shutterstock_98521079.jpgNo one plans to get into an accident. It's no wonder, then, that many people are not prepared for what they need to do after it happens. But if you do go through this, you can take steps to help yourself even before you see an auto accident attorney. These five tips can help you avoid some of the usual pitfalls.

1. See Your Doctor

It can be hard to tell whether you are injured after an accident. Your adrenaline will make you feel strong even if you have suffered major damage. Make sure you take care of your health by seeing your doctor right away.

2. Take Notes

You may have trouble remembering all the details of your accident. The longer you wait to write down what you remember, the less you are likely to remember later. Write down what happened, when, where and how. The more you can get about what the other driver did, the better.

3. Don't Take the First Insurance Offer

If the other driver caused the auto accident, his or her insurance company will want to make everything go away quickly. The chance at getting paid a settlement quickly may well be appealing, but it usually means you sign away your rights before you fully understand what they are. Listen, but don't take the offer right away.

4. Don't Jump at Non-Local Attorneys

Similarly, you will probably hear from lawyers before you even get home. Out of town lawyers scan accident reports and try to get you to agree to representation before you can look into the firm. Take your time, and make a thoughtful decision about who should represent you.

5. Seek Legal Help

While you don't want to jump at every attorney with a postcard and a promise, you do need to find legal help. If you have been injured in an auto accident, take the time to discuss your claims with an experienced attorney who understands how the process works. Contact Stern and Stern today and we will work to get you the recovery you deserve.

shutterstock_273634958.jpgAfter an accident, an attorney usually represents the person who was injured. If negligent or reckless behavior causes that injury, the attorney helps represent the person to ensure his or her rights are protected. But what if the injured person dies? In those situations, a wrongful death attorney represents the rights of the victim's dependent family members instead. The loss is devastating emotionally and financially, and the attorney provides a way to recover damages fromwhomever is responsible.

Who Can Recover

The New Jersey Wrongful Death Act defines who may recover in any civil action for actions that result in a person's death. It is based on the claim that the victim would have had against the person who caused it, and is usually limited to the damages that could have been recovered if the accident victim had lived. For this reason, the person's estate often files this kind of lawsuit, with the executor hiring a wrongful death attorney to handle the case.

That said, if the person who passed has a will, that doesn't determine the distribution of any award. Any award in a wrongful death action instead can only be distributed to those who were actually dependent on the person who died.Generally this means a spouse or children, and sometimes the parents or grandchildren need to look to protect their rights as well.

Protecting the Family

In many cases, the person who dies was a critical means of support for the family he or she leaves behind. The estate may need an attorney, but it may also not represent the real needs of the family. When you hire a wrongful death attorney, you should know that person has your interests at heart. The estate's attorney looks to maximize the value of the estate; you need someone who will look out for you.

Have you lost a loved one due to a careless or reckless action by someone else? Stern and Stern has wrongful death attorneys who can protect your rights. Contact us today to learn more.

shutterstock_104383127.jpgIn New Jersey, a lawsuit for wrongful death is brought by the executor of the estate of the person who died, or by surviving dependents of that person. Since you have an interest in the estate, relying solely on the executor and his or her lawyers means your interests do not get the attention they deserve. You need a wrongful death attorney working on your behalf to ensure someone is protecting your rights.

The Estate's Attorney

Under New Jersey law, if the deceased has a will, the executor of the will is required to file any wrongful death action. The attorney representing the estate of the person who died does indirectly represent your interests. After all, you're entitled to receive proceeds from the estate, and money received by the estate is part of what will be distributed. Still, the wrongful death attorney hired by the executor works for the estate as a whole; he or she seeks to increase the value of the estate as a whole, rather than concerning your share or your needs in any specific way.

Your Rights

You have damages specific to you that you can recover in a wrongful death lawsuit. The damages often include loss of support, loss of companionship, and others that apply not equally among everyone entitled to proceeds from the estate. Further, a wrongful death attorney who represents you specifically can delve into your particular loss, including the emotional and personal aspects that do not apply to the estate as a whole. Hiring your own attorney helps you both understand how the lawsuit applies specifically to you and directs his or her efforts on your behalf to help ensure you have a chance to recover those damages other heirs do not have.

If you have lost a spouse, parent, or child due to someone else's wrongful act or negligence, do not sit back and hope someone will represent your interests. Contact Stern & Stern Attorneys at Law today so we can get to work on your behalf.

shutterstock_418304143.jpgWhen you get into an auto accident, the world will not stop spinning. Unfortunately, you need to adjust to what happened and move to protect your rights. To do so, these ten steps can make all the difference.

1. Get the Other Driver's Information

You should get the other driver's name, contact information, and insurer. Before you can pursue your right to recover damages, you need to know from whom you will recover.

2. See a Doctor

Auto accidents affect everyone differently. You need to know whether you've been hurt and get any treatment you need.

3. Write Everything Down

Take notes as soon as possible. A trial might not start for months or years. Your memory will fade, so writing what happened, when, where and how helps immensely.

4. Get the Police Report

This is the official record of the accident. Your insurer will want one, and it will give you the vital information you need.

5. Talk to Your Insurer

Your insurer can answer questions about your policy, including whether you have a no-fault or traditional policy. Your right to recover can differ depending on the specifics of the accident and your coverage.

6. Talk to the Other Insurer

The insurer for the driver who caused an auto accident will likely be the one to pay damages. Make sure they exist and that the other driver is covered, but do NOT provide them with a statement either in writing or a recording.

7. Wait to Act

Settlement offers come quickly and give the allure of a quick payment. Listen, but do not accept an offer before you understand your rights.

8. Gather Your Paperwork

Your medical records, notes and police report will all play an evidentiary role if you go to trial. Make sure you have everything you need.

9. Take Time to Decompress

Keeping your wits about you allows you to think through what happened and how best to respond. Find time to calm down after the accident.

10. Talk to an Attorney

Experienced representation makes all the difference after an auto accident. Contact Stern and Stern today to help get the recovery you deserve.

shutterstock_412479100.jpgIn New Jersey, a "wrongful death" includes any death "caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default of another." The wrongful death statute of limitations provides that, with certain exceptions, an action must be brought within two years after the person dies. If your spouse, parent, or child dies due to someone else's wrongful act or negligence, then, your right to recover only continues if you file a lawsuit within two years after the death occurs.

Why the Statute Applies

With the emotions involved, it may seem harsh to have to think immediately about whether to file a lawsuit. But the wrongful death statute includes a time limit in part for your protection. Memories fade and waiting several years to sue the other person means relevant facts become less clear. Witnesses, too, can disappear or forget, leaving you unable to fully exercise your right to recover.

Even so, there are times the wrongful death statute of limitations will not apply, or can be adjusted. An experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through these possibilities, and whether they apply to your situation.


Within the wrongful death statute of limitations lies an exception for cases in which the defendant was either convicted or found not guilty due toinsanityof murder, aggravated manslaughter, or manslaughter. The evidence established in trials for those crimes is preserved on record, and the wrongful acts themselves make the reasons for the statute of limitations less compelling in those cases.

The limitations period also expands if you are a minor at the time the death occurs or are mentally incapacitated. In that case, the statute of limitations starts at the time you turn 18 or are determined competent to bring suit. Further, if there is a reason you could not have known of the death or the wrongful act, you may argue that the period should start when you discover the grounds for a suit.

If you have lost a loved one because of someone else's wrongful act, don't wait until it's too late. Contact us today to protect your right to recover.

shutterstock_418304131.jpgNo one ever plans on getting into an auto accident. Unfortunately, this often means you are not prepared to respond effectively when you are in an accident. You may deal with issues of your health and your financial well-being as you go, without considering your needs or your rights. If you do find yourself in a car accident, use these tips to help identify and locate the help you need.

1. Take Care of Yourself

Before you worry about anyone else, see a doctor. The most common injuries in a car accident tend to occur in the head, neck, and back. This can become dangerous quickly, even if you do not notice the injuries in the moment. You need to tend to your health first.

2. Take Notes

In the aftermath of an auto accident, you may find the details fuzzy. Only rarely does the picture get clearer over time. Usually, as time passes, memories fade regarding the specifics of what happened. Take notes on when, where, and how the accident occurred, so you can recall those details later when you talk to your insurer and your attorney.

3. Be Patient

Sometimes you just want to get past dealing with an accident, and insurance companies are all too happy to give you a low settlement to let you move forward. Take the time to understand what rights you may have before you settle for less than you deserve.

4. Be Thorough

The more details you can note and recall, the stronger your position becomes. Think about what you see and experience before, during, and after the accident. Get a complete examination to identify potential injuries. The big picture is composed of hundreds of details, and each one matters.

5. Talk to an Attorney

If you are hurt in a car accident, the sooner you talk to a good personal injury attorney, the more quickly and effectively you can move to learn and pursue the recovery you deserve. Contact Stern and Stern today to find out how we can help.

shutterstock_144026332.jpgAuto accidents create headaches well beyond the inconvenience of the moment. You have to deal with one or more insurance companies, take time out of your schedule to take your car to a repair shop, and often, seek medical attention. When you endure a personal injury in an auto accident, you lose time and money while you try to recover. If the accident was the other driver's fault, you are entitled to recover damages for a serious injury. The right personal injury lawyer can help you do so.

Memorialize Your Facts

After an auto accident, you have to deal almost immediately with paperwork: a police report, insurance reports, documentation for your employer, and hospital records. Sometimes you lose track of other details in the midst of everything. Recovery for your auto accident claims depends on establishing the other driver's fault. This, in turn, requires that you recall and lay out the specifics of your accident so a jury can understand why you should recover for your personal injury. A good lawyer will help you identify the documents and information you need, and help you investigate to fill in any gaps.

Legal Rights and Claims

Before you accept any settlement offer that the other driver's insurance company offers, you need to learn your rights. New Jersey law requires everyone to carry auto insurance, but the structure of your policy determines the extent to which you can pursue the other driver for damages. You may also be entitled to recover more, from the driver or a bar or tavern if alcohol was involved.

Your attorney's job is to help you connect your specific facts to the overall legal system at issue. Taking time to sit with an experienced lawyer allows you to handle your physical recovery while an expert handles your case.

The legal structure of New Jersey auto accident laws and cases can be frustrating and confusing. Contact Stern and Stern today, and we will help you find the recovery you deserve.

When you are involved in an auto accident, injuries sometimes occur. Unfortunately, more complications arise when a motorcycle or another two-wheeler is involved. Statistically, New Jersey accident claims records show that motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die, and five times more likely to be injured, than car or truck drivers. You are simply more vulnerable to serious injury without the structure of a car surrounding you. When you are injured in one of these accidents, you need a lawyer who can help you get the recovery you deserve.

Insurance Coverage Differences

Because of the potential for serious injury, most motorcycle insurance policies do not include personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP covers medical costs for your own injury in an accident. Your policy thus may not cover your injuries, even in a no-fault policy. Accordingly, it is more imperative for motorcyclists than for anyone else to contact a personal injury attorney to help with their accident claims. He or she can help you review your insurance policy, as well as the details of the accident, to determine your right to recover damages for your injuries.

Injuries in Motorcycle Accident Claims

Unfortunately, these injuries can be particularly intense when you are hurt in a motorcycle accident. The opposing lawyer or insurance company may try to use these reasons to blame you  - a motorcycle offers very little physical protection to you in a crash, and can be more difficult for another driver to see on the road. But if another driver's negligence causes your accident, your lawyer will help you work past these kinds of legal tricks. You are entitled to recover damages when someone else causes a serious accident; you do not lose legal rights and protections just because you are legally driving a two-wheeled vehicle.

If you have been injured in an accident while driving a motorcycle or a two-wheeler, don't entrust your fate to someone without the right experience or passion for you. Contact Stern and Stern, and we will fight to get you the recovery you deserve.

shutterstock_320663342.jpgPersonal injury law can be confusing and frightening after you are hurt. This is why lawyers are here: to help you through the process of protecting your rights and getting the recovery you deserve. Before you can start, though, you need to know when to reach out for help. The answer depends on what happened to you and where, but when in doubt, it never hurts to reach out to an excellent personal injury lawyer.


If you have been in an accident, whether a car crash, a slipand fall,or something else, you should first make sure you take care of yourself. Get to the hospital or your doctor first. Once you have been treated, make sure you document and save everything: what happened, what your diagnosis included, and what your treatment includes. After this, you should reach out to a personal injury lawyer and talk about your options. That person will help you understand how the process works, what you are entitled to, and how you can achieve a proper recovery for your injuries.

Workplace Injuries

If you are injured at work, you may still have rights under New Jersey's personal injury law statutes, but you must begin with the Workers Compensation system. This means immediately reporting your injury to your employer through the system you have in place at work. From there, your employer files a claim, and most injuries are covered through the system.

That said, you may find that the system is confusing, or that your employer is not trying to fully cover your needs. If you feel you are not being treated fairly, or if your Workers Comp recovery does not cover the cost of all you have lost, you can still look to personal injury law for recovery.

When in Doubt, Call!

Too many people feel left in the dark after an injury. You don't have to sit and wonder how you will get what you need. If you have suffered a serious injury, contact Stern & Stern. Our expert attorneys will help you fight for the recovery you deserve.

shutterstock_20978254.jpgAuto accidents happen all too frequently, but relatively few of those accidents result in a legal trial. When they do not result in serious injury, auto insurance usually covers the cost of repairs. And when the auto accident does cause serious injuries, one or both sides often want to settle rather than endure a long trial or risk an unfavorable verdict. When you are hurt in an accident, the right personal injury lawyer can help walk you through the settlement process.

Fault and Damages

Before the settlement process can begin, you must be able to show the other driver caused the accident. Write down all of the information you can, including what happened, where and when the accident occurred. Your attorney will help you get a copy of the police report as well. Even though New Jersey is a choice no fault state, the law still creates liability for a driver who causes serious injury.

Of course, you must show that your injuries fall into the "serious" category. You need to have your injuries assessed by medical professionals. If they are serious, your damages from the auto accident may include lost income or ability to earn that you lose. You need to identify all of the financial losses you incur to include in the settlement you seek.

Insurance and Negotiations

The other driver's insurance company usually hires or pays for the lawyer representing that driver. The limits of the insurance policy thus provide the top end of the settlement authority, unless you can demonstrate bad faith by the insurer in its negotiations. You only have two years from the date of an accident to file suit, so if the negotiation drags out, your lawyer may file suit on your behalf to maintain leverage and get you the best settlement possible.

If you have been seriously injured in an auto accident, don't try to go it alone or rely on your insurance company. Contact Stern and Stern so we can help you get the settlement you deserve.


When you lose a loved one due to the wrongful or negligent act of another, the loss can be overwhelming. The loss can reverberate through the whole family, and takes an emotional toll that you cannot describe or quantify. Beyond this, though, the loss often hits hard financially. Fortunately, New Jersey law provides for your recovery of these financial losses in the state's wrongful death statute.

Who May Recover

In New Jersey, both the Survival Act and Wrongful Death Act provide for recovery of damages. The former provides recovery personal to the person who has died, primarily their pain and suffering, while the latter provides an award to those who were dependent upon the deceased for the value of thedecedentscontribution to theirwellbeing. But these actions are usually joined and heard together, so you should think of them together when it comes to your legal rights. 

One other key difference is that, in a Survival Act case, you do not have to show actual dependency on the deceased. In a wrongful death case, on the other hand, only dependents may recover losses for the loss of the victim. However, any recovery under the act is not considered part of the decedent's will. Your attorney can help you gather what you need to establish the relationship falls within what the act requires.

Direct Losses

Direct financial losses for which you are entitled to recover include loss of support income and the value of services that person provided. That can include housekeeping, parenting, babysitting, and anything else of value that person provided. Your lawyer can help you understand what this involves and how to go about identifying what you need to show to placevaluation on your lawsuit.

Other Losses to Consider

The law does not provide for punitive damages or losses due to emotional distress unless you witnessed the act or accident yourself. On the other hand, your losses do include the value of those services the person provided you, including the value of companionship.

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else's wrongful act, we can help. Contact Stern and Stern to get the help you need.

shutterstock_406889893.jpgThe aftermath of any personal injury you sustain can be frustrating. Recovery takes time and money, and in the case of a serious injury, you may never again be able to do everything you once did. In the midst of what you are experiencing, though, you also need to talk to a personal injury lawyer. This will help you understand your options and reach the best result possible.

1. Understand Your Rights

Your legal rights come from a complicated blend of legislation, case law, and the specific facts behind your injury. This creates a morass that requires legal training and experience to navigate. When you consult an attorney who specializes in this area of law, you gain a perspective that helps you cut through the complications and your personal frustrations to better understand what recovery you can achieve.

2. Cover Your Bases

Even when you have a basic understanding of what rights you have after an injury, you need to prepare your case. Collecting the evidence you need creates a daunting challenge. Your personal injury lawyer will lay out a case for you in ways that make sense. He or she will further ensure you do not miss any important steps in the process. After an injury, it is difficult to keep up with all the information you need. The right lawyer will help ensure you have all your bases covered.

3. You Shouldn't Always Settle

It may be a matter of days before an insurance company or lawyer contacts you with a settlement offer. These offers tempt you with the prospect of a quick resolution and immediate funds. Before you snap up the offer, though, you should review your options. Your lawyer will talk through the impact of your injury and what recovery and timelines are realistic for you. Settling may be the right choice, but you should be certain before you forfeit your right to negotiate or pursue damages.

After a serious injury, consulting and hiring the right personal injury attorney makes a big difference in your recovery options. Contact Stern and Stern today to get started.