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.

What is Erb’s Palsy? Do I have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Erb’s Palsy is a kind of brachial plexus injury where the numbness and limb weakness involves both the upper and lower arm.

What is Erb’s Palsy? Do I have a Medical Malpractice Claim?Having a baby is an exciting time for every family.  Every parent dreams of having a perfectly healthy child without delivery complications. It is very rare for newborns to be injured during childbirth. However, each year during the delivery process, about one to three out of 1,000 babies sustain an injury to a network of nerves in their neck called the brachial plexus.

What is  Erb’s Palsy?

The brachial plexus carries signals for feeling and movement from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm, and hand. When those nerves are damaged, the function of the entire arm can be seriously impacted. Neonatal brachial plexus injuries develop during childbirth, requiring treatment which could include neurosurgery. Erb’s Palsy is a kind of brachial plexus injury where the numbness and limb weakness involves both the upper and lower arm.

Erb’s Palsy is an injury to the brachial plexus nerves. The nerves of the brachial plexus may be stretched, compressed, or torn in a difficult delivery. The result might be a loss of muscle function or even paralysis of the upper arm.

What Are the Types of Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy: Erb’s palsy accounts for 45% to 50% of all brachial plexus palsy cases. It is associated with damage to the nerves at the C5 to C6 sections of the spine.

Extended Erb’s Palsy: This version of brachial plexus palsy is associated with an injury at the C7 section of the spine. It accounts for about 20% of brachial plexus palsy cases.

Total Plexus Involvement: Total plexus involvement accounts for 35% of brachial plexus palsy cases. It is the second most common form of the condition and is sometimes called total brachial plexus paralysis. All muscles in the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers are affected in infants with this condition. Total plexus involvement generally includes an injury to nerves at the C5 to T1 sections of the spine.

Klumpke Palsy: This is the rarest form of brachial plexus palsy. It accounts for less than 1% of all cases. It involves damage to the C8 to T1 sections of the spine. Generally, only muscles in the hand and forearm are affected in these cases.

What Are the Causes of Erb’s Palsy?

The nerves of the brachial plexus can be affected by compression inside the mother’s womb or during a difficult delivery. Injury may be caused by:

  • The infant’s head and neck pulling toward the side as the shoulders pass through the birth canal
  • Stretching of the infant’s shoulders during a head-first delivery
  • Pressure on the baby’s raised arms during a breech (feet-first) delivery
  • Breech delivery complications
  • Larger-than-average newborn (such as an infant of a diabetic mother)
  • Difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder after the head has already come out (called shoulder dystocia)

How is Erb’s Palsy Diagnosed and Treated?

Diagnosis

At birth, doctors will check for paralysis, numbness, position, and grip strength. They also will check a baby’s Moro reflex (startle response). This is when a baby throws out the arms and legs, then curls them in when startled. A specialist who treats infants with these injuries usually oversees the tests and treatments. The specialist might order x-rays, a CAT scan, or MRI, and possibly a series of nerve tests to determine the extent of the damage.

Treatment

Most babies with Erby’s Palsy regain both movement and feeling in the affected arm. In mild cases, this might happen without treatment. Other babies might need daily physical therapy.  A physical therapist will teach parents exercises to do at home to help their baby get better.  There are also massage techniques that help.

For a more severe injury, a child will be cared for by a team of specialists such as neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and pediatric neurologists. If pain, weakness, or numbness continue, surgery often can help.

What If I Suspect Malpractice Is the Cause of My Baby’s Injury?

Contact Our Mercer County Malpractice Lawyers TodayA doctor or other caregiver may be negligent if he or she used too much force on the baby during vaginal delivery.

It could also be considered negligence if a doctor should have noticed signs that labor would be complicated but failed to perform a Cesarean section to avoid those complications. Such as a mother with gestational diabetes causing an unusually large baby. The use of instruments, like forceps, can also be considered malpractice if they caused an injury.

To file a lawsuit against a doctor or hospital that you believe caused your child’s injury can seem like a daunting task. A successful lawsuit can provide you with financial compensation that can cover things like medical bills, future medical and therapeutic expenses, travel expenses for treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Contact Our Mercer County Malpractice Lawyers Today

You need a lawyer experienced in medical malpractice cases to file your lawsuit, gather evidence, make a strong case, and represent you in a settlement agreement or trial.

Your family deserves the absolute best legal representation.  Contact the law offices of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson at 609.528.2596 or contact us thorough this link.

Smartphone Data Can Impact Your Personal Injury Case

As smartphone usage, capabilities, and technology continues to develop, smartphones and other “smart” devices like smartwatches and sports bands are increasingly playing an important role not only in our everyday lives but in personal injury claims as well.

Considering the amount and types of data that these devices can record, it is no surprise that both insurance companies and injury victims are turning to these devices to supplement, and at times contest, the evidentiary record during the personal injury claims process.

When it comes to your personal injury claim and how the data contained within your smart device can impact the strength or success of your claim, here is what you need to know:

What Information Can the Insurance Company Access on My Smartphone?

Smartphone Data Can Impact Your Personal Injury CaseOne of the most common questions our Mercer County, personal injury clients have of us during the personal injury process is what kind of access and information the insurance company has a right to regarding the data contained on their phone or other types of smart devices.

Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to this question, as the kinds of evidence the insurance company can request during the discovery process depend a great deal upon the relevance of this potential evidence to different areas of your particular case. For example, if you mention that you discussed your injuries or accident with a particular friend, the insurance company may be able to compel you to disclose all of your conversations with this friend, including messaging history on apps like WhatsApp, Line, and Google Hangouts.

Additionally, if there is a question as to your whereabouts at a given time or how your injuries have prevented you from performing certain actions such as routine exercise or traveling, for example, the insurance company can compel you to disclose the GPS record contained within any smart devices they believe you would have had on your person when performing any of these activities.

Smartphones and Your Mercer County Personal Injury Claim

The level of information that your smart devices can contain and the insurance company’s ability to access the information they feel is relevant to your personal injury matter all lead us to several important conclusions.

First and foremost, while honesty with both your attorney and the insurance company is essential during any personal injury claim because much of what you claim can be contested, or verified, using the information contained within your smart device makes it that much more important that you are completely truthful about what happened, how it happened. The affects your injuries have had on your life. Any exaggeration or embellishment you make, if discovered to be such through evidence collected on your smartphone or through any other means, may mean that you ultimately recover much less than you actually deserve, if you can make a recovery at all.

Smartphone Data Can Impact Your Personal Injury CaseSecondly, smart devices can be a double-edged sword. In some cases, the information contained within these devices can help you, and your Mercer County personal injury attorney verify your location at the time of your accident. Maybe the information contained within the smart device of a witness to your accident can verify how the accident happened! Conversely, it may be the case that you accidentally left your phone at your friend’s house, and the insurance company using the GPS data contained within your phone may say that you were actually at your friend’s house rather than at the scene of the accident you are claiming caused your injuries.

Trenton Personal Injury Law Firm Helps Protect Your Smart Device Data and Maximize Your Recovery

The bottom line is that your smart devices, and the information they contain within them, are increasingly playing a more influential role in the success of any personal injury claim you may file for accidents such as car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, construction accidents, premises liability claims, and more. This means that your personal injury attorney’s investigative work for you and their ability to present these findings to a court and insurance companies is becoming that much more important due to the increasing availability of information and the access to that information that smartphones and other smart devices are providing.

At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our attorneys have extensive experience successfully recovering full and fair compensation for the victims of the reckless or negligent actions of other parties in personal injury claims of all kinds in towns across New Jersey and Mercer County, including New Brunswick, Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and Lawrence.

Practicing law since 1972, our firm has the knowledge, experience, and commitment to attentive and effective service you and your family need to navigate the increasingly complex process of any personal injury claim and ultimately recover the financial compensation that your family needs and deserves.

To speak with our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your accident and resulting injuries, your options for recovering financial compensation for those injuries, or how the information contained within your smartphone may affect your personal injury claim, please contact us online, or through our Trenton, NJ office at (609) 528-2596.

Compensatory and Punitive Damages in NJ Medical Malpractice Claims

New Jersey is One of the Best States For Patient Medical Malpractice Outcomes 

A New Jersey medical malpractice attorney can provide guidance, support, and legal counsel as you seek to hold a health care professional responsible for negligence or medical errors.

What damages can a MeCompensatory and Punitive Damages in NJ Medical Malpractice Claimsdical Negligence Victim recieve in NJ?A study in the Journal of Patient Safety estimates that hospital errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer, with approximately 440,000 deaths each year. If a physician, medical facility, or other medical provided caused your injury, you might receive compensation for your damages by filing a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice laws in New Jersey can be complicated and difficult to understand, and the requirements for holding a medical provider liable for malpractice can seem overwhelming. However, unlike many other states, there are no caps on certain kinds of damages awarded.

Common Preventable Medical Errors in NJ

New Jersey medical malpractice attorney can provide guidance, support, and legal counsel as you seek to hold a health care professional responsible for negligence or medical errors. Of all of the hundreds of thousands of medical mistakes that occur each year in hospitals and other medical settings, the most common preventable medical errors that may lead to medical malpractice claims include:

  1. Misdiagnosis. Failure to diagnose an illness is a common medical mistake. The most misdiagnosed conditions are heart attack and cancer. The failure to diagnose life-threatening conditions can have devastating consequences and cause catastrophic injuries. A proper diagnosis made promptly could be the difference between life and death. When your doctor or medical specialist fails to diagnose your condition, he or she delays the treatment you need to get well and could adversely affect your prognosis.
  2. Surgical errorsSurgical errors are another common medical error, often causing irreparable damage. Whether the surgical team left tools or sponges inside the body during surgery, the wrong side or site was operated on or even performed on the wrong patient.
  3. Failure to treat. This error occurs when the doctors correctly diagnose a condition but fail to treat it according to the acceptable standard of care. Discharging a patient too soon, or the lack of follow-up care, can make conditions worse and lead to injury.
  4. Anesthesia errors. Proper use of anesthesia is complicated: too little, and the patient feels every move the doctor makes, too much, and the patient could slip into a coma. Errors with general anesthesia can lead to permanent tingling or numbness in extremities after treatment or a type of arrhythmia during a treatment called tachycardia, where your heart beats at an accelerated and/or abnormal rate.
  5. Emergency room errors. Emergency rooms are chaotic places, and the medical personnel and staff who work in them are often fatigued and overworked. Patients whose conditions were missed or exacerbated because of an emergency room mistake could have their health severely jeopardized.
  6. Birth injuries. A significant portion of medical malpractice claims is against OBGYNs for childbirth-related medical mistakes. Conditions such as shoulder dystocia or other nerve damage, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, and cephalohematoma are common birth injuries that medical errors could have caused.
  7. Prescription drug errors. From illegible prescriptions to incorrect dosages to pharmacy errors, medication mistakes are among the most common – and most dangerous – types of medical malpractice cases. Doctors make errors in prescribing the wrong medication, incorrectly dosing, and administration of prescription drugs. Other drug errors include prescribing drugs that can cause harm to the patient when they interact with one another.
  8. Healthcare providers under the influence. Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem that deadly, extends to the very people we trust with our lives. Abusing prescription drugs or taking illicit ones while at work can hinder judgment and decision-making skills.  You want a guarantee that the health workers helping you are at their best.

Why Do Malpractice Claimants Benefit More in New Jersey?

Why Do Malpractice Claimants Benefit More in New Jersey?There are two distinct types of damages in a New Jersey medical malpractice case that may be awarded: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the victim for the loss associated with their injuries. There are two forms of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic. Some of the elements that may factor into a compensatory damages award include:

  • Medical expenses, including past medical bills and cost of future care
  • Loss of income, including wages lost during medical treatment/hospitalization and future loss of income if the victim is no longer able to work or has reduced earning potential
  • Pain and suffering, including mental and emotional suffering resulting from the victim’s injuries
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship and/or loss of family income in the case of wrongful death

There is no cap on compensatory damages in New Jersey medical malpractice cases. In other words, New Jersey law does not limit the amount a medical negligence victim can receive for their injuries.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages can be sought once a compensatory case has been won in favor of the patient, but there is a cap. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, the court can award up to $350,000 or five times the number of compensatory damages, whichever amount is greater.

When determining if punitive damages should be awarded, the court will examine all relevant evidence, including but not limited to:

  1. The likelihood at the time that the defendant knew their conduct would cause serious harm.
  2. The defendant’s awareness of reckless disregard for the harm that their conduct may cause
  3. The defendant’s conduct after learning that their initial action would likely cause harm; and
  4. The duration of the conduct of any concealment of it by the defendant.

Consult with an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney in Mercer and Middlesex County, NJ

We understand a medical injury has effects far beyond your finances. The results of medical malpractice can extend to every area of your life, which is why we are so committed to fighting for the compensation our clients deserve. If you have questions, the New Jersey attorneys at The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson are here for you.  Contact us by calling (609) 528-2596 or fill out an online form.

Car Accident History Reports and What They Mean for Your Car Accident Claim

The goal of any insurance claim or personal injury claim is to provide proper healthcare and financially restore the victim as much as possible.

Car Accident History Reports and What They Mean for Your Car Accident ClaimAny time a person is injured or suffers property damage in a car accident, they will most likely want to seek compensation for their damages through either a car insurance claim or a car accident injury claim against any responsible parties, with the goal of these claims being to restore themselves financially to their pre-car accident state.

In terms of injury compensation, the injured party’s own insurance coverage and policy will usually be the biggest determining factor when it comes to how much injury damage they are covered for, and how much will need to be sought from the insurance policies of any other drivers potentially responsible for the accident (discussed in detail in our article several weeks ago).

Compensation for property damage is handled in a very similar matter, but a relatively new aspect that car accident victims are having to contend with is the increasing prevalence of car accident history reports like Carfax, VehicleHistory.com, and DMV reports.

Today’s article will focus on how these accident history reports and their increasing availability and use may actually be causing even more property damage to car accident victims, and what options are at your disposal when it comes to mitigating and seeking compensation for these added damages if you have been involved in a car accident.

Hamilton Car Accident Lawyers and “The Value of Your Car after an Accident”

As previously mentioned, the goal of any insurance claim or personal injury claim is to restore the victim of any kind of accident to a pre-accident state financially. When it comes to car accidents, this used to be relatively straightforward when it came to damages to the vehicle itself. In the case of the total loss of the vehicle, the car accident victim could simply refer to car appraisal guides like Kelly Blue Book, input the make, model, year, mileage, options, and features of their car and obtain a very accurate estimate for the value of their car.

However, as private buyers and dealerships increasingly factor in vehicle accident history reports when making a purchase, the simple fact that your car was involved in an accident can significantly reduce its value, even if it was repaired to its pre-accident state. If any kind of buyer is presented with the option of buying two identical cars, but one has been involved in an accident, and the other has not, 9 times out 10 that buyer will elect to purchase the vehicle that has no history of the accident.

This truth means that your car fundamentally no longer has the same value it would have had it not been involved in an accident, even if that accident only caused minor or superficial damage to your vehicle, or even if your vehicle was completely repaired in terms of its performance, safety, and appearance.

Adding Vehicle History Damages to a Mercer County Car Accident Claim

Adding Vehicle History Damages to a Mercer County Car Accident ClaimConsidering now that the mere fact your vehicle was involved in an accident can severely diminish its value, we must ask “what can a car accident victim do about this?”.

Unfortunately, current New Jersey court precedents have more or less established that car accident victims seeking compensation for this kind of damage from their own insurance company (known as a first-party claim) can, and usually will be, denied compensation for the damage done to their vehicle in the form of car accident history reports.

On the other hand, plaintiffs have found much more success when including this kind of damage as part of a third-party claim, that is to say, claims for damages against another driver and their insurance policy provider. In addition, in situations where the negligent driver is uninsured, or their insurance is not enough to cover these damages (under-insured), then the driver who is seeking damages can instead do so through their own uninsured/under-insured motorist (UIM) coverage, at which point compensation for damages done to a vehicle due to its involvement in an accident and subsequent inclusion in car history reports may actually be able to be recovered.

Like any claim for compensation, be it for injuries or for property damage, a claim seeking damages for the diminished value of your car due to its involvement in a car accident will need to be supported by evidence, and for these kinds of damages specifically, expert testimony is the most often relied upon the type of evidence to substantiate these damages. However, expert testimony costs money, so if the diminished value of your car is of similar value to the cost of expert testimony, at the end of the day it may not be worth actually pursuing compensation for these kinds of damages. On the other hand, if your car was a collectible or some kind of high-end luxury car, the value of these damages to your car can often be extremely high, making it much more worthwhile to seek compensation for its diminished value.

Contact Our Trenton Car Accident Claims Attorneys Today

Any time you are seeking compensation for injury damages or property damages, be it from a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, construction accident, a slip and fall, a premises liability claim, or any other kind of accident, possibly the most important thing you can do is to retain the counsel of an experienced Mercer County accident and injury attorney in order to better understand your options, help you gather and present the evidence necessary to support your claim, and ultimately help you and your family secure the compensation you need and deserve for the damages you have suffered.

Contact Our Mercer County Car Accident Claims Attorneys TodayAt the Law Office of Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in all manner of a car accident and personal injury claims in towns across New Jersey and Mercer County, including East Brunswick, Princeton, Hamilton, Lawrence, and Trenton. Practicing law since 1972, our firm has carefully refined our ability to provide effective, knowledgeable, and attentive representation to each of our clients, with our ultimate goal being to work closely with our clients and their families in a wide range of legal matters including personal injury, workers’ compensation, and municipal and criminal court defense.

To speak with our attorney team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding any kind of accident and the resulting damages to your life, and how we can help you to recover full and fair compensation for these damages, please contact us online, or through our Trenton, NJ office at (609) 528-2596.