Residential leases in New Jerseyare binding contracts. This means that if you aren't careful, your signature on the dotted line can wind up causing a significant amount of stress or hardship down the road. For this reason, it is recommended you have a legal professional review any lease or contractual document before signing it so you can be ensured your rights are protected.

Things to Look For in Residential Leases in New Jersey

Many tenants make the mistake of assuming the lease they're about to sign is a "boiler plate" agreement, meaning all of the text is standard. Your prospective landlord may even tell you as much. However, any miscellaneous or extraneous text added to - or subtracted from - the lease may mean you are signing for more or less than you bargained for.

There are several aspects that should be present in every leasae you sign. Your attorney can go over the document with you to make sure that ever subject is present in your residential lease agreement:

  • Lessee and lessor. Both the lessee and the lessor (prospective landlord) should be listed on the lease, using full names, with appropriate titles. Each party must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Description of premises. There should be a full description of the property being leased, including the address, size of the property, parking and storage options, common amenities or utilities, etc.
  • Payments. The lease should include the full amount of the rent due each month, the security deposit required, as well as instructions as to how these should be paid (cash, check, money order). There should also be wording regarding the grace period for future payments and any late payment penalties or charges.
  • Lease start/end. Finally, there should be clause stating the date the lease begins and ends.

Contact Stern & Stern Law to have a residential lease reviewed before you officially sign it and/or make a payment.

Slip and fall accidents can have immediate physical ramifications or, frequently, their long-term effects emerge over time. If you take a spill on someone else's property, there is a good chance you're entitled to financial compensation that can help to pay for any related medical expenses, including physical therapy.

Consult with Slip and Fall Lawyers in New Jersey After a Sudden Fall

A slip and fall accident includes any of the following:

  • A fall caused by tripping over a foreign object or architectural feature.
  • Step-and-fall accidents, which are caused if you step into a hole, ditch or uneven ground surface.
  • Stump-and-fall accidents, which are similar to trip and fall but are caused by existing impediments such as a tree root, broken concrete or poorly marked curb or stair.

Most individuals have a tendency to downplay the effects of a fall out of embarrassment, which can be to the detriment of their rightful compensation. Consulting with a legal team sooner, rather than later, can alter the outcome of your case.

It is a property owner's responsibility to maintain their property in order to keep the public walkways, stairs and other areas safe for guests and passersby. Both parties in a slip and fall case - the injured and the property owner - share some burden of the liability. However, in cases where the injured party demonstrates he or she exercised reasonable care, the onus of the fall may reside with the property owner.

Owners are typically found to share the majority of the responsibility, especially if it's proven they have not maintained their property to a reasonable level of safety. Compensation in slip and fall cases includes medical expenses, recovered wages for lost work time and more.

Contact Stern & Stern, slip and fall lawyers inNew Jersey, to discuss your case.

Getting financial and legal affairs in order via wills, trusts, a power of attorney and medical directives is one of the most important steps you can take to protect the well-being of yourself and your family if tragedy strikes or in the eventual case that age-related physical or mental declines make it difficult to manage your own affairs.

While preparing a will in NJ can provide you with peace of mind, it's imperative that everything is done to the letter of the law to ensure your wishes will stand up in court should someone decide to contest your will later on.

Consider the following when preparing a will in NJ:

DIY Wills are a Recipe for Disaster. There are plenty of online websites that say they can help you prepare your will on your own. While their motives are sound, the reality is that laws regarding to wills and trusts are complicated and a single error on your part can make your will null and void. Always work with a legal team that specializes in wills and trusts to make sure yours is done correctly.

Select a guardian, trustee, and an executor. Begin to think about who you trust to act as your guardian and trustee. It's not advisable to have these be the same person It is the Executor who is most important to name.

  • A guardian is a person who has the legal authority (and the corresponding duty) to care for the personal and property interests of another person, called a ward.
  • A trustee is a person who is allowed to do certain tasks but not able to gain income
  • An executor is the person who is meant to carry out the instructions and wishes of the deceased

Are you interested in preparing a will in NJ? Contact a legal team who can assist you.

When a loved one dies, a trustee, executor and/or family members are left to handle the legal affairs of the deceased's estate. The deceased may have been unprepared in which case their estate may have to go into probate. Or, the estate may be carefully prepared using a living trust or will, however, even with more carefully prepared estates and trusts individuals may still contest the will or file a claim against it, leading to estate litigation.

This can be an especially challenging situation for survivors and beneficiaries due to the grief, frustration and tension that often arises when someone dies. In some cases, the will is contested and estate litigation is required to legally settle the estate.

What is Estate Litigation?

Whenever a claim is filed against a will/trust, or the will/trust is contested, it's considered estate litigation. This means both parties must bring their case before a judge and the judge will determine how the will and/or trust will be distributed.

Typical scenarios that lead to estate litigation include:

  • The person who is deceased was not competent when the will or trust was signed, common in cases concerning seniors who have later-stages of dementia or Alzheimer's.
  • Parties connected to the deceased feel that he/she was unfairly coerced or influenced by someone who benefits from the will or trust.
  • The will or trust itself was contains errors or was written improperly, is not signed or witnessed, or other errors and omissions render it invalid or unenforceable.
  • It is suspected that the will or trust was forged.

For these reasons, it's imperative that wills and trusts are created and/or overseen by an experienced estate lawyer.

If you plan to contest a will or are the executor of a will or trustee of an estate  being contested, contact Stern and Stern Law to schedule a consultation.

Whether you own your home or rent an apartment many times living in close proximity to others causes problems to arise. Since it isn't feasible to pack up and move out in the middle of the night, consider these tips on settling a dispute with neighbors before doing something equally as rash.

  • Begin by approaching your neighbor in a friendly manner and calmly discussing the problem. Even if the other party begins to get agitated, it is important you remain composed. Lay out your concerns in a rational fashion and ask your neighbor's help in reaching an amicable solution.
  • There is a tree on your neighbor's property but the majority of the branches cover your garage. They aren't in very good shape and you feel your neighbor needs to take care of them before problems arise. Again, try a friendly discussion first. If nothing is resolved then it may be time to seek legal counsel.
  • Anytime there is a property line dispute please contact an attorney. Legal expertise will be needed to research old deeds and property tax records.  Additionally, an unchallenged property line dispute could lead to an adverse possession claim which would actually allow the Court to change the ownership of the property.
  • People and their different lifestyles are what make the world go round but if you see or hear something which reasonably leads you to believe there is some sort of illegal activity occurring at the residence next door, contact the authorities immediately, especially if you believe a child or animal is in danger.If your community is already governed by a Homeowner's Association, many of these concerns may already be addressed in the written legal bylaws.  However, sometimes legal advice is necessary to resolve a property owner’s dispute with the Homeowner’s Association.

If you’re having serious problems with a neighbor or community association, then contact Stern & Stern to learn more about your legal rights.

Closing on a home can be an intimidating process the first time you go through it. Between the paperwork and the financing, it's enough to keep you up at nights until everything is finalized. That's why it's important to work with a law firm that's familiar with the real estate closing solutions you need and can help guide you through each stage of the home buying process quickly and with minimal disruption.

In preparation for the closing, there are some things you should do. You'll want to walk through the home and give it an inspection to ensure everything is in order and in accordance with the sales contract. This means checking the appliances, inspecting fixtures, etc. Those are the simple things, the more crucial things should be done well in advance.

These include the following:

  • Doing a title search to verify the property is free and clear of all claims and liens.

  • Setting up title insurance. This is something lenders require to ensure the protection of their investment.

  • Obtaining homeowner's insurance which you'll need to provide proof of at closing.

  • Conducting a survey of the property. This is done to ensure that property lines, etc. are all in order.

  • Inspecting for damage and potential damage. This includes everything from termites to flood and septic certification. 

Finally, you'll also want to go through the terms of the sales contract with an attorney to make sure that nothing has been left out, and that the terms of the contract cover you and don't leave you exposed after you've purchased the property.

We invite you to contact Stern & Stern LLP for more information about the real estate closing solutions we offer. We will be happy to detail them for you and help you select the solutions that are right for you.

Signing a new lease for your storefront or office is exciting. For many, it's the beginning of a dream come true. Unfortunately, commercial leases in New Jerseycan be complex, and the combination of a new enterprise and ample legalese can cause a well-meaning business owner to sign a lease that legally commits them to a tumultuous road.

Consult With a Real Estate Lawyer Before Signing Commercial Leases in New Jersey

There are several reasons why business owners benefit from consulting with a real estate lawyer before signing a commercial lease.

  • Lease negotiations. An experienced real estate lawyer will know exactly what types of leases are available in your area, as well as for the type of business you run or commercial space you are leasing. This gives you better leverage when negotiating for the most fair lease possible and can help you stand your ground.
  • Spotting hidden problems. There may be a particularly sticky clause or wording that you have missed, or that doesn't stand out, but can cause trouble down the road. Perhaps the lease is leaving you responsible for something you shouldn't be, or grants the Lessor certain rights or privileges on the property that you wouldn't want. Your lawyer will help you spot these.
  • Noting subtle variations. In many cases, well-meaning landlords use outdated lease agreements that were passed on to them by a former building owner. This can result in subtle variations between what may have been done in the past compared with standard lease agreement wording. Your lawyer will point these out and explain them to you so you can determine how you want to proceed.

Make sure your lease is everything you want and need it to be by scheduling an appointment with Stern & Stern to review your prospective commercial lease agreement.

If you drive a car, odds are you will be involved in an automobile accident at some point in your life. In fact, according to the Property Casualty Insurers of America, the average driver files an auto insurance claim once every 17.9 years, poor drivers file claims even more frequently. If you are preparing to file an injury claim it's important that you file in a timely manner and according to the guidelines outlined by your insurance policy. Failure to do so can result in a denial of your claim.

Filing an injury claim is to your benefit. Often, the injuries sustained in a car accident present long-term complications and discomfort down the road. By filing your claim now, you will be able to recoup medical expenses and may be entitled to a settlement that will help to cover any future medical needs, missed work or pain and suffering that alters your lifestyle in the long-term.

Tips on How to File an Injury Claim

  1. Notify your insurance agency ASAP. Your insurance card and paperwork will have a toll-free number as well as your insurance policy number printed in an obvious location. Once you contact them, the agent will need your full name and policy number, the start and end dates for that policy term and the date and time of the incident.
  2. Get information about other drivers and witnesses. Your insurance carrier will also want to know additional facts like the names, addresses and contact information of the other driver(s) involved as well and/or any witnesses who were present at the scene of the accident. Witnesses may include your passengers.
  1. Meet with your agent. While some information can be given over the phone, your insurance agent may want to meet with you in person to discuss further details. 

Once your insurance carrier has all the information it needs, your agent will begin working to resolve your claim. If you are planning to file an injury claim for a recent automobile accident, you may want to contact a legal professional to ensure your rights are safeguarded.

Worker's Compensation in New Jersey is a comprehensive insurance plan required of any employers who are not already covered by a federal program. It is considered a "No Fault" coverage, designed to provide medical and income benefits to any employee who is injured on the job. The program is also designed to educate and empower employees to create a safe working environment for their employees.

If you suffer a work-related injury, Worker's Compensation in New Jersey will cover the bulk of the financial burdens that are associated with your medical care and temporary or long-term lost wages.

Here is a list of things covered by an active Worker's Compensation benefits:

Your Medical Care. All of your medical benefits including hospitalization, doctor visits, prescriptions, and reasonable treatments/rehabilitation will be covered by the employer's insurance carrier or directly by the employer in cases where they are self-insured. The employer has the right to designate preferred healthcare providers.

Temporary Benefits. If your injury causes you to lose more than seven days of work, you will be compensated at 70% of your weekly average, although this figure cannot exceed 75% of New Jersey's Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW), nor can it fall below 20% of the SAWW.

Permanent Partial Benefits. If your injury prevents you from returning to your specific job, but you are able to work in some capacity, the benefits will be paid according to a specific rate, organized by "scheduled" and "non-scheduled" losses, like your hands, feet, eyes, back, neck, etc.

Permanent Total Benefits. If you are deemed unemployable due to the severity of your injuries, you will receive benefits for 450 weeks, at which point you will need to be re-assessed by a designated healthcare provider.

Have questions about Worker's Compensation in New Jersey? Contact us at Stern & Stern.

The actions you take after suffering an injury at work have long-term effects. It's often the difference between whether or not you qualify for Worker's Compensation, paid leave, disability and other compensation. Taking a proactive approach can protect you and your co-workers from future work-related injuries.

Have you recently suffered an injury at work? Here's what to do:

Notify your employer. It's imperative that you notify your employer ASAP if you're injured on the job or experience any symptoms that potentially linked to a work-related injury. Too often, employees are afraid to mention their back, neck, wrist, etc., pain to employers and this prevents the company from being able to provide the assistance they would be able to otherwise, or can allow the employer to fight a potential claim. Fill out an accident report and submit it in the presence of a witness if possible.

Seek medical treatment. In most cases your employer will send you to their preferred healthcare provider in order to asses the situation. If not, you may seek medical assistance on your own. Make sure you let the doctor know you suffered the injury at work. Be as detailed as possible with your symptoms and the activities that led to them.

Workers' Compensation Consultation. Contact Stern & Stern Law, who concentrate in Workers' Compensation claims and schedule a free consultation. The hope is that you will never need to use their services but, in the event that your employer fights your claim, it's important to have the details of your injury noted by professionals in an organized and meticulous manner before they grow fuzzy with time.

By adhering to the above steps, you will have the benefit of free medical treatment, temporary disability if needed and the security that your Workers' Comp claim will be handled expediently.  

Work-related injuries are often a sign that working conditions aren't safe, employers lack an adequate Injury and Illness Prevention Program or that you're using unsafe work practices that can be corrected to prevent further injury. Your personal well-being is the first priority.

Getting Hurt on the Job: A Step-by-Step Plan of Action

The following instructions can help you take care of yourself and will help your employer get a better idea of what happened so future injuries can be prevented.

  1. Listen to your body. Some injuries are obvious - cuts, breaks, hard falls, etc. However, many work-related injuries take place in the body's soft tissues and aren't debilitating until serious damage is already done. Document any dull aches, pains, tingling, unusual inflammation or heat, etc., as its happening. This will help you identify the source/cause of your pain and will create a paper trail should the injury become more serious, leading to medical treatment, time off, Workman's Comp or disability.
  2. Report symptoms. Your employer should be notified immediately if you are injured on the job or are experiencing any symptoms that could be linked to a work-related injury. They can provide the proper documentation and can work with you to track the source of your pain to make any necessary changes or modifications.
  3. Seek medical attention. If you experience serious or consistent pain, or if your minor aches and pains are becoming more persistent, speak to your manager and seek immediate medical attention. Most employers have a preferred provider to handle work-related injuries. You want to tend to any potential injury as soon as possible to mitigate potentially serious damage.

Paying attention, seeking medical attention and consistently documenting symptoms are important steps to prevent getting hurt on the job in the future. Contact Stern & Stern Law for assistance with your documentation.

If you have been injured on the job, or have suffered a cumulative job-related injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome or a herniated disk, you're eligible for worker's compensation. Worker's compensation insurance will pay for all expenses related to medical treatment.

Steps for Filing for Worker's Compensation in New Jersey

In order to get these benefits, you must follow New Jersey's guidelines for filing your claim.

  1. Seek medical attention immediately. You must seek medical attention immediately after your injury or at the first indication of pain, discomfort of other symptoms indicating a potential work-related injury or illness.
  2. Report the injury to your employer. Let your manager or supervisory personnel know that you were injured on the job or have sought medical attention for a potential job-related injury or illness. It is imperative that you report to your employer as soon as possible. Failure to do so can result in a denial of your claim.
  3. Seek medical attention from your employer's preferred provider. Your employer may have a preferred provide for handling worker's compensation claims. If this is the case, you must respect your employer's wishes regarding the physician and/or medical facility you attend for treatment.
  4. File a claim if there is a dispute. If your employer and/or the insurance carrier disputes your claim, you may file a Claim Petition with the NJ Division of Workers' Compensation.

To streamline your claims process, you may want to consult with a legal professional in New Jersey, such as Stern & Stern Law.