Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Rocks the Globe

By admin

September 23rd, 2015

This week, automobile company Volkswagen admitted that they intentionally designed vehicles to evade environmental regulations. The news began last week when the EPA accused the company of installing software on nearly 500,000 U.S. vehicles to manipulate emissions tests. The software fools regulators into believing that a four-cylinder diesel car complies with emission standards. In reality, the cars were letting out harmful pollutants at alarming rates, which some say are over 40 times the required standards.

After the EPA called out Volkswagen, their CEO admitted to the deception. As a result of the gaft, the EPA can fine the company up to 18 billion dollars for their actions. Many are also predicting that this will trigger recalls of the affected vehicles as well as a bevy of consumer lawsuits.

The full ramifications of the manipulation are unclear at this time, but one thing is for sure, this is another clear example of a company putting profit before consumer safety. We’ve seen this script before. Such historical examples like the Ford Pinto of the 1970’s or the Ford Explorer of the 1990’s remind us that car companies don’t always get it right and often put greed ahead of safety.

Volkswagen’s stock has plummeted and their CEO is on his way out but the company may need the EPA to set a tone for this behavior and put other companies on notice that this behavior will not be tolerated. But, something tells me no matter what happens, this is just another business expense for Volkswagen and car companies like them.

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Backyard Fireworks: Still Illegal in New Jersey

By admin

July 10th, 2015

July 4th has come and gone and like every year, there were a few guarantees for the holiday, grilling, American flags, and of course, fireworks. The latter has been a tradition on the 4th for years, especially in New Jersey. Another guarantee that went fulfilled this holiday season was firework injuries.

This past weekend a 22 year old from Maine was killed when he attempted to shoot fireworks from his head. Fireworks are legal in Maine. In an ever more publicized story, Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants was injured in Florida over the weekend when fireworks he purchased exploded in his hands. JPP lost an index finger in the accident and is still hospitalized for thumb fractures and other hand injuries. His career is in serious jeopardy.

These two glaring examples remind us what we already knew. Fireworks are extremely dangerous and should not be used by untrained citizens. In New Jersey, their use is flat out illegal.

Under N.J.S.A. 21:3-1, the possession and use of fireworks is banned as it has been found to be against the “public health, safety and welfare of the people of the state of New Jersey”. There are exceptions of course, such as obtaining the proper licensing and permits from the municipality where you intend to use the fireworks. But these are generally granted for firework displays.

There will be continued debate about whether or not this past weekend’s events are tragedies or whether they are actions by people who should know the dangers that fireworks possess. The mother of the Maine man who passed away called for stricter laws for fireworks. In New Jersey, we have no such issue. It is illegal to possess them in this state. Period.

As the summer continues, keep this in mind as there can be both penalties assessed due to their possession and their use can cause serious personal injuries or even death.

Be safe this summer.

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New Dog Legislation on The Way: Large Breed Dogs Beware

By admin

June 15th, 2015

On May 11, 2015, two New Jersey lawmakers introduced “The Responsible Dog Ownership Act”. The legislation would ask the New Jersey Department of Health to establish new requirements for dog owners. Most notably, the legislation would require dog owners to have a fence on their property that was at least eight feet high.

The new dog legislation is in response two separate attacks that occurred in recent years, in which children were attacked and bitten by neighborhood dogs. The fence requirement would be for dog owners with “large breed dogs”. The difficulty will be establishing what size dog is a large breed dog. The lawmakers would ask the Department of Health to consult with experts in this field to determine what a large breed would be and what requirements should be placed on their owners.

Questions about whether the fencing requirement would be retroactive and apply to owners who already have large breed dogs are still up in the air. While the possible law is far from being put on the books, the outrage and debate is sure to come. The requirement for private citizens to spend large sums of money to build these fences may have some doubters believing their rights are being infringed upon.

And what happens to those dogs that are considered large breeds but have owners who cannot afford a fence? Are the dogs sent to overcrowded shelters or kennels? The topic will surely have much debate among New Jersey citizens as it makes its way though the new dog legislature. Balancing the safety of citizens against the requirement to spend what amounts to a tax will be a difficult task for lawmakers and whatever the result, there is sure to be dissenting opinions.

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Headed Down The New Jersey Shore: Not So Fast

By admin

May 29th, 2015

With the unofficial start of summer upon us many people enjoying heading down the shore on the weekends for some sun and everything the great New Jersey beach towns have to offer.

This year, make sure you aren’t flying too fast down the shore on the parkway or turnpike. The New Jersey State Police unveiled a new crop of patrol cars today that are being labeled “ghost cars”. In reality, they are black Chevy Caprices with a frosted image of the State Police logo on the door.

The cars are being used as an effort to curb speeding on New Jersey’s major roadways, which in the summer, are heavily trafficked by beach goers. The key to the design is that they will be more difficult to spot in traffic and will blend in. When you get pulled over however, there will be no mistaking the car for a civilian’s when you are reprimanded.

If you’re issued a ticket this summer, you should know your rights under New Jersey’s motor vehicle statutes and you should consult with an experienced attorney who can explain those rights and what options you have

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Casino Falls: A Roll of the Dice when an Injury Occurs

By admin

May 26th, 2015

Casinos have been a hot topic for sometime in New Jersey. Some are closing while some are opening and re-opening under new owners. Whatever the case, casinos have long been a favored pastime of the people of the state. Outside of Las Vegas, Atlantic City is one of the biggest cities in the country for casinos.

While trying your luck at casinos can be a ball, a day trip or weekend getaway can turn into a real nightmare in no time when a fall and injury occurs. Much like other commercial businesses, casinos are responsible for making sure that any patrons that come onto their property are granted a safe place to do so.

Casinos and their employees are required to inspect the casino floors on a regular basis and ensure that there are no hazards present that pose a threat to a customer’s safety. Year after year, many of these casinos fall short of their duty and people are injured when they fall on the casino floor. Some of the causes of the falls include liquid substances, shoddy flooring and casino chairs and even food.

Now we are talking about more than just Atlantic City, as casinos are branching out to areas of Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut. If you or someone you know is injured at a casino as a result of the casino failing to provide a safe environment, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You should contact an attorney to determine your rights.

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Train Accident: Negligent Conduct

By Thomas R. Smith

May 19th, 2015

Late Tuesday evening, May 12, 2015, an Amtrak train, traveling from Washington DC, to New York, derailed outside of Philadelphia. Consequently, 7 of the 238 passengers on board were killed thus far, and over half of the other occupants were hospitalized with various personal injuries. Several people remain missing. The cause of the train accident is being investigated, although it appears the train was traveling at twice the allowed speed when it left the tracks. Regardless, a derailment should never happen and is almost always the result of at least, negligent conduct. The train accident victims and their families will be entitled to compensation for their harms and losses by Amtrak and any other party deemed responsible. Any lawsuits against Amtrak will be filed in the United States District Court. If you or someone you know was unfortunately victimized by crash, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to start preparing your claim immediately.

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Attention Shoppers: Injuries Due to Defects, or Other Dangerous Conditions

By Thomas R. Smith

April 24th, 2015

A pleasant trip tpi - pico a supermarket or shopping mall can turn into a nightmare if you encounter a dangerous condition on the property which causes you to fall and sustain a personal injury. Generally, the owner of a store or shopping center must take reasonable care to provide a safe place for those invited, the public, to enter their premises. Any defects, or other dangerous conditions, inside or outside the store, must be corrected, and effective warnings of those conditions must be provided. The owner or occupier of the premises has a duty to inspect for any dangerous conditions. A shopper, who falls because the owner failed to make the premises safe, is entitled to be compensated for any losses caused by resulting personal injuries.
Ordinarily, in order to be compensated, an injured victim must show there was a dangerous condition that caused the injuries and the condition was known, or could have been known, by the owner upon a reasonable inspection in time to correct or warn against the condition. However, if the owner, in their normal operations or course of business created the condition they will be liable for damage regardless of whether they knew of it or not.

If you have suffered personal injuries because of a danger condition at a supermarket or shopping center you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your rights.

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Snow & Ice: Slip & Fall Injuries

By Thomas R. Smith

January 28th, 2015

Slip & Fall injuries from slipping and falling on ice and or snow can be life changing.  If you are injured, you may be entitled to compensation for any losses and harms.  Commercial landowners, such as shopping centers, have a non-delegable duty to keep parking lots safe and free from ice and snow.  When they don’t, and a customer slips and falls and sustains personal injuries, they are liable for money damages.

Homeowners generally have no obligation to clear abutting public sidewalks, although some municipal regulations may require shoveling snow and keeping clear of ice.  However, if a homeowner undertakes to clean the walkway, they must do so in a reasonably safe manner, and will be liable for compensation to an injured victim if they fail to do so.

If you have fallen on snow or ice and sustained slip & fall injuries, contact an experienced lawyer to help you obtain the compensation for your losses and harms that you are entitled.

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Your News Years Resolution: Update Your Insurance Policy

By admin

January 8th, 2015

Every year millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions when the calendar turns January 1st. Typical resolutions include losing weight, getting a new job or even changing bad habits. However, this year, it may be a good idea to take a look at your car insurance policy.

If you own or lease a car in New Jersey, you are required to maintain car insurance policy on that car. But when is the last time you looked at your coverage to see how much coverage you actually have? It might be time to call your insurance agent and ask for a copy of your declaration page.

A declaration page is an insurance term for a list of your coverage. The typical declaration page lists your coverage for bodily injury, property damage, personal injury protection (PIP) and any other coverage you have on your car. A couple of the most important items you will find on your declaration page are your underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) and your personal injury protection coverage (PIP).

UIM coverage is insurance that is available if another party involved in an accident has inadequate insurance coverage. In that’s scenario, you can seek benefits under your own company’s UIM policy.  PIP is the coverage on your insurance policy that pays for the reasonable and necessary medical bills that arise from a car accident. There is a deductible that you are usually required to meet and the company will pay for the bills in excess of that deductible.

Both UIM and PIP coverage should be as high of a limit as you can afford. You can’t rely on other drivers’ insurance policies to help you pay expenses when you’ve had an accident. In addition to both UIM and PIP, it is important that you know what lawsuit threshold you have on your insurance policy. Most companies give their customers the default insurance policy, which includes the limitation on lawsuit threshold. This type of policy restricts your ability to file a lawsuit against another driver for injuries unless they fit into a certain category. To ensure an unlimited ability to file a claim, you should choose the no limitation on lawsuit option.

As a consumer and payer of a premium, you are entitled to know what coverage you have and what happens if you need it. Call your insurance company and request a copy of your declaration page. It’s better to know now than to find out when you need it.

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Take Justice Back

By Sherri L. Warfel

October 24th, 2014

The access to justice and accountability through our courts has been under attack by powerful corporate interests.   Their goal is to evade accountability and the consequences can be deadly; for when no one is accountable, no one is safe.   When Americans’ access to justice is denied unscrupulous insurance companies, reckless drivers, dangerous hospitals and other wrongdoers can get away with it.

Today, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) through its Take Justice Back campaign launched the Hall of Lawsuit Hypocrites to showcase some of the corporations and lawmakers that happily exercise their right to access the courts when they stand to benefit, but also tirelessly work to close the courthouse doors on Americans.

You can view the Hall of Lawsuit Hypocrites on the Take Justice Back website here:

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