Personal Injury Articles for the Injured of NJ

How to Know When Herniated Discs are Caused by Acute Recent Trauma

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

Back injuries are a common result of car collisions, falls, and other incidents in which a person is injured through another person's careless or negligent actions. Injuries to the back and spine can be intensely painful, limit the accident victim's mobility and ability to function normally, and may require surgery to repair – though even with surgical intervention, there may still be lasting damage. Unfortunately, back problems are also a frequent result of the normal aging process, which insurance companies are often quick to point out when an accident victim seeks compensation for back injuries caused by traumatic injury.

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Topics: Herniated Disc, back injury

How Can I Tell if I Have a Concussion?

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Fri, Jan 23, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

After sustaining a sudden jolt or blow to the head, such as often results from a motor vehicle accident or slip and fall, you may develop a severe headache or other symptoms that lead you to wonder if you might have sustained a concussion. A concussion is recognized by the medical community as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), and results when the soft tissue of the brain strikes the inside of the skull. The symptoms of a concussion, especially a mild one, can be subtle and difficult to identify. The way a concussion manifests often differs by individual and by injury; very rarely will any two concussions have exactly the same symptom progression and duration. This can make concussion injuries difficult to diagnose.

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Topics: Brain Injury, concussion

What are Answers to Interrogatories

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, Jan 21, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

When you are unable to reach a fair settlement with the insurance company in your personal injury case and you decide to take your case to court, it may still be a while before your attorney argues your position before a jury. Before any courtroom arguments can be made, both sides of the case need time to gather evidence to support their claims, and to "discover" the other side's evidence. . This is accomplished during the "discovery" phase of the trial; this is essentially an opportunity for your attorney and the insurance company's lawyer to do their research, to determine what evidence will be relied upon and what witnesses will be produced, and to hear what the parties and the witnesses will say if the case is tried. Unfortunately, as the injury victim and the plaintiff pursuing the case, you are going to be the subject of much of the other side's attention. The first way this is obvious is the interrogatory process.

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Topics: discovery phase, answers to interrogatories

Can a Lawyer Tell Me How Much My Injury Case is Worth?

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, Jan 19, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

After a serious injury caused by the reckless or negligent behavior of someone else, you are faced with the decision to embark on a lengthy settlement negotiation process, and perhaps and even longer and more involved process if your case goes to trial. When weighing your options, one of the first questions you may want answered is how much your case is worth. Some lawyers will tell you that they can answer this question after a phone consultation, or by plugging your information into a “settlement calculator” or similar method. Unfortunately, the reality is that the worth of an accident injury is not so clear cut, and the promises that these lawyers offer you may not reflect the compensation that you actually receive by the time your case is resolved.

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Topics: Settlement Offer, injury compensation, injury case

What is the Federal Tort Claims Act?

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Fri, Jan 16, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

When you are injured in an accident caused by the negligence of a private individual or a business entity, you have the right to seek remedy through the courts for your injuries by filing a lawsuit. But what happens when a federal government employee or agency is the one responsible for your accident – can you sue the federal government? The short answer is yes... sometimes. The Federal Tort Claims Act allows government entities to be sued for damages resulting from injury, loss of property, or wrongful death caused by negligence on the part of a government employee or agency. There are, however, several limitations and caveats imposed on a person's right to sue their government under this law, which can be difficult to navigate. Remember, we are talking about the federal government here - not the state or a state subdivision like a county or municipality.

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Topics: injury compensation, federal tort claims act

What is Comparative Negligence?

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, Jan 14, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

When a personal injury case is taken to trial, an insurance company often finds itself facing the prospect of paying the injured person a substantial sum of money in damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other costs. Though the damages sought by injured plaintiffs are generally quite reasonable given the expenses and suffering they have endured, insurance companies are highly motivated to reduce the amount of money they are forced to pay out. They will use any legal defenses available to them to bring down the total damages for which they are liable. Their lawyers might try to challenge the facts of your injuries and the costs arising from them, claiming you aren't as badly hurt as you say – or they might try to prove that you were partly at fault for the accident in which you were injured, and that therefore the insurance company shouldn't be responsible for paying the entirety of the resulting damages. This latter strategy is a comparative negligence defense.

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Topics: injury compensation, comparative negligence

What is the Notice to Produce Documents?

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, Jan 12, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

If the insurance company refuses to agree to a reasonable settlement for injuries you received in an accident resulting from another person's negligence, your attorney may need place your personal injury claim into suit, which if not settled, will lead to trial. Before any arguments are made in front of a jury, there is a stage of the trial process called the discovery phase, during which both sides have an opportunity to research the facts of the case and gather the evidence they will use to support their arguments. While each side does their own legwork to discover much of the evidence they will need, they do have the right to demand certain information and documents from their opposition in the case. This means that, during the pre-trial discovery phase, you and your attorney will almost certainly receive a notice to produce documents from the insurance company's lawyer. It's important to understand exactly what this means, and what you can and cannot be compelled to produce.

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Topics: notice to produce documents, discovery phase

What are Demands for Admissions?

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Fri, Jan 09, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

In most personal injury cases, a substantial effort is made to convince the insurance company to agree to a reasonable settlement – and, after some aggressive negotiations, the insurer will settle a good portion of the time. But there are occasions when the insurance company remains stubborn and refuses to offer a settlement figure that covers the injured person's medical expenses and other needs, and it becomes necessary to take the case to court. A personal injury trial can be a lengthy, expensive and involved process, but there are legal tools available to streamline the issues and allow your attorney to focus on the specific facts under contention in your case. One important tool is the demand for admissions.

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Topics: Settlement Offer, demands for admissions

What is the Collateral Source Doctrine

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, Jan 07, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

Medical bills incurred after a serious injury from a car crash, slip and fall incident or other accident can be shockingly high, especially if the treatment for those injuries involves overnight hospital stays, surgery, or other extended care. If the accident that caused your injuries was the result of another party's negligence, you may be able to seek injury compensation from them or their insurance company to pay those medical bills as well as for other expenses and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. One factor that is not often mentioned in discussions of personal injury lawsuits, however, is the injured person's medical insurance. Most people carry insurance that pays some or all of their medical bills when they seek treatment for an injury, so how does that insurance interact with the damages recovered from a negligent party's insurance company? The answer is a little complicated, and is governed by a legal principle call the collateral source doctrine.

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Topics: Car Accidents, Slip and Fall, injury compensation, collateral source doctrine

What is Title 59 in NJ?

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, Jan 05, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

If you have suffered an injury because of the negligent actions of another person or an organization, it can be reassuring to know that the state of New Jersey provides a means of seeking compensation through the courts for those injuries and the expenses arising from them, if the party responsible for your accident refuses to offer a reasonable settlement. But what happens when the state of New Jersey, or one of its counties or municipalities, is the party responsible for your injuries? Then things become a little more complicated.

The state of New Jersey has established in law a degree of immunity from liability for itself and its employees; this is generally referred to as "sovereign immunity" - because it's carried over from the English common law which was mostly adopted here in the U.S. early in our history. Back then in England, you could not sue the King. (That is, the "sovereign" was immune from suit.)

Here in New Jersey, governmental immunity from suit is the prevailing law, but there are exceptions to this immunity, under which injured or wronged citizens are able to sue the state and its actors for damages. Even then, though, their lawsuits are subject to many limitations and requirements. These are outlined in the New Jersey Tort Claims Act (“TCA”), otherwise known as Title 59. This legislation, and the court decisions interpreting it, imposes restrictions on the circumstances under which you can sue the state (or any governmental subdivision) and its employees, the kinds of damages you can seek compensation for, and the manner in which you must file your suit.

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Topics: Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, Pedestrian Accidents

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