Emotional Distress and Monetary Compensation in New Jersey

Emotional distress is a type of mental health temporary disorder or anguish experienced due to an incident caused on purpose or by negligence.

Emotional Distress and Monetary Compensation in New JerseyThe court accepts emotional distress as a personal injury that can be eligible for compensation by filing a civil lawsuit. You would need to provide sufficient evidence or proof that someone else is responsible for causing your emotional distress or trauma to validate your claim.

In most scenarios, for an emotional distress claim to be approved, you would be required to have sustained physical injuries due to an incident. However, cases of victims suffering emotional distress damages have recently been deemed valid, even if there is no evidence of physical harm or visible injuries.

Is Emotional Distress Considered Part Of A Claim?

Insurance coverage will cover a portion or all of the damages, depending on the liability determined for each case. Still, there are sometimes left-over out-of-pocket expenses that you also need to consider and honor. You can quickly calculate how much income you have stopped receiving or paid out towards fully recovering from an injury or accident by just adding up receipts, medical bills, invoices, and pay-stubs.

Yet other expenses are less obvious and trickier to predict. When the injury extends to mental wellbeing, it is far more difficult to calculate how much you will require to invest in the future to make a full recovery. When is it advisable to file for monetary compensation to recuperate from emotional grievances in New Jersey?

There are two widespread scenarios:

Emotional and Physical Distress (Pain and Suffering)

Whenever a car accident or slip and fall are due to negligence, the mental health and emotional injuries caused by the event will usually fall under the “non-economic” damages portion of the insurance coverage, which would, of course, include what is known as pain and suffering. No limit or highest rate (“cap”) has been established in New Jersey regarding the total amount of damages you deem suitable.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED)

In New Jersey, if another party deliberately provokes a scenario to cause you an emotional wreck, it is thus classified as an unlawful act or tort known as IIED or “Intentional infliction of emotional distress.” However, negligence is easier to prove in court than this tort. In the case of Buckley v. Trenton Saving Fund Society, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed that to presume another party as liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the injured subject is obligated to prove one of the following:

  • The other party performed a reckless or intentional action to cause emotional distress.
  • The other party’s actions were “so flagrant in character, and so severe, as to surpass any possible limits of decency, and therefore considered heinous, and ultimately intolerable in a civilized community.”
  • The other party’s actions caused emotional distress,
  • The emotional distress experienced was “far greater than what any reasonable person is expected to endure.”

Contact our Woodland Park, NJ Pedestrian Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers for a Free ConsultationEmotional and psychological harm, such as but not limited to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are as equally detrimental and disabling as physical injuries. Stress-related symptoms such as feeling overwhelmed, fatigue, poor problem-solving, social withdrawal, changes in behavior, feelings of sadness, loss of emotional control, and frustration are a few of the many ways in which PTSD may affect your life and therefore be eligible for monetary compensation.

Contact our Woodland Park, NJ Pedestrian Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one have suffered from extreme emotional distress caused by somebody else’s intentional act or negligence, talk to an experienced New Jersey personal injury compensation lawyer who can assist you in better comprehending and exploring your legal options.

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, our experienced team of attorneys is ready to stand in your corner.  If you live in Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and the greater Mercer County area.  You can call us at 609.528.2596 or contact us through our online contact form.

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, other factors, like the setting sun in the driver’s eyes or the lack of light on a dark street, 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. On the contrary, 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. For example, someone driving at the speed limit and staying a 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. So 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. However, when they fail to adapt their driving technique to the conditions 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 blames 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.

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.

Determining Comparative Negligence in New Jersey Auto Accidents

There is a multitude of reasons that accidents happen. Negligence is often cited as one cause of automobile accidents.

Determining Comparative Negligence in New Jersey Auto AccidentsWhen one takes to the road, they run the risk of being in an accident. When accidents happen, they aren’t always a clear case of one responsible party and one guiltless victim. Especially given the rise of subtle distractors like technology in cars, it is important to know how New Jersey law determines fault in accidents, so you can make sure you recover the full extent of the damages you may sustain if you are in an accident that was partially or fully someone else’s fault.

What is negligence?

There is a multitude of reasons that accidents happen. Negligence is often cited as one cause of automobile accidents. When a driver fails to act reasonably and within a standard measure of care, they can be considered negligent. While many factors can determine fault in a personal injury lawsuit, negligence is an oft used determiner of fault.

New Jersey is a state that abides by the laws of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence refers to the degrees of fault one or more parties has in causing an accident. In a personal injury lawsuit, a plaintiff has the burden of proving not only that another party was at fault for the accident but that they were not at fault for causing it. If the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit is found to have been 75 percent responsible for causing the accident that injured the plaintiff, the defendant will have to cover 75 percent – not the full total – of the damages to the plaintiff.

How is fault determined?

Under the New Jersey Comparative Negligence Act, insurance companies have the legal right to split fault into partiality. When proven, this impacts the amount a person can recover in damages. Fault and comparative negligence are noted in New Jersey Statutes Annotated (NJSA) 2A:15-5.2 and determined on a case-by-case basis. There is no sweeping law that governs how such determination is made. As such, a personal injury lawyer and/or the insurance company’s attorney will gather evidence to attempt to prove that their client had as little fault in causing the accident as possible or none at all.

How is fault determined?To do so, they will investigate the specifics of how the accident happened. In some cases, evidence of fault – complete or shared – is clear. In these cases, a plaintiff has a straightforward path to recovering damages; and with the support of a skilled personal injury lawyer, they will receive their fair share. On the other hand, there are cases in which the specifics of an accident, who was at fault, and how much fault can be claimed are a little less clear.

To determine fault, insurance companies will likely review the following:

  • the police report from the accident, including witness testimonies and submitted evidence from involved parties
  • the New Jersey traffic laws that pertain to the area in which the accident occurred, and how either party may have been negligent in abiding by those laws; including failure to signal, ignoring of traffic signs or lights, or failure to navigate the vehicle in such a way as to prevent the accident from occurring
  • evidence of driver distraction

As noted above, if your attorney in a personal injury lawsuit finds the other driver to have been negligent or otherwise at fault for causing the majority of the accident, you will be able to recover damages to the comparative extent of their fault. Note that as the plaintiff, you have the burden of proof of convincing the judge or jury that your version of the events is true. Your attorney will do so by gathering evidence that proves the sequence of events causing the accident and that it was the defendant’s culpability. Similarly, the defendant’s insurance company will have to prove that their client was not liable and will do so by perhaps poking holes in your version of the events. If the defendant takes an affirmative defense approach, in which they try to prove that you were in fact partially at fault for the accident, they, too, will have the burden of meeting the preponderance of evidence standard, convincing the judge or jury of their version of the events.

Get in Touch with a Mercer County Personal Injury Attorney Today

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, our team of experienced personal injury attorneys represents clients across Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and the greater Mercer County area in all auto accident claims.

To schedule a consultation with a member of our firm today to discuss your accident and injury, please contact us online or through our Trenton office at 609.528.2596.