Category: Personal Injury

Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors Need Justice

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New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyers protect the rights of survivors.As the stories about clergy abuse within the Catholic Church continue to be made public, the call for justice on behalf of abuse survivors is getting louder. Individuals who experienced abuse at the hands of their priest or bishop often spend their lifetime dealing with its devastating effects. Obtaining justice for these survivors is a necessary part of the healing process.

Survivors’ rights organizations continue to advocate for changes in the Church’s current policies to address the clergy abuse crisis. Unsatisfied with the recent Vatican conference on the sexual abuse of minors, which many believe failed to result in tangible changes to Church policy, advocacy groups are highlighting the need for practical solutions to this continuing problem.

One significant proposed change would be the implementation of an extensive screening process for priest candidates. This could include psychological testing and rigorous background checks of all clergy applicants. Another recommended change is the adoption of a zero-tolerance policy by the Church to prevent abusive priests from being transferred from one parish to another. Protecting an abusive priest would result in an automatic dismissal from the priesthood for both the perpetuator and those clergy members who protected them.

Other advocates are calling for an end to closed-door handling of sexual abuse allegations, which frequently result to silence survivors by providing minimal compensation in exchange for signing a nondisclosure agreement.

Holding Parties Responsible

Clergy abuse survivors deserve to have the individuals perpetuating these reprehensible acts held accountable for their actions. This can include not only the abusive clergy members but the priests, bishops, archbishops, dioceses, and archdioceses that have protected and shielded them. By holding responsible parties liable for their actions through the filing of a civil lawsuit, survivors can begin to heal from their abuse. Individuals who have suffered clergy abuse may be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, psychological treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Consulting with an experienced New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyer is the first step toward obtaining justice.

New Brunswick Clergy Abuse Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Protect the Rights of Clergy Abuse Survivors

At the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr, our experienced New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyers assist clergy abuse survivors in obtaining compensation for their suffering. To schedule a free confidential consultation today, call us at 732-249-4600 or submit an online inquiry form.

Our offices are conveniently located in Highland Park, New Jersey to serve clergy abuse survivors and their families throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

Dual Chamber Pacemaker Recall

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New Brunswick Product Liability Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr represent victims injured by defective pacemakers.Over 13,000 Medtronic implantable pulse generator (IPG) units have been recalled due to a software glitch that poses a health risk to patients with the implantable pacemakers. The Adapta, Versa, Sensia, Relia, Attesta, Sphera, and Vitatron A, E, G, and Q series models manufactured between March 2017 and December 2018 may be affected by the software error.

The Medtronic IPGs are used to treat bradycardia (low heart rhythm) and to restart a stopped heart. The implanted units emit an automatic electronic stimulus to regulate heart rhythms or restart the heart. The software problems in the circuit boards can prevent proper functioning of the device which can lead to slow heart rhythms, low blood pressure, light headedness, fainting, and even death to patients.

Field Corrective Action Notification

In January, Medtronic field representatives began hand delivering letters to doctors who surgically implant the pacemakers and those that monitor patients using the defective units. The Field Corrective Action Notification letters specify preventive and corrective actions to take with patients currently using the implantable devices.

Healthcare professionals, patients, and caregivers of those with Medtronic implantable pacemakers are advised to follow the guidelines listed below to prevent serious complications:

  • Program units to non-susceptible pacing modes until a software update is available or the pacemaker can be removed.
  • Patients who cannot tolerate the non-susceptible pacing and have no ventricular escape rhythm or risk of symptomatic pause should continue regular clinical monitoring until the device can be replaced or reprogrammed.

Patient Risk from Recalled Medtronic Implantable Pacemaker

Medtronic has released a statement concerning the voluntary recall of their IPG devices to inform patients of the risks involved with the defective product. As of January 4, 2019, four reports of problems associated with a malfunctioning pacemaker were reported. In two of these incidents, patients experienced a pause in their pacing therapy. The problems reported involved three devices from a reported inventory of close to 200,000 units sold in the United States. No deaths related to the recalled devices have been reported.

Medtronic reported that the software error occurred when they made a change in the design of the integrated circuit board in units sold between March 2017 and January 2019. The company is working to develop an update to the software to correct the problem which they expect to submit to the Food and Drug Administration for approval before the end of 2019. Once approval is given, Medtronic plans to notify healthcare providers and patients of the correction and begin replacing recalled implanted devices or performing software updates.

New Brunswick Product Liability Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Represent Victims Injured by Defective and Dangerous Products

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective medical device, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the New Brunswick product liability lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr at 877-249-4600, or 732-249-4600, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our Highland Park, New Jersey offices serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

Wide Turn Truck Accidents

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Piscataway truck accident lawyers represent victims of wide turn accidents.The size of commercial trucks requires them to make wide turns, which can cause truck drivers to lose sight of passenger cars and pedestrians in adjacent lanes. Failing to judge the correct amount of space needed to make wide turns can result in serious and sometimes fatal accidents. Unfortunately, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and commercial fleet owners try to place the blame on the drivers in passenger vehicles. Victims often face difficulty proving liability for truck accidents as truck drivers try to claim contributory negligence.

The sheer size of commercial trucks makes turns challenging and requires the skills of a well trained and experienced truck driver. Trucks making wide turns in a congested intersection, on a city block, or even into a loading zone or parking lot entrance can be dangerous and cause serious injury if a passenger vehicle or pedestrian gets caught in the path of the truck.

An experienced truck driver will be familiar with how much space they need to safely execute a wide turn. The truck driver must estimate how far they need to swing to successfully make the wide turn. In most cases, it will be necessary for the truck to drive into the oncoming lane of traffic, which cuts off their visibility for vehicles on the sides of the truck. Passenger vehicles are often hit or squeezed between the truck and another vehicle or curb while the turn is in process.

Truck Accident Injuries

Victims typically suffer serious and sometimes fatal injuries. The weight of the truck pressing into the side of the passenger vehicle or cutting into the front or back of the vehicle can pin drivers and passengers in their cars. Broken and crushed bones, head, neck, and spinal injuries, cuts and lacerations from broken glass, and internal injuries are common. In some cases, the truck may jackknife, which increases the damage to the vehicle caught in between the front and rear of the truck.

Compensation for Injuries

Victims of wide turn truck accidents often require prolonged recovery periods and are sometimes left with lifelong complications and disabilities. Trucking companies are armed with large legal teams ready to battle claims of driver negligence that would hold them liable for injuries sustained in the accident. Contributory negligence claims can significantly reduce the amount of compensation awarded to victims.

Consulting with an experienced and knowledgeable truck accident lawyer is critical to a successful claim for compensation following a wide turn accident. The truck accident lawyer will be able to gather pertinent evidence to prove that the truck driver’s negligence or carelessness was directly responsible for the injuries sustained in the accident, thus affording the victim the maximum amount of compensation available.

Piscataway Truck Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Represent Victims of Wide Turn Accidents

If you were a victim of a wide turn truck accident, the Piscataway truck accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will hold the negligent party responsible for your injuries. Call us at 732-249-4600 or contact us online to set up a free consultation today. Our Highland Park, New Jersey offices serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

Physiological Shock Symptoms

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Piscataway Workers’ Compensation lawyers advocate for victims of physiological shock.Victims of a traumatic workplace accident can experience physiological shock when their heart rate increases so rapidly that blood and oxygen supplies in the body are severely diminished. Rapid loss of blood and other body fluids, damage to the nervous system, and the physiological trauma of an accident can quickly lead to organ failure, respiratory distress, and death. Victims of physiological shock may be entitled to compensation and Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Types of Physiological Shock

There are five different types of physiological shock that the human body can experience following a traumatic event.

  • Hypovolemic shock: This happens when there is a rapid loss of blood. The heart rate increases so quickly that the respiratory system becomes inefficient. When this happens, the body’s organs begin to shut down to compensate, which can result in permanent and life-threatening injuries to the body.
  • Cardiogenic shock: This occurs when the heart is damaged and cannot supply the body’s organ system with enough blood and oxygen. The victim can experience fatal complications in a short period of time. Heart attacks and electrocution are the two main causes of cardiogenic shock.
  • Neurogenic shock: This happens when there is trauma to the spinal cord or nervous system. Blood circulation can be severely affected, which can lead to organ failure and death. The symptoms of this type of shock are not always easy to recognize.
  • Septic shock: This can occur in the days, weeks, or months following a workplace accident. If the victim gets an infection from an open wound or surgical procedure, the infection can enter the bloodstream and shut down the body’s organ system. Septic shock can result in loss of limbs, blindness, and death.
  • Anaphylactic shock: This is a result of a severe allergic reaction that causes airways to swell and cuts off oxygen supply to the body. Victims can experience anaphylactic shock from exposure to allergens in the workplace or from medications given to treat injuries related to a workplace accident.

Symptoms of Physiological Shock

Any type of shock response that occurs following a traumatic accident or event requires immediate medical attention, even when the symptoms appear days, weeks, or months after the incident. The symptoms of physiological shock include:

  • Cool, clammy skin
  • Pale or ashen colored skin
  • Rapid or erratic pulse
  • Difficulty breathing or rapid, shallow breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Change in mental status

Victims should seek medical attention immediately. Once stabilized, it is important to seek counsel from an experienced and qualified Workers’ Compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Compensation may be available to victims of physiological shock.

Piscataway Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Victims of Physiological Shock

If you have been a victim of physiological shock, call the Piscataway Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr at 732-249-4600 or contact us online to set up a free consultation today. Our Highland Park, New Jersey offices serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

Harold J. Gerr Listed in New Jersey’s Best Lawyers for Personal Injury 2019

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Highland Park personal injury attorney, Harold J. Gerr, listed in New Jersey’s best lawyers for personal injury 2019.New Jersey Family magazine recently named attorney Harold J. Gerr as one of New Jersey’s Best Lawyers for Families 2019. Mr. Gerr has been listed under exceptional personal injury attorneys throughout the state, where he centered his practice for over 40 years. While he extends his practice to all scopes of personal injury law, he specializes in injuries to the head, spine, and hands.

Mr. Gerr earned his Bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania and his Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. He is a strong proponent of continuing education and he frequently participates in educational seminars and lectures across the country.

By focusing his entire career on personal injury law, Mr. Gerr has an extensive list of associations, including AAJ Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, AAJ Crime Victims Litigation Group, AAJ Product Liability Section, AAJ RSD Litigation Group, and the Brain Injury Association of America, among others.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr have a reputation for excellence and a long track record of successful litigation. His team focuses on their clients’ needs and how to best support them though the trauma of personal injury. When you are hurt and suffering, a Highland Park personal injury attorney can walk you through the legal process and help you secure the financial support you need to take care of your health and the needs of your family. For a free consultation, call the firm today at 877-249-4600 or contact us online today.

Clergy Abuse Victim Funds

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New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyers protect the rights of abuse survivors.The public releases of investigative reports recently shed light on the ongoing problem of clergy abuse in the Catholic Church. Multiple dioceses recently responded by creating victim compensation funds, which make payments to individuals harmed by priests and church officials within the diocese. Many clergy abuse survivors and advocacy groups question whether compensation funds provide the best results in the long run.

Holding the Church Responsible

Initially, only those individuals who previously identified themselves as an abuse survivor to the diocese will be eligible to receive compensation. Church officials have not released specific financial details about the funds, which are estimated to pay several millions of dollars to survivors of sexual abuse by priests. The amount of individual settlements will be determined by the fund administrator. For now, many individuals harmed through clergy abuse have no other way to seek compensation for their injuries.

Under New Jersey’s statute of limitations, claims against predatory priests must be brought within a specific time period. Until legislative reforms remove these barriers for filing suit, survivor compensation funds are the only available option.

Critics Warn of Increased Protection for Priests

Critics of compensation funds caution that allowing the Church to handle restitution outside the legal system would prevent true transparency and allow predatory priests to be shielded from public reprimand. The fund would also limit the Church’s financial exposure as individuals receiving payments will waive their right to bring any future legal claims. Victim compensation funds also require individuals to sign non-waiver and confidentiality agreements, preventing any future disclosures about the abuse or settlement payment.

Allowing the Church to conceal the details of the abuse could continue a pattern of cover-ups that have protected many predatory priests and their supervisors in the past. The existence of the fund may also limit the amount of additional investigations into the abuse problem. Advocates for the clergy abuse survivors have expressed concern that crucial information, including priest assignment files, may not be available to survivors who accept compensation from the fund.

Justice for Clergy Abuse Survivors

Healing from the aftermath of sexual abuse can be a lifelong journey for many. Obtaining compensation for the costs of medical and psychological treatment, mental health expenses, prescription drugs, lost wages, and their ongoing emotional distress can help abuse survivors and their families move forward. By holding all responsible parties accountable, including the church officials who covered up or moved abusive clergy from one assignment to another, justice can be found for the survivors.

New Brunswick Clergy Abuse Lawyers at the Law Office of Harold J. Gerr Protect the Rights of Clergy Abuse Survivors

If you are a survivor of clergy abuse, the experienced New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr can help you obtain justice. With compassion and dedication, we strive to obtain the maximum amount of compensation for clergy abuse survivors and their families. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 732-249-4600 or submit an online inquiry form.

Our Highland Park, New Jersey offices serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

Construction Workers and Electrocution Accidents

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Highland Park construction accident lawyers advocate for electrocuted workers.The risk of electrocution for construction workers is high and is the fourth leading cause of death in construction accidents. Construction workers are killed annually by electrocution each year in the United States. Electricians, ironworkers, roofers, HVAC technicians, refrigeration mechanics, carpenters, and equipment operators face a serious threat of encountering electrical hazards during their work.

Common Causes of Electrical Accidents

A construction site is a busy and dangerous place. Heavy machinery, scaffolding, ladders, power equipment, construction vehicles, and dangerous weather conditions pose serious risks to construction workers each day. The number of fatal electrocutions is astounding, but what makes these figures even more disturbing is that most accidents can be prevented. The National Fire Protection Association conducted an analysis that found construction workers accounted for 68 percent of electrocution fatalities. The most common causes of electrocution and electrical accidents in the construction industry include:

  • Contact with Overhead Power Lines and Electrical Transformers: When construction workers are working at high elevations, the risk of meeting power lines increases dramatically. Even the most conscientious and safety-minded construction worker can accidentally meet an overhead wire that can kill them instantly.
  • Lack of Proper Training: One of the easiest ways to reduce the number of electrical accidents that happen on construction sites is to ensure that all workers are properly trained on the hazards associated with electricity. Workers must be trained to understand how electricity travels, how it is conducted, and how to properly handle electrical equipment to protect themselves from electrocution and injury.
  • Failure to Wear Personal Protective Equipment: All employers and construction contractors are obligated to supply their construction workers with proper personal protective equipment to reduce their risk of electrocution. Rubber soled shoes, insulated gloves, non-conductive clothing, matting, blankets, and line hoses can help prevent serious injury and death when working with electrical equipment and components.
  • Damaged or Poorly Maintained Electric Tools: Regular inspection and proper maintenance of electric tools, such as nail guns, staple guns, and power saws can help prevent serious accidents. Cords should be inspected for small tears and breaks, electrical components need to be properly maintained, and safety features on power tools should always be used.
  • Lack of Lock Out/Tag Out Procedures: Lock Out/Tag Out procedures should be posted by all power equipment. Safety features should be identified, and emergency response procedures should be available for review. All construction workers should be trained on the proper use of these safety features.
  • Storing and Using Conductive Equipment by Power Lines: Many electrocutions occur when electricity is conducted by metal beams, equipment, tools, and ladders. Keep this type of conductive equipment away from overhead power lines and live electrical circuits.

Highland Park Construction Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Construction Worker Safety

Prevention is key to reducing the risk of electrical injuries and death on construction sites. If you have been injured in a construction accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Highland Park construction accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr at 732-249-4600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Our Highland Park, New Jersey offices serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

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New Brunswick pedestrian accident lawyers advocate for pedestrian safety.When a pedestrian is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, the results can be catastrophic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 5,000 pedestrians are fatally injured in accidents with motor vehicles each year, and over 75,000 more pedestrians suffer serious injury. Other types of pedestrian accidents happen as a result of poor property maintenance and negligence.

Pedestrians make up 11 percent of all people traveling outdoors, but they account for 13 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities. Even the most safety conscious pedestrians can be seriously injured by an automobile, uneven sidewalk and road surfaces that cause slip and falls, or by the negligence of another person. The most common causes of pedestrian accidents include:

  • Distracted Driving: Drivers that choose to text, talk on their cell phone, eat, use electronic navigation systems, or tend to passengers in the car put everyone on the road in danger of a serious accident. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to distracted drivers that may fail to see a stop sign or stop light, drift over traffic lanes, or fail to see them in their path.
  • Speeding: Speeding is one of the most common causes of car accidents and has the highest rate of fatalities when these accidents involve pedestrians. Vehicles traveling over the local speed limits leave little time to react, slow down, or stop when they suddenly encounter a pedestrian. Likewise, pedestrians have little chance to avoid a speeding vehicle, and can be thrown hundreds of feet in the air when they collide with the vehicle.
  • Failure to Obey Traffic Signs and Signals: Pedestrians have the right of way in designated crosswalks and intersections. Drivers that fail to obey traffic signs and signals cause accidents that injure multiple pedestrians at one time. Cars and trucks that veer into unsuspecting pedestrians can cause significant injuries that often lead to death.
  • Weather Conditions: There is little anyone can do to control the weather, but when rain, snow, and ice occur, drivers need to proceed with caution. Traveling at slow speeds, leaving ample room between vehicles, and leaving enough time to slow and stop a vehicle in slippery or icy conditions is essential to avoid a pedestrian accident. Property owners and business owners have a legal responsibility to shovel their sidewalks and clear their parking lots to ensure the safety of pedestrians and drivers.
  • Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol: There is no dispute to the fact that drunk and drugged drivers cause fatal accidents. When a drunk or drugged driver operates their vehicle, pedestrians are at risk for a serious and often fatal accident. Slowed reaction times, blurred vision, falling asleep behind the wheel, and poor judgment can cause a car to run red lights and traffic signals, run off the road, and decrease visibility. Pedestrians that are hit by a drunk or drugged driver suffer catastrophic injuries.

New Brunswick Pedestrian Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Pedestrian Safety

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, call the New Brunswick pedestrian accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr at 877-249-4600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Based in Highland Park, New Jersey, we work with clients throughout the surrounding areas, including New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

Motorists Must Stop for School Buses

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Piscataway car accident lawyers advocate for bus accident victims.Late last year, an accident that claimed three young lives in Indiana raised awareness about the hazards children face getting on and off the school bus. The young siblings were struck by an oncoming vehicle as they walked across the street to the school bus. The driver was later charged with reckless homicide and a misdemeanor for passing a school bus with the stop arm extended.

This is not the only accident that fatally injured children in this way. In the past 32 years, more than 414 students were fatally injured while getting on or off the school bus. To prevent these devastating tragedies, drivers should become familiar with the law regarding school buses. In New Jersey, drivers who break the law when approaching or passing a school bus face steep penalties and potential jail time.

New Jersey Law

Laws for navigating near and around school buses vary from state to state, but this is the law in New Jersey:

  • When traveling on a two-lane highway or any other type of road that is not separated by a physical barrier, you must stop at least 25 feet from a stopped school bus with its red flashing lights engaged. This applies to vehicles approaching the bus and those following behind it.
  • When traveling on a divided highway, you are required to stop 25 feet from a stopped bus if you are on the same side of the bus. Remain stopped until all students have safely boarded the bus, have departed to the side of the highway, or until the bus turns its red flashing lights off.
  • When approaching a stopped school bus while traveling on the opposite side of the highway, you must reduce your speed to 10 miles per hour and maintain that speed until you have completely passed the bus.
  • When passing a stopped bus picking up or dropping off students at a school, camp, or similar location located on the same side of the highway as the bus, maintain a speed of 10 miles per hour until you have passed the bus.

It should be noted that bus drivers are equally responsible for preventing accidents. In addition to following basic traffic laws and bus safety procedures, bus drivers are required to engage red flashing lights when picking up or dropping off students and leave them on until every student is safely on the side of the highway.

Penalties for Passing a Stopped School Bus

For a first offense, a violation will cost you a $100 fine and potentially up to 15 days in jail or community service. Second-time offenders receive higher fines and possible jail time. Every offense adds five points to your driving record. When it comes to passing a stopped bus in New Jersey, the law is straightforward. Drivers who learn the law can easily prevent serious and fatal accidents. If you or a loved one was injured by a reckless driver, you deserve justice.

Piscataway Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Bus Accident Victims

If you were involved in any type of car accident, the Piscataway car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will work tirelessly to hold negligent drivers accountable for the pain they cause. Schedule a free consultation today to learn about your legal options after a car or bus accident by calling 732-249-4600 or contact us online. Based in Highland Park, New Jersey, we work with clients throughout the surrounding areas, including New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

What to Do If Your Minister is Accused of Clergy Abuse

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Highland Park clergy abuse lawyers fight for clergy abuse survivors.Clergy abuse accusations continue to emerge following a Pennsylvania grand jury report that exposed widespread clergy sexual abuse in the state. Survivors from all over the country, including California, New Jersey, and Louisiana are now coming forward with accounts of clergy sex abuse, often dating back several decades.

Some have left the Catholic Church because of its inadequate response to the sexual abuse accusations, and according to a 2018 Gallup poll, faith in the Catholic clergy has been substantially eroded in recent years. Those who remain members of the church may wonder what to do if their minister is accused of clergy abuse. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) provides some guidance.

What Should I Do If My Priest is Accused of Clergy Abuse?

SNAP is a non-profit support group for clergy sexual abuse survivors. Its mission is to help and protect those wounded by religious and institutional authorities. The SNAP website provides recommendations for church community members who discover that their minister is accused of clergy abuse, including:

  • Asking your family members and friends if they were subject to any abuse
  • Being aware that abuse survivors may not disclose the abuse until years later, often after the abuser has moved, passed away, or been accused by someone else
  • Being compassionate toward survivors and encourage others to do the same
  • Contacting law enforcement authorities with any information that may help an investigation into clergy abuse
  • Expressing your support for the accused minister privately and not in a way that may hurt the alleged victim
  • If you know the clergy abuse survivor, protect their confidentiality
  • Refraining from speculating about who the accuser is; often, survivors prefer to remain anonymous
  • Taking the time to discuss what constitutes inappropriate sexual behavior with child family members

Other SNAP Recommendations

SNAP also encourages church employees and members to be aware of the ways in which religious leaders foster an environment for abuse. Some of the ways in which they may do so include:

  • Isolating the victim: Abusers will often attempt to take victims away from their families and group events.
  • Creating doubt: This may include complimenting the victim and asking them to share personal or sexual information.
  • Praising submission: Abusers may emphasize the necessity of submission, especially to religious leaders and figures of authority.
  • Fostering fear: Sexual abuse victims are often told they will be punished or otherwise suffer consequences for disclosing the abuse.
  • Manipulating the victim into silence: Victims are often manipulated into thinking that they must keep the abuse secret.
  • Targeting vulnerable adults: Adults with vulnerabilities, such as those who are going through a loss or major life change, may be targeted by abusers.

Highland Park Clergy Abuse Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Fight for Clergy Abuse Survivors

If you were abused by a minister or other member of the clergy, contact a Highland Park clergy abuse lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. We proudly represent clergy sexual abuse survivors and will fight to obtain the justice you deserve. For a free consultation, please submit an online inquiry or call us at 732-249-4600 today. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients from the surrounding areas, including New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.