Blog

shutterstock_161162159.jpgWe live in a mobile technology world. Smartphones are virtually ubiquitous, and they distract us every day. The world has discovered the dangers of texting and driving, with many states implementing laws against the practice. But what about pedestrians who let their technology distract them? When a driver hits a pedestrian, the driver often raises distracted walking as a defense, whether justified or not. If you have been injured by a negligent driver, you need a strong personal injury lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve. 

What Is Distracted Walking?

You have distractions in your life every day. For pedestrians in busy areas, this might include things happening in the street, a sound in the distance, or a call, text, or email to which you are attending while you walk. Unfortunately, sometimes this can contribute to an accident when it causes you to walk into the street without looking, or to linger in a crosswalk longer than you should. In fact, studies have shown that at least a third of pedestrian accidents involve distracted walkers.

Contributory Negligence

If you were injured by a car when walking, this could become an issue in your case. Under New Jersey law, you will recover less if a jury finds you partially responsible. In fact, if you are deemed more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, you will lose your recovery completely.

You need an excellent lawyer to protect you. Defense attorneys are adept at blaming the victim, and the concept of distracted walking plays right into their hands. Even if you were hit in a crosswalk, standing in plain sight, or even standing on the edge of a curb, they will try to say you should have seen and avoided the oncoming car. Whatever your injuries, if the defense wins on this claim, you may not recover.

Has a car hit and injured you while you were walking? Do not rely on just anyone to protect your right to recovery. We will fight these claims to get you the money you need and deserve. Contact Stern and Stern today.

 


shutterstock_356019131.jpgSometimes an accident or wrongful act leads directly to a loved one's death. The grieving process will be difficult, but in the process, you also need to protect your legal rights. If you depended on the decedent for financial and/or emotional support, you can recover damages to compensate you for your loss. Other people may be looking to recover as well, potentially undercutting your claim. While you need to take the time to heal, you should also consult an attorney to keep from losing your rights.

Who Are Parties of Interest?

In a wrongful death claim, anyone who depended on the person can claim to be a party of interest to the litigation. This can include the decedent's spouse, children, parents, relatives, and any others who can claim they have lost financial or emotional support. The claim might be direct or indirect; the strength of a claim depends on the kind and level of support that the decedent gave to the party of interest. Your lawyer can help you both define your claim and identify other potential parties.

How This Affects Your Claims

In wrongful death litigation, two challenges you expect to face include showing that your loved one did in fact die because of the defendant's action or negligence, and battling your own emotions in the process. You may not be ready for other relatives, both near and distant, stepping forward to add in their own claims. Relatives you've never met or rarely interacted with suddenly proclaim their love of—and the pain of their loss of—the newly deceased.

This becomes problematic because the defendant's liability does not increase with the number of parties of interest. Your attorney must not only show liability, but then must defend your recovery from others who may or may not have justifiable claims to recover damages.

If you have lost a loved one to someone else's wrongful act, you cannot depend on everyone else to do the right thing. Contact Stern and Stern to protect your rights and get the recovery you deserve.

Sometimes an accident or wrongful act leads directly to a loved one's death. The grieving process will be difficult, but in the process, you also need to protect your legal rights. If you depended on the decedent for financial and/or emotional support, you can recover damages to compensate you for your loss. Other people may be looking to recover as well, potentially undercutting your claim. While you need to take the time to heal, you should also consult an attorney to keep from losing your rights.

Who Are Parties of Interest?

In a wrongful death claim, anyone who depended on the person can claim to be a party of interest to the litigation. This can include the decedent's spouse, children, parents, relatives, and any others who can claim they have lost financial or emotional support. The claim might be direct or indirect; the strength of a claim depends on the kind and level of support that the decedent gave to the party of interest. Your lawyer can help you both define your claim and identify other potential parties.

How This Affects Your Claims

In wrongful death litigation, two challenges you expect to face include showing that your loved one did in fact die because of the defendant's action or negligence, and battling your own emotions in the process. You may not be ready for other relatives, both near and distant, stepping forward to add in their own claims. Relatives you've never met or rarely interacted with suddenly proclaim their love of—and the pain of their loss of—the newly deceased.

This becomes problematic because the defendant's liability does not increase with the number of parties of interest. Your attorney must not only show liability, but then must defend your recovery from others who may or may not have justifiable claims to recover damages.

If you have lost a loved one to someone else's wrongful act, you cannot depend on everyone else to do the right thing. Contact Stern and Stern to protect your rights and get the recovery you deserve.


shutterstock_22598401.jpg

Many personal injury claims settle before you reach trial. Still, when disputes on liability or the facts involved cannot be resolved, you need to be ready to try your case. This involves intense preparation and time to calm yourself for what lies ahead. A good personal injury attorney will help get you ready to go.

Your Case

Before you get to trial, you need to review the facts of your case. This means reliving an often terrible experience, but you need to be sure you remember everything clearly and can tell the story to a jury.

If you testify, your attorney will let you tell your story. This includes some background on who you are, the information on what you experienced, and telling about your injury and treatment since then. You need to be honest and open; if someone else's conduct has caused your injury, you have a right to recover damages. You don't need or want to embellish, as this causes problems later. But do not hold back either; what happened is what happened. Your story is the key to showing what you deserve.

The Defense

At trial, the opposing attorney will do all he or she can to trip you up. This includes introducing testimony that does not fit with your story. More painfully, cross examination means asking you questions designed to make it seem like the injury was partially or completely your fault, or that you aren't remembering everything correctly.

Your attorney will help you, both in preparing beforehand, and at the trial through objections and redirect examination of your testimony. Answer the questions directly, usually with yes or no answers. If you have a chance to explain, you can do so, but do not sound defensive or evasive. The facts will come out, and you should trust your lawyer and the legal process.

A personal injury trial represents a difficult, uncomfortable challenge, but the right legal representation can help you get through it and reach the recovery you deserve. If you have been injured and need legal assistance, contact Stern and Stern to get started.


 

shutterstock_19391110.jpg

Trials and settlement discussions depend to a large degree on the evidence available. You cannot prove your claim and recover damages for an injury without preserving a trail of the facts that led there. If you have been hurt by someone else's negligence or misconduct, you should consult a good personal injury attorney to discuss how to preserve the evidence you need.

Witness Information

The first piece of evidence to preserve is witness information. When recovery hinges on whose version of events to believe, the more witnesses you have to corroborate your story, the better. This means more than collecting names and addresses. Memories fade over time, and an uninvolved witness may forget important details between the injury and your trial. Your lawyer can work with you to collect statements soon after the event, and then use those statements to help people remember what happened later.

These witnesses can make all the difference between recovering and not. Be sure you know who was in the area and might have seen what happened, and follow up with them so you can rely on them later.

The Basic Facts

Besides people, the timing and circumstances matter. If you go to trial, any factual questions can be used to trip you up and try to reduce your recovery. It is critical to record what happened, the time and date, what the conditions were, and what you saw and experienced at the time. Again, your personal injury attorney will take the time to walk through the events of the injury and make sure you are ready.

Finally, the injury itself matters. You need to keep track of what injuries you suffered, how they were treated, and what your recovery entailed. If you did everything in your power to recover from your injuries, you must be able to demonstrate that in order to get the recovery you deserve.

Has someone's misconduct or negligence caused you to be injured? Contact Stern and Stern today, and we will help you get your case ready.


shutterstock_111443774.jpg

If you have suffered an injury as a result of negligent or substandard medical care, you have the right to recover against the hospital or the doctor providing care—and sometimes both. Sometimes, though, the hospital and doctor will argue that you have a pre-existing medical condition that should limit their damages. This defense raises complicated questions, and you will need a good lawyer to help you sort them out.

What Is a Pre-Existing Condition?

A pre-existing condition is an injury or medical condition that existed before you were injured. If you have a congenital heart defect or an injury from which you were recovering prior to entering the hospital, for example, the defense may claim that this caused part or all of your injury, rather than the hospital or doctor being solely responsible. They will claim that they did the best they could, but that your condition when you arrived caused complications, and there was nothing more they could do.

This depends in part on your personal medical history. The defense will request your medical records—sometimes records from years before your treatment—before you ever get to trial. Your lawyer will be instrumental in helping you navigate what often becomes a treacherous path toward litigation.

How Does It Affect Recovery?

This defense amounts to a claim that you were damaged before you got to the hospital. If you suffered a heart attack in the hospital, for example, a doctor will claim that your heart was weak, and the care provided either did not contribute or was a small factor in what happened to you.

Have you suffered an injury due to a doctor's or hospital's error? Don't let them try to bully you out of the recovery you deserve. Contact Stern and Stern today.This defense sounds compelling, and can limit your recovery if you are not prepared. A strong personal injury lawyer will go over your medical history with you, and be ready to fight off these claims to get you the recovery you deserve.


shutterstock_320663342.jpgWorker's Compensation was designed in part to avoid lengthy legal battles. Accordingly, the system works to protect employers from many lawsuits after workplace injuries. But how do you know you are really getting the compensation you deserve? Even though the system appears to systematize recovery for injured workers, it always makes sense to contact a personal injury attorney before you accept a settlement.

Cause of Injury

One area that may create a need for counsel is causation. If you were injured due to an intentional or reckless act of someone else, you are entitled to more than just worker's compensation. For instance, if someone attacks you at work, or you are intentionally put into an unsafe environment, this goes beyond what worker's compensation was intended to cover.

In these situations, your employer may be partially or completely liable for your injuries. They will try to push you to accept a settlement much lower than you deserve. Seek legal help before you settle for too little!

Navigating the System

Beyond intentional and reckless acts, you will often find that the Worker's Compensation system creates tricky paths and hurdles to prevent you from quickly getting the recovery to which you are entitled. Further, the company may try to claim that your injury was your own fault, or try to replace you at work before you recover.

After a workplace injury, you may be in no condition to fight through obstacles by yourself. Employers often try to take advantage of this by pushing you to sign away your rights before you are ready. You don't have to let them do this! Your rights are worth protecting, and strong legal representation provides the best means to protect them.

If you have been injured in the workplace, you may be entitled to much more than the Worker's Compensation system is set up to give you. To start on the road to getting the protection and recovery you deserve, contact Stern and Stern today.


shutterstock_354553040.jpgEvery driver is required by law to obtain auto insurance. Part of this is to make sure that, if you cause an accident, you can cover the cost of your liability. But what if you are injured in an accident with an uninsured driver? Your coverage includes uninsured motorist coverage, but this may not be sufficient to cover your losses. In these circumstances, you may need an attorney to help protect your interests.

Pursuing the Other Driver

One option you have in these circumstances is to sue the other driver. Even if that driver is not insured, he or she may have assets against which you can collect a judgment. A good personal injury attorney can help you investigate the other driver by bringing suit and then using the discovery process to identify sources of recovery for you.

This can be complicated, and may even involve difficulty finding the other driver to pursue a claim. A good attorney has investigators and tools at his or her disposal to help you track the person down and gain the recovery you deserve.

Your Insurer

When you file a claim with your insurer, your uninsured motorist coverage comes with limits up to which the insurer will pay. The insurer then pursues the other driver through a process called subrogation. The insurer may even assign an attorney to your case.

Unfortunately, you don't always know whether that attorney will represent your best interests. After all, he or she works for the insurance company, and even though the law requires that they also represent your best interests, you may be better off finding an attorney you trust.

If you have been in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you don't want to try to face the process alone. Fortunately, we are ready and able to help you get the recovery you need. Contact Stern and Stern today to get started.


shutterstock_301329224.jpgIf you have been injured due to someone else's negligence, you can collect damages to compensate you for what you lose because of that injury. If the case goes to trial, though, you need to be able to show through a chain of evidence not only what happened, but also everything you did to treat the injury. Collecting, preserving, and lining up the evidence to support your claims represents the key to reaching the recovery you deserve.

What to Do After Your Injury

After your injury, you need to first receive care for your injuries. You need to have a doctor diagnose your injuries and outline the care you must receive. You also should see a personal injury lawyer who can explain your rights and how best to preserve those rights.

In addition, you must follow the course of treatment your doctor prescribes. The chain of evidence for trial depends in part on your being able to show you did everything you could to take care of your injury. You have a legal duty to do what you can with medical treatment to mitigate the damages caused by the injury. Even the best lawyers can only do so much if you don't follow your doctor's advice.

Preserving Evidence

As soon as possible, you also need to document everything that happened to you. Sometimes it can take years before a personal injury case reaches trial, and memories can fade. You should write the names and contact information of every potential witness to the accident, the person or company that caused the accident, and note the time of day, the location, and the conditions in the area. Write an account of what happened while it is fresh in your mind. Start to maintain a daily diary of your condition, in other words how you feel each day and how it impacts your daily life. This makes a tremendous difference in your ability to recover damages.

Contact Stern and Stern

If you have been injured, you need to identify, organize, and preserve your evidence so you can present it in its proper chain at trial. Don't leave yourself guessing at what you need to do; contact Stern and Stern to start working toward your legal recovery.


shutterstock_241047166.jpgAs the Starks say in Game of Thrones, winter is coming—and with it, dangerous, slippery conditions are coming too. When you injure yourself on someone else's property, you may be entitled to compensation. This depends on what the condition of the property is and how careful you were in attempting to avoid injury. Ultimately, though, if a property owner negligently fails to make his or her property safe, you should talk to a lawyer to see whether you are entitled to recover damages.

Property Owner Responsibilities

A property owner in New Jersey has a responsibility to keep his or her property safe. For a commercial propery owner this includes treating slippery sidewalks in winter, keeping sidewalks and parking lots in good condition, and keeping walking areas clear. In short, it should be safe to walk on paved surfaces on the property of a business, and the owner is responsible for any failure to do so.

If you slip and fall on someone else's property, you can recover damages that include medical costs, property damage (such as broken items you were carrying), lost wages, loss of earning potential, and damages for infliction of emotional distress.

Comparative Negligence

If you are injured, the property owner will likely try to raise comparative negligence as a defense, essentially claiming you are responsible for your own injuries. In New Jersey, if a jury finds you more than fifty percent liable for an accident, you cannot recover. In the slip and fall context, this means that you have a duty to be careful, to watch where you are going, and do what you can to avoid accidents where the danger is evident.

Even if the sidewalk or parking lot is coated with ice that you cannot see, the owner will usually claim you should have seen and avoided the danger. You need to work with a good attorney who understands the law and will work to protect your rights and get you the settlement you deserve.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall, you need someone on your side. Contact Stern and Stern to get started.

 

shutterstock_340122083.jpgIf someone else's mistake or reckless act has left you injured, sometimes you feel like you should just concentrate on getting better, rather than trying to sue that person. This instinct is understandable, but if you aren't careful, it could cost you the opportunity to recover for your injuries. You can't wait forever before you bring a lawsuit. The statute of limitations provides a window of time in which you have to act before you lose your right to recover.

Sometimes you just aren't sure of your right to bring a case against someone who has caused your injury. If you have any doubt, though, you should talk to an attorney. Take the time to understand your options and your rights before it's too late.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations provides the amount of time you have to bring suit before you are barred from recovery. For personal injury cases in New Jersey, this period is two years. Once you have been injured, with certain exceptions, that means if you wait more than two years to bring a case, your suit will be thrown out without ever being heard.

There are good reasons this is the law. Without a statute of limitations, cases could be brought years after the accident or reckless act that caused an injury. Memories fade over time, and evidence becomes both harder to find and less reliable when you do find it. And when you know you've been injured, there is no good reason to wait more than two years.

Personal Injuries You Discover Later

One exception to this rule is when an injury occurs that you couldn't have known about within the statute of limitations. This could be a surgical error that you only discover when you have a later surgery, or some other internal injury that there is no way to realize you have until it surfaces years later. 

Still, if you have been in an accident, it is better to see an attorney first before it is too late. Contact Stern and Stern to protect your rights.


shutterstock_331603283.jpgWhen an accident leaves you injured, you sometimes struggle to think past wanting to feel better. Some people just go home or try to walk it off, without taking the time to seek the care they need. If you are hurt, though, it is important to make sure you take steps to not only get better, but to protect your ability to recover due to someone else's negligence. As much as we would like to live in a world where everyone does the right thing, you must take steps to take care of yourself. In addition to finding the right personal injury lawyer, this includes documenting what you can and finding the help you need.

Document All You Can

Memory tends to be unreliable when you have been injured. Even if you remember all of the details, writing them down will help your cause later. What time were you injured, and where? What were the conditions like, and how crowded was the area? Who else was involved? The more detail you can jot down, the less you have to remember later. 

This also helps your attorney navigate your claim. If you have a written account of everything that happened, a lawyer can help you understand what your rights are. The sooner after the accident that you document everything, the better your chances of recovery are later.

Seek Help

Anytime you sustain an injury during an accident, you need to see a doctor to make sure you're okay. A seemingly minor bump or abrasion sometimes leads to more significant problems. And waiting to get treatment often allows an injury to get worse. You don't want to guess at how badly you've been hurt; see a professional and put yourself on the path to recovery.

When you have been seriously injured, you also need to speak to an attorney. The sooner you can start working with someone, the better your ability to recover due to someone else's negligence.

At Stern and Stern, we can help you recover damages to make you whole again after an injury. Contact us today to get started.


shutterstock_290605838.jpgIf you have been involved in a hit and run, you know how frustrating it can be. When accidents happen, you expect the person to admit what happened and take responsibility. Unfortunately, not everyone does, and you can find yourself wondering how you can be made whole. Before you can sue the person who hits you, you need to get all of the information you can.

Gather Information

If someone hits you, try to get all of the information you can about the other car. Write down the license plate number if you can. The vehicle's make, model, color, and/or body style can help narrow it down as well. Make sure you note where you are, and what time you were hit. All of this information helps police or investigators narrow down who hit you.

Depending on where you are, there may also be witnesses to what happened. This can help because accidents tend to happen quickly, and you may not have time to get all of the information yourself, especially if you have been hurt. Those who are in the area but not directly involved can help immensely. Such a witness will bolster your claim that in fact there was a hit and run accident.

Make Your Calls

As soon as you have all of the information available to you, you should contact the authorities. You need to file an accident report, and give all of the information you have to the police. Call your insurance company as well; your coverage should include uninsured motorists coverage in the event you have trouble identifying the other driver.

Finally, after all of this, you should make time to call an attorney. A good personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights, and will also have resources available if the police are unable to identify the other driver. Finally, your lawyer will be on your side throughout the process, and will help you get the greatest recovery from the other driver and/or the insurance companies.

Have you been injured in a hit and run accident? Don't leave your recovery in the hands of others. Contact Stern and Stern today to get the recovery you deserve.