds your evidence more compelling and believable than the defendant’s evidence, they will likely rule in your favor.

How do attorneys gather evidence in a personal injury case? Let’s look at some of the tools for learning more about how your accident occurred.

Basic Methods for Gathering Evidence

Initially, your attorney will carefully walk through the facts with you, gathering information about your observations, as well as whether there were any witnesses to the accident. Your attorney may contact a witness directly, provided he or she is not a party to the litigation. However, before you go to trial, you will have to disclose any potential witnesses at trial. When you do, opposing counsel ha the right to schedule depositions of those witnesses.
In many accident claims, an attorney will bring in an expert witness, who may travel to the scene of the accident to gather evidence. If that expert will be called at trial, his or her name must be made available to all other parties.
It’s also fairly common for your lawyer to hire a private investigator. Remember, though, that if the investigator locates a witness who will support your claims and you intend to call that witness at trial, you will have to disclose that person’s name to all other parties in the litigation.

Tools Available through the Court

There are three common tools available through the courts to help your lawyer gather evidence:

  • Depositions—A deposition is the examination of a witness outside of court, but with a court reporter present to record all questions and answers. A witness may be compelled (by subpoena) to appear at a deposition. All parties to the litigation will have the opportunity to question any witness at a deposition.
  • Interrogatories—These are written questions submitted by one party to another party. The court can typically compel a party to answer interrogatories, but will also commonly place a limit on the number of questions allowed.
  • Requests for production—A party to a lawsuit may ask the court to require that another party produce physical evidence, typically documents. However, a request for production may also apply to other physical evidence.

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 Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury in New Jersey

What Is the Statute of Limitations? What Is Its Purpose?

the-statute-of-limitations-on-personal-injury-in-new-jerseyWhen you have been injured in New Jersey because of the wrongful, careless or negligent acts of another person or entity, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for a wide range of losses, including:

  • Lost income or wages
  • Any medical expenses not covered by insurance or otherwise paid Any pain and suffering you experience as a result of your injuries
  • The loss of enjoyment of life—the ability to engage in normal activities of daily life or to do things that brought you joy or fulfillment before your injuries
  • The loss of companionship or consortium caused by your injuries

It’s important to understand, though, that you don’t have an unlimited amount of time to bring a legal claim. Your right to file a lawsuit is governed by a written law, known as the “statute of limitations,” which requires that your complaint be filed within a certain amount of time. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations requires that you initiate your lawsuit within two years of the date you sustained those injuries. However, if you could not reasonably “discover” your injuries until sometime after the accident, the period of time within which you can file the lawsuit may be extended or “tolled” until you reasonably discover them.

What Is the Purpose of the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations serves a number of purposes:

  • It ensures that evidence is gathered while memories are still fresh
  • It minimizes the risk of loss of evidence due to the death or relocation of witnesses or the destruction of physical evidence
  • It ensures that a defendant will not have to spend an unreasonable amount of time in fear of a potential lawsuit

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.

Common Defenses in a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawsuit

The Tactics a Defendant May Use to Deny or Diminish Your Claim

Common Defenses in a New Jersey Personal Injury LawsuitOften, when you’ve been injured because of the carelessness or negligence of another person, your legal claim can seem like an open and shut case. There are, however, a number of defenses that the at-fault party and his/her legal counsel may raise to try to minimize your claim.

Contributory or Comparative Negligence

In essence, this defense argues that you had some liability—that your actions contributed to or caused the accident in some way. Under the old legal concept of contributory negligence, if you were found liable to any degree, you could not recover anything for your losses. New Jersey now follows the “modified comparative negligence” rule, which allows you to recover something unless your liability was greater than 50%.

Your Injuries Were Pre-Existing

This argument contends that the defendant did not cause your injuries—they were sustained in some earlier incident. If you’ve had a similar injury in the past, you can expect defense attorneys to exhaustively review your medical records and look for evidence of other events or factors at or around the time of the accident that can be alleged to have caused your injuries. Be aware that you can recover compensation if the defendant’s negligence aggravated or worsened a pre-existing condition.

You Assumed the Risk of Injury

This defense is customarily raised when you are injured while engaging in an “inherently dangerous” activity. To succeed with such an argument, the defense must typically prove that you had actual knowledge of the risks involved and you voluntarily assumed them.

You Waived Your Right to Recover for Your Losses

If you were required to sign a release form before participating in the activity that caused your injury, the defense may waive that paper in front of the jury. As a general rule, the courts are reluctant to enforce these waivers if they are overbroad or will bring about an unfair result.

Your Claim Was Barred by the Statute of Limitations

In New Jersey, you must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of your injury or it may be barred. However, the time period may be extended if your injury was not reasonably discoverable.

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 Different Types of Damages Available in a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawsuit

What Losses Can You Recover after Someone Else’s Negligence?

The Different Types of Damages Available in a New Jersey Personal Injury LawsuitSomeone else acts carelessly, causing an accident and you are involved. You have a right to file a legal claim to recover for any actual losses resulting from the other person’s wrongful acts. What specific losses can you ask for in a personal injury lawsuit?

The Damages Available in a Personal Injury Case

In a personal injury lawsuit, you have a right to ask the court to award “damages,” a legal term that refers to monetary compensation. As a general rule, there are two broad categories of damages—compensatory damages and punitive damages. Punitive damages, designed to punish the at-fault party and to serve as a disincentive to others who might engage in similar behavior, are rarely awarded in personal injury lawsuits.

Compensatory damages, however, are common in personal injury claims. These damages are intended to reimburse an injured party for any actual out-of-pocket expenses incurred because of the accident, or to confer a monetary value for other types of losses that may not be as easy to calculate.

Compensatory damages are generally identified as either “economic” damages or “non-economic” damages.

Economic damages are those that are tangible and relatively easy to calculate. In a personal injury lawsuit, they include compensation for lost wages or income caused by the accident, for unreimbursed medical expenses (not covered by insurance) resulting from the accident, and for any property loss or damage sustained.

Non-economic damages are generally less tangible and more difficult to calculate precisely. They include compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering—Physical and emotional discomfort or distress caused by an accident or by injuries suffered
  • Loss of companionship or consortium—The inability to be physically close or intimate with family members or loved ones
  • Loss of enjoyment of life—Loss of the ability to enjoy the ordinary activities of daily life or to participate in activities that formerly gave the injured party joy, fulfillment or happiness

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.

Injuries to Motorcycle Passengers in New Jersey

Your Right to Recover Compensation for Your Losses

Injuries to Motorcycle Passengers in New JerseyThere’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting on a motorcycle on a warm summer day, out on the open road with the wind in your face. It’s a feeling of freedom you won’t find through any other experience. There are inherent risks to riding a bike, whether you’re operating it or along as a passenger, but that’s a part of the allure. When you’re a passenger, though, and the person you’re riding is involved in an accident, the consequences can be serious. What are your options as a passenger in the aftermath of a motorcycle wreck? Where can you turn for compensation for your losses?

The Legal Concept of Negligence

With a motorcycle accident claim, as with almost all personal injury claims, the legal theory supporting your right to damages (compensation for your losses) is negligence. You can typically bring legal action against anyone whose negligence led to your injuries. To prove negligence, you must show that:

  • The defendant (person from whom you seek compensation) did not act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances. In a motorcycle accident, that may involve speeding, failing to stop at a stop light or stop sign, lane swapping or making an illegal lane change, failing to take weather or road conditions into consideration or failing to properly maintain or operate a bike (among other things)
  • The failure to act reasonably caused an accident
  • You suffered actual losses as a result of the accident

Potential Defendants When You Have Been Injured as a Passenger on a Motorcycle

In a personal injury lawsuit, you can seek damages from anyone with potential liability, including:

  • The operator of another motor vehicle who engaged in negligence (failed to stop, turned into the path of the motorcycle, hit you from behind, etc.)
  • The operator of the bike you were on (if he or she failed to act reasonably)
  • The manufacturer of the bike or of any component part, if the accident was caused by a dangerous or defective product
  • The municipality, if the road was not properly maintained, causing the accident
  • The person or establishment providing alcohol or drugs, if you were injured by an impaired driver

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 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.

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