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What Is Negligence?—Part One

Protecting Your Rights after You’ve Been Hurt

When you’ve suffered any kind of loss because of the wrongful act of another person—the loss of income when you can’t work or the loss of companionship or consortium; the costs of un-reimbursed medical care or the loss of enjoyment of life caused by your pain and suffering—you have a right to seek compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. While those types of legal action can be based on intentional acts of the wrongdoer, as a practical matter, they are almost always based on a legal theory of negligence.

What Is Negligence?

As the laws governing personal injury have evolved over many centuries, three requirements have been set forth to prove a claim based on negligence:

  • The injured party must show that the wrongdoer (the defendant) failed to meet (breached) the standard of care required under the circumstances
  • The injured party must show causal links (both actual and proximate cause) between the breach of duty and the accident
  • The injured party must show some actual loss as a result of the accident

In this blog, we will look more closely at the standard of care.

What Is the Standard of Care in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Under the principle of negligence, all persons in society have a duty to act as a reasonable person would, in whatever endeavor they are engaged in. Accordingly, when driving a car, manufacturing a product or maintaining property, a “reasonable” amount of care must be exercised.

Unfortunately, there is no concrete standard for what will be construed as “reasonable.” Instead, the appropriate standard of care is determined by a jury on a case-by-case basis. Juries are not, however, without guidance. Under the principle of stare decisis, juries must give weight to the prior decisions of courts in similar situations. But the standard is still a vague one and can vary to some degree from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

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.

Protecting Your Rights after a Car Accident

In the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, there can be great confusion. You may not know the precise cause of the accident or the full extent of your injuries. However, if you have been hurt because of someone else’s carelessness or negligence, you have a right to pursue a monetary award to cover you losses. Here are specific measures to take to fully protect your rights:

Step One—Get the Medical Attention You Need

There’s nothing more important, after a car wreck, than ensuring you get all the medical care you need. Recognize up front that this is not the time to be stoic, tough or brave. You need to be willing to fully acknowledge the seriousness of your injuries. If you don’t, you may actually make things worse.

If you don’t feel like you can move under your own power, or you have any doubts about the nature of your injuries, stay put (as long as it’s safe to do so). Instead of diagnosing your own injuries, defer to the professionals. Wait until emergency medical technicians arrive and let them do what they are trained to do. If you need to leave the scene in an ambulance, be willing to do so.

Even if your injuries appear to minor, or you can move about under your own power, it’s still important to go to the hospital, an urgent care facility or to your family doctor as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the greater the risk that your injuries will get worse, or that you’ll have an intervening accident that makes it difficult to determine the source of all your injuries.

Be sure that you disclose all your injuries to medical personnel. Don’t focus on the obvious injury—the broken leg—and ignore the pain or stiffness in your back, neck or muscles. Often, those injuries can be more debilitating and take longer to heal.

Step Two—Gather Information

The more information you gather at the time of the accident, the easier it will typically be for your attorney when it comes time to resolve your case. Get contact information from everyone involved in the accident, as well as witnesses or bystanders. Take pictures of everything, from your injuries to the damage to all vehicles to weather conditions to any evidence on the roadway (skid marks, loose gravel, missing or blocked signage).

The most important thing to do, though, and as soon as possible—hire an experienced attorney to protect your rights. Even when liability seems obvious, a personal injury lawsuit can be time-consuming and complex.

 

Contact Attorney David J. Karbasian

Contact our office online or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is without cost or obligation. The sooner you call, the sooner you can move forward with your claim. We can accommodate evening or weekend meeting requests and will come to your home, if necessary.

Common Examples of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

Nursing-Home-Neglect-and-Abuse

When your loved one needs more attentive care after an injury or in declining years, you expect and want a high level of personal care, and the confidence that they’ll be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, nursing homes often put profits ahead of patient well-being, hiring unskilled workers, providing them with inadequate training or supervision, and understaffing so that they are overworked.

Here are some of the telltale signs that your loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse:

  • Indications of physical abuse—The most common type of neglect or abuse in a nursing home or assisted living facility is physical. If a caregiver won’t let you be alone with your loved one, you should be suspicious. If your loved one has bruises, black and blue marks, cuts or welts, or worse yet—broken bones, sprains or dislocations—you need to find out why. Monitor your loved one’s arms and legs to see if there’s any indication of straps or other restraints being used. Also, check your loved one’s prescriptions—do they look like they are being used? If not, find out why.
  • Evidence of emotional abuse—Look for unusual behavior from your family member. Are they suddenly less talkative or unwilling to look you in the eye? Are they mumbling or rocking a lot? These can be symptoms of emotional abuse. Also, monitor the behavior of the caregiver when you are there. Are there instances of controlling or threatening actions?
  • Signs of financial abuse—Financial exploitation of nursing home residents can take many forms. Is your loved one not getting medical care despite having the financial resources? Is there missing cash from your loved one’s room? Are there unexplained withdrawals from their bank account, including ATM withdrawals when they were unable to leave the nursing home? Have they changed a life insurance policy or other property and named the nursing home as its beneficiary?

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.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Distracted Driving Accounting for Significant Increases in Pedestrian Accidents

Increases-in-Pedestrian-Accidents

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles in 2017, a 9% increase over 2016 and nearly 20% higher than just two years earlier. Officials attribute some of the rise to the higher number of motorists on the road and the more time people spend behind the wheel, a byproduct of cheaper gasoline costs.

Researchers also say that more and more drivers are operating a vehicle while distracted. A poll found that 94% of teen drivers admitted to sending or receiving text messages while driving. At any given time, studies showed, more than 600,000 drivers are using a mobile device while traveling down the road. The National Safety Council estimates that 1.6 million accidents every year are caused by drivers using a cell phone…that’s one of every four car accidents.

Here are some of the other common causes of pedestrian accidents in the United States:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol—One of every six pedestrian accident fatalities in 2016 involved a driver whose blood alcohol content was over the legal limit
  • Violation of traffic laws—The two infractions most often involved in pedestrian accidents are speeding and failing to stop or yield at a sign or light.
  • Weather conditions—Drivers either fail to stop on slippery roads or fail to observe pedestrians in inclement weather.
  • Turning without looking—A significant number of motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents are caused when motorists turn into a crosswalk without looking.
  • Motorists backing into pedestrians—When backing up, motorists often have views that are partially obstructed.

Contact Attorney David J. Karbasian

Contact our office online or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is without cost or obligation. The sooner you call, the sooner you can move forward with your claim. We can accommodate evening or weekend meeting requests and will come to your home, if necessary.

What to Expect When Buying a New Motorcycle

Knowing How to Calculate the Real Cost of a Bike

Buying-a-New-Motorcycle

If you’ve been bitten by the bug—the bug to get on a motorcycle, to feel the wind your face, to experience the exhilaration and freedom of the open road—you’ve probably been looking at purchasing your own ride. Before you do, though, it’s important to understand everything that factors into the true cost of owning and operating a bike. It shouldn’t stop you, but will help you be better prepared and make better decisions.

Here’s a list of the many factors that contribute to the actual cost of a motorcycle:

  • The purchase price—Whether you are paying cash or financing your bike, your starting point should be the full purchase price
  • Interest payments—If you are financing the bike, you’ll have to pay the lender for the use of his or her money. In the first few months or years of the loan, a significant portion of your monthly payment will be in interest payments.
  • The costs of a permit and/or license—In New Jersey, you must have either a state motorcycle driver license or a motorcycle endorsement on an existing license, unless you drive certain three-wheeled bikes or operate a low-speed motorcycle. You may also be required to pay for and take motorcycle safety courses.
  • Taxes and other fees—If you purchase from a dealer, you will pay taxes directly to the dealer and may also incur other fees. With a purchase from a private individual, the seller may be required to pay taxes and may include them in the purchase price.
  • Vehicle insurance—New Jersey requires that you carry a policy of insurance to operate a motorcycle.
  • Repairs and maintenance—If you plan to use your bike on a regular basis, you should also plan for routine maintenance expenses, such as oil changes, new tires and other items.
  • Fuel expenses—Motorcycles get much better gas mileage than automobiles, but they still need fuel to run.
  • Protective riding gear—This will be one of your most significant expenses apart from the bike—and well worth it. Expect to pay a couple thousand dollars for a good helmet, boots, gloves and riding clothes.

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.

What You Need to Know about New Jersey’s Dog Bite Law

about-new-jerseys-dog-bite-lawFor most people, most of the time, a dog is man’s best friend. Unfortunately, a dog can still be a dangerous animal, often because of the way it’s raised or treated. National statistics indicate that more than four million people seek treatment every year because of attacks by dogs, whether they’ve been bitten, mauled or otherwise injured. In New Jersey, the law governing liability for dog bites imposes what is known as “strict liability,” making the process easier for those who have been victims of an aggressive canine.

What Is Strict Liability?

In most personal injury claims, as we discussed in an earlier blog series, the injured party must prove that the defendant was negligent—i.e., that there was a duty to use reasonable care and that duty was breached. Under the principles of strict liability, there’s no requirement that you prove negligence. As applied to the New Jersey dog bite law, that means that you don’t have to show that the owner of the dog acted unreasonably or carelessly. Instead, if you can show that you were either on public property or on the dog owner’s property with permission, the only two things you will need to prove to recover for your losses are:

  • You were bitten by the dog
  • The defendant owned the dog

It won’t matter if the dog has a history of aggressive behavior. You can recover even if you are the first person the dog ever attacked.

It’s important to understand, though, that the concept of strict liability only applies to bites and maulings. If a dog chases you and you are hit by a bicyclist or hit by another car, you may still have to prove negligence.

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.

Protecting Your Rights after a Motorcycle Accident

Taking the Right Steps to Get Full and Fair Compensation for Your Losses

Protecting-Your-Rights-after-a-Motorcycle-Accident

When you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by the carelessness or negligence of another person, your first priority will be your health and well-being. Go to the hospital by ambulance, if necessary, or get to an urgent care facility or set up an appointment with your personal physician. You’ll also want to do what you can to ensure that you gather and preserve all relevant evidence to support your claim.

The necessary evidence to prove a motorcycle injury claim can come from a variety of sources, including:

  • The statements or testimony of eyewitnesses—If there were others traveling with you or who happened to be on the scene at the time of the accident, get contact information from them, so that you or your attorney can get sworn statements from them. The sooner you gather this information, the better, as witnesses can move or die, or their memories can fade. It’s always a good idea to have a witness prepare a written statement, but you should also expect that your lawyer will set up a deposition, where the testimony will be transcribed by a court reporter.
  • Physical evidence—One of the most powerful forms of physical evidence is photographs—they can be from a smartphone, but take detailed pictures. Get shots of everything related to the accident, from your injuries to the damage to your car to the weather at the time or any irregularities with the roadway. You may also have your attorney hire a forensic investigator to visit the scene of the crash.
  • Expert testimony—Often, the causes of a motorcycle accident can be complex. One of the functions of an expert witness is to take that complicated information and put it in language that a jury will understand and find compelling. The types of expert witnesses typically used in a motorcycle accident claim include accident reconstruction specialists, engineers, medical professionals and financial planners.
  • Police reports—The police report may also include valuable information that helps establish liability.

Contact Attorney David J. Karbasian

Contact our office online or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is without cost or obligation. The sooner you call, the sooner you can move forward with your claim. We can accommodate evening or weekend meeting requests and will come to your home, if necessary.

Slip and Fall Injury Claims in New Jersey

Slip-and-Fall-Injury-Claims

Your Rights When a Property Owner is Negligent

In New Jersey, as in other states, the owner or any person who exercises control over residential or commercial property has a duty to monitor and maintain the premises so as to minimize the risk of injury to legal visitors to the property—this is referred to under the law as “premises liability.”

The actual duty owed by an owner/controller of property depends to some extent on the nature and purpose of the visit. As a general rule, there is no duty owed to trespassers—persons on the property without permission, either express or implied. In limited circumstances, though, such as where the property contains an “attractive nuisance” that may garner the attention of children and essentially lure them onto the property, there may be liability. In all other instances of trespass, the injured party typically has no form of redress.

Legal visitors to the property are generally categorized as invitees or licensees. An invitee is defined as someone who comes onto land that is either open to the public at large, or who enters land to provide a financial benefit to the owner or controller. The duty to invitees is to use reasonable care to maintain the premises—it’s an affirmative mandate to ensure that the property is safe.

A licensee, on the other hand, is generally someone who has been invited onto the premises with the implied or express permission of the owner or controller. The most common example of a licensee is a social guest in a private home. An owner or controller has a duty to licensees to either repair any dangerous situations or reasonably notify potential visitors of conditions of which they are unaware.

It’s important to understand that the duty owed, in all circumstances, is a reasonable one and not an absolute one. The owner/controller does not have to guarantee that the property is safe, but must only take reasonable measures to monitor for problems and fix them when discovered.

Contact Attorney David J. Karbasian

Contact our office online or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is without cost or obligation. The sooner you call, the sooner you can move forward with your claim. We can accommodate evening or weekend meeting requests and will come to your home, if necessary.

What to Do When There Are Defects in Your New Home in New Jersey

Home in New Jersey

When you’ve built or bought a new home, you expect that everything will function the way it’s supposed to, that there won’t be defects caused by builder error or oversight. Unfortunately, the construction industry is one that rewards builders for the speed with which they finish a new home. That approach can often result in substandard performance.

Under New Jersey law, the owner of a new home has certain protections under the state’s New Home Warranty and Builders’ Registration Act. Pursuant to that statute, the builder of a new home makes certain warranties about the quality and functionality of the home and its component parts:

  • There’s a one year general warranty against defects, covering workmanship, materials, plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems, as well as appliances, fixtures and equipment
  • There’s a two year warranty on certain mechanical, electrical, plumbing and major structural defects, such as septic tanks and HVAC systems
  • Starting in year three and continuing for the first ten years of the life of the home, there’s a warranty against major structural defects. That includes framing or structural elements, such as studs, roofing, rafters, beams and load-bearing walls.

The warranty does not apply to anything considered to be normal wear and tear and may also exclude any changes to the home resulting from carelessness or improper maintenance by the homeowner.

If you have a claim under the statute, you can file a lawsuit in court or you can file a claim under your warranty. Warranty claims are typically resolved through arbitration. The builder is customarily given the opportunity to fix the problem, but may choose to pay for the repair or replacement.

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.

Mortgage Fraud Is Still Alive and Kicking

Fraud-Is-Still-Alive-and-Kicking

Fraudsters Continue to Find New Ways to Scam Banks and Homeowners

If you think that most mortgage fraud is a thing of the past, that the scams within the home lending industry have mostly been brought under control in the last decade, think again. Here are some sobering statistics:

  • In 2016, more than $5 billion of mortgage funds were targeted by individuals engaged in some fraudulent activity (according to the FBI)
  • From 2015 to 2016, wire fraud scams involving title companies went up six-fold (a sobering number when you consider that experts estimate that about one in every six cases of mortgage fraud is reported
  • The FBIZ reported fraudulent wire transfers of mortgage dollars to 103 different countries in 2016

Here’s what the latest scam looks like—it’s a combination of identity fraud, computer hacking and wire fraud. The scammer typically hacks an e-mail or online account that has information about an impending closing. The scammer then “steals” the identity of a party involved in the transaction (typically the seller, but maybe a title or real estate agent) and contacts the buyer with fraudulent directions to wire the down payment. The down payment is then wired directly to the fraudster’s account.

Experts say that the wire transfer fraud can be highly sophisticated, with some perpetrators using technology that makes it appear that the phone call is coming from a legitimate number. There’s even technology that allows fraudsters to intercept “call and verify” efforts.

The best way to protect yourself from mortgage scams? Know the people with whom you are working. Be willing to ask questions about the process and have someone you know you can call to give you accurate information about your transaction.

Contact Attorney David J. Karbasian

Contact our office online or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is without cost or obligation. The sooner you call, the sooner you can move forward with your claim. We can accommodate evening or weekend meeting requests and will come to your home, if necessary.

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