Top Not So Terrifying Tips for Halloween: Driving, Pedestrian Safety & Premises Liability

As a kick-off to the end of the year seasonal fun, Halloween is a treat for costumed children eager to stock up on tasty sweets and families hoping to share the holiday fun with their neighbors and other community members.

Top Not So Terrifying Tips for Halloween in NJ: Driving, Pedestrian Safety & Premises LiabilityWhile children will focus on the excitement, compare costumes, and fun of the day, parents and caregivers will need to be extra vigilant about speeding or negligent and distracted drivers on the road, to ensure the evening ends as a happy and safe holiday for everyone, motorists included. Although this year some families may opt for fewer trick-or-treating hours, avoiding going in large groups or staying closer to home due to COVID-19 fears, fewer costumed children on the streets may make it easier for motorists to keep an eye out for especially little children darting into the street, crossing through parking lots, stopping suddenly in the street to pick up dropped items or walking unsupervised in small groups along the streets.

Halloween has been referred to as the ‘perfect storm’ of risk, because of the limited visibility as a result of darkness or poorly lit streets, significant pedestrian traffic, and various other distractions. According to 42 years of data examined by the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics the risk of pedestrian fatalities is roughly 43% higher on Halloween. As compared to other times of the year, the most significant risk and the increase was among children ages 4-8 years, where there was a 10-fold increase in Halloween pedestrian fatalities.

The New Jersey State Police listed the top factors in fatal pedestrian accidents as distracted driving, impaired driving, and speed. Between January 1 to October 6, 2021, more than 141 pedestrians have been killed in accidents with motor vehicles. According to recent NHTSA data, that is a 13.1% increase in pedestrian fatalities over this time in 2020.

If you or a loved one was recently hit and injured or killed by a vehicle, you may be able to file a pedestrian accident injury or wrongful death claim against that vehicle’s driver. At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson (KCR), our dependable lawyers have decades of experience handling personal injury claims for clients across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We know how difficult these cases are, and we do our best to provide compassionate and thorough legal representation for the family of the victim. When someone is killed, he or she leaves behind a huge emotional gap, and our job is to get fair compensation from the responsible parties to allow the family to heal and to provide for their future.

Typical Accident Injuries Which Make Halloween Dangerous For Children and Adults

Common accidents and injuries that occur on Halloween are:

How Pedestrians Can Avoid Being Injured While Trick-or-Treating During Halloween in New Jersey

In accordance with NJ Rev Statute 39:4-36 and Title 75, Chapter 35 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk. On Halloween, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that pedestrians:

  • Halloween Pedestrian Accidents in New Jerseyfollow the rules of the road and intersections, crossing only at the corner and observing traffic signals
  • make sure traffic has stopped or passed by before stepping into the street
  • walk on the sidewalk if one is available and walk as far to the side as safely possible facing traffic if there isn’t
  • wear light or brightly colored costumes that are clearly visible to motorists
  • wear sturdy shoes which fit properly
  • make sure costumes are short enough to prevent one from tripping or falling over
  • trim or decorate the moving parts of the costumes (arms, legs, feet) and treat bags/candy containers with reflective tape which will glow or strongly reflect in the beam of a car’s headlights
  • carry a flashlight or strobe light to aid motorists in detecting, identifying, and reacting to them

With pedestrians over 21, for whom alcohol may play a role in their Halloween festivities and impair judgment, balance, and reaction time, it is recommended that they create a “buddy system” and plan a way to get home safely (i.e., designated driver, rideshare, arrange a safe spot to be picked up, etc).

8 Things Motorists Can Do To Make the Roads Safer For Halloween Pedestrians in NJ

A USDOT review of Pedestrian Safety Research in the US and Abroad stated that parents overestimate their children’s ability to handle street crossings in terms of what they know and how well they will perform. This study cited earlier research that indicated that roughly 75 percent of child pedestrian-related automobile accidents occurred at non-intersection locations, and that number increased to 85-90% among children under 5; who were most likely to run into the street at midblock locations.

The other group highest at risk during Halloween according to the NHTSA, are younger drivers (21-34 years old), who are often inattentive, drowsy, and accounted for nearly half of all deaths in drunk-driving/DWI crashes on Halloween night.

With this in mind, during the early evening and late hours of Halloween, drivers should:

  • be prepared to stop for children crossing the streets even if they’re not at an intersection
  • drive below the speed limit in residential areas to give themselves more time to react
  • reduce or eliminate audio distractions like the radio or the telephone
  • exercise extreme caution when entering or exiting driveways, alleys, driving into a parking lot, backing out, or turning
  • contact law enforcement personnel if they see an impaired, drunk, or injured person on the road
  • keep their windows and side mirrors clean
  • make sure their headlights are on and properly functioning
  • not drink and drive.

Avoiding Liability on Mischief Night Or Halloween: Duty of Care for Trick-or-Treaters

Halloween and Premises Liability attorneys, Trenton NJ As a homeowner or landlord, you may find yourself liable if any injuries or accidents are caused by the condition of your property. As such you have a duty of care to make your property, walkways, or premises are reasonably safe for trick-or-treaters and even those who may trespass onto your property.

Either because of decorations or signage on your property which can be seen as an invitation, “premises liability” means you are legally liable for the safety of any “guests” injured on your property. Since your “guests” expect your property to be reasonably safe, if they are injured by a dangerous condition on your property that you knew or should have known about, and you failed to remedy or warn of them of, you could be held liable for damages.

As such, if a trick-or-treater or an adult supervising them slips, trips, or falls on your property, your bodily injury liability coverage may be sufficient. So, to improve your home’s safety and reduce your premises liability:

  • be mindful of the type of decorations you have and where they are placed
  • use battery-powered light sources for decorations
  • avoid dry combustible materials like corn husks
  • keep all entrances and exits free from obstructions
  • keep pets away from the front door, as unknown sounds or sights can overwhelm them
  • make sure the external area of the property is properly lit so children and adults can see the path to and from your door or container of treats, and
  • even if you’re not participating in trick-or-treating, turn off the exterior lighting and keep all walkways clear so children who may still knock at your door, may safely enter and exit your property.

NOTE: In cases of Mischief Night mayhem, most basic homeowners’ policies cover damages to your home caused by vandalism.

What To Do If You are Injured on Residential or Commercial Property During Halloween

  • seek medical attention as soon as possible
  • use your mobile phone to photograph and accurately document the scene and any conditions (i.e., decorations, lighting, etc) that contributed to the injury accident
  • collect the names and contact details of any witnesses
  • inform the homeowner, landlord, or property manager of your injury but limit discussions that could verbally or physically escalate the incident
  • contact an experienced personal injury accident attorney
  • DO NOT sign any liability waivers or medical release forms prior to consulting an attorney

Our attorneys at KCR can assist in alleviating your stress by dealing with the insurance companies so you can focus on getting better and getting the help you need. If you have been injured, contact our firm to discuss your case and representation for your personal injury claim.

Consult our Personal Injury Accident Lawyers in Trenton or East Brunswick Today

At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our dependable and compassionate lawyers have more than 40 years of experience handling pedestrian, auto accidents, and personal injury claims for clients across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We understand the nuances of each state’s traffic and liability laws and are well-informed about pertinent changes thereto. If you trick-or-treat in the streets of Titusville, Pennington, Fairless Hills, Newtown, Hopewell, Princeton, or Florence and need our services, don’t be scared and contact us.

Our resourceful attorneys are poised to prepare and pursue maximum compensation for your injuries on Halloween or any other day of the year if someone else is responsible. We have decades of experience handling personal injury lawsuits on behalf of the injured and their loved ones, as we passionately commit ourselves to advocating for clients every step of the way and navigating the pitfalls of these complex legal matters. Contact us online or by phone today at (609) 528-2596 from New Jersey or (215) 337-4915 to arrange a consultation with an experienced Pennsylvania and New Jersey personal injury lawyer.

As always, we take the majority of cases on contingency. This means, if we don’t win, you don’t pay.

Why A Dog Bite Can Be More Costly Than You Think

Dog bites and attacks can lead to significant injury; injuries that affect you medically, financially, and legally.

Why A Dog Bite Can Be More Costly Than You ThinkThe saying that “a dog is a man’s best friend” has been true. Dogs of various breeds provide love and companionship to millions of New Jerseys’ residence. Due to the sheer number of pets and the fact that not all owners take proper precautions with their animals, dog attacks are not uncommon in our neighborhoods. In fact, nationwide some 4.7 million Americans being bitten by dogs each year.

An insurance industry report found that in 2018, the average cost of dog bite claims nationwide was $39,017. Another study found that a dog bite can lead to a hospital stay that costs an average of $18,200. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year with the highest number of incidents being for those 5-9 years old. Over half of dog-bite injuries occur at home with dogs that are familiar to us.

One of the reasons pet bites can be costly is that often they require professional medical care.

Common Injuries Associated with Dog Bites

Contrary to popular belief, there are many injuries that can result from a dog bite that can vary greatly in severity. Some common injuries due to dog bites include:

  • Puncture wounds – This is the type of injury most think of when it comes to dog bites. A puncture wound is a deep vertical wound usually caused by animal teeth, nails, or other long, sharp objects. Though they do not bleed much, they are more prone to infection than other open wounds given the profundity of the insertion. It is important to seek medical attention immediately when it comes to puncture wounds as they may be more severe than they appear.
  • Scrapes and lacerations – Put simply. a laceration is a wound produced by the tearing of soft tissue at the surface of the body. This type of wound is often uneven and can trap bacteria.
  • Broken bones – Though not often thought of when it comes to animal attacks, dog bites can cause broken bones especially in small children according to the National Institutes of Health. Moreover, broken bones can result from falls that are the result of a person falling to the ground during a dog or animal attack.
  • Head injuries – Unfortunately, multiple types of head injuries can occur as a result of a dog bite. These can be the result of actual injuries inflicted by the animal or as a result of falling during the attack. These include a fractured skull, broken nose, fractured jawbone, and others.
  • Common Injuries Associated with Dog BitesNeck injuries – Some 68 percent of dog bites affected children under the age of five in the study, a startling 80 percent of severe dog bites in children involved the head and neck.
  • Nerve damage – According to the Mayo Clinic, peripheral nerves link your brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body. These are the nerves most often damaged by a dog bite, as they are fragile and easily damaged, interrupting communication between the brain and the muscles and organs; injury to peripheral nerves is called peripheral neuropathy.
  • Rabies – Though the cases of rabies are rare since vaccination in domesticated animals like dogs has increased, cases of rabies do occur as a result of dogs coming into contact with bats or raccoons. An infected dog can pass this disease on to a person.
  • Emotional Effects – Though scars may disappear after a dog bite, the emotional effects of the event can linger. Long-term fear around dogs, increased anxiety, insomnia, and hysteria have all been reported following a dog attack; and in some cases, victims of dog bites have been treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

Liability in Dog bite claims and Homeowner’s insurance

In cases of a dog bite, the owner of the dog is almost always held as the responsible party. Given that at least half of dog bites occur in homes, many may be hesitant to seek restitution especially if the attack occurs in the home of a friend or family member. However, it is important to know that most homeowner insurance police do cover dog bites and other types of animal attacks. In fact, homeowner’s insurers paid out $675 million in liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries in 2018, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III) and State Farm.

An analysis of homeowner’s insurance data by the III found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide decreased to 17,297 in 2018 from 18,522 in 2017 – a 6.6% decrease.

Contact our Trenton Dog Bite Injury Strict Liability Attorneys TodayThe average cost per claim increased by 5.3 percent in 2018. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims nationwide was $39,017 up from $37,051 in 2017. The average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 103% from 2003 to 2018, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which are trending upwards.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog attack it is important to contact a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer in order to get all the facts and become aware of your rights.

Contact our Trenton Dog Bite Injury Strict Liability Attorneys Today

At Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, our team of attorneys is experienced in supporting all types of victims of dog attacks clients across towns like Trenton, Princeton, Lawrence, Hamilton, New Brunswick, and all of Central New Jersey in filing their injury claims.

To discuss your dog bite accident and your potential for financial compensation through a personal injury claim, please contact us online or call our Trenton, NJ offices by dialing (609) 528-2596 today for a free and confidential consultation.

What Settlement Offer Can I Expect for Pain and Suffering?

Personal Injury claims seek to recover compensation for three main factors; the victim’s medical expenses lost income and wages, and their pain and suffering.

What Settlement Offer Can I Expect for Pain and Suffering?For short-term injuries such as a broken arm, calculating your medical expenses and lost income can be fairly straightforward. Simply add up the costs of your medical bills, and the amount of time you have missed from work multiplied by your expected salary, and you have a pretty accurate idea of how much compensation to seek and expect in these areas.

For more serious injuries with longer-lasting consequences, calculating medical expenses and lost income becomes a bit more difficult, and is an area where having an experienced Mercer County personal injury attorney to assist you can be of great benefit. Not only will you wish to recover compensation for your medical expenses to-date, but serious injuries often require on-going medical treatment and rehabilitation which will need to be accurately estimated, something your attorney will have experience doing. The same goes for lost income, if your injuries prevent you from continuing in your previous line of employment, you will need to calculate exactly how much you may have earned given a lifetime of employment, including bonuses and promotions.

How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Pain and Suffering Compensation?

When it comes to pain and suffering however, calculations become quite a bit vaguer. How does one express exactly the pain their injuries have caused them, and then translate those feelings into a monetary number? Most insurance companies use a similar method when calculating what to offer in terms of pain and suffering for a given injury, and while you and your Mercer County injury lawyer may not immediately accept that offer, it is important to understand how the insurance company is arriving at that number, or what kind of offer you should expect for a given injury.

When it comes to pain and suffering, insurance companies will make their compensation offer based on whether or not the injury in question was a soft-tissue injury or a hard injury.

Soft Tissue Injury Compensation Mercer County Personal Injury Lawsuits

Soft tissue injuries are generally less severe, non-life-threatening, and not permanent. Common examples of soft tissue injuries are bruises, strains, and sprains. While certainly these injuries can be more painful for some people than others or cause more difficulty in some lives than others, insurance companies generally will offer between one to three times the value of your medical expenses like pain and suffering compensation.

Hard Injury Compensation Trenton Injury Attorneys

Hard injuries are generally much more serious injuries than soft tissue injuries. Hard injuries often require invasive methods to assess and treat, and can often cause long-term or permanent difficulties and pain to the victim. Some common hard injuries are broken bones, serious wounds that require transfusion or stitching, head, and brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries.

Due to the more serious nature of hard injuries, and the greater level of medical attention required, insurance companies will usually offer somewhere between four to five times the value of medical expenses as pain and suffering compensation.

Recovering Pain and Suffering Damages in a Personal Injury Case NJ

Recovering Pain and Suffering Damages in a Personal Injury Case NJWhile insurance companies do have these rough guidelines for offering pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases, in order to recover the compensation you need and deserve it is important to retain the counsel of an experienced Mercer County personal injury attorney. Many times insurance companies will try to devalue the full extent of the nature of your injuries, claim you were partially responsible and as such not entitled to full compensation, or even dispute the connection between your accident and the injuries you have suffered. An experienced personal injury attorney will understand how to combat these various tactics, and present a strong case on your behalf backed by expert consultants, detailed investigation and research, and effective presentation to courts and juries alike.

Contact Our Mercer County Personal Injury Attorneys Today

At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our personal injury attorneys have a history of success when it comes to helping clients injured in accidents across Princeton, Trenton, Hamilton, Lawrence, and the greater Mercer County area.

Our goal in any personal injury case is to provide personal and attentive service to our clients, and secure them the compensation they need and deserve for injuries resulting from car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, construction accidents, slip and falls, ladder and scaffolding accidents, and more.

If you have been injured as the result of the reckless or negligent actions of another, contact our firm today to discuss your options in a free and confidential consultation. To schedule your consultation, please contact us online. or through our Trenton, NJ office at 609.528.2596.

How does the litigation process work?

Personal Injury Attorneys Litigating for clients in Princeton, Ewing, Hamilton, Pennington, East Brunswick and across Mercer  and Middlesex County, NJ

The term litigation refers to the process of a lawsuit.  In personal injury cases, people contemplating a lawsuit often ask how the litigation process works.  Litigation involves filing a complaint, obtaining and exchanging discovery, and eventually ends in a trial.

Gathering information about your potential suit

How does the litigation process work?

Initially, when you are injured, medical treatment is sought and you follow the doctor’s recommended plan of care.  At some point thereafter, you may begin to think about who was at fault in causing your injuries and, as a result, you seek the advice of an attorney.

The attorney you choose to have an initial consultation with should have experience in personal injury matters.  KCR has extensive experience in personal injury cases and will guide you through the appointment.  We ask questions and gather information.  For example, if you have been in a car accident, we request that you bring the police/accident report, medical records, and car insurance information and findings.  Additionally, we inquire about your lifestyle, work, disabilities, wages, and overall social-emotional health.

At the end of the appointment, you may be left with the decision to file suit against the responsible person to collect any damages sustained as a result of his or her negligence.

Filing a lawsuit

Filing a lawsuit is something that our office does on your behalf.  You, as the injured party seeking recovery, are known as the Plaintiff.  The plaintiff files the complaint against the person he believes is responsible (referred to as the Defendant).  The complaint sets forth the facts that lead to the injury and how the Defendant is alleged to be responsible for the injuries.  More importantly, the complaint requests damages for your losses.

Discovery Process and Interrogatories

The complaint is then served on the Defendant.  The attorney representing the Defendant files an answer to the complaint, denies the allegations and can file a cross-complaint as well.   After the complaints and answers are filed with the court, a discovery schedule is set forth.  The discovery period allows both parties to request and gather more information pertaining to the case.

MediationDiscovery is generally anything, whether written or oral, that pertains to the case.  For instance, attorneys will request answers to interrogatories and ask that supporting documentation be provided.  The interrogatories are a series of questions relating to insurance, the injuries, medical records, financial losses, treatment, and the accident.  Additionally, the attorneys will schedule depositions during which they can ask questions of any person they subpoena.  After all of the information is exchanged, and all motions are litigated, the parties may negotiate with or without mediation or, schedule a trial for a future date.

Mediation

Often, before a trial takes place, the parties agree to go to mediation or arbitration. A mediator is a neutral party that attempts to resolve the dispute between the Plaintiff and the Defendant.  Often, a settlement can be reached during mediation and the case does not go to trial.  Settling means that you agree to forego a trial and accept the payment offered by the Defendant and his insurance company.  While a large majority of cases settle, there are some cases that must be fully litigated and end in a trial.

Trial

If the case does not settle, a trial will be conducted in which jurors make the determination as to who is at fault and what damages may be due.  During the trial, your attorney will present witnesses, cross-examine defense witnesses, and attempt to prove that the defendant is responsible for your injuries.  Moreover, the attorney will put forth information and proof as to your actual damages and request for financial recovery.  If successful, the jury will award damages payable to you.  Of course, prior to a trial, you will choose the attorney that is right for you.

Retaining an Attorney

Contact a Personal Injury attorney at KCRMost personal injury attorneys are paid for by contingency.  This means that they recoup their fees based upon a percentage of your award.  For example, if your attorney provides a retainer agreement that says that his fee is 33%, he will deduct that amount from your overall award.  Essentially, with our firm, you have nothing to lose by scheduling a consultation as it costs nothing.  On the other hand, doing nothing and ignoring your injuries can cost you a lot. You can protect yourself by scheduling an appointment with us today.

Contact a Personal Injury attorney at KCR to help walk you through the intricacies of the litigation process

The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson has proven experience handling all issues related to litigation processes.

You can fill out the online contact form to schedule a meeting at our offices in Trenton or East Brunswick, New Jersey or contact our Mercer or Middlesex County offices today at (215) 337-4915 to learn more about how our experienced Personal Injury team can assist you.

Liability Waivers and Injury Compensation

Liability Waivers protect Companies from being sued in Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, Mercer County and across Central NJ

Liability Waivers and Injury CompensationNormally, if you are injured due to the reckless or negligent actions of another party in incidents such as auto accidents, trucks accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, ladder or scaffolding accidents, or any other kind of accident, you are entitled to seek compensation through a personal injury claim.

However, many companies and services are now requiring customers to sign “liability waivers”. Liability waivers protect these companies from many incidents of negligence, and can prevent parties injured while partaking in their services from pursuing injury claims. Furthermore, those same businesses can legally deny their services to anyone who does not sign their liability waiver.

Liability waivers are especially common in places like gyms, fitness centers, adventure tours, and other recreational events, and these places all have the potential to cause serious injury. So, can you still seek compensation for your injuries in Mercer County even though you have signed a liability waiver? There are two specific scenarios when this may still be possible, let’s take a look.

Unreasonable Liability Waivers and Mercer County Injury Claims

The first situation in which it may still be possible to recover compensation for your injuries even though you have signed a liability waiver is when the liability waiver you signed is considered by a judge to be “ambiguous” or “unreasonable”. This means that most people who actually read the liability waiver would not reasonably be able to understand its terms, or its legal implications, due to its extremely unclear writing.

Unfortunately, as more case law develops regarding liability waivers and their legibility and validity, most businesses are borrowing legal language from other liability waivers which have stood up to this exact legal scrutiny in past cases. As most liability waivers tend to be fairly similar in the terms that they outline, it is easy for places like gyms and fitness centers to borrow legally sound language from other liability waivers, and stay protected from liability in this manner.

If you have been injured on a premises or partaking in a service for which you have signed a liability waiver, contact our Mercer County injury firm to discuss whether or not the liability waiver you have signed may be considered unreasonable or ambiguous.

Gross Negligence, Mercer County Accident and Injury Lawyers

The second scenario in which it may still be possible to recover compensation for your injuries even though you have signed a liability waiver is in the case that the negligence which caused your injuries is considered “gross negligence”.

In legal terms, there are two specific types of negligence possible in a personal injury case, “ordinary negligence” and “gross negligence”. Ordinary negligence refers to accidents or incidents or injury wherein the liable party “forgot”, “overlooked”, or “failed to notice”. Liability waivers protect businesses and services from all incidents of ordinary negligence, so if your injuries were due to ordinary negligence, your case will most likely be summarily dismissed by the judge.

However, liability waivers cannot legally protect those same businesses and services from incidents of gross negligence. Gross negligence refers to when those services or their employees made conscious decisions to ignore their legal responsibilities to ensure the safety of their customers, all the while knowing that doing so would most likely lead to injury. A perfect example of gross negligence would be when a gym and its employees are repeatedly notified about a safety hazard such as a malfunctioning workout machine, but take no steps to correct the hazard, or restrict access to it. In this example, those actions could be considered gross negligence, and still allow for the injured party to seek compensation through a Mercer County personal injury claim.

Contact Our Injury and Liability Waiver Attorneys in Mercer County Today

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, our attorneys have been helping clients across Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, Mercer County, and throughout New Jersey to recover compensation in personal injury lawsuits of all kinds since 1972.

Insurance companies across the state respect the legal service we are capable of providing to each of our clients, and, as such, tend to deal much more fairly with us than they would otherwise. By focusing primarily on personal injury and workers’ compensation law, our firm is capable of providing the knowledgeable, effective, and tenacious representation that you need and deserve in any situation involving an accident and injury.

To speak with our firm today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your accident, your injuries, and your options for recovering compensation even though you may have signed a liability waiver, please contact us online, or through our Trenton, NJ office at (609) 528-2596.