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shutterstock_83636563.jpgWhen 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.

6. Assault

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.


shutterstock_74859880.jpgIn 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.

Initial Filing

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. 

 

shutterstock_166137107.jpgAfter 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.

Traditional Coverage

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.


shutterstock_217491745.jpgWhen 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.

Experience

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.


shutterstock_74983480.jpgRecovering 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.


shutterstock_356553407.jpgTypically 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.


shutterstock_257768074.jpgThe 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.

Repetitive Stress

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.


shutterstock_211161556.jpg 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 Damages

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

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.


 shutterstock_368143439.jpgYou go on vacations to relax, to get away from the everyday stress and headaches that life so often provides. When you get injured on vacation, though, all of that rest and relaxation goes out the window. Even if the last thing you want to deal with is a personal injury lawsuit, you have to take steps to protect your rights.

If you are traveling, special considerations affect whom you can sue and where. Personal jurisdiction may be complicated to figure out, and affects whether you can bring suit in New Jersey or if you must go elsewhere. In these situations, it is important to find strong legal representation to help you understand and defend your rights.

New Jersey Longarm Statute

You can sue in New Jersey courts if your personal injury occurs in the state, or if the defendant has established minimum contacts in the state. Minimum contacts are a tricky area, and differ with the facts of each case. If a company or individual causes your injury, you have to find a way to establish some kind of presence that company or individual maintains, or at least has from time to time, in New Jersey. If you cannot prove that, you may have to bring suit at the vacation location.

Your Rights

Depending on where you are injured, the personal injury laws often differ from those to which you are accustomed. While many states have similar laws to each other, there are important disagreements among states as to the best way to set up their legal framework in this area. And if your vacation takes you overseas, that can be an even harder question to resolve. Your personal injury lawyer can help walk you through it all.

With all of the subtleties and nuances of the law in different places, you cannot entrust your recovery to just anyone. We have developed expertise in helping you find the recovery you deserve when you are injured. Contact Stern and Stern today to get started!


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.