Impact of COVID-19 on Personal Injury Cases in NJ

Though businesses and life, in general, are opening up lately, COVID-19 will have long-lasting effects on the courts and all the entities involved in a personal injury claim.

Impact of COVID-19 on Personal Injury Cases in NJIf you’ve been harmed in a car accident, in a slip and fall in a grocery store, or in any other circumstance where some other person or entity caused you injury on their property or anywhere else in New Jersey, you have the right to seek compensation for the medical bills, pain, and suffering that you endure by filing a personal injury claim.

There are some aspects of the courts, insurance companies, and businesses that have changed because of COVID-19, and that you need to be aware of under the unique circumstances. Know what to expect as you pursue your claim.

Is There a Limitation on When I Can File My Claim?

First and foremost, you need to be aware that the clock is ticking. You do not have unlimited time to file your claim.

Every state in the U.S. places a limit on how much time you can take to file a personal injury claim. The law that places this limit is known as a statute of limitations.

New Jersey’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases allows a person injured by a person or an entity two years to file a claim. Generally, the clock on that claim starts ticking on the day of the accident.

Though you may want to wait to collect all the doctor’s bills that accrue because of your injury, you must also keep in mind that if you don’t get your claim filed before two years is up, the courts will probably refuse to put your case on the docket. Your ability to gain compensation for your pain, suffering, and lost wages will, most likely, be lost unless there is an unusual circumstance that the court believes extends the deadline.

Don’t wait to file your claim because of COVID-19.

And don’t wait to file your claim because you feel that you don’t have enough money to pay legal fees. Remember that personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. They only get paid if the case is won.

My Personal Injury Case

Even during the height of the pandemic, when people mostly stayed home, there were still car accidents and slips and falls at grocery stores. Now that the economy and businesses are opening up, it’s unfortunate but likely that even more of these incidents will occur.

Pandemic or not, if you’ve suffered an injury that is not your fault, there are a few principles that you should follow:

·        Take pictures early on and steadily thereafter.

·        Keep a pain log daily that will document all that you endured.

·        Get a medical evaluation immediately. Go to all your medical appointments.

·        Documentation is key. It greatly improves your odds of getting compensation.

·        Never speak with any person from the insurance company, including adjusters, before speaking to a personal injury lawyer.

How Does the Pandemic Affect My Case?

How Does the Pandemic Affect My Case?Even though restrictions have eased, COVID-19 is still having a profound effect on personal injury claims in four broad areas:

Insurance companies.

They are worried about lower profits because of the pandemic, and they are aggressive in reducing settlements. They may try to take advantage of the fact that people might be more desperate because of lost wages due to the pandemic, and they are likely to low-ball their first offer. People should not just leap at the first offer from an insurer because it probably won’t reimburse them for medical bills, pain and suffering. As both sides dig in, more personal injury cases may wind up before a judge than usual.

Businesses.

Due to COVID-19, more businesses than usual are filing for bankruptcy. This means that compensation you might have been able to gain from them will be reduced to pennies on the dollar.

Courts.

New Jersey courts shut down and moved all proceedings onto technology platforms like Zoom because of COVID-19. Courts in New Jersey began to open up on June 22, 2021, but many hearings and procedures are still being conducted online. This means that personal injury cases might not be settled as quickly as they would in normal circumstances. Most PI cases get settled before trial, but many cases get at least one hearing in court, at least before a settlement is reached. Expect delays in getting your case settled.

Uninsured drivers.

Due to financial hardship during COVID-19, some drivers may have stopped paying for car insurance. This may complicate things for the victim of a car accident since they can’t be compensated by the driver’s insurance company. The victim may need to pursue compensation via the uninsured/underinsured driver policy through their insurer. A victim needs to be mindful that, in this instance, their insurer becomes an adversary and will resist paying. This kind of claim may be highly contested; the help of an attorney may be essential.

Don´t hesitate in contacting our Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you feel that you have the potential for a personal injury claim, please call Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson today. Our capable personal injury lawyers can fight for you with the insurance companies trying to take advantage of people in desperate straits because of COVID-19. You will need the guidance of experienced attorneys to get the best possible settlement for you and your family.

You can reach us at 609-528-2596 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your individual needs and concerns.

How Long Will It Take to Get a Settlement Check After A Personal Injury Accident in NJ?

So you agreed to a personal injury settlement, now how long do you have to wait for the payment to actually come?

How Long Will It Take to Get a Settlement Check After A Personal Injury Accident in NJ?

If you or someone close to you were the victim of someone’s negligence or has suffered a traumatic personal injury, there is no doubt some anxiousness about when you can get your settlement check to get the compensation you deserve and move on with rebuilding your life. As you patiently await the finalization of your claim, your bills and related medical expenses may be causing additional stress and uncertainty, and you may be tempted to take the insurance company’s quick settlement offer. Having an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side who can protect your rights, negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf, and help expedite your compensation for losses and your pain and suffering, is invaluable.

The personal injury lawyers at Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson will collect and organize all the available evidence to support your claim, including medical records of your injuries and necessary treatment, an analysis of the circumstances that preceded the event, and any photographic or video documentation of the incident. By constructing a compelling argument on your behalf, we diligently work towards obtaining just compensation for you or your loved one. No matter what personal injury case has negatively impacted you and those you love, costing you time, money, and the intangible emotional and physical trauma of the accident, you can place your trust in our talented team of personal injury lawyers who can help.

Contact our Trenton and Pennington, New Jersey offices at (609) 528-2596 to discuss your case with a member of our personal injury legal team at no cost. As always, we take the majority of cases on contingency. This means, if we don’t win, you don’t pay.

Four Steps You Can Expect Before You Receive Your Princeton, NJ Injury Settlement Check

Before any checks are issued:

  1. The defendant’s insurance company will ask you to sign a release stating you will not seek future legal action against them about this particular personal or accident injury case. This means that the settlement you accept (and decide not to pursue a trial of some kind) needs to fully and fairly cover all of your damages, both present, and future.
  2. Then there is the waiting period in which the insurance company processes the release form, which depending on the amount, can be fairly quick or a longer process intended to wear you down into accepting less than you deserve.
  3. After the insurance company issues a check, your attorney will deposit the check in an escrow or trust account and pay off any existing liens (i.e., child support), creditors, medical provider, or related unpaid expenses.
  4. Later, after the deduction of your legal fees (which may be a percentage of your settlement or an hourly fee plus expenses) and other costs such as for expert witnesses, investigators, depositions, court fees, or taxes, you can expect to receive a settlement check in the mail with a final legal fee statement and a copy of the final settlement agreement; which you signed after settlement negotiations.

Even if the liability seems straightforward, it can take up to six weeks or longer to receive an accident injury settlement check if the case is complex or the insurer tries to delay the process.

At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson (KCR), our team of personal injury attorneys has both experienced trial attorneys and skilled negotiators who are committed to securing you the maximum compensation you need and deserve, while also remaining attuned to your immediate financial needs and concerns. We fight tirelessly throughout the legal process of your claim, while staying focused on the timeline so that we do everything we can to avoid unanticipated delays in you receiving payment from the negligent party or parties. We are prepared to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf and, if necessary, fight for you in court.

Top 6 Reasons Why Your Mercer County, NJ Personal Injury Settlement Is Delayed

Circumstances differ depending on the unique elements of your case. Although it’s fairly common for delays to occur if you’re waiting to receive your personal injury settlement, there are multiple reasons why this could be taking longer than expected.

It could be something as simple as the other party not signing off on their release form. If an estate or multiple parties are being sued for damages, sorting out the particulars could take longer, as it could require additional preparation or more paperwork.

Here are six (6) common reasons why your personal injury settlement may take longer:

  • legal or factual problems related to the case,
  • dispute determining liability,
  • severity of the injuries,
  • injury victim is still being treated for accident-related injuries,
  • the case involves a large sum of money, or
  • the case is going to trial.

Top 6 Reasons Why Your Mercer County, NJ Personal Injury Settlement Is DelayedSometimes choosing mediation, a less contentious and time-consuming option, might be more appropriate for finding a middle-ground resolution for your accident injury claim. In other situations, the insurer might offer you a pre-litigation settlement to avoid the risk of a large jury-awarded settlement. Either way, to properly prepare for the long haul, consult a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can advise you on what to expect, help navigate delays, and help accurately determine how much you should be seeking in terms of medical expenses, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering.

If you or someone you love has suffered an accident injury, or wrongful death and you suspect that another party is responsible, contact us online or at our offices in Trenton or Pennington at (609) 528-2596 today to schedule a cost-free initial consultation. We also provide representation for injured victims and families in Pennsylvania.

Contact Our Trenton, NJ Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys Today

Whether it’s a personal injury or workers’ compensation-related matter, Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson is here for you. Our accomplished team of attorneys has a proven record of success in helping injured people and their families obtain fair and just compensation for their losses as soon as possible.

We understand the hardships you face – medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering, insurance companies that say “no” – and will work with you personally to help you through the legal process. We provide knowledgeable guidance and strong advocacy for clients throughout Mercer, Burlington, Middlesex, and Somerset counties and across all of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We abide by a contingency model, which essentially means that we work for you for free until you receive compensation.

There are strict time deadlines or statutes of limitations on filing claims, so it is in your best interest to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file your claim in a timely manner, or you will lose any right to recovery.

Contact us online or through our Trenton, NJ office at (609) 528-2596 today to speak with our legal team regarding your accident, injuries, and how we can help you and your family to recover fully and fairly compensation through a settlement or a trial verdict.

Slip and Fall Cases and The Burden Of Proof in NJ

You are entitled to seek the professional advice of a personal injury lawyer to help you present the most compelling evidence in your slip and fall case.

Burden of Proof for a Slip and Fall Case in NJCollecting a sufficient amount of evidence to meet the burden of proof for a slip and fall incident may be one of the most complicated steps for this type of case. It involves proving that the business owner neglected to correct any abnormality in their establishment that could lead to an incident. Also, the claimant needs to prove that the slip and fall actually took place in the particular business location they are identifying.

Crucial Elements to Build a Slip and Fall Negligence Claim

Three crucial elements need to be evaluated on a slip and fall case to deem it a valid negligence claim, following the same legal procedure as any other negligence case. The elements that truly combine to form a slip and fall claim are as follows:

Duty

A concept that recognizes a party’s contractual responsibility to another party, meaning the business owner is obligated to a legal duty of care, offers a safe environment to his customers, thus preventing any slip and fall incidents.

Breach of duty

It takes place when one of the involved parties in a case fails to comply with their duty of care towards the other party. Referring back to the slip and fall case, the business owner would have breached their duty of care towards the clients or claimants when an unsafe environment was known to be present and minimal warning was given to the buyers. For example, floors were cleaned and mopped, but no appropriate signaling was placed on warning of wet and slippery surfaces.

Causation

It is defined as the action from which the specific injury or incident occurred, thus holding a party liable for it. It usually is reserved for wrongful death cases, where the court must have the ability to determine a reasonable cause due to which the defendant’s breach of duty directly resulted in the death of the other party. Additionally, the court must also prove that the business owner is truly negligent and did not prevent the incident.

For example, going back to the slip and fall case, the business owner would have also failed to request a warning signal or demand to clean the surface, even after being aware of the wet and slippery floor. Therefore the burden of proof lies on the complainant’s ability to collect sufficient evidence and witnesses, attesting to his version of the facts, to receive damages for any personal injuries sustained due to a trip, slip, and fall event leading to serious injuries.

Obtaining Injury Compensation Does Not Need To Be Frustrating

Obtaining Injury Compensation Does Not Need To Be FrustratingBack in 1996, a popular case in the New Jersey Supreme Court, titled Wollerman v. Grand Union Stores, forced a change in how obtaining personal injury compensation is perceived, that is, not necessarily a frustrating ordeal. The Wollerman Rule states that some stores or businesses are more prone to be risky environments for their visitors based on the very nature of the manner in which they conduct business. In other words, more interactions and the type of interactions that occur in the particular type of business make accidents more of a likelihood than in others. A grocery store, for example, selling produce (vegetables and fruits) in open bins may have to keep a closer eye on produce falling to the floor, thus increasing the possibility of slips. The business is then responsible for implementing a client safety protocol designed to reduce the risk level during their operations and customer servicing schedules. In an example such as this one, the burden of proof would be in the defendant’s hands instead of the claimant’s.

Contact our Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one are in the middle of a slip and fall case and need to understand how to gather sufficient evidence to meet the burden of proof that makes you eligible for personal injury compensation, you are entitled to seek the professional advice of a personal injury lawyer. At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, we passionately advocate for clients who have been injured in accidents in Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and the greater Mercer County area. Whether you are currently involved in a personal injury claim, have questions regarding the burden of proof on slip and fall incidents, or need a talented attorney who can help you navigate all the nuances and legalities to safeguard your best interests, contact our firm today.

You can call us at 609-528-2596 or contact us through our online contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your individual needs and concerns.

Not All Injuries are Covered by Workers’ Compensation in NJ

New Jersey´s workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” insurance scheme that pays for medical care, salary replacement, and long-term disability benefits to employees who are injured or sick on the job.

Not All Injuries are Covered by Workers’ Compensation in NJ Workers’ compensation also pays death benefits to the dependents of workers who died as a result of their work. Regardless of who was to blame, a wounded employee will be compensated. Except in circumstances of deliberate conduct, the worker does not have the right to sue the employer for pain and suffering or other damages in return for these promised benefits.

There is a common misconception that any injury sustained at work must be compensated by workers’ compensation. That, however, is not the case. There are various types of work-related injuries that are just not compensable. Workers’ compensation never includes injuries that are outside of work. An injury must not only occur at work, but it must also not occur outside of work. There are several important principles in every state that assist clarify and expand on the meaning of “not arising out of employment” for catastrophic injuries.

Personal Risk Claims and Idiopathic Claims

These two doctrines have a lot in common. When an employee has a prior medical condition that is the real cause of the damage, the term “idiopathic” is used. An employee with severe osteoarthritis, for example, is going down the hall at work when his knee locks, but he does not collapse. The doctor checks the patient and determines that the act of walking has caused more knee injury due to severe osteoarthritis. Because the injury was totally personal to the employee and not caused by employment, this is a classic idiopathic claim.

Consider an employee who has had previous shoulder dislocation troubles who puts on her coat to go home after work and has a fresh shoulder dislocation. Despite the fact that it occurred at work, it was not caused by it. The petitioner was simply doing what we all do when we leave work on a cold day: putting on our jackets. Shoulder dislocations are considered idiopathic, meaning they are not caused by work-related activities.

Abandonment of Employment

There are two key applications for this theory. The first is an activity that is either unrelated to work or so far removed from it that a reasonable person would never engage in it. For example, a lawyer standing outside his office phones a colleague sitting at his desk on his mobile phone, requesting him to come outside and assist him in carrying work files inside the office. Instead of walking down the stairs or taking the elevator, the colleague opens his window and leaps 20 feet to the ground, fracturing his leg. Jumping from a window is such a dangerous action that no sane person would undertake it. Although the injury occurred at work, it would not be considered a job-related incident. An employer should not be required to insure against acts that are intrinsically risky and that no rational person would engage in.

Intentional Self-Injury

This is a type of self-injury when employees who harm themselves on purpose are nearly invariably refused compensation. If an enraged employee punches a wall at work and breaks her hand, the damage would not be compensable since striking a wall is extremely likely to result in self-harm. Similarly, if Employee A assaults Employee B and is hurt as a result, courts will nearly invariably rule that the injury was self-inflicted and not compensable. Employee B’s injuries would, of course, be covered as an assault victim.

Sports and Recreational Activities

Let’s say an employee chooses to bring out some rope during his morning break, go away from his desk, and jump rope for a few minutes, only to get her foot twisted up in the rope, resulting in an injury. Is this anything that would be covered by workers’ compensation? Isn’t it true that that happened at work? Recreational activities that only benefit the employee’s health are not covered under New Jersey law, thus this would not be compensable. To be covered, a recreational activity must provide a benefit to the employer that is higher than health and morale, and it must be a regular occurrence at work. Few leisure activities can claim to provide a bigger value to the employer than improved health and morale. The same may be said for social activities.

Personal Risk Claims and Idiopathic Claims NJ However, if two employees are joking around at work and one throws a pencil at the other as a joke, but the pencil hits the other employee in the eye, the court would likely see this conduct as horseplay – – not recreational. Horseplay is not a defense in New Jersey, unlike in many other states. Horseplay is always compensable for the victim and occasionally for the initiator. There is a distinction to be made between horseplay and assaults/altercations, and the results may vary depending on whether that distinction is crossed.

Workers’ compensation rules are intended to establish a fair process for getting benefits after being injured or sick at work. These statutes are frequently difficult to comprehend. If you miss a deadline or fail to complete the proper papers, you may be denied the benefits you are entitled to.

Retain our Trenton NJ  Workers Compensation Attorney Today

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, we represent clients with workers’ compensation and personal injury claims in Princeton, Trenton, and the greater Mercer County area. So whether you have yet to decide your next steps fully or are ready to move forward immediately, our knowledgeable team of attorneys is only a phone call away.

You can call us at 609.528.2596 or contact us through our online contact form for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your individual needs and concerns.

Injured on the Job Due to Malfunctioning Equipment in New Jersey

Serving Workers in Trenton, Princeton, Pennington, Lawrence, and East Windsor NJ

Injured on the Job Due to Malfunctioning Equipment in New Jersey?If you are currently suffering from an on-the-job injury or require medical attention because of faulty equipment or machinery in your workplace, you have more options than you may realize.

If you work with machines in a warehouse, construction site, or factory, you probably feel grateful for the efficiency and speed of all kinds of equipment. Work is done faster and easier with machines’ assistance. Many businesses and industries rely upon machines on a day-to-day basis to get things done.

Sometimes, however, those pieces of equipment and machinery add complexity and risk of injury to the workplace.

Unfortunately, everyday employees are usually the ones that suffer when things go wrong. Fortunately, they do not have to do it alone.

Without their regular income and serious injuries sustained on the job, employees and their families depend on workers’ compensation to stay afloat. When these benefits are delayed or denied, people struggle to survive.

To make matters worse, malfunctioning equipment accidents are often caused by the negligence of employers and/or third parties.

Therefore, many injured workers turn to attorneys like those at The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson to either a) pursue workers’ comp benefits from the employer; or b) to file a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer, when appropriate.

Faulty Equipment

Equipment can malfunction in all kinds of ways. The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson has handled many types of workers’ compensation claims, including ones that involve the following accidents:

  • The worker comes in contact with sharp edges, moving machinery parts, or wiring;
  • The worker is struck by, or collides with, equipment or machinery;
  • The worker becomes trapped or entangled with the moving parts of equipment; or
  • The worker is hit by a part or parts of the equipment that become loose and eject from the machine.

Each of these unfortunate events involving equipment or machines can cause serious injury. In many instances, the ramifications of contact with, impact from, or entanglement in a machine can lead to life-damaging injuries. The most common injuries from equipment malfunction include:

  • scrapes, cuts, and lacerationsFaulty Equipment
  • bruises
  • burns
  • dismemberment
  • head, eye, or ear injuries, and
  • damage to nerves or tendons.

After a Workplace Accident

If you are injured on the job, you should not “shake off” or ignore burns, cuts, or head injuries. That’s because more serious or lasting symptoms could develop. Instead, you need to report the incident to your employers, seek medical attention, and file a workers’ compensation claim.

You may suspect your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence (or extreme carelessness), so you may want to speak to an attorney, as well.

When your lawyer has done a thorough investigation, he can help you choose a course of action. If the equipment is faulty, you may be able to recover compensation from its manufacturer. If a person or entity who doesn’t work for your employer (a third party) caused your accident, you might also be able to recover civil damages.

Equipment accidents are complicated, and many factors can contribute to this type of event. Consequently, choosing the right form of legal action can be difficult.

If you were not in charge of designing or maintaining the equipment that harmed you, it might be difficult for you to answer questions about design flaws and wear and tear.

Fortunately, when it comes to workers’ compensation claims, the one question you need to answer is:

Did the accident occur at work?

Safe Work Environment Around Machines

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has written specific standards for the operation of equipment. The agency employs many inspectors to enforce these standards, and it imposes fines when a company fails to comply. However, this does not mean that every machine and piece of equipment in your workplace is up to OSHA’s standards. Employees should inspect equipment or machines before they use them.

Although it is not required under New Jersey workers’ compensation law, in our experience, an employer should be notified any time there is a malfunction, defect, or misuse of equipment.

Taking Action

Operation of equipment and machinery in a place of business is clearly work-related activity, and most injured employees receive adequate compensation for medical costs from a workers’ compensation insurance provider.

However, when equipment malfunction causes a long-term or permanent disability, insurance companies often try to settle with employees by offering inappropriately small settlements.

We advise that you call a New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer before signing any workers’ compensation settlement.

Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Lawyer

The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson has previously represented clients across New Jersey in workers’ compensation claims and personal injury cases, with great success.

Our experience with on-the-job injuries and our knowledge of the reactions of insurance providers and how they process claims could be helpful for your case.

Do not hesitate to call us at (609) 528-2596 or fill out an online form for a free consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim.