Select Page

Does New Jersey award punitive damages?

If you sustain an injury in an accident that a negligent party causes, you may file a personal injury lawsuit for damages. When you file a personal injury claim, you typically file for compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are those designed to compensate you for actual injury and loss you sustained as a result of the defendant’s misconduct. In contrast, punitive damages are those the court awards as a means of punishing the wrongdoer and to deter the wrongdoer from engaging in similar actions in the future. In your pursuit of compensation, you may wonder if New Jersey allows you to recover punitive damages. The answer depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident.

The courts allow punitive damages in exceptional cases

Per the New Jersey Courts, the state does not award punitive damages as a matter of routine. Rather, the courts will only seriously consider punitive damages in exceptional cases in which the defendant acted in an especially outrageous or reckless manner.

If you hope to recover punitive damages, you must file a separate claim for them, and you may only file such a claim if you recovered compensatory damages. To support your claim for punitive damages, you must show, through clear and convincing evidence, that the loss, injury or harm you suffered was the result of the defendant’s acts or omissions. Furthermore, you must show that the defendant’s conduct was malicious in nature, or that he or she acted in a willful and wanton manner.

The law further clarifies what constitutes as “malicious” or “wanton and willful.” Malicious conduct refers to intentional wrongdoing that stems from an evil-minded motivation. Wanton and willful behavior is behavior in which the defendant engaged despite knowing that said behavior was likely to result in the harm of another person.

: Is there insurance for bicycles?

You get auto insurance to cover you for a car accident and homeowner’s insurance to protect your home, but what about your bicycle? Do insurance companies offer bicycle insurance? This may be an important thing if you ride your bike a lot and face the potential of an accident or other issue with your bike.

According to Progressive, you usually do not need an insurance policy specifically for your bicycle because your other insurance policies will typically cover any needs you have. As long as you have auto insurance and either renter’s or homeowner’s insurance, you should have coverage for a variety of issues you have with your bicycle.

Coverage

In the event you have an accident on your bicycle, you can usually make a claim to your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance and get money to fix any damage to your bike. If you cause an injury accident, these policies may also payout on any claims against you.

When your accident involves a vehicle and injuries to you, your auto insurance will usually pay for some medical care. It may also pay for lost wages. If the other driver has no insurance, you may also get paid on a claim if you carry uninsured motorist coverage.

If you damage your bike in some way other than an accident situation, then your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance will likely cover the damage.

One note

You should note that some companies may make you specify that you want coverage for your bicycle. Policies may also have exclusions for bicycles. It is imperative to know what your policy says and covers to avoid not having coverage when you need it.

What should you do after a dog bite?

In the aftermath of a dog bite, you may feel frightened or disoriented. However, it is important to take care of your injury as soon as possible. There are a few things you should do right after the bite occurs. 

After a dog bite, it is important to get away from the animal. Healthline says that once you are not near the dog, you can assess the severity of your injury. If an injury is not serious, you may sometimes be able to care for it at home. You should typically use soap and water to wash the bite. Sometimes a dog bite breaks the skin and in this situation, you may want to put some pressure on the bite so it bleeds a bit. This is because a bit of bleeding can help remove germs from the wound. Once you clean the wound, it is a good idea to cover it with a bandage. 

Sometimes you may think that if a dog bite does not look serious, you do not need to worry about it. However, it is important to remember that dogs typically have bacteria in their mouths. These bacteria might cause an infection. Because of this, it is a good idea to keep an eye on the wound as it heals. You should usually look at it every day to make sure the bite spot does not get swollen or turn red. Additionally, the wound should not become tender. If you notice these developments, it is a good idea to go to the doctor. 

Sometimes you may need to seek medical care immediately after the bite. You should generally go to the doctor if you can see muscle, tendons or bone. If the wound is very painful or will not stop bleeding, it is also a good idea to get treatment. Sometimes the dog that bit you may look sick or behave oddly. In this situation, it is important to seek medical attention. 

Personal injury: Motorcycle riders face greater risks

The experience of riding a motorcycle is wholly different than that of sitting behind a steering wheel. Although there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to transportation preferences, New Jersey motorcyclists often enjoy the sense of freedom that only comes on two wheels. That freedom comes at a cost. When it comes to accidents and injuries, motorcycle riders are especially vulnerable and may need to understand how personal injury claims can help. (more…)

Slip-and-fall accidents commonly cited in personal injury claims

It does not matter how comedy movies or sitcoms portray them, there is nothing funny about slip-and-fall accidents. Suffering a personal injury during a fall is actually quite serious, and victims may suffer broken bones and even brain injuries. Falls can even happen outside even though they are most commonly associated with indoor accidents. Here are a few things that holiday shoppers should keep in mind when visiting stores. (more…)

How serious is whiplash?

If you are like a lot of people who live in New Jersey, you have heard others talk about whiplash injuries. Most of the time, conversations about whiplash arise after a car accident or when the topic of a car accident comes up. Whiplash is often thought of as a common and even a minor injury. This mindset may lead to some people being a bit dismissive about any symptoms that they associate with whiplash. It is important to understand whiplash so that it can be properly addressed.

As explained by WebMD, not every whiplash injury is something that just will magically clear up in a couple of days. Some people end up experiencing chronic and even life-long problems after incurring whiplash. Vehicle crashes are the most common cause of whiplash, especially wrecks that involve a person’s vehicle being hit by another vehicle from the rear.

Whiplash occurs when the neck muscles or the tendons in the neck are strained. The tendons are the things that hold muscles to the bones. This is a different injury than a sprain. A sprain involves the ligaments being torn. Ligaments hold bones together. With whiplash, a person may have persistent headache pain that radiates up from the neck. They may also have limited ability to move their head to the side.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in New Jersey a clear understanding of what whiplash really is, how it may impact their lives, and the importance of addressing any whiplash injury promptly and thoroughly.

Can you tell how severe a brain injury truly is?

In the immediate aftermath of your loved one suffering a traumatic brain injury in Toms River, you may assume that they will require significant around-the-clock care for the rest of their lives. Such knowledge might certainly influence your decision to seek legal action following such an incident. Yet not all TBI’s will leave one needing extensive care. How can you know what your family member or friend’s prognosis may be so soon after their injury. 

There may indeed be a way of estimating this, thanks to a clinical test known as the Glasgow Coma Scale. A TBI will affect certain functions whose impairment is immediately noticeable, and such observations might serve as indicators of how extensive an injury is. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the indicators used in this test include how your loved one responds to external stimuli, how well they can verbally communicate, and how visually responsive they are. 

Point totals are assigned in each of the three categories (1-4, 1-5 and 1-6 for eye opening, verbal response and motor response, respectively). The totals from each category are then summed to come up with a final score. The score breakdown is as follows: 

  • 13-15: Mild brain injury
  • 9-12: Moderate brain injury
  • Less than 8: Severe brain injury

You can likely guess that the long-term prognosis for a severe brain injury is probably more bleak than for a mild one. Yet that is not to say that mild brain injuries cannot cause lingering effects that could require continued recuperative care. Such care can be costly, and assistance in covering such costs may be recovered through legal action. This observation is not meant to serve as legal advice, but rather information to consider when developing your loved one’s long-term care plan. 

Detailing product recall classifications

News of product recalls can easily send people in Toms River into a panic, particular when those recalls involve products such as food items or medications. The common school of thought is that if an item is being recalled, it is extremely dangerous and those that have used or consumed it are at risk of serious injury (or worse). Yet many may be surprised at just how common recalls can be (indeed, per information shared by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, 9199 products were recalled by that agency in 2017 alone). Understanding the details of a product recall might help people avoid suffering undue stress from it. 

The FDA breaks down product recalls into three classifications according to their severity. These are: 

  • Classification I: Products whose use or exposure to presents a reasonable possibility of serious adverse health consequences or death
  • Classification II: Products for which the probability of serious injury or death from their use or exposure is remote, but for which the possibility of users experiencing temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences is present
  • Classification III: Products whose use or exposure to is unlikely to result in any adverse health consequences

According to FDA data, a majority of recalls fall into Classification II. Thus, while it is unlikely that a recalled product will cause serious harm, all recalls should be treated seriously. People possessing recalled products should stop using them immediately and follow the instructions that accompany the recall detailing how to safely return or dispose of them. 

It is important to remember that even with a recall in place, manufacturers still assume liability for any damages their products cause. This means one can still seek legal action if they or a loved one are injured by a recalled product. 

Detailing a survival action

If you have a family member or friend in Tom’s River who may have reason to initiate legal action against another, your advice to them would likely be to not wait to do so. After all, one never knows what tomorrow may bring, and if said family member or friend dies before bringing action, then the opportunity to do so would be lost. That is the opinion held by many who come to see us here at Rosenberg Kirby Cahill Stankowitz & Richardson. Like the, however, you may be surprised to learn that is not the case. 

Section 2A.15-3 of New Jersey’s state statutes says that any cause of action that your loved one may have had during their life survives their death. This allows you (if you are the executor or administrator of their estate) to bring action against the party that trespassed against them in their stead. If any injuries that resulted from the negligent action being argued in your lawsuit were the cause of your loved one’s death, their estate can also be rewarded funds to cover the cost of their funeral and compensate them for their pain and suffering. 

This is where such action (specifically called a “survival action”) differs from a wrongful death lawsuit. In a wrongful death claim, damages are awarded to help compensate a decedent’s family for their loss. In a survival action, the damages are awarded to the decedent’s estate expressly for their benefit as if they were still alive (even though such assets would likely then pass on to you and/or other potential beneficiaries). This allows you to collective damages for your loved one’s pain and suffering, which typically are available in a wrongful death claim. 

More information on survival actions can be found by continuing to explore our site. 

The top causes of house fires

Almost nothing can be more terrifying than the thought of being trapped in a house fire. Unfortunately for many residents of New Jersey and elsewhere, this fear becomes a reality, especially in the winter months. This month, according to U.S. News & World Report, a 72-year-old woman from Edison died in the hospital two days after being rescued from a fire in her home. Authorities said she suffered from smoke inhalation, but they had not yet released a cause for the fire.

It is possible that one of five main causes of house fires resulted in the fire that tragically took this woman’s life. The National Fire Protection Association has listed these factors for the public’s safety and awareness. They include the following:

  • Candles, with New Year’s Day, Christmas and New Year’s Eve being the top three days house fires are started by candles in the United States
  • Cooking, especially with a gas stove or barbeque
  • Electrical fires, particularly those started by faulty or outdated wiring
  • Heating equipment, such as space heaters or fireplaces
  • Smoking, such as when someone falls asleep with a lit cigarette or fails to properly put out a cigarette butt

People may find it especially helpful to learn that December, January and February are the most dangerous months of the year for home fires caused by space heaters and other heating sources. It can save lives when residents are aware of the dangers and take measures to prevent fires. However, in the case of a faulty product or the failure of a property owner to provide functional smoke detectors, others may be held responsible for a fire that causes an injury or death.

// Show search form