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.

shutterstock_58086832.jpgAfter an auto accident occurs, your mind races. You may be worried about your vehicle, your family, or just getting to a hospital. But when you suffer a serious injury, you should also plan to call an excellent personal injury lawyer. The insurance companies will have legal representation and be out to protect their own interests; you need to protect yours as well. 

Treat Your Injuries

The first step you need to take is to take care of yourself. Go to a hospital or your doctor as soon as you are able. This is critical to your health and safety, and also an important step to protect your legal rights. New Jersey limits damages claims unless you can demonstrate a serious injury, so your ability to offer documentation showing the extent of your injuries is critical to your claims recovery.

Other Circumstances

At times, other factors play in to your right to recover. Was the other driver drunk, or otherwise driving recklessly? If so, you may be able to recover not only from the drive, but also from the person or establishment that served that person alcohol. On the other hand, any errors attributed to your driving can be used to limit the other driver's liability for your auto accident injuries.

Finally, the ability to recover involves the timing of your claim. Part of this is simply letting your lawyer start investigating while memories and facts are still fresh in your mind. In addition, New Jersey's statute of limitations for a lawsuit related to an auto accident requires you to file within two years, or else you cannot recover. Your lawyer will want time to investigate, prepare, and often negotiate on your behalf before filing a lawsuit, so the sooner you can begin the process, the better your chance of recovery.

You undoubtedly will receive mail from dozens of out-of-state lawyers who monitor police reports and hospital records to find clients. Don't rely on people who may not know the jurisdiction. Contact Stern and Stern to get the recovery you deserve.

shutterstock_294400490.jpgMost 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.

shutterstock_153986042.jpgFor 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.

shutterstock_216371449.jpgIn 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.

Your Rights

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.

shutterstock_100154162.jpgWhen 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.

Your Rights

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.

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.


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.