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The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act

New Jersey Statute Helps Consumers Fight Home Improvement Fraud

The New Jersey Consumer Fraud ActThere are few material things more exciting that a home improvement project. Adding a room or remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can go a long way toward enhancing your quality of life. But you need to be careful—there are, unfortunately, a number of “home improvement” contractors who promise one thing but deliver far less. Worse yet, a contractor may take advance payment and then disappear.

Fortunately for consumers in New Jersey, the state legislature enacted the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (NJCFA). The NJCFA includes extensive regulations that address the business and conduct of home improvement contractors. For example, the NJCFA requires agreements regarding any project where the contractor will charge more than $500 to be in writing and signed by both the homeowner and the contractor. That writing requirement also applies to change orders or modifications of an existing contract. The NJCFA also mandates that the home improvement contractor provide detailed information in the agreement:

  • The legal name and address of the home improvement contractor
  • A description of all work to be done and materials to be used
  • The total cost of the work, including any finance charges
  • A statement of when the work will commence and when it will be completed
  • The contractor’s state registration number
  • Any guarantee or warranty offered by the contractor

The contractor also must provide the homeowner with the telephone number for his insurer, as well as the toll-free number for the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. The customer also must be made aware, in writing, of his right to cancel the agreement within the first three days.

Damages under the NJCFA

To make a successful claim for fraud against a home improvement contractor under the NJCFA, you must prove the following:

  • The home improvement contractor engaged in an unlawful practice;
  • You suffered actual loss; and
  • The contractor’s actions caused your loss.

If you can meet these requirements, you may be entitled to treble damages (three times your actual loss), as well as reasonable attorney fees and reimbursement of legal costs.

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.

Motorcycle Airbag Vests and Jackets

Do They Really Work?

Motorcycle Airbag Vests and JacketsWhen you ride a motorcycle, you accept a certain risk that’s not there when you travel in a passenger vehicle. But the statistics are a bit staggering. Motor-vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among people under the age of 30, and about one in three of those fatalities involves a motorcyclist. Furthermore, about 90% of serious and fatal injuries to bikers stem from trauma to the head, neck, or chest. What if there were an effective way to minimize the consequences of a motorcycle collision, particularly when the crash involves impact with the road or other obstacle? A new product may do just that.

Airbag technology has long been standard in most cars and trucks, but it may surprise you to learn that the first patent application for airbag technology, filed in 1976, applied to motorcycles. The approach is different, though, with motorcycles. Instead of attempting to put an airbag on the bike itself (there’s no assurance that would provide any protection to the rider), product developers have integrated airbag technology into motorcycle vests and jackets. Studies show that the result may be effective in preventing injury.

How Does a Motorcycle Vest/Jacket Airbag Work?

With most vest and jacket airbags, a tether or lanyard attaches to your bike, with the other end connected to the vest or jacket. If you fall off the bike, the pull on the tether punctures a CO2 tube in the clothing, which immediately inflates the airbag. Most available jackets and vests are fully inflated within one quarter of a second.

Smart technology also is being applied to airbag vests and jackets. At the high end of the spectrum, there are airbag vests and jackets with built-in sensors that detect when you lose control and automatically inflate.

Does the Technology Work?

Because the products are relatively new, there’s not a lot of data available yet regarding the efficacy of airbag vests and jackets. A two-year study of lanyard-based airbag clothing reported no situations where the airbags accidentally deployed. That study also reported that one biker lost control of his motorcycle on a wet road. The airbag deployed as intended, and the biker walked away without injury. Studies done by Honda have found that airbag vests and jackets reduce forward momentum by more than 50% and head trauma by more than 80%.

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.

Happy Veterans Day 2019

Happy Veterans Day 2019

“The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.” — Jeff Miller

Calculating Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Claim

How Will a Jury Determine the Monetary Value of Pain and Suffering?

Calculating Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury ClaimWhen you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by the carelessness or negligence of another person, it’s pretty common to experience significant pain, either temporarily or for the rest of your life. That pain and suffering may make it difficult or impossible to work, and may force you to give up activities that have given joy, purpose or meaning to your life.

In a personal injury lawsuit, you have a right to seek compensation for that discomfort. It’s not easy to quantify that pain and suffering in dollars and cents, though. Ultimately, a jury will have to determine that you are entitled to damages for pain and suffering and will need to calculate the damage award. Here are some of the considerations that juries typically make when evaluating claims for pain and suffering:

  • How credible are you as a witness? Is your testimony consistent? Did the defense attorney raise doubts about your claims on cross-examination? Did you seem uncertain or lack confidence in your claims? What about your physical appearance? Did you look like someone they could trust? (It may not seem that your physical appearance should matter, but it does).
  • Does your claim follow logically? Do the injuries you allege you have suffered seem a reasonable consequence of the accident?
  • Is there medical or expert witness testimony to support your allegations? Does it seem credible? Is your expert witness effective? Has a clear connection been established between the accident and your pain and suffering?
  • Do you have a criminal record? It has nothing to do with your personal injury, but may affect your credibility.

Some Approaches to Damages for Pain and Suffering

Because of the uncertainty of these damages, different courts take different approaches. Many judges instruct the jury to use common sense when calculating the amount. Another common practice is to use a “multiplier.” In such a case, the court will determine the amount of “economic” damages (those that can easily be calculated) and then multiply that amount by a factor (typically anywhere from 1 to 10). Accordingly, if the court uses a factor of three and the economic damages are $500,000, the damages for pain and suffering will be calculated at $1.5 million.

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.

How Much Is Your Personal Injury Lawsuit Worth?

The Different Types of Damage in a Personal Injury Claim

How Much Is Your Personal Injury Lawsuit WorthYou’ve been seriously hurt in an accident, and it wasn’t your fault. Your whole world has been turned topsy-turvy—you can’t work, you need significant medical care, and you find it difficult or impossible to do many of the things you love. You know you have a right to seek compensation for your losses, but you have no idea what will be covered. Here’s an overview of the types of damages that can be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit.

The Different Types of Damages

In any civil matter, where you seek reimbursement for losses incurred because of someone else’s wrongful act, there are two potential types of damages you can recover:

  • Compensatory damages—These damages are intended, as the term suggests, to “compensate” you for a specific loss. Almost all damages meted out in personal injury claims are compensatory.
  • Punitive damages—These damages, on the other hand, are intended both as a sanction for the defendant’s wrongdoing and a disincentive for others to engage in similar actions. As a general rule, punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury cases.

Compensatory damages are further subdivided between “economic” and “non-economic” damages. Economic damages are those that are easy to calculate, such as medical expenses, lost wages or income, or property damage. Non-economic damages are less tangible and harder to quantify. They include loss of companionship or consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and
physical pain and suffering.

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.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit—Part Two

Post-Discovery Motions | Preparation for Trial

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit—Part TwoYou’ve filed your complaint and the defendant has submitted an answer in a timely manner. You’ve also conducted all necessary depositions, and completed all other discovery. You’re ready to go to trial, right? Not quite yet…the court dockets are always extremely full, so judges have a vested interest in streamlining the trial process, or avoiding trial, if at all possible. That’s typically done though pre-trial motions, which come in two varieties—dispositive motions and evidentiary motions.

Dispositive Motions

A dispositive motion is one that seeks to either throw out certain claims or dismiss the lawsuit altogether. Such a motion can be filed by either party. An injured party may ask the court for summary judgment, arguing that the discovery has produced no evidence that could support any type of meaningful defense. Conversely, the defendant may ask the court to dismiss some or all of the lawsuit, contending that the plaintiff has not provided sufficient evidence to prove all the required elements of the claim.

Evidentiary Motions

In the American civil justice system, the concept of “open discovery” prevails. That means that both parties are entitled to access to all relevant information and evidence. It also means that, during the discovery process, evidence may be gathered that may not be admissible at trial. It may be based on hearsay, may be argumentative or may be an opinion not based on fact. The court will typically allow parties to gather that type of evidence outside of the hearing of the jury, but cannot allow such evidence at trial, as it may unfairly bias the jury. Rather than have the discussions at trial, where the jury may hear something they shouldn’t, the court will usually hear arguments and make rulings about certain types of evidence before the trial starts.

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.

Filing a Lawsuit for a Personal Injury—Part One

Initiating the Legal Process in Court | Gathering Evidence

Filing a Lawsuit for a Personal Injury—Part OneWhen you’ve been hurt because of the carelessness or negligence of another person, you hope that you can get the compensation you need to cover your losses without the need to file legal action. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen very often. In most instances, you’ll need to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer and methodically move through the legal process. In this series, we provide an overview of what you can expect when you file a civil lawsuit for damages suffered in an accident.

Step One—Filing Your Claim

To initiate a lawsuit, you must file a document known as a “complaint.” The complaint must be filed in the appropriate jurisdiction—both geographically and in terms of the types of matters heard by the court. As a general rule, most personal injury claims are filed in state court, but there are circumstances where a federal court will have jurisdiction. Typically, the injured party initially establishes jurisdiction by filing with a specific court, though the defendant may seek a change of venue, or to have the lawsuit dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

In addition to filing in the appropriate court, you must also file in a timely manner. The statute of limitations sets forth the maximum amount of time you have to file, typically two years from the date of injury or discovery of injury. Once your complaint is filed, the defendant must file an answer within a specified period, usually 28 days. If the defendant fails to do so, you can ask the court for a default judgment.

Step Two—The Discovery Process

If there’s a timely response to your complaint, the judge will customarily set up an initial conference. That meeting usually has three functions:

  • It allows the judge to learn about the case
  • It gives the judge the opportunity to determine whether settlement is likely (and to encourage that process)
  • It allows the judge to set a discovery schedule

Discovery is a legal term that refers to the gathering of evidence. The judge will set a calendar for the completion of discovery and set any necessary limits on discovery. As a general rule, discovery is obtained through

  • Depositions
  • Requests for production of documents or other physical evidence
  • Interrogatories (written questions submitted to the other party)

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.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New Jersey?

Determining Eligibility for Accidental Death Damages

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim In New Jersey, when someone dies as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another person, there may be surviving individuals who have a right to bring a lawsuit for financial or other losses suffered. But how do you determine whether you qualify to pursue compensation after the death of a loved one? Can anyone who feels loss because of the death of another person seek compensation for that loss?

In New Jersey, as in other states, the answer to that last question posed above is “no.” In order to have the right to file a lawsuit to recover monetary compensation after the accidental or wrongful death of another person, you must be considered a “real party in interest.” A wrongful death action in New Jersey is customarily filed by a representative of all persons who suffered loss because of the death. That person is most often the executor or administrator of the decedent’s will, but may be anyone who meets the statutory definition of a real party interest.

Under the New Jersey wrongful death statute, the following persons have standing as real parties in interest in a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • A surviving spouse
  • A child or grandchild of the decedent
  • A surviving parent of the decedent
  • Surviving siblings, nephews and nieces
  • Anyone who can prove in court that he or she was "actually dependent" on the decedent for support

Even though the lawsuit is typically filed on behalf of all qualified beneficiaries, there is a hierarchy of recovery for a wrongful death. If the spouse or any children survive, they will be entitled to all damages. A parent may only pursue compensation if no spouse or children survive the deceased. Siblings, nieces and nephews will only succeed with a claim if there is no spouse, children or parents alive at the time of death.

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 Can I Expect to Recover in a Wrongful Death Action?

The Damages Available in an Accidental Death Claim

Tipped over truck

In New Jersey, when your loved one has died because of the wrongful, careless or negligent acts of another person, and you can demonstrate that you qualify as a “real party in interest,” you have the right to bring legal action to compensate you for your losses. Of course, if your claim is based on allegations of negligence, you’ll need to show that the defendant failed to meet the standard of care, causing your loved one’s death.

If you can prove these elements, though, you have a right to pursue monetary compensation for:

  • The loss of all financial support you would have received from the deceased, based on his or her expected income. As a general rule, the amount of lost wages will be calculated based on the decedent working until retirement. A spouse will be entitled to all lost wages, whereas a child will be able to recover lost support until he or she would reasonably be expected to be self-sufficient.
  • An medical expenses incurred by the deceased as a result of the fatal accident
  • The costs of burial and funeral services
  • The loss of the companionship or consortium that the decedent would have provided, including comfort, care and guidance
  • The value of all services the deceased would have provided, such as childcare, housekeeping, cooking, laundry, home maintenance and yard/garden

New Jersey law does not permit a survivor or family member to seek any type of damages for emotional distress or injury in a wrongful death claim. A survivor, may, however, file a separate lawsuit for intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress.

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.

Determining Liability for Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

Establishing Legal Responsibility for Wrongful Care in a Nursing Home

Liability for Nursing Home NeglectAccording to national studies, up to five million senior citizens may be victims of abuse or neglect in the United States every year. Some estimates suggest that as many as one of every 10 persons over the age of 60 has been subjected to physical abuse or neglect. When you consider that experts believe that less than one in every 10 incidents of such abuse or neglect are even reported, the scope of the problem comes into focus.

When your loved one has suffered needlessly because of inappropriate behavior or care in a nursing home or other care facility, you can bring legal action to recover damages for their losses. One of the challenges, though, is determining exactly who is potentially liable for the abuse or neglect. Though you may be able to identify an employee who has engaged in wrongful conduct, that person may not have any financial resources, so you may not be able to meaningfully pursue monetary damages. However, the facility typically carries liability insurance, so it’s customarily to your benefit to identify ways that the owners or operators of the nursing home participated in the wrongful conduct.

A nursing home facility may have liability if the actions that caused injury were the result of:

  • Inadequate or inappropriate staffing—That may involve understaffing or staffing certain positions with unqualified or unskilled workers
  • Negligence in hiring—Failure to ascertain whether potential employees had the experience, skill or training to properly perform their duties
  • Negligence in training or supervision—Failure to ensure that workers had the requisite skills and knowledge to ensure the safety of residents
  • Violation of laws or regulations governing the nursing home business
  • Medication errors—The facility may have liability if proper protocols were not in place to ensure proper administration of drugs

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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