Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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New_York_City_Hall.jpgHistorically and as a matter of public policy, public entities are immune from suit pursuant to the doctrine of “sovereign immunity.” The New Jersey Tort Claims Act, however, creates limited exceptions to sovereign immunity. People are therefore permitted to sue for injuries but must comply with the strict requirements of the Tort Claim Act.

New Jersey’s Tort Claims Act requires that persons who have claims against a governmental entity or its employee notify the public entity within ninety days from the date the claim accrues. The notice must contain the name and address of the claimant, the date, place and circumstances of the occurrence, a general description of the injury, the damage or loss sustained, and the name of the public entity or the employees responsible. Each municipality may have its own tort claim notice form. Failure to provide notice is an absolute bar to later recovery against a governmental unit or its employees. It is therefore critical to ensure compliance with the notice provisions of the Tort Claim Act.

After notice of tort claim is submitted, the government is then permitted a six month review the claim before a lawsuit can be filed. A lawsuit can be filed upon the expiration of the six month period. However, not every injury gives rise to a cause of action that requires providing the municipality with notice and then waiting six months. For example, the Tort Claims Act does not apply to statutory claims such as those brought under New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act and New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination. However, because the Tort Claims Act will bar a covered but late claim, it is better to comply now than find out later you were wrong.

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New Jersey requires each driver to have an auto insurance policy with “personal injury protection” or “PIP” benefits. As part of New Jersey’s no-fault auto insurance legislation enacted in 1972, the Legislature required all auto insurance policies to provide “personal injury protection” or “PIP” benefits.
What is Personal Injury Protection?

PIP was designed to reduce litigation and bring down insurance rates by providing that a driver’s own insurance policy will pay medical expenses for the insured’s own injuries sustained in auto accidents regardless of fault. Standard PIP policies provide up to $250,000 of medical coverage, plus limited benefits for income continuation, essential services, and death benefits. Coverage may be increased for additional fees.

If you are injured in an accident you must notify your insurance company to begin receiving benefits.

What benefits does Personal Injury Protection provide?

A PIP policy will typically pay all reasonable hospital, medical, and related expenses incurred for treatment of injuries sustained in an accident. Typically, PIP benefits will pay for doctors, chiropractors, dentists, psychologists, therapists, and skilled nurses.
You will still be required to pay some medical bills because most insurance policies contain a deductible. The deductible can range anywhere form $250 up to $1,000. In addition, PIP is only responsible for eighty percent of your medical bills for the first $5,000. You are responsible for the remaining twenty percent of the medical bill. PIP will then pay for all remaining medical bills in excess of $5,000 up to the policy limit.
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ambulance.jpg The concept of a charitable immunity – that charities cannot be sued for negligent conduct – originates from nineteenth century common law, based upon the idea that funds that were otherwise meant to go to charitable causes should not be diverted to pay for legal actions. In 1958, the New Jersey Supreme Court overruled this charitable immunity doctrine. However, shortly thereafter, the New Jersey legislature enacted The Charitable Immunity Act reinstating the charitable immunity to a certain extent.

The Charitable Immunity Act provides in part that nonprofit corporations, societies and associations organized exclusively for religious, charitable or education purposes or their representatives cannot be liable to anyone who suffers as a result of a charitable organization’s representatives’ negligence if they would otherwise benefit from the acts of the organization. Therefore, in order to qualify for the charitable immunity, and therefore avoid suit, the organization must have been promoting its exclusively religious, charitable, or educational purpose to the plaintiff who was a beneficiary of it’s religious, charitable or education efforts.

The idea is that the person who the charitable organization was trying to help cannot then sue the charitable organization for negligence in it’s efforts to aid that person. However, a Charitable Immunity does not insulate an organization from suit if the wrongful act was willful, intentional, reckless, or even grossly negligent.
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If you or a family member are injured in an automobile accident, it is important to contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney to protect your rights to allow you to bring claims for compensation.

Under New Jersey automobile insurance laws, everyone who drives in New Jersey must have automobile insurance. Insurance companies are responsible to have an attorney defend a driver accused of negligence and pay any judgment or settlement. This means that the insurance company has to appoint and pay for a lawyer to defend the negligent driver and subsequently pay any settlement or judgment up to the policy limits. Typically the insurance company will try to delay and avoid and paying any claims. Even if the insurance company agrees to pay a claim it will try to pay as little as possible. It is therefore critical to speak to an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.

If you have been involved in an accident you should not speak with the other driver’s insurance company until you have had an opportunity to speak with an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney. The insurance company will be gathering as much evidence as it can get to use against you in court to avoid or reduce making a payment. After the insurance company learns about an accident it will attempt to contact you to obtain information. The insurance company will do this by sending you letters and calling. This can be overwhelming, especially if you have just been involved in an accident. This is yet another reason to seek representation by an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney. Experienced attorneys can help preserve evidence by, for example, contacting witnesses and working with the insurance company to provide only the necessary information.

It is also important to seek necessary medical treatment and keep a list of all the medical providers from whom you have sought treatment after the accident. But don’t worry; New Jersey is a “no fault” state. This means that the medical bills for injuries you sustained in an automobile accident are paid by your own insurance company under what is known as “Personal Injury Protection” (“PIP”). Therefore, if you have auto insurance it is important that you advise your own automobile insurance company if you have been in an accident. You should also advise your medical provider that you were involved in an automobile accident when seeking treatment. The medical provider should submit the bill to PIP for payment.
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New Jersey property owners are responsible for most incidents that take place on their property. New Jersey property owners are responsible to keep their land free of known or foreseeable hazards, such as wet floors, debris, snow and ice accumulation, and cracks in the sidewalk. This is known as New Jersey’s premises liability law.

A typical example of this is when a New Jersey property owner fails to repair her sidewalk. If the property owner knew or should have known that the sidewalk was in a state of disrepair and failed to repair it; if so, the property owner can be found responsible. Other slip and fall accidents have been found to create liability for New Jersey property owners because of wet floors, improperly secured mats or rugs, spilled substances, bad lighting concealing a hazard, or failure to properly remove snow and ice.

People who have a slip and fall accident on another’s property can quickly find themselves with significant out-of-pocket financial expenses, such as large medical bills, lost wages, and many other financial hardships. However, if you have one of these accidents you may be able to hold the property owner responsible under New Jersey premises liability laws to help cover your financial expenses and receive compensation for your pain and suffering.

All New Jersey property owners have a duty to keep their property safe from any known or foreseeable hazards. However, this does not mean that a property owner is automatically liable for any accident. This is when the experienced attorneys McLaughlin & Nardi attorneys can help.
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Many people in New Jersey ask, “I had a small party at my house and one of my guests drank alcohol and later got into a car accident, am I liable?” New Jersey homeowners also ask, “Can I get in trouble serving alcohol to a minor?” The short answer to both is yes.

In recent years society has become less tolerant of drunk driving and underage drinking, with many organizations taking on active roles in politics resulting in the passage of stringent laws related to alcohol. New Jersey is no exception. There is a strong public policy in New Jersey against serving minors and intoxicated adults.

First, hosts in New Jersey should be aware to never serve minors any alcohol. In New Jersey serving alcohol to a minor is disorderly persons offense and, depending on the circumstances, can also be a more serious criminal offense of endangering the welfare of a minor.

Further, in 1987 New Jersey passed a law on “social host liability,” making a host liable for injuries to a third-party for a guest’s actions if the host serves a guest, twenty-one years of age or older, alcohol when that person is “visibly intoxicated.” Therefore, if you serve alcohol in your home you should be aware of signs of intoxication, and, if they exist, you should immediately stop serving any “visibly intoxicated” person alcohol.
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