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Motorcycle Accidents Involving Roadway Hazards

Common Types of Roadway Hazards | Recovering Compensation for Your Injuries

Motorcycle Accidents Involving Roadway HazardsThough the vast majority of motorcycle accident 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 cause 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 hazards 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 we 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 anyone on the roadway including riders);
  • That failure to meet that standard 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.

Lane-Splitting in New Jersey

Is It Legal? Is It Safe?

Lane-Splitting in New JerseyWe’ve all seen it on the highway or while waiting at a stoplight—a motorcycle scoots between us and the car next to us. It’s called “lane-splitting,” also known as “white-lining” or stripe-riding.” Many bikers do it to avoid traffic congestion, but it’s also considered by many to be safer than stopping behind stationary motor vehicles. Though it’s a common practice, many motorcycle enthusiasts in New Jersey are uncertain whether it’s legal. In addition, there’s disagreement over whether the practice is safe.

Is Lane-Splitting Legal in New Jersey

Lane-splitting is governed by state law, which varies from state to state. At the present time, only one state—California—has specifically declared lane-splitting to be legal. A majority of states expressly ban the practice, but New Jersey is not one of them. The Garden State joins more than a dozen jurisdictions where the practice is not addressed by state lawbut left largely to the discretion of local law enforcement. Though the practice is not banned, a law enforcement officer may cite a lane-splitting biker for failing to stay on the right-hand side of the road. As a biker myself, I am curious as to your thoughts whether it should be legal in New Jersey.

Is Lane-Splitting Safe?

Though little research on lane-splitting has been conducted in the United States, advocates cite two different reports suggesting the practice reduces the number of rear-end collisions involving motorcycles—the Hurt Report (1981) and data from the United States Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). FARS data shows that rear-end collisions with motorcycles are significantly lower in California (30%) than Texas or Florida, states with comparable riding seasons where lane-splitting is either banned (Florida) or not expressly permitted (Texas).

A 2015 study at the University of California suggests that lane-splitting could be safe, provided it is done at a speed of less than 50 miles per hour and the biker is traveling no more than 15 miles per hour faster than surrounding traffic.

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 meetings can be arranged upon request. We’ll come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

Tips for Having a Safe 2020 Riding Season

Hazards to Avoid for Motorcyclists in New Jersey

Tips for Having a Safe 2020 Riding SeasonWinter is winding down and if you live in New Jersey and ride a motorcycle, chances are pretty good it’s been stored inside for the past few months. Sure, you can ride in the winter, but spring, summer and fall are the ideal times to be on the road.

As you get back in to the swing of things, there are a number of things to pay attention to, so that you minimize the risk of injury:

  • Be prepared for potentially rough roads—In places like New Jersey, where the weather can often fluctuate above and below freezing during the winter, the roads can deteriorate significantly during the winter. Snow and ice melt, fill the cracks in the pavement and then freeze again, expanding and breaking apart the road. Be prepared for lots of potholes, as well as the potential for loose gravel, asphalt or pavement. In addition, the salt and sand often used to make roads safer in the winter can leave residue that makes the roads more hazardous in the spring.
  • Watch out for debris on the roads—There’s less effort made to keep roads cleared of bottles, cans and other debris in the winter. In many instances, it’s scraped up by snow plows and left along the side of the road. Watch out for trash and other items on and along the roads.
  • Watch out for other drivers—Other motorists have not seen motorcycles on the roads for a few months. They’ll need to readjust to your presence. Always ride defensively. I always anticipate when I ride that motorists will turn in front of me, pull out in front of me and change lanes without looking.
  • Get in physical shape—Of course, you’ll be a bit rusty, too, and may be a bit out of shape physically. Check your weight before you get back on the bike…might be time to lose a few pounds. Do some stretching, focusing on arms, back and legs. Get out and walk around the neighborhood. Take your bike to a vacant parking lot and reacquaint yourself with the operation of your bike, including gears, throttle, brakes and turning radius.

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 meetings can be arranged upon request. We’ll come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

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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.