Most lawsuits do not go to trial. When one ends up at court, it is normal to be nervous. Enough time has elapsed between the trial and your auto accident that you just want everything to be finished. It is very important to get yourself ready for court. Your personal injury attorney will help you prepare, but knowing some of what to expect will help.
Take Notes and Practice
Your court date is your chance to tell your story to the judge and jury members whose job it is to understand what happened. Your memories will not be as strong as they were right after the auto accident. Your lawyer will recommend you practice giving your testimony out loud. You and your lawyer have been living with the case for a long time, but to the jury, it is all new information. Be ready to tell your story openly and honestly regarding the accident, your injuries and how it has affected your life. This is your one chance to tell what happened, so be ready.
The Day(s) of Trial
When you arrive at court, you should dress respectfully. You will sit with your lawyer and the defendant or defendants will sit at a different table. The jury will come in and sit off to the side. You should only address the judge when asked, and always with the title "Your Honor."
During direct examination, you describe your side of the story. Your attorney will ask questions to help you, but these are the moments where you tell your story. The opposing attorney will then cross examine you. He or she may act overly nice or may try to attack you. In either case, you need to stay calm and answer questions directly. This will show the jury you have nothing to hide and help the truth emerge.
Ultimately, a trial demonstrates what happened so you can get a fair verdict. If your auto accident goes to trial, we are ready to fight and help you get the recovery you deserve. Contact Stern and Stern today to learn more.
For some people, personal injury law falls within one or two kinds of accidents or injuries. The truth is, it applies to an extensive list of everyday occurrences. A personal injury law firm can help you protect your right to recover from all kinds of injuries, from the commonplace to the bizarre.
1. Auto Accidents
Every year in New Jersey hundreds of thousands of auto accidents and hundreds of crash fatalities happen. Many of these accidents result in serious injuries. If you have been injured or alove one injured or killed by another driver, you should contact a good personal injury lawyer.
2. Slip and Fall
Businesses and homeowners have a duty to keep their property safe for others. Too often, dangerous property conditions cause injuries when people slip or trip and fall. These injuries often require medical attention for which you deserve compensation.
3. Medical Malpractice
Doctors work hard every day to take care of patients and save lives. However, mistakes leave patients worse off than they were before they sought treatment. A personal injury law firm helps hold doctors and hospitals accountable for the negligent and reckless errors they make.
4. Animal Attacks
People love their pets and most pet owners take care of them responsibly. Unfortunately, some pets present dangers to guests and passersby. If a person does not control his or her pet and the animal attacks you, you are entitled to damages to compensate you for the injuries and other costs resulting from the attack.
5. Product Liability
When a product does not work correctly, it sometimes causes injuries to the person trying to use it. The product may carry disclaimers and instructions, but these do not always do enough to protect someone. If a dangerous product injures you, you can contact a law firm to help you recover damages.
These and many other situations create serious injuries every day. If you have been injured by someone else's negligence or recklessness, contact Stern and Stern so we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
In New Jersey and throughout the United States, drunk drivers present serious dangers to you and everyone else on the road. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, one in every three traffic deaths is caused by a drunk driver. These drivers injure thousands more every year. While no amount of money can truly make you whole if a reckless driver kills or seriously injures you or a loved one, a good personal injury lawyer can help you get the recovery you deserve after an accident.
New Jersey provides criminal prosecution against drunk drivers. In addition to this, personal injury law provides a right to sue these drivers to recover civil damages. In fact, a drunk driving conviction in criminal proceedings serves as direct evidence that the person recklessly caused your accident. Further, under New Jersey's dram shop law, you may also recover from an individual, a bar, or a restaurant that served the drunk driver alcohol if it served alcohol when the person was already visibly drunk. Both the driver and the drink provider are liable because all played a role in causing your injuries.
What to Do After the Accident
First, of course, you need to take care of yourself. Go to the hospital to have your injuries treated. As soon as possible, you should write down all of the information you can gather from the accident before you start to forget anything: the name and insurance company of the other driver if you can get it, along with the time and place of the accident, and what happened. Take the information to an experienced attorney who understands how to fight for your rights. All of this can help your lawyer with fact investigation of what happened, where the person got his or her drinks, and from whom you can recover damages.
If you have been seriously injured by a drunk driver, don't let the insurance companies talk you out of pursuing the personal injury law recovery you deserve. Contact Stern and Stern, and we will help you get the recovery you need.
When you suffer an injury at work, the state Workers Compensation system is designed to help cover your costs while you recover. This includes a percentage of your usual pay and medical costs you incur to help you recover. Unfortunately, the system confuses many, and your employer sometimes puts up roadblocks for you when you try to file your insurance claims. In these times, you need a strong lawyer to help you achieve the recovery you are entitled to receive.
What Workers Compensation Covers
Workers Compensation covers you for any injury you suffer in the course of your work. Usually this comes from accidents that happen on site, but it can also occur if you are performing work duties off site, like delivering merchandise for your employer. You are also entitled to compensation for a repetitive use injury like carpal tunnel. As long as the injury comes as a result of your performance of work duties, the system should pay for your recovery.
Workers Compensation does not cover you for intentional acts by your employer. If you have an unsafe condition at work, the employer knows about it, and it causes you to get injured, you are entitled to file a suit outside of the Workers Compensation system.
How the Process Works
The first thing you need to do is report your injury to your employer. You will fill out paperwork, and the insurance claims are then processed through the employer's Workers Compensation provider. If the claim is accepted, you will receive payments for time off of work, and your medical bills will be paid by the provider.
If, on the other hand, your claim is denied, you can request a hearing. In this situation, you should consult an attorney to help you through the process. Similarly, if your employer's negligence or recklessness caused your injury, you should consult an attorney to explore a lawsuit. You are probably also entitled to an award for any aspect of your injury that is permanent. In order to pursue that claim you should consult an attorney.
All too often, employers look to protect themselves rather than their employees' best interest in Workers Compensation matters. If you have been hurt at work, contact Stern & Stern to help protect you.
When you think of personal injury cases, chances are a particular kind of case comes to mind. What that case is depends on your personal experience or perspective. In fact, people get injured in many different ways, and different kinds of cases result. What follow are six kinds of injuries for which you should contact a personal injury attorney.
1. Animal Attacks
Animal attacks are a common cause of injuries each year. Often, these consist of pets that are not properly leashed or otherwise contained by their owners. These attacks can lead to serious injuries or even death for you or your family.
2. Car Accidents
Car accidents are the most common cause of injuries in the United States. In 2015, 38,300 people were killed and 4.4 million injured in automobile accidents. Liability insurance may not be enough to fully cover your medical and other financial costs after an accident.
3. Slip and Fall
When business owners and homeowners do not take care of their property, you may slip or trip and injure yourself. Depending on the problem that causes the injury, this often constitutes negligence that makes the property owner responsible for your injuries.
4. Workplace Injury
An entire system is in place to help when you are injured at work. Unfortunately, New Jersey's Workers Compensation statute and structure is difficult to navigate. Further, if your employer or someone at work intentionally or recklessly causes an injury, you can file a lawsuit outside of Workers Compensation.
5. Medical Malpractice
Doctors make mistakes, but when those mistakes amount to a deviation from accepted standards of care, they rise to the level of medical malpractice. Doctors are well-trained and generally do a good job for their patients, but when their mistakes during or after a procedure injure you, this can lead to some of the most heartbreaking personal injury cases.
Sometimes an argument or feud can get out of hand, and people intentionally hurt each other. While this usually represents a crime, you are also entitled to civil recovery for your injuries due to an assault or other intentional attack.
If you have been injured in these or other ways, contact Stern and Stern to get the recovery you deserve.
In New Jersey, as in most states, the process of filing work accident claims begins at the workplace. After any work injury, you enter into the Workers' Compensation world, subject to byzantine rules and structures to get compensated for your injury. Still, whether you are dealing with understanding the initial process or appealing a bad decision, a strong personal injury attorney will help you get the recovery you deserve.
Every workplace designates a person as its starting point for workplace accident claims. You approach this person with the required paperwork and start the process. This can cause problems if you do not get along with the person, or if you are unsure of how to complete the paperwork or if your injury is such that you cannot complete that paperwork.
In these situations, it makes sense to enlist the help of an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you walk through the process. To expect a layperson to work through all of the requirements on how and when to file a claim is simply too much.
Workers Compensation Court
The Workers' Compensation Insurance Carrier or your employer may choose to deny your claim for damages, either in whole or in part. In these circumstances, you have the right to file a claim in Workers Compensation Court. Here, enlisting an experienced attorney moves from a luxury to a necessity. Before you accept less than you need to cover your expenses or make you whole, you should talk to someone about what you are entitled to receive, and whether your Workers' Compensation settlement gets you there. You will need help preparing the claim, as well as a lawyer to negotiate any settlement offer from the insurance company. They have their own interests at heart; you want a legal representative who will have yours at heart too.
The Workers' Compensation process represents a long, confusing road for many people, but it does not have to be that way. If you have been injured at work, don't trust your compensation to an accident claims process built to serve your employer. Contact Stern & Stern LLP today to protect your rights.
After an auto accident, the first thing you do is usually to report the accident to your insurance company. From here, what happens depends in part on whether you have elected "verbal threshold or lawsuit threshold" or traditional auto coverage. Even if the other driver causes the accident, verbal threshold coverage limits your options—unless you have suffered a serious injury. In that situation, you need to consult a good attorney to help you protect your rights in the accident claims process.
If you have elected to pay extra for traditional coverage, you have the right to pursue the other driver in court for damages. As an initial part of the accident claims process, you will collect insurance information from that driver. But be careful! The other driver's insurance company will seek first to work out a settlement that is designed first and foremost to protect that insurance company. An insurer is a for-profit company and seeks to minimize what it must pay out.
Your attorney will help you look at your claim and identify the sources of damages you can achieve to make you whole—not only the vehicle damage and medical bills but lost wages and any other sources the insurer will try to avoid paying.
Verbal Threshold/Lawsuit Threshold
This is the insurance coverage most people have. If you have a Verbal Threshold and if you have suffered a serious injury, you have the right to sue in some cases. Before you sign anything or accept a settlement offer from the other driver's insurer, you should still consult an attorney. New Jersey law provides exceptions for particular injuries, and you have a right to compensation from the other driver. Don't pass on those rights until you have a chance to discuss the accident with your attorney.
Has another driver injured you in an auto accident? Don't wait for others to decide what happens to you. Contact Stern and Stern today, and we will start fighting for you.
When someone's negligence or reckless conduct causes your injury, your focus should be first on your recovery. Getting better takes time and energy. Still, you need to take some time to look into finding the right personal injury attorney to help you understand and protect your right to recovery.
You will find many personal injury attorneys eager to take your case. In fact, letters start appearing in your mailbox quickly—often the day after your accident! Before you start calling people, though, you should look into their firms a little more deeply. Some of them come from out of state, from attorneys who may have no connection to your location. Others are newer attorneys or generalists with no real personal injury experience.
These things matter. A New Jersey attorney knows the court system and the judges, and will navigate the procedural hurdles better than someone from out of state. Even more critically, injury cases present unique complications that an inexperienced lawyer will not be as prepared to navigate as someone with years of experience in the area.
Dedication to You
You also want to be careful not to jump in with the first law firm that sends you a form letter. Anyone can tell you they will handle your claim. For someone to tell you that before they even see you, though, should raise a red flag in your mind. Every injury differs from the next, and every client has unique needs. Sometimes a settlement will help you get what you need while other times fighting for your rights in court becomes necessary. You need an attorney who is willing to sit with you and listen first, and then do everything to help you achieve the recovery you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else's conduct, you cannot leave your rights in the hands of just anyone. Contact Stern & Stern today, and put us to work for you.
Recovering from a serious injury requires time, effort, and patience. What's more, the financial impact of lost work and medical bills can be devastating. When someone else causes your injury, you need the right legal representation to help make you whole again.
Hiring a personal injury attorney is a daunting proposition with all of the options out there, but getting the right one makes all the difference. When you start looking for your lawyer, you need to know what to ask.
1. Are You in New Jersey?
After an injury, the letters start pouring in from all over. The best legal representation comes from attorneys who are in New Jersey and know the courts.
2. What Is Your Experience with Personal Injury?
Plenty of generalists and new attorneys will say they can help you, and they will certainly do their best. But an experienced personal injury attorney is simply ready for more of what can happen.
3. What Do You Need to Know?
If someone starts making promises before they learn about your case, look out! A good lawyer needs a handle on the facts before he or she can assess anything.
4. Whom Will I Work With?
Some law firms quickly pass clients off to paralegals or junior associates. You should know whom you will talk to as your case develops.
5. How Will You Handle My Case?
Some attorneys want to settle everything while others want to litigate everything. You are the client, and you should have a say in what is best for your situation.
6. How Strong Is My Case?
Beware attorneys who will not be straightforward. Every injury case has strengths and weaknesses; you need someone who will understand the weaknesses because your attorney must be prepared to overcome them.
7. What Comes Next?
Fighting a personal injury claim can be a long, arduous process. You might get frustrated if you feel left in the dark. Your attorney should be able to tell you what to expect and keep you informed along the way.
If someone else's negligence has injured you, you want the best. Contact Stern & Stern today.
Typically people who think about accident claims brought in court think first of automobile accidents, slip and fall claims, or medical malpractice claims. While these constitute a significant portion of lawsuits over accidental injuries, many other accidents give rise to potential claims. Below are a few of the less common.
1. School Accidents
Anyone who has children knows that accidents happen. But at a school or daycare, sometimes those accidents are a direct result of negligent supervision, of poorly maintained equipment, or any number of other concerns. You leave your children in the hands of others every day, and while the vast majority of the time the school takes good care of them, negligence can lead to injury claims.
One complication in the public school setting is that these schools are considered government entities. This creates a separate legal and regulatory framework that your personal injury attorney must be prepared to work through.
2. Animal Attacks
Animal attacks represent another potential source of accident claims. Under New Jersey law, the owner of a dog is liable for any injuries a dog bite causes as long as the victim is either on public property or lawfully on the dog owner's property. These cases, then, hinge on showing that you were someplace you were allowed to be, and that the injuries resulted directly from the dog bite. Your lawyer will walk you through the evidence you need and help protect your rights.
3. Sports Injuries
If you suffer an injury during sports activity, one defense that always arises is assumption of risk. Liability for an accident will depend on showing that the injury resulted from someone's negligence or recklessness, rather than from an anticipated danger. A good lawyer will help walk you through the evidence you need to recover damages.
These are just a few areas in which you may file accident claims and recover damages. To do so, you need an effective, flexible lawyer accustomed to handling less common kinds of claims. If you have been injured, contact the lawyers at Stern and Stern to get the recovery you deserve.
The Workers' Compensation system exists because workplace injuries are common. It protects the time, energy, and money of employers and streamlines the process of recovery for losses due to accidents that happen at work. The New Jersey Workers' Compensation statute makes clear that your employer cannot use the negligence of other employees or your assumption of risk as a defense to its liability, but it can assert your willful negligence as a defense to its Workers' Compensation liability.
Still, many kinds of injury can lead to accident claims outside of Workers' Compensation and in the courts. This makes it critical to see a good personal injury lawyer before you resign yourself to what the system offers.
Facilities and Equipment
Probably the most common workplace injuries occur when someone falls or otherwise sustains injury because of the conditions on site. This may include hurting yourself on dangerous or faulty equipment, or simply slipping and falling on a wet floor.
While this seems cut and dried, you are sometimes entitled to more in an accident claim than Workers' Compensation provides. If the employer knew about a dangerous condition but did not fix it, it may be liable in a lawsuit outside of the compensation the system provides. Similarly, if you are forced to use defective equipment or work with toxic substances, your employer or the manufacturer may be liable in a lawsuit.
Carpal tunnel and other repetitive stress injuries have become common in many industries. Again, Workers' Compensation covers this, but an employer who fails to take steps to protect workers against an injury that can have long-lasting consequences may be liable for much more. Consult an attorney to help recover what you deserve on your accident claims.
These represent just two kinds of accident claims that often arise in the workplace. If your employer contests your accident claims by blaming you, you need the support of a good lawyer. Your attorney can help you combat an employer who wants to blame you for your accident. Contact Stern and Stern today to help protect your rights and your recovery.
When you bring a personal injury or wrongful death claim, tax consequences should constitute one consideration in any settlement discussion. In particular, before you enter into a settlement, you need to determine how any payment will be classified in the agreement. Some kinds of damages are deemed not to be taxable by the IRS, while others may be taxed—resulting in a significant decrease in the amount you actually receive.
Compensatory, or "pecuniary" damages, represent money received to compensate an injury victim, or a surviving dependent in a wrongful death claim, for losses suffered. These may involve lost wages, lost earning potential, or other direct financial losses that the injury or death creates. They may also include emotional distress damages that arise directly from the physical injury. According to the IRS, these damages are not considered taxable income.
In New Jersey, a wrongful death action under N.J.S.A. 2A:31-4 only provides for pecuniary damages from a jury. Still, settlement agreements often specifically deny wrongful behavior from the defendant, so you need to hire an excellent attorney to ensure not only that you get the best settlement, but that the settlement is classified in a way that provides the most favorable tax consequences for you.
Punitive damages, unlike compensatory damages, are awarded not to help you recover a loss due to your injury or the victim's death, but rather to punish the person or people responsible. Because this represents money that does not represent recovery of a loss, the IRS treats it differently, as taxable income to whomever recovers in the lawsuit.
This difference makes it critical for your attorney to maximize the portion of any settlement deemed to be compensatory. To avoid IRS problems, you need your attorney to ensure it is spelled out clearly in your settlement agreement.
Even after you negotiate a settlement, you need to make sure you are getting the most from your settlement agreement. To receive the best representation to fully protect your rights and your recovery, contact Stern and Stern today.