Personal Injury Articles for the Injured of NJ

What is court mandated arbitration?

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, Dec 17, 2014

By Francis M. Smith

When seeking compensation for your injuries following a car crash or other accident resulting from the negligence of someone else, your case will generally get to settlement negotiations. During this process, you and your attorney will try to persuade the insurance company to agree to a fair settlement sum that will cover all your medical bills, lost wages, fair compensation for what you have experienced, and future problems you will have a result of your injuries. Though a majority of personal injury cases do end with a settlement, insurance companies can be stubborn when it comes to paying out any more money than they think is absolutely necessary, and they have numerous strategies at their disposal to use in an effort to get you to accept a lower settlement than you deserve. If the two sides cannot reach an acceptable settlement agreement, your only option is to sue. And I should say here that many companies - and adjusters inside those companies - just don't settle a case unless it's in suit and they are faced very soon with a trial.

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Topics: Injuries, Settlement Offer, court mandated arbitration

Why is it Important to Retain a Personal Injury Lawyer in NJ after a Serious Car Crash?

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, Dec 15, 2014

By Francis M. Smith

If you have sustained injuries in a serious car crash, a number of things must be done as quickly as possible in order to protect your rights to secure appropriate compensation from the insurance companies involved. However, in the aftermath of a serious accident, you are likely to be dealing with numerous other issues – receiving medical treatment and dealing with the pain of your injuries, overcoming the shock and stress of the accident itself, contending with the damage to your vehicle and the resulting transportation problems, managing the financial issues that arise from time spent not working due to your injuries, and in the most tragic cases, grieving and making funeral arrangements. These other important concerns make it all the more difficult for the average person without legal experience to handle their personal injury claim in the most effective way.

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Topics: Injuries, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Automobile Insurance

Your Case is Coming Up For Trial-Should You Mediate?

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Fri, Dec 12, 2014

By Francis M. Smith

When you pursue a personal injury case for damages relating to an injury you received as a result of someone else's negligence or recklessness, a lawsuit is actually the final option for recovering those damages, after other avenues fail. Before that point, your attorney works to negotiate an acceptable settlement with the insurance company involved. Going to court is expensive, regardless of the outcome of the case, and incredibly time-consuming. In a personal injury case, it could be years before you actually receive any money, assuming you win. While you might succeed at winning a substantially higher damage award at trial than you would get through settling, juries can be tremendously unpredictable – for the same case, one set of jurors might award the injured person millions of dollars, and another set might decide in favor of the insurance company and give the injured person nothing. You my win every battle in court, and a jury may think they are awarding you full compensation with what you consider a very inconsequential amount. Agreeing to a settlement might get you a bit less money, but it's certainly faster and gives you more control over the outcome of your case.

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Topics: Injuries, Settlement Offer, Mediation

What is Mediation? NJ Personal Injury Attorney Smith Explains

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, Dec 10, 2014

By Francis M. Smith

The majority of personal injury claims do not go to trial. Some studies say that as high as 98% of all cases get settled. In a perfect world, the settlement is an amount of money acceptable to both parties that the insurance company will pay out to compensate you for the injuries you have suffered.

But reaching a settlement isn't easy; the insurance company always wants to pay you as little as they can get away with, or even nothing at all. They have an arsenal of tricks and tactics at their disposal, ready to use to try and get you to accept a lower settlement figure. Meanwhile, you and your attorney are seeking fair recognition of the injuries sustained, and the effects of those injuries in terms of pain, lost wages, medical bills, loss of function  and new limitations on your activities that can be the reality you live in your changed life after a serious injury.  Finding an acceptable middle ground is difficult, particularly when one or both sides uses the threat of taking the case to court to try to pressure the other party into accepting what they perceive to be an unfair settlement offer.

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Topics: Injuries, Settlement Offer, Mediation

What is a Process Server? NJ Personal Injury Attorney Explains

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, Dec 08, 2014

By Francis M. Smith

When you've sustained injuries in any sort of accident resulting from someone else's negligent or reckless actions, your attorney may find it necessary to take your case to court in order to secure the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. In order to initiate a personal injury lawsuit against the parties liable for your injuries, anyone you are suing must be "served" with legal documents informing them of the legal action being taken against them. This presenting of papers is known as "service of process", and the person who delivers these documents is known as a process server.

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Topics: Trip and Fall, Slip and Fall, Trial Procedures

What is Preponderance of Evidence? NJ Personal Injury Attorney Smith Explains

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Fri, Dec 05, 2014

By Francis M. Smith

If you are injured in an accident and the insurance company involved refuses to agree to a reasonable settlement, your case may end up in court before a judge. Should that happen, it's important to understand the burden of proof your attorney will have to meet in order for the jury to find in your favor and award you fair compensation for your injuries. Most people who have never been involved in a legal proceeding are somewhat familiar, thanks to television courtroom dramas, with the criminal standard of evidence, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, like all civil cases, personal injury lawsuits are held to a different standard of evidence.

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Topics: Evidence

What is a Certification of Permanent Injury?

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, Dec 03, 2014

By Francis M. Smith

When you have suffered injuries in a car collision, and that collision was clearly the fault of another, you would naturally think that you have the right to sue for and recover damages resulting from

  • Your pain and suffering
  • The medical treatment you have had to go through
  • The resulting limitations on your life
  • Your changed lifestyle, and
  • The future problems you will have as a result of the collision

However, it may not be that simple. In New Jersey, auto insurance policy holders are given two options when they select their policy: a No Threshold policy, or the less-expensive "Limitation on Lawsuit” option, previously known as the "Verbal Threshold" option or the "Limited Tort" option. Most New Jersey drivers (some studies say over 90%!) have the second kind of insurance, whether because they chose it due to the reduced cost, or because it was the default option. Unfortunately, this type of policy significantly restricts the circumstances under which you can pursue compensation in court. If you have chosen the "Limitation on Lawsuit" option, you must fall in one of the six injury categories list in the New Jersey statute.

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Topics: Car Accidents, Independent Medical Exam, Trial Procedures

What is Causation in a Car Accident Injury Case?

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Fri, Nov 14, 2014

By Francis M. Smith

When you suffer injuries in a car accident and seek to pursue an injury claim against the insurance company of the driver responsible, there are three things your attorney must be able to prove. The first thing (as you might expect) is that the other driver was at fault for the accident – and a lot of injury cases spend a great deal of time on this point, arguing over the timing of the traffic light and the details of right-of-way laws. The second thing you must prove is that you were injured; this point might seem fairly obvious, but insurance companies often hire so-called “independent” medical consultants to evaluate accident victims with an eye to claiming that the victim wasn't hurt as badly as they say, if at all.

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Topics: Motor Vehicle Accidents, Car Accidents, New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney, New Jersey Personal Injury

What is Causation in a Slip and Fall Injury Case?

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, Nov 12, 2014

By Francis M. Smith

Slip and fall accidents are a common source of injury resulting in the need to pursue legal action to recover damages, and as the seasons turn and the weather gets colder, the risk of this kind of accident increases. Wet leaves and icy sidewalks create slick, dangerous surfaces without traction that make a fall more likely. Inside stores and other businesses, rain and snow tracked in by patrons can accumulate in entrances to create slippery puddles, and the thaw and freeze cycle may tear uneven cracks in the pavement outside. Businesses and property owners know (or should know) about these totally foreseeable seasonal hazards and have a responsibility to maintain their property in such a way as to protect visitors from the danger of a fall. Frequently if a person does have a slip and fall accident that results in injury, it's due to some oversight or neglect on the property owner's part. But when a case gets to court, the process isn't as simple as pointing to the hazard and showing that the property owner failed in their duty of care. Many slip and fall cases are successful or fail on the question of causation.

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Topics: NJ Personal Injury Attorney, Slip and Fall, New Jersey Personal Injury

What Happens After Deposition in a Motor Vehicle Accident Case in NJ

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Fri, Nov 07, 2014

By Francis M. Smith

Pursuing an injury claim into the courtroom may be the only way to receive just compensation for your motor vehicle accident injuries, if the insurance company refuses to agree to compensate you fairly with a reasonable settlement. Still, the legal process of bringing your case to court can often feel confusing and intimidating for an injured person. For all the excitement of television courtroom dramas, TV doesn't really offer a clear idea of what goes on during the various stages of a personal injury case. (Of course, a TV show has to get the trial completed in half an hour.) For the most specific picture of what you can expect from your case, don't be afraid to ask your attorney any questions you might have, as he will be familiar with the details of your particular situation. However, for a general sense of how a motor vehicle injury case will proceed, let's follow the fictional case of Sarah Brown, whose car was struck on the passenger side by a pickup truck in the middle of an intersection.

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Topics: Motor Vehicle Accidents, New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney, New Jersey Personal Injury

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