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

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.

Proving Medical Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Recovering for Past and Future Medical Treatment after an Accident

Proving Medical Damages in a Personal Injury LawsuitWhen you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s carelessness or negligence, you have a right to seek reimbursement for any medical expenses not covered by insurance or otherwise paid, including both those already incurred and any you may need in the future as a result of your injuries. How do you prove to a judge and jury exactly what your unreimbursed medical bills have been and, more importantly, what projected medical expenses you can anticipate in the weeks, months and years ahead?

Establishing Past Medical Expenses

Proving past medical expenses is a pretty straightforward process. These types of damages, known as “economic” damages, are typically established through documentary evidence, such as medical bills or receipts for medication or other products needed to treat your injuries. Of course, you’ll have to introduce evidence demonstrating that the expenses were incurred because of the accident caused by the defendant’s negligence.

Establishing Projected Future Medical Costs

This is a far more complicated process, as you won’t have any documentary evidence at the time of trial (or settlement). Perhaps the most common way of introducing and establishing potential medical expenses is through medical testimony. That testimony may come from your primary care or personal physician, if the injuries you have suffered are the kind that he or she commonly treats.

If they are outside of your doctor’s area of specialty or practice, your attorney will often bring in an expert witness, someone with extensive knowledge of the long-term consequences of your injuries. As a general rule, your attorney will need to introduce evidence of the witness’s expertise, so that the court can qualify him or her as an expert.

There are two important things you need to remember about future medical expenses:

  • If you receive a lump sum settlement or verdict, the total amount will typically be discounted to the “present value” of all potential costs, assuming a certain interest rate
  • You won’t have to prove future medical expenses beyond a reasonable doubt—In a civil lawsuit, you only need to show that the losses you project are more likely than not to occur.

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 Calculation of Damages for Pain and Suffering

How a Jury Determines the Monetary Value of Physical and Emotional Distress

The Calculation of Damages for Pain and SufferingWhen you have been involved in any type of accident caused by the carelessness or negligence of another person, you have a right to seek monetary compensation for any loss of injury resulting from the wrongful actions. Some of those losses are easy to calculate, such as lost wages, unreimbursed medical expenses and property damages—those losses are commonly referred to as “economic losses.” You also have a right to recover damages for less tangible losses, including loss of companionship/consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and physical and emotional pain and suffering.

What Is Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering is a legal term used to describe physical and/or emotional stress resulting from an accident/injury. The types of discomfort that are compensable include aches, temporary or chronic physical irritation or soreness, temporary or permanent limitations on physical or mental abilities, limitations on length of life, depression or permanent scarring.

How Does a Jury Calculate Damages for Pain and Suffering?

Damages for pain and suffering are what are referred to as “non-economic” damages. These kinds of damages are intangible and difficult to calculate. Accordingly, judges and juries take different approaches to determine damage awards for pain and suffering:

  • Some use a “multiplier,” where they calculate the amount of economic damages and multiply it by a factor, typically between one and ten. For example, if damages for lost wages, medical expenses and property damage total $50,000, a jury may apply a factor of three (just an example) and multiply 3 x $50,000 and award $150,000 for pain and suffering.
  • Many judges instruct jurors to use their judgment to identify a “reasonable” amount of compensation for pain and suffering, based on the severity of the injury and the type of pain associated with it

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 Damages Available in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

What Losses Can You Recover through Legal Action?

The Damages Available in a Personal Injury LawsuitWhen you have been hurt in any kind of accident, as a result of the wrongful acts of another person, you have a right to seek compensation for injury losses suffered as a consequence. What types of losses can you seek to recover?

In a personal injury lawsuit, there are generally six different types of damages available:

  • Lost wages or income—If your injury prevents you from working, either temporarily or permanently, you have a right to ask the defendant to reimburse you for any lost income. Future losses will typically be calculated based on a reasonable date of retirement.
  • Unreimbursed medical expenses—You cannot recover for any medical bills that are covered by insurance, but you have a right to ask the defendant to pay those costs that are uninsured. That may include retrofitting your home or car to accommodate a permanent injury
  • Physical pain and suffering—You have a right to compensation for any physical pain or discomfort caused by or related to an accident caused by someone else’s wrongful act.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life—If you are unable to engage in certain activities because of your injuries (including situations where the pain associated with those injuries makes if difficult or impossible to do certain things), you can recover compensation. Those activities may be simple functions of daily life, such as walking, sitting, bending, standing or lying down. They can also include activities that you previously engaged in, such as hobbies or recreational activities, that you can no longer enjoy because of your injuries.
  • Loss of companionship or consortium—Loss of consortium is the inability to be in an intimate relationship with a partner. Loss of companionship includes the loss of camaraderie, guidance, love, affection or other close human relationships.
  • Property damage or loss—If you lost or suffered damage to personal property, you have a right to compensation to either repair or replace that property

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.

Liability for “No Contact” Motorcycle Accidents

Can A Motorist Be Found Liable for Injuries if There Was No Collision?

Liability for “No Contact” Motorcycle AccidentsYou’re out riding your motorcycle on a beautiful spring day in New Jersey. Another motorist makes an illegal turn in front of you, veers into your lane, or fails to stop at a light or traffic signal. You take evasive action, avoiding a collision, but you lose control of your bike and crash, suffering significant injury. There was no collision and the other motorist wasn’t hurt at all. Can you still bring a lawsuit to recover for all your losses, even if there wasn’t any contact?

Your Rights in a “No Contact” Crash

There is no requirement that there be any contact between two vehicles for an injured party to recover compensation for any losses. As a general rule, any legal claim you have will be based on a theory of negligence. That requires that you show:

  • The defendant (the person from whom you seek damages) failed to act as a reasonable person would
  • The defendant’s failure to act reasonably (also known as “breach of the duty of reasonable care) caused an accident
  • You suffered actual losses as a result of the accident

To prove that the defendant breached the duty of reasonable care, you must only show that the behavior or actions of the defendant did not rise to the level of care generally expected in society. There’s no specific benchmark to establish this—whether or not the actions were reasonable will be determined by the jury.

The law does not require that the breach of duty cause a collision, but only an accident. To establish cause, you must prove first that the accident (loss of control of the bike) would not have happened if the defendant had acted reasonably. You must also show that your loss of control of the bike (or any accident that occurred) was reasonably foreseeable as a consequence of the failure to exercise reasonable care.

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.

When You Are Partially Responsible for Your Injuries

What Happens If Your Carelessness Helped Cause an Accident?

When You Are Partially Responsible for Your InjuriesThere’s an old saying that it “takes two to tango.” While that may not always be the case with a personal injury, it’s not uncommon for an accident to happen because both parties engaged in negligence or carelessness. For example, suppose you were in a motor vehicle accident caused when another person ran a stop sign or red light. At the time of the accident, you weren’t wearing a seatbelt. Chances are you would have suffered injuries, even if you’d been buckled in, but the other party contends that your injuries were worse because you didn’t have your seat belt on. What happens in such a situation?

Contributory vs. Comparative Negligence

For most of the history of personal injury law, including that of New Jersey, the legal principle governing such a circumstance was known as “contributory negligence.” Under the concept of contributory negligence, if it could be shown that you contributed in any way to causing the accident where you suffered injury, you could not recover anything for your losses. When this rule prevailed, defense attorneys would commonly look for any indication that you had acted carelessly or unreasonably, claiming that you were not entitled to recovery. Such an approach led to frequent miscarriages of justice, where persons who were grossly negligent had no responsibility for injuries to persons whose careless was insignificant or inconsequential.

About one hundred years ago, courts and legislatures across the country, recognizing the inherent injustices brought about by the concept of contributory negligence, began to replace it with the legal principle of “comparative negligence.”

With comparative negligence, the court first establishes the full amount of your losses—let’s assume your total injuries amounted to $500,000. Next, the court decides the degree to which you were responsible for causing the accident, expressed as a percentage of liability—again, suppose the court finds you 25% liable. The court will then reduce your total damage award by your degree of liability. Your $500,000 award will be reduced by $125,000 (25%) and you will receive $375,000.

States take two different approaches to comparative negligence:

  • Pure comparative negligence, where you will receive something regardless of your degree of liability, as long as you can show liability on behalf of the other party
  • Modified comparative negligence, where your liability must be below a certain threshold (usually 50%), or you cannot recover for your losses.

New Jersey is a modified comparative negligence state.

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.

Who Can Testify as an Expert Witness at a Trial?

How Does a Person Qualify to Give an Expert Opinion in a Court Case?

Who Can Testify as an Expert Witness at a Trial?In many types of personal injury claims, there may be factual disputes that are complex—medical malpractice and product liability cases often focus on engineering or surgical practices unfamiliar to the layman. In those situations, to help the jurors better understand what happened and why a party may be liable, it’s common practice to bring an expert witness to the stand, someone who can provide a clear and compelling picture for the jury.

Can anyone take the stand as an expert witness? If not, what are the qualifications so testify in a court case as an expert? Are there differences between the subject matter of expert witness testimony and other statements made in court?

The Rules Governing Expert Witnesses

Before you can testify at trial as an expert witness, you must be approved to do so by the court. The admissibility of expert witness testimony is governed by state and federal rules of evidence.

According to the federal rules of evidence, a person may only give expert witness testimony if the court believes that they have knowledge, skill, education, experience or training in a specialized field. Most states have similar requirements.

With respect to witnesses who are not qualified as experts, any opinions expressed will typically be inadmissible in court. However, an expert witness may (and typically does) express an opinion based on an interpretation of facts that have been introduced into evidence. When that evidence involves scientific matters, some state courts will ask for evidence of the reliability of the scientific testing before permitting the testimony at trial. Others will accept the expert witness testimony if it has been “acknowledged by the scientific community.” It’s fairly common for each side to produce its own expert, with conflicting testimony. The judge may choose to admit some testimony and prohibit some, or may allow all expert testimony and defer to the jury to make a determination of which testimony carries more weight.

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 Legal Rights after an Accident

The Steps to Take to Safeguard Your Personal Injury Claim

Protecting Your Legal Rights after an AccidentIn the aftermath of an accident, when emotions are running high and adrenalin is coursing through your veins, making rational decisions can be a challenge. The steps you take in the minutes, days and weeks after a personal injury can make a significant difference, though, in how quickly you recover compensation for your losses, and whether you get full and fair compensation for all your injuries.

Step #1—Get All the Medical Care You Need

Your primary concern, after any type of accident, must be your physical well-being. If you don’t believe that you can get up and move about under your own power, don’t try. If you’ve had an injury to your back, neck, or head, stay where you are until emergency responders arrive. They’ll know what to do and how to get you safely to the hospital, if necessary.

Even if your injuries seem minor, and you can walk away from the accident, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Take yourself to the hospital emergency room, visit an urgent care facility, or make an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible. Some injuries may not be apparent to the naked eye and may not even show any outward symptoms. A medical professional can typically diagnose those conditions and prescribe appropriate treatment. The sooner you seek medical care, the more options you’ll typically have for a full recovery.

In addition, seeking immediate medical treatment will protect your legal rights. The more time you allow before getting medical attention, the greater the risk that defense attorneys will argue that your injuries were either not that serious or were caused by some intervening event.

Gather All Necessary Information and Evidence

Whether for an insurer or for use in court, you’ll want to collect as much evidence as possible, and get contact information for anyone involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses. If possible, take pictures of anything related to the accident or the circumstances at the time of the accident. The camera on your phone is sufficient. Take pictures of your injuries, any damage to vehicles, the scene of the accident, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, and anything else that seems relevant to the accident of your injuries.

Hire an Experienced Attorney

This should be one of the first things you do. If you retain legal counsel before you contact your insurer, your lawyer can act as your advocate with adjusters, helping you maximize your recovery. Your attorney will also ensure that you don’t do anything that jeopardizes your rights to full and fair compensation.

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 Compensation Can You Recover in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

What Are the Different Types of Damages?

What Compensation Can You Recover in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?When you have suffered injury and/or loss in an accident caused by the carelessness or negligence of another person, you have the right to file a lawsuit to recover damages–full and fair compensation all your losses. What does that include? What types of damages are available in a personal injury claim?

The Different Types of Damages

At the highest level, the damages awarded by a jury typically fall into one of two categories: compensatory damages or punitive damages. Compensatory damages are intended to come as closely as possible to returning you to the condition you were in before the accident. They customarily involve payments by the at-fault party to “compensate” you for your losses.

Punitive damages, on the other hand, are intended to “punish” the defendant for wrongful behavior, and to send a message to others who might engage in similar acts.

The Different Types of Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are generally categorized as either economic/monetary damages, or as non-economic/non-monetary damages.

Economic or monetary damages are those that are typically tangible and easy to calculate. They include losses that can be documented, such as lost wages or income, unpaid medical expenses, or the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property.

Non-economic damages, conversely, are those types of losses that are exclusively or primarily non-tangible, and therefore much more difficult to calculate. They include things like:

  • Physical or mental pain and suffering
  • The loss of enjoyment of life—the inability to engage in the simple functions of daily life, or to do things that brought you joy or pleasure before the accident
  • Loss of companionship or consortium—loss of the guidance, company, direction, influence, affection or intimate relationship with family members or others

Economic or monetary damages are usually calculated using wage or income statements, medical bills or invoices/bills for damage repair and replacement. Juries take a number of different approaches when determining non-economic damages:

  • Some courts will instruct jurors to identify a “reasonable” amount of compensation
  • Some courts apply a multiplier (anywhere from 1 to 10), first determining the economic losses and then multiplying that amount by the pre-determined factor

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.

Gathering Evidence in a New Jersey Personal Injury Case

The Tools Your Lawyer Will Use to Put Together Your Lawsuit

Gathering Evidence in a New Jersey Personal Injury CaseWhen you have been hurt because of someone else’s carelessness or wrongful act, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses in a court of law. To successfully recover damages, you must prove your claims before a judge and jury. How does your attorney find the best evidence to convince jurors of the merits of your case?

The Tools of Discovery

In legal language, the process of gathering evidence is known as “discovery.” In the American civil justice system, the principle of “open discovery” applies at all times. That means that both parties have a right to all evidence relevant to the case (whether it’s admissible in court or not).

A common way that most attorneys will gather evidence is through the use of a private detective. The private detective will typically interview witnesses, and other parties, if possible. It’s important to understand, though, that a person cannot be compelled to speak to or answer questions from a private investigator.

Another tool for gathering evidence is the use of an expert witness. Your attorney may bring an accident reconstruction specialist to the scene of a motor vehicle accident, or may have a safety expert look at a dangerous or defective product.

Perhaps the most common method of gathering evidence is through a deposition. With a deposition, your attorney can ask the court to subpoena a witness (or another party) for questioning. Because of the legal force of a subpoena, the witness must appear. A court reporter will typically be present at the deposition, so that all questions and answers will be documented. The deposition may also be videotaped.

At the deposition, attorneys for all parties to the lawsuit may ask questions. Because there is no judge and no jury present, the rules of evidence that apply in the courtroom do not prohibit a witness from answering a question that would be objectionable in court. If there are disputes about the admissibility of certain questions and answers, they will be resolved by the court before the trial starts.

A second form of discovery frequently used is a request for production. This may involve documents or other types of physical evidence. This allows opposing counsel to examine relevant physical evidence in preparation for trial.

Finally, attorneys for either side may submit written questions to a party, a process known as “interrogatories.” The court will typically set limitations on the number of interrogatories, so that the process cannot be used solely or primarily as a delaying tactic or to cause the opposing party to incur unnecessary expense.

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