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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.

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.

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.

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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.