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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 / 856-600-HURT.

Evening and weekend meetings by phone, text message, or videoconference can be arranged upon request.

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 / 856-600-HURT 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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