Archive for May, 2011

$2 Million Dollar Settlement: Tire Blow Out Caused Injury during a Car Accident

By Edward Slaughter, Jr.

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Our client, C.P., was severely injured in a car wreck when a Range Rover driven by his brother rolled over. This motor vehicle accident occurred in broad daylight on an interstate highway.

The police investigation revealed that this car accident occurred because the right rear tire of the vehicle blew out. There was no debris in the roadway and no road defects were present to explain why the tire blew out.

C.P. was severely injured; he suffered a broken neck that left him paralyzed from the neck down. He had to be placed in a nursing home and later died from the complications of the injuries he suffered in the motor vehicle accident.

As a New Jersey injury attorney, I represented C.P. and later his family in what became a products liability case against the manufacturer of the tire.

Investigation by this law firm revealed that the tread of the tire had separated from the inner plies of the tire.

This firm hired an expert who had worked as an engineer in the tire industry. This expert examined the tire and concluded that the body of the tire had been contaminated by dirt or grease during the manufacturing process at the tire factory where it was made. This contamination had left the tire with a defect that gradually worsened leading to a separation of the tread and to C.P.’s catastrophic car accident and injuries.

The expert for the defendant tire manufacturer also examined the tire and gave the opinion that the tire had failed because it had been operated under inflated during its life. He concluded that under inflated operation had caused the tire to run hot and that heat weakened the tire. He also stated that the vehicle would not have rolled over had C.P.’s brother been a better driver.

When I took the deposition of the defense expert, the expert conceded that contamination during manufacture could have been a cause of the separation and the motor vehicle accident in which C.P. was severely injured.

The case settled without trial for $2 million.

Slip and Fall Accident in Snow and Ice in New Jersey

By admin

Friday, May 27th, 2011

New Jersey Courts have long recognized a cause of action when a property owner fails to use reasonable care to prevent a slip and fall as a result of snow and ice that accumulates on the ground. One of the most common slip and fall accidents is a slip and fall caused by ice or packed snow that can often result in serious personal injuries.

In New Jersey, the owner of property has an obligation to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition, including the removal of snow and ice so as to prevent slip and falls or other personal injuries. Under New Jersey law, a person who enters a business is entitled to have a reasonably safe place within the scope of their invitation upon the property. Property owners are obligated to take whatever steps are necessary including plowing, salting and sanding so as to reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents as a result of snow and ice.

If a person slip and falls as a result of an icy or slippery condition caused by packed snow the law can provide a remedy for a personal injury suffered. Ordinarily a claim is initially made against the insurance company for the property owner who failed to properly take care of their property and if no fair settlement offer is made a personal injury attorney can file a law suit in the Superior Court of New Jersey where damages for personal injuries can be sought.

The heavy snowfalls of 2010 create the risk of a slip and fall accident as result of snow and ice. Often property owners fail to take all measures that are necessary to prevent injuries. If a person is injured as a result of a slip and fall on ice and suffers personal injuries they should contact a personal injury attorney to explore their rights.

The advent of cell phones creates a wonderful opportunity if individuals can have enough foresight to take a photograph of the area where they slipped and fell. A personal injury attorney who has evidence of the condition of the property where the slip and fall occurred would be in a much stronger position to prove a case if there were photographs that were taken at the time that accident occurred. Of course, sometimes people are so seriously injured or simply do not think about preserving evidence at the site of a slip and fall and failure to take a picture will not bar you from bringing a claim and evidence can be obtained from others by other means.

Property owners should all make a concerted effort to make sure that their property is safe and that snow and ice is removed in an area where people would be expected to be walking. However, if you do suffer a slip and fall as a result of snow and ice that accumulates as a result of the failure of a person to properly clear their property then you should consult with a New Jersey personal injury attorney about your rights.

Evaluating Potential Defendants in Personal Injury Cases

By Andrew M. Rockman

Friday, May 27th, 2011

“Personal injury” comes in many forms, and sometimes it comes with complications to the original injury caused by the malpractice of the doctor treating that injury. Clients frequently feel more anger at the physician or hospital than they do toward the individual who caused the original injury.

As attorneys, we have to evaluate the potential claim of our personal injury client against those whose conduct had an impact on the seriousness of the final injury. The injury attorney considers the conduct of the doctors or medical care providers who contributed to the final personal injury; however, in evaluating the client’s personal injury, the attorney also must decide how provable the claim is against each potential defendant, and whether there is a downside to making a claim against everyone who might have responsibility for any portion of the client’s injury.

This decision involves the strength of the case against any one defendant, both as to his or her fault and the ability to connect that fault to all or a portion of the overall injury. The earlier in the chain of causation a defendant falls, usually the easier it is to prove his/her responsibility for the full injury, as that defendant set everything in motion, including the need for the involvement of the doctor who may have malpracticed while providing care.

Given the many excuses doctors can offer for a bad result, it is often preferable to consider whether a suit against any specific doctor is beneficial to the client, if the original accident or injury causing event is more easily proven. This is especially so if there is no need to evaluate the spread of responsibility to make available to the client adequate insurance coverage to fully compensate them for all that happened.

Whether there is one defendant or five, the injured plaintiff can rightly only collect for his or her personal injuries once. There is no increase in value created by more than one defendant. There is only an increase in the time, expense, and risk to the plaintiff, if a doctor is made a defendant on grounds the jury finds unsupported.

Injury attorneys have to decide the best and most economical way to obtain full compensation for the client, without overspending on expenses involved in proving the case and reducing the amount of money that the client eventually receives.

Engaging a full service law firm like Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, which has different attorneys focusing on different areas of personal injury, provides clients with the benefit of analysis of all claims so that the proper path to recovery is chosen and presented. However complicated the path to the final injury or damage, whether from an accident, improper diagnosis, delayed treatment, improper medication or incorrectly performed surgery, the decision must be made as to which claim against which potential defendant will most effectively protect our client.

Slip and Fall Injuries: Don’t Forget to Take a Photo

By admin

Friday, May 27th, 2011

In today’s world, many people carry a camera, although often they do not think about the fact that they have it.  Most cell phones today are able to take digital photographs.  This capacity can come in very handy when a person suffers a slip and fall accident.

One of the most common forms of personal injury is the slip and fall.  The slip and fall accident often results in severe personal injury including fractured bones, head injuries and tears to the ligaments and tendons in the body.  A person who suffers a slip and fall type injury should try to document the conditions that led to their fall.  Obviously, when a person suffers personal injury, their first thought is for their well-being and not to preserve evidence.  However, nothing is more critical than photos taken on the day of the accident that show a wet floor, an icy sidewalk or some other dangerous condition.

In addition, in this day and age juries expect to see photographs of an slip and fall accident scene and if a person does not take photos, that point could be argued against them.  Sometimes a person will suffer such severe personal injuries that they will not be able to take any photographs and in those circumstances medical attention should be your first priority.

However, if you are able to either take some pictures yourself or ask someone else to take them for you, by all means do it and give them to your personal injury attorney!

Taking accident scene pictures may provide the best evidence in any case for personal injuries you bring as a result of your slip and fall.  The Personal Injury Attorneys at Pellettieri, Rabstein and Altman would use those photographs to convince an insurance company that settlement is appropriate or ultimately at trial to establish your injury case.

Slip & Fall Injuries: Sidewalks

By admin

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Many slip and fall accidents in New Jersey are caused by cracks or upheavals of a sidewalk. New Jersey is largely made up of communities that have sidewalks, including locations in Mercer County and Burlington County.

A number of things cause sidewalks to crack: the age of the sidewalk, it’s exposure to weather conditions, tree roots or truck traffic all lead to cracks which create dangerous conditions to a sidewalk. Any person using a public sidewalk that is in a dangerous condition can potentially be harmed. Personal injuries, often serious personal injuries, can be caused by these defects in sidewalks.

In most cases, sidewalks are public easements that are essentially owned by the Town or City in which they exist. However, it is difficult to sue the governmental entity responsible for the sidewalk. Even if a sidewalk causes serious personal injuries, the New Jersey Tort’s Claim Act places restrictions on the ability to sue a government entity for an accident caused as a result of a condition of their sidewalk.

Fortunately, the New Jersey Supreme Court has imposed a responsibility on the owners of commercial properties to maintain the adjacent sidewalk. Stewart vs. 104 Wallace Street, Inc. 97 NJ 146 (1991). Therefore, if you fall on a sidewalk next to a commercial property, that landlord or owner would be responsible. The issue becomes more difficult when a person falls in front of a residential property. New Jersey’s Courts have not extended legal responsibility for slip & fall injuries caused by defects in a sidewalk adjacent to a residential property. Even though most municipalities require by ordinance that the property owner maintain their sidewalk, the Court’s in New Jersey have refused to hold property owners liable for slip and falls as a result of a defective sidewalk in front of a residential home.

However, this Rule like every other Rule has exceptions. If you can demonstrate that the property owner had some responsibility for creating the dangerous condition of the sidewalk or that the owner had made repairs and done so in a negligent manner liability can attach. Many cases were people suffered serious personal injuries do occur in front of residential property owner’s premises and unless you have an injury lawyer who is willing to dig for the facts and to determine the reason the sidewalk is in a dangerous condition, your case may be rejected. Pellettieri, Rabstein and Altman specialize in slip and fall cases including those accidents that occur on sidewalks. Our attorneys will make every effort to obtain information that would be helpful in proving a legitimate case for you in a slip and fall on a sidewalk. This also includes slip and fall that occur as a result of icy conditions to the sidewalk where the law is similar for that where the sidewalk is upheaved or have dangerous cracks in it.