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.

It can happen for any number of reasons: at some point in your career you may find yourself getting a pink slip from an employer. It's never a pleasant experience and there are times when your termination may not be justified. If you find yourself wondering what to do about a wrongful termination, and what exactly qualifies as wrongful termination under the law, the following tips will help guide you in the right direction.

  1. Most employment contracts are considered "employment at will." This means the employee doesn't need a specific reason to terminate your employment. However, there are certain limitations. If you have been terminated as the result of discrimination because of your race, religion, gender, age, etc., or that company/public policy have been violated in the process of your termination, then this is considered wrongful termination.
  2. Wrongful termination exists if your termination is in retaliation for "whistle blowing," complaining, or refusing to commit an illegal act.  
  3. If you are concerned that you may be terminated soon, or if you have recently been terminated, you should compile as much documentation as you can. Get everything in writing and organize your documentation so that it is easily searchable and referenced.
  4. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, contact a lawyer and your State Labor Department immediately. Both can help you navigate the services and benefits you may be eligible for.

Losing a job is an experience that can create considerable stress and strain. If you are wondering what to do about wrongful termination, contact us and we will be happy to review your claim and suggest the appropriate course of action to pursue. Contact Stern & Stern to learn more about wrongful termination today.

Nobody wants to be involved in car accident, but odds are they will be. Parties involved in car accidents are often shaken, nervous or emotional, which can impede their abilities to take the proper steps.

3 Steps to Take After You've Been in a Car Accident

If you can remember these three steps in the moments following an accident, it will help to get everyone the proper medical attention they need and assist your insurance agent when it's time to file your claim

  1. Assess personal injuries. Human health and safety is the most pressing priority after a car accident. Call 911 if you or someone else is injured or ask other parties to do so. If you aren't too injured to move, get yourself and your vehicle out of the way of further danger. Turn off car engines, turn on emergency lights and use flares or hazard markers if you have them to alert other drivers.
  2. Take thorough documentation. Always contact the police, even if it's just a minor fender bender. Identify the officers on the scene by name and badge number. Take pictures from multiple angles if you can. Request copies of the official police accident report. Get the names and contact information of others involved in the accident as well as their insurance information. Also, get names and contact information from witnesses.
  3. Start the claims process. Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible and provide the agent with the information you've collected. The sooner your agent can begin processing the claim, the better.

At Stern & Stern LLP we handle personal injury claims for auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, bus accidents, truck accidents, highway accidents, pedestrian, accidents, and railroad accidents. Don't risk mishandling your claim! Take these steps if you've been in an accident and then contact us at Stern & Stern LLP to begin filing a personal injury claim.