Posts Tagged ‘Personal Injury’

Motor Vehicle Accident Fatalities On The Rise

By Thomas R. Smith

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

According to a New Jersey State Police report, more people were killed by motor vehicle accidents in 2017 than in the previous year. Further, the number of fatalities has continued to rise each of the last three years and is the highest in the last ten. Most of those killed in car accidents were either the driver or passenger of an automobile.

The State Division of Highway Traffic Safety attributes the increase in fatalities to a number of factors including lower gas prices, more cars on the road, and distracted drivers and pedestrians. Alcohol and drug use also continues to be a concerning factor.

The operator of any motor vehicle, whether a car, truck or motor cycle, has the obligation to do so in a safe manner, using due caution, so as not to endanger or likely endanger another person or property. Failing to do so can result in a careless driving charge, probably the most common traffic violation in New Jersey. Police will generally issue such a ticket to any driver they determine causes a motor vehicle accident. The punishment can be influenced by the nature of the motor vehicle accident and the severity of any personal injuries suffered.

If you have suffered personal injuries due to another’s careless driving or negligence, you are entitled to receive compensation for any losses or harms incurred. You should speak with an attorney experienced in representing injured victims to learn the full extent of your legal rights.

Distracted Driving – Personal Injuries

By Thomas R. Smith

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Anyone operating a motor vehicle is at risk for significant, permanent personal injuries due to a distracted driver. These days, there are many temptations to entice a driver to engage in activities unrelated to the operation of their automobile – thereby interfering with its safe operation. Texting, eating, sending and reading emails, paying bills, or talking on a cell phone, while convenient, are easy ways to distract a driver and create a potentially dangerous and hazardous situation – possibly even putting lives at risk.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving has been the leading cause of fatal car crashes for at least the last five or six years. Drivers distracted by such activities have caused over 3,100 deaths and injured an estimated 430,000 plus people in 2014.

New Jersey has some of the toughest laws against distracted driving. Use of hand-held phones and texting is prohibited while operating a motor vehicle. Cell phones are banned for bus drivers and beginner drivers. Violations of these distracted driving laws can carry significant fines and penalties.

Distracted drivers who cause wrongful deaths and personal injuries are responsible for compensating their victims. It is possible to be subject to civil liability even if you are not operating a motor vehicle but it is found that you have communicated via text to someone who you know is driving; and an accident is caused by the receiving driver.

If you or your loved one has suffered serious personal injuries or death as the result of a distracted driver, you should contact an attorney with experience handling personal injury cases to discuss your rights.

Personal Injuries: Be Careful, it’s Nice Out There

By Thomas R. Smith

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Finally, the cold dreary days of winter are behind us and spring is in the air. With the warmer, nicer weather, comes an increase in motor vehicle accidents, and personal injuries motorcyclists, bike riders and pedestrians.

Drivers and pedestrians have the right to use the roadways, and have mutual duties and obligations to do so in a safe manner, and to look out for each other. More people are out walking and using some portion of the roads during the nice weather, and longer days. Both drivers and pedestrians must use reasonable care to observe anyone crossing into their paths of travel.

Motorists are faced with new challenges as the weather changes. Conditons that block normal observations, such as sun glare, fog, rain and lightening can lead to accidents. Drivers are expected to act prudently, and take the proper precautions associated with the conditions they are presented with to reduce the risk of harming someone else using the roadway, such as a pedestrian. Sometimes, if the conditions are such to severely impede visibility, they should pull over to the side of the road until the condition improves.

Pedestrians, which include bicyclists, using the roadways have similar duties and obligations to look out for their own safety as well as others. Pedestrians may only cross a street at a crosswalk, marked or unmarked, and once in that walkway, an approaching driver has an obligation to stop its vehicle, as opposed to merely yielding to the crossing pedestrian. Any collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian who is within the crosswalk, it will be presumed the driver did not exercise due care. When sidewalks are available, it is unlawful for one to walk along the roadway.

Bicyclists must follow the rules of road to help avoid personal injuries from accidents with motor vehicles. Operators must ride as far to the right of the roadway as possible, but may move left to make left turns, avoid hazards, or to pass a slower moving vehicle. A bicycle being operated a night should have a lamp in the front and red light in the rear. Bicyclists under the age of 17 must wear helmets.

Motorcycle accidents also increase during the nicer weather as ridership increases. More people are out riding in the Spring and Summer then in the winter months. The major causes of accidents with motorcycles involve driver inattention, or the inability to notice motorcycles, and driver speed, usually a motorcycle driving too fast for the conditions. Operators must take extra caution to ensure are seen by other cars and trucks on the road and don’t drive at excessive speeds. So doing will cut down on the number of an extent of injuries involving motor cycles.

According a New Jersey State Police report, many more crashes and fatalities involving motor vehicles, motorcycles and pedestrians occur during the nicer spring and summer months. The majority occur during clear weather and on a Saturday or Sunday. Therefore, take extra caution when using the roads during the nice weather. If you have been injured by a motor vehicle, contact my office so I, as an experienced personal injury lawyer can advise of your rights to recover for you injuries, losses and any other ways you have been harmed.

Car Accidents: Uber

By Thomas R. Smith

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

With one tap of a smart phone app, Uber is forever changing the taxi business as well as the way people commute. The rise of Uber, and other ride-sharing services offer convenience and savings for riders while creating new work opportunities for drivers. However, these services are not problem-proof and with them come a number of legal questions and concerns – specifically liability for car accidents.

Uber and other ride-sharing companies make it clear that they aren’t in the transportation business but instead are technology services that simply connect riders and drivers. The drivers are independent third parties; therefore the rider accepts ALL risk, as clearly stated in the Uber terms and conditions:
“By using the services, you acknowledge that you may be exposed to situations involving third party providers that are potentially unsafe, offensive, harmful to minors, or otherwise objectionable,” Uber states, and “that using the services is at your own risk and judgment. Uber shall not have any liability …” The Uber contract also includes a forced arbitration clause, which greatly limits an individual’s right to take the company to court.

Additionally, Uber drivers typically don’t meet the same licensing and inspection requirements that apply to traditional taxi and limousine services.  According to the company’s safety page, Uber drivers are required to undergo rigorous background checks. The company also provides insurance for its drivers; although gray areas exist that raise serious concerns about whether or not Uber’s insurance would apply in certain situations.

Like many new and groundbreaking business models, Uber has clearly created great opportunities and challenges that previously didn’t exist. Uber car accidents can be particularly complicated. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a ride-share driver, or as a ride-share passenger, contact one of our personal injury attorneys at 800-432-LAWS (5297) to discuss your case.

Pedestrian Car Accidents

By admin

Monday, March 7th, 2016

New Jersey has some of the busiest roads in the country and car accidents are on the rise. Not only are the roads congested with cars, motorcycles and trucks, but many pedestrians use the roads as a cheaper, healthier way to get from point A to point B. Pedestrians have the same rights on highways as motor vehicles.

But what happens when these vehicles, which weigh thousands of pounds, collide with the human pedestrian? Disaster.

You see it in the news almost weekly. A pedestrian is struck by a motorist and seriously injured or killed. As a result, the pedestrian suffers personal injuries, medical expenses and possibly loss of income or the ability to work. These damages can be devastating. Much like a driver or passenger of a motor vehicle, pedestrians have the right to have their medical expenses paid by their car insurance company under their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy, even if they are not operating a vehicle at the time of the accident.

In addition, they may be entitled to both economic and non-economic compensation from the insurance company of the motorist who was negligent. Often times these cases can involve serious injuries due to the lack of protection from the crash and the sheer weight and speed of the offending vehicle.

It is absolutely crucial to speak to an injury attorney after such a tragedy that knows how to ensure that you are taken care of for the damages you suffer as a result of a pedestrian car accident.

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

By admin

Tuesday, 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.

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

By Thomas R. Smith

Friday, 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.

Personal Injuries: Baseball Fans Are on Their Own

By Thomas R. Smith

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Throughout the summer, thousand of baseball fanatics will pass through the turnstiles of the many professional stadiums throughout New Jersey.  However, those who suffer personal injuries due to a foul ball, an errant throw, or a flying bat maybe without recourse to recover damages for their injuries.

In 2006, the New Jersey Baseball Spectator Act of 2006 was enacted into law.  The legislative policy behind this law was to encourage attendance at professional baseball games by limiting the civil liability of professional baseball team owners, stadium owners and operator.  Limiting civil liability will help contain costs and keep the ticket prices affordable.

The Act was in response to the New Jersey Supreme Court decision of 2005 in Maisonave v. Newark Bears, where the Court ruled that the owner of a professional baseball team, which had a limited duty of care for injuries occurring to spectators in the stands, could be liable in damages for injuries suffered by a spectator who was waiting in line for a beverage.   The victim could be awarded damages if a jury found the owner had failed to exercise reasonable care in addressing a foreseeable danger.

Under the New Jersey Spectator Baseball Act, which as stated had little concern for spectator safety, but more concern to promote ticket sales, the owner of the team, or operator of the stadium is completely immune from civil liability for injuries to spectators, so long as they post warning signs at the entrance gates, and erect protective netting behind home plate.    The Act only applies to professional baseball and does not little league, high school or college baseball.  Further, it applies to injuries that occur before, during games and activities on the field in between innings.

The Act has not achieved its stated purpose however, as many professional baseball teams have gone out of business since it was enacted.  The New Jersey Cardinals, a Class A minor league team of the St. Louis Cardinals, was sold to the Altoona Curve, who moved the franchise to University Park, Pennsylvania in 2006.  The Sussex Skyhawks replaced the vacant Cardinals in Sussex County, but folded in 2010.    The Atlantic City Surf played in Bernie Robbins Stadium from 1986 until it went out of business on March 30, 2009. And most ironic, the Newark Bears, who played at Riverfront Stadium, in Newark, announced on November 28, 2013, that it would cease operations.

So the next time you attend a game, and hear those famous words, “play ball”, you better wear you glove, and keep close attention to every at bat.

Summer Barbecues: How to Avoid Over Serving Alcohol

By admin

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Summer is in full swing and with summer comes outdoor fun, including barbecues and parties. While barbecues can be a great time to get together with family and friends, the summer is a good time to remind the public of the risks associated with hosting these events when alcohol is involved.

In New Jersey, social hosts can be held liable for serving alcohol to their guests if their guests end up injuring someone on the roads. The New Jersey Legislature has enacted these laws in response to the many alcohol related accidents and deaths that have occurred as a result of overconsumption of alcohol at social gatherings.

Social hosts have a duty to avoid overconsumption of alcohol by their guests. The duty of a social host is a less stringent standard than that of a bartender but it is still an important one. The social host is obligated to act reasonably and responsibly when serving alcohol to their guests and if they knew or should have known that their guest was intoxicated and they continued to serve them, they may be liable for any and all injuries that result on the roadways.

When having your parties and barbecues this summer, be sure to provide plenty of food, water and non-alcoholic beverages to your guests. Take car keys for anyone who drove and make sure that they check in with you to retrieve their keys before they leave. This way you can make a reasonable assessment as to their ability to drive. Have car service and cab numbers available to anyone who feels they cannot get behind the wheel. Offer your house or a friend’s house for them to sleep over.

It’s way too simple to prevent injuries and deaths to innocent third parties on the road that occur as the result of intoxication. There’s simply no excuse to let someone leave your home intoxicated. Besides the obvious benefit of saving someone’s life, you will avoid the civil liability that comes with your negligence.

Avoid Car Accidents — Don’t Use Your Cell Phone for Texting

By admin

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Texting Behind The Wheel: A Deadly Game

“He that can have patience can have what he will”- Benjamin Franklin

How important is that text message? That email? If you are behind the wheel, it is not very important at all. Do yourself and others on the road a favor and wait until you are done driving, before you glance down at your cell phone. Driving on New Jersey’s roadways is dangerous enough without introducing the added risk of cell phone usage.

With the rise in cell phones in this country, there is also a rise in the deaths that are caused by cell phones. In 2011, distracted drivers accounted for over 170 care accident fatalities in New Jersey. Undoubtedly, a large majority of distracted drivers are those who are using their cell phone while driving. Not only is this practice dangerous for the driver of the vehicle, but also a great danger to others on the road.

In an effort to prevent the number of deaths that result from cell phone usage while driving, New Jersey has passed a bright line law.

Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.3(a),

The use of a wireless telephone or electronic communication device by an operator of a moving motor vehicle on a public road or highway shall be unlawful except when the telephone is a hands-free wireless telephone or the electronic communication device is used hands-free, provided that its placement does not interfere with the operation of federally required safety equipment and the operator exercises a high degree of caution in the operation of the motor vehicle.

The law is simple. If you use your cell phone, you are breaking the rules. The law takes away any discretion from law enforcement that may have previously existed. In the event that you are seen using your cell phone while driving, you can be pulled over for that offense alone.

This advice also applies to your personal injury case. If you are the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident and you are injured, you may be entitled to recover damages from the driver of the other vehicle. However, your ability to recover may be limited by your own negligence. Using your cell phone while driving constitutes negligence and the other party will certainly use it against you.

Obey the law and don’t use your cell phone. The text message can wait. Your email will be there when you park. More importantly, your life will not be lost and you will be able to see the other person on the other end of that text message when you get home.