Types of School Bus Accidents and Injuries

Serving Clients in Trenton, Princeton, Pennington, Lawrence, and East Windsor NJ in all Matters Related to Personal Injury Cases.

Types of School Bus Accidents and Injuries AttorneysSchool bus-related accidents cause approximately 137 deaths per year, leaving hundreds of other people injured. However, there are years when this figure climbs higher. In November 2016, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, 30 children were injured, and five others died in a school bus collision. The bus driver was identified as a 24-year-old male who was apparently speeding before the bus flipping over, and crashing against a tree, being this a single-vehicle accident.

School bus accidents not only endanger our children’s safety while riding local buses. The school bus is, in fact, the safest place to be if a school-bus related tragedy were to happen. Deaths resulting from school bus collisions between 2001-2010 impacted 72% of the passengers and drivers of other vehicles compared to only 7% of people traveling inside school buses, having the remaining percentage represented by cyclists and pedestrians.

Growing figures of property damage, injuries, and death resulting from school bus accidents can be classified into three main types.

School Bus Collision Against Another Vehicle

Other motor vehicles are involved in nearly 75% of all school bus accident tragedies. An average family car is much lighter and smaller than a school bus, which is basically a truck, causing large damage and considerable injuries.

School bus routes are used during mornings and afternoons, affecting the regular traffic, slowing it down, and forcing other drivers to navigate otherwise easy-flowing roads. In other words, running late in your regular commute having a bus in front of you means the speed limit will drop to only 15 mph instead of the typical 45mph, including several stops to pick up or drop off children.

School bus drivers are sometimes found at fault for these motor vehicle accidents due to reckless driving, causing injuries such as fractured bones, whiplash syndrome, and even death.

School Bus Accident Involving Pedestrians

One cyclist or pedestrian is hit and killed by a moving school bus approximately once a month in the U.S. If the victim survives, they might suffer from extensive injuries ranging from fractured bones to paralysis. Whether you are a pedestrian or a vehicle driver, Complying with road safety regulations becomes of utmost importance during the school year (in-person school sessions).

Although crossing guards regulate traffic, they often halt traffic randomly filling the road with pedestrians. Pedestrians and cyclists could very easily get impacted by a distracted bus driver or a driver rolling through a stop sign, especially considering a large bus offers very poor visibility at a close range.

Bus Occupants Involved In School Bus Accidents

On average, over 23 million children in the U.S. are transported by school buses daily, and studies report that up to 17,000 injuries happen yearly inside those buses. Nearly 42% of the injuries result from actual school bus accidents, meaning that a larger percentage of the injuries are only minor scraping and bruising that happens when occupants get on or off the bus or because of the bus not being in optimal conditions.

Bus Occupants Involved In School Bus AccidentsChildren between 11 to 14 years old sustained approximately half of the injuries, having abrasions, strains, head injuries, and sprains shown as the most common ones. Unfortunately, nearly 7% of all school bus incident-related injuries happening onboard result in a child’s death.

Options are available to protect your family and children from situations that seem too hard to prevent, like school bus accidents. Study road regulations applicable to your state, avoid distractions while driving, maintain a safe distance from school buses traveling on the same road as you.

Learn more about personal injury claims and what they entail here: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/personalinjury/

Contact our Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free and Confidential Consultation

If you or your child are the victims of a tragic school bus accident, either as a pedestrian, cyclist, bus occupant, or another vehicle driver, you might have a personal injury or wrongful death claim; you are entitled to seek legal advice to discuss how to better recover from your losses.

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson,  we take pride in successfully representing clients, including towns like Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and the greater Mercer County area. Whether you or your child was injured in a school bus accident, do not let a personal injury or wrongful death claim affect your life.

You can call us at 609.528.2596 or contact us through our online contact form.

Wrong-Way Highway Accidents In New Jersey Cause Fatal Injuries

Helping with Personal Injury cases in Pennington, Lawrence, and East Windsor

Wrong-Way Highway Accidents In New Jersey Cause Fatal InjuriesNew Jersey highways are frequent auto accident scenarios happening at any given hour, having wrong-way car crashes scored as the most disastrous kind. Wrong-way collisions are classified by the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) as “one of the most serious types of highway accidents” and describes them as “collisions involving vehicles traveling the wrong way on high-speed divided highways.” In wrong-way collisions, injuries are thought of as fatal or life-threatening because they usually develop on highways with posted high-speed limits.

A Fatal Wrong-way Accident To Prove The Theory

Back in 2019, NBC New York reported a severe multi-vehicle wrong-way collision that left a toll of three fatal victims, located at the Parsippany-Troy Hills area, on Interstate 80 in New Jersey. This terrible accident highlights the devastating degree of wrong-way auto accidents and the utmost importance of complying with safe-driving precautions while being a motor vehicle driver. For this particular collision example, authorities ran an investigation to determine if the wrong-way party was DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) when the incident took place. Impaired drivers are the main cause of wrong-way collisions.

The reported collision took place a little past 2 a.m., early on a Friday, approaching mile marker 45 going East on Interstate 80. Several motor vehicles were “completely destroyed,” while “at least one of the motor vehicles seemed to have caught on fire.” One male and two females died in the car accident. The driver of the vehicle traveling the wrong way was immediately driven to the hospital. Deputies indicated they were “considering the possibility the at-fault driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.” No data indicating whether there were any survivors to the collision or the exact number of motor vehicles involved was documented at the time of the incident.

Additional Facts About Wrong-Way Auto Collisions

The following are some figures and facts shared by the NTSB about wrong-way auto accidents:

  • Additional Facts About Wrong-Way Auto CollisionsOver 60% of the wrong-way crash at-fault drivers appeared to have signs of some alcohol use, compared to only close to 6% of drivers involved in accidents as “right-way” drivers;
  • Nearly 10% of wrong-way collision at-fault drivers who had drunk alcohol were found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.08 and 0.15;
  • Approximately 60% of drivers confirmed to be at-fault for wrong-way collisions and who demonstrated signs of alcohol use, were confirmed to have a high BAC, equal to or above 0.15;
  • Roughly 10% of wrong-way drivers have previous convictions due to DUI or DWI (driving while intoxicated) within three years before the wrong-way crash taking place;
  • The fatality rate on wrong-way collisions ranges from 12 to 27 times the fatality rate of other highway incidents,
  • Almost 22% of wrong-way crashes are considered as life-threatening, compared to less than 1% fatality on any other king of highway auto collision;
  • An increased percentage of fatal wrong-way accidents happen yearly, adding up to nearly 360 fatalities each year.

If you or someone you love got hurt in a wrong-way crash or DUI collision, you should get in touch with a car accident lawyer.

Contact our Car Accidents Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one resulted injured from a wrong-way auto collision or DUI collision, you are entitled to seek legal advice to discuss your rights and options regarding obtaining compensation and the best way to recover from any losses.

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson,  we take pride in successfully representing clients, including towns like Pennington, Lawrence, and East Windsor.

Contact our offices by calling 609.528.2596 or fill out the online form today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your individual needs and concerns.

How Are Damages for Pain and Suffering Calculated?

Serving Personal Injury Victims and Getting Compensation for Damages in Trenton, Lawrence, Princeton, Hamilton, and Mercer County.

How Are Damages for Pain and Suffering Calculated?We can’t give strict rules or formulas to put a dollar value on the pain and suffering you endured in a personal injury case, but here are some guidelines for what an insurance company might consider.

If you were injured due to someone else’s carelessness, in most cases, you could seek compensation from that person’s insurance company by filing what’s known as a third-party claim.

This article will discuss the conditions under which an insurance company will compensate for pain and suffering and how these damages are calculated.

After you have established that the at-fault party, hereinafter called the “defendant,” is the person responsible for your injuries (in other words, “liable”), you will then need to present evidence of all the losses you sustained in the incident (called “damages”). The defendant’s insurance company should compensate you for your medical expenses as well as any wages you lost as a result of the defendant’s actions.

Besides, the insurance company should provide you with some compensation for your general “pain and suffering.” Let’s discuss when an insurance company will compensate for pain and suffering and how these kinds of damages are calculated.

First: What is “Pain and Suffering?”

This is a legal term that includes a host of injuries that a plaintiff may suffer in an accident. The term includes physical pain caused by an accident and physical discomfort resulting from necessary medical treatment. It also covers emotional and mental injuries such as fear, insomnia, grief, worry, inconvenience, and even the loss of life enjoyment.

Almost without exception, in an injury case, the plaintiff should recover some amount, sometimes small and sometimes very large.

An insurance company or a jury will look at both the type of injury you suffered and the nature of your medical treatment as two basic ways to determine the degree of pain and suffering you have endured.

If you’re in a car accident that results in $5,000 in damage to your car and $15,000 in medical bills, your “pain and suffering” damages are going to be significant. But if that same accident results in only $500 in medical bills (for x-rays that came back negative), your “pain and suffering” damages will likely be nominal.

Second: How Does an Insurance Company Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages?

No rule or law says how this must be done. But many plaintiffs’ attorneys use one of two methods for calculating pain and suffering. The first method is to multiply the plaintiff’s actual damages (medical bills and lost wages) by a factor between 1 and 5, depending on the severity of the injury. For example, if a plaintiff incurs $4,000 in medical bills related to a broken arm, he might multiply that by three and conclude that $12,000 represents a reasonable amount for pain and suffering.

The second method many plaintiffs’ attorneys use is a per diem (Latin for “per day”) approach. Under this method, a certain amount—perhaps $100—is given to every day from the day of the accident until the plaintiff reached maximum recovery.

Insurance companies are not under any obligation to use either of these two methods to calculate pain and suffering. Many insurers use computer programs to determine what settlement they should offer. These programs take into account the type of injury and the type of medical treatment the claimant sought.

For example, insurance companies usually give greater weight to a physician’s medical treatment than a chiropractor. Insurance companies also take into account the length of time the claimant sought treatment. If the treatment seems excessive for the type of injury, the insurance company will not include all of the treatment to calculate pain and suffering.

Third: How Do You Prove Pain and Suffering?

Third: How Do You Prove Pain and Suffering?Proof of this type of injury may take many forms. The more evidence you have to support your claim, the better chance you’ll have of recovering an amount you find satisfactory.

The extent of your injury and accompanying pain and suffering can be evidenced through documentation such as photographs. It can also be evidenced in personal journals that record your physical and emotional feelings. Documentation from friends and family is important. It can provide additional evidence of the way the particular injury has negatively impacted your life. Proof of treatment by a mental health professional is also helpful and necessary for forgeries such as increased anxiety, insomnia, or depression.

Fourth: How Do You Know What’s Fair?

How will you know if the offer an insurance company makes in the settlement is reasonable? A good approach is to use the multiplier method or the per diem method discussed above to get an estimated idea.

On top of that, you need to consider whether additional circumstances might influence that amount, either up or down. For example, if your injury left you with a permanent scar on your face, it would be reasonable to increase the amount of pain and suffering you consider to be fair. Conversely, a minor bump on the head that healed quickly probably will not be compensated for very much. Keep these factors in mind when evaluating whether the insurance company has reasonably and fairly valued your pain and suffering.

Contact a Trenton Personal Injury Lawyer Today

To learn more about proving and negotiating a personal injury claim, contact the experienced lawyers at The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson – at (609) 528-2596.

Was the Accident Caused by Snow or Ice or the Other Driver?

When an accident happens, and you file a personal injury suit, the other driver will often claim that it was the weather’s fault for the crash and not their own.

Was the Accident Caused by Snow or Ice or the Other Driver?However, unless the weather was perfect at the time of the crash, it can be seen in New Jersey courts as a contributor to a car accident.  And even when the weather is perfect, there are other factors, like the setting sun in the driver’s eyes or the lack of light on a dark street, that can influence a case. In reality, nearly all accidents are influenced by an exterior problem that made it more difficult—even slightly more difficult—to drive a vehicle.

However, that does not mean that every crash was avoidable or that every driver was without fault. Conditions like snow or ice do not excuse poor driving. Poor conditions like these actually require drivers to exercise even greater caution and be even more attentive. A good lawyer knows this and refuses to let a driver off the hook when they caused a crash that hurt you, even if they claim that bad weather was to blame.

How Do Car Accident Lawsuits Work?

Car accident lawsuits are actually a type of personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits are brought by people who have been hurt by someone else’s negligence and want to be compensated for their losses.
Personal injury claims must include each of the following four components:

1. The person they are suing owed them a legal duty to keep them safe or out of harm’s way.
2. That person did not uphold this legal duty.
3. This failure was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
4. The plaintiff was, in fact, hurt in the accident.

Driver’s Have a Legal Duty to Keep Others Safe

Anybody who drives a car owes a legal duty to drive reasonably safely for the conditions found on the road. Determining what constitutes “reasonable safe driving” in any given circumstance can be difficult. However, some basic guidelines obviously need to be followed, including:

• Driving at a speed that is neither too slow nor too fast.
• Obeying traffic laws.
• Keeping a safe distance from the car in front.
• Being attentive enough for potential hazards to avoid them before creating an accident.

Even in pristine driving conditions, determining whether someone was driving reasonably safely can be difficult. For example, if someone was going five miles per hour over the speed limit, but so was everyone else on the road, does that automatically make them unsafe? In many cases, it falls to the jury to decide whether a driver’s conduct on the road was reasonably safe or not.

How Does The Weather Influence a Driver’s Legal Duty To Keep Others Safe?

How Does The Weather Influence a Driver's Legal Duty To Keep Others Safe?A driver’s legal duty to keep others safe on the road has this important aspect: they must adapt to road conditions. Someone driving at the speed limit and staying two car lengths’ distance from the car in front of them would be driving reasonably safely when the sun is shining. But when the roads are icy and snowing, that probably won’t be safe enough. Instead, the road conditions require the driver to slow down even more and increase their following distance.

When the weather is bad and driving conditions poor, drivers are legally required to adapt to ensure others’ safety on the road. When they fail to adapt their driving technique to the conditions that they face, they can be held liable for the accidents they cause.

Poor Weather Does Not Take The Blame For Poor Driving

So, if you get hurt in a car accident in New Jersey, and the other driver claims they aren’t responsible because the weather was terrible, be assured that the weather does not automatically absolve them of their role in the crash. While the weather might have been horrible—icy roads, heavy rain, snow, or fog that reduced visibility, stiff gusts of wind that made it difficult to steer—drivers still have a legal responsibility to drive in a manner that is reasonably safe for those exact conditions. In other words, if the driver were driving the way he or she would in perfect conditions, then they were likely failing to uphold their responsibility to keep others safe.

In Sum, Bad Weather Demands Better Driving

When a potentially negligent driver tries to blame the weather for their role in a car accident that harmed you, it is often an attempt to avoid liability—that will fail. In summary, poor weather conditions actually require better and safer driving techniques than would have been necessary with nice weather.

Consult with Personal Injury Attorneys

The car accident and personal injury attorneys at The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson are accustomed to drivers claiming that the crash was the weather’s fault and not their own. But our attorneys can turn these claims back against them and use them to convince a jury that bad road conditions required the driver to drive even more safely than normal.

Using these legal tactics, we can fight for your interests, both in the courtroom with the jury and outside the courtroom with insurance companies.

With us fighting for you, you can be confident that everything will be done to ensure that you get the compensation that you need and deserve after the crash that hurt you.

Contact us at (609) 528-2596 in New Jersey if you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident and the other driver is blaming the weather.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in the State of New Jersey

Being caught operating a motor vehicle in New Jersey without insurance is no small problem.

Personal Injury Protection in the State of New JerseyThis is an issue that law enforcement, as well as other authorities, tend to take seriously. In fact, a first-time violation can mean a fine of between $300 and $1,000, community service, DMV surcharges of $250 for three years, and a mandatory license suspension of one year. Moreover, there are substantial court costs and fees that are required to be paid in addition to the penalties listed above.

Furthermore, a second offense is even more problematic with fines of up to $5000.00, a mandatory jail sentence of 14 days, 30 days community service, and a license suspension for two years.

The severity of these punishments is large because New Jersey is known as a “no-fault” state for auto insurance. Put simply; this means that should you be in a car accident, it is your auto insurance carrier that is responsible for paying certain damages from the accident, regardless of fault.  Even if the other driver is clearly at fault for the accident, your auto insurance pays for your medical bills. This is very different from at-fault states, where the at-fault driver is responsible for paying the other driver’s damages.

New Jersey State law N.J.S.A. 39:6A-1, also known as the “New Jersey Automobile Reparation Reform Act,” states that all New Jersey drivers must purchase Personal Injury Protection, otherwise known as “PIP.” This covers your medical bills if you’re injured in an accident. A PIP policy pays for you or other persons covered under your policy that is injured in an auto accident. It is commonly referred to as ‘no-fault’ coverage because it pays your own medical expenses no matter who caused the auto accident.

Critical details that you need to know about a PIP policy

PIP policy coverage is most commonly broken down into two parts: 1) the first part covers medical treatment received from doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers and medical equipment. This can be the most important aspect of a policy. In a serious accident where an injury occurs, medical expenses can be far greater than property damage, both financially and emotionally. The second part of PIP coverage is designed to reimburse you for lost wages as well as money spent on someone to help care for your home or family while you were incapacitated.

Furthermore, it is common that your PIP policy contains Bodily Injury Liability Coverage. This coverage will pay for claims made by others who may have been injured or killed due to your negligence behind the wheel.

It is normal that when purchasing your auto insurance policy, you will have the ability to choose how much PIP coverage you would like. Though the standard is $250,000, you can adjust it to carry a higher or lower amount of coverage. Given that none of us can see the future, it is usually recommended to err on the side of caution and carry as much PIP coverage as you can afford.

Get in Touch with Trenton NJ Personal Injuries Lawyers TodayIt is also possible for your PIP to be primary or your health insurance policy though it likely that your insurance company will advise you not to put PIP as primary, being that they charge higher rates for having PIP as primary. However, despite the extra expense having a PIP as primary is often a better choice in the long run because if you are injured in an accident, you may want to have access to those funds to cover medical costs.

If you do not choose to have PIP as primary, you will not have access to that coverage regardless of the level of coverage you chose. Paying extra for additional PIP coverage above the $250,000 standard will not matter if it is not primary. Moreover, if you choose to pursue a personal injury claim following your car accident, the health insurance company can then place liens on your settlement demanding reimbursement for the costs they covered PIP would have covered that if you utilized your health insurance coverage rather than the auto policy.

Get in Touch with Trenton NJ Personal Injuries Lawyers Today

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, our experienced team of personal injury lawyers has zealously represented clients in  Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and the greater Mercer County area in all aspects of automobile and insurance claims.

To schedule a confidential consultation with our firm today to discuss your claim, please contact us online or through our Trenton office at 609.528.2596. We look forward to working with you.