Metuchen Personal Injury Lawyers

When the town of Metuchen comes to mind, one may automatically think of its picturesque center that provides a convenient suburban community to New York City and Newark. The community is thriving and busy, with over 14,000 people living in a just under three-square-mile section of the Middlesex County, New Jersey, map.

Metuchen is filled with human beings who live close together there, work there, commute to work, and head to school, all from that tiny spot on the map. Human beings make mistakes every day, often in transit or at work or school. Mistakes can lead to accidents, and accidents lead to injuries. Being close to home actually makes this more likely, statistically.

When a person is injured as a result of the neglectful, risky behavior, aggression, or mistreatment of another person or entity, that victim should consider a personal injury lawsuit. Insurance companies naturally lean toward keeping claims to a minimal amount, and that minimal amount often does not cover the losses an injured person suffers. A lawyer should be the third call made by an accident victim or the loved ones of that victim, the one placed after emergency care and the insurance company are contacted. A personal injury lawyer can let the accident victim know if a case could be presented.

Personal injury law is a wide area of practice because people can suffer so many types of injuries. Here are a few of the types of lawsuits that fall under personal injury law.

Auto Defects

When a vehicle is made or designed in a way that makes it unsafe for the road, accidents happen. There have been several massive recalls by auto manufacturers over the past 20 years for auto defects that caused accidents, injuries, and deaths. Contacting a personal injury lawyer following an accident where the driver felt like the car accelerated on its own, the brakes did not work, and other issues is the best course of action. Not all accidents are the fault of driver negligence.

Burn Injuries

Burns are exceptionally painful, difficult for doctors to repair, and may require a series of painful skin grafting surgeries to restore the skin. Whether the burn injury happens at work or on a private property, the reason for the burn may be an owner’s negligence or a defective product. Burn victims should consult a personal injury lawyer to see if a suit can be filed to provide more compensation. If this is a work injury, filing a products liability suit will not interfere with a Workers’ Compensation agreement, or the financial package the victim receives from Workers’ Compensation insurance.

Car Accidents

There are many reasons for car accidents, although safety advocates all agree that over 90 percent of accidents are caused by driver mistakes.

Injuries from car accidents can be traumatic, life changing, and in the worst cases, deadly. Over 270,000 car accidents have happened every year in New Jersey for the past 20 years. Approximately 70 percent of the state’s population drives to work alone, often for about a half hour.

Over 50,000 injuries are the result of car accidents every year in the Garden State.

Injuries and property damages resulting from an accident may not be fully compensated under the limit of no-fault insurance policies, which are usually lower than comprehensive collision insurance.

New Jersey has a statute of limitations of two years for car accident lawsuits to be filed, and building a lawsuit for a car accident takes time. Victims should contact an experienced lawyer promptly if they are injured in a car accident and learn if filing a lawsuit is the best option.

Motorcycle Accidents

Like a person on a bicycle or a pedestrian, a motorcycle rider is likely to sustain more serious injuries than people in cars or trucks in an accident.

Unfortunately, the personal injury protection (PIP) funding source built into no-fault insurance policies, which New Jersey drivers turn to when they need to pay for medical bills, property damage, and cover lost income following an accident, is not available for motorcyclists in the state. Motorcyclists do not have the coverage themselves, as policies for these vehicles do not include it, but motorcyclists cannot turn to the PIP coverage in the plan of a car driver who hit them, either.

How do motorcyclists get the medical bills covered from a motorcycle accident? A rider will need to turn to their own health insurance plan, Medicare, Medicaid, or union benefits package, if the plan does not exclude motorcycles. It is likely that this resource will then turn to the driver of the car that hit the motorcyclist for reimbursement.

A personal injury lawyer can go after responsible parties for compensation, particularly if:

  • The accident was caused by a car that pulled into the motorcyclist’s path in an unsafe lane change.
  • The accident was the result of a car sideswiping a motorcycle.
  • The accident was caused by a car rear-ending a motorcycle.
  • The motorcyclist was forced off the road by a car or truck.

In the worst-case scenario, in which a motorcyclist dies as a result of injuries from an accident, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. The name suggests a criminal case, but wrongful death suits are a civil action, separate from any criminal cases that may result from the fatal accident.

Truck Accidents

The sheer size of a truck makes truck accidents more likely to be catastrophic and more likely to be deadly than other types of vehicular accidents.

The current economy of the United States demands expedited trucking trips. The quick delivery of goods became even more of an expectation during the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the increasing popularity of companies such as Amazon that specialize in door-to-door delivery of all kinds of goods is a testament to that market shift.

Truckers are operating under tight deadlines and working long hours behind the wheel, making them more likely to be fatigued than other motorists on the road.

But regardless of the circumstances leading up to an accident, finding out who is financially responsible in a truck accident is often a complicated issue, although this process is made simpler when a truck driver tests positive for drugs at the scene of an accident.

The common use of subcontractors and leasing equipment, including trucks, means that the truck driver may not be on the payroll of the company whose goods are in the truck to be delivered. It may take some time to determine what entity will be held liable in a trucking accident.

Federal law provides guidance in determining what company would be sued for the accident; responsibility belongs with the company that owns the trucking permit, which means the company name displayed on the vehicle is the one that is liable.

Because there may well be several players involved in getting a truck loaded and out to deliver, here are a few of the parties that may be held responsible:

  • The truck driver
  • The truck company
  • The person who leased the truck from the owner
  • The manufacturer of the truck, or of defective parts of the truck
  • The loading company, when the accident was caused by unsecured cargo

Bus Accidents

Because buses are top-heavy and carry many passengers, a lot of people can be injured when these vehicles are involved in an accident. Sometimes, bus accidents are the driver’s fault. Sometimes, the bus being driven is not up to code, has not been properly maintained, and should not be on the road. If a bus is not up to code, there may be a lawsuit against the company operating the bus, even if that company is leasing it from another company.

Buses may be owned by a government entity or a private charter company.

What is considered a bus includes the following:

  • School buses
  • Transit buses
  • Intercity buses
  • Passenger vans

Dog Bites and Animal Attacks

Unfortunately, injuries from dog bites or from an animal attacking most often impact children; usually, bites are on the head and face. Because most dog bite/animal attack injuries happen with a familiar dog that may belong to a relative or friend of the victim, many victims or their family members are hesitant to file suit for damages against the dog owner. This is an unnecessary concern, as a lawyer will seek compensation from the owner’s home or property insurance to cover the loss.

New Jersey dog owners are under a strict liability law, which means the owner is responsible when their dog bites someone, regardless of whether or not it was known that the dog was aggressive. Not knowing the dog is aggressive does not make the owner less liable.

This applies to a dog bite that happens in public spaces as well as if it happens in a home or business, if the victim was invited into that home or business.

In addition to bites, there are many aggressive animals that attack or pounce on a person, knocking them over. New Jersey strict liability statutes do not apply to this kind of attack. The victim may be able to get compensation for injuries from a dog pouncing on them if the owner can be proved to be too negligent.

Industrial Accidents

These are workplace accidents. An accident might happen in locations that seem more likely, such as a construction site or a factory floor, or it might occur in an office or a loading dock. There are over 337 million industrial accidents that happen every year.

Workers’ Compensation insurance acts as a no-fault safety net for those who are injured at work, meaning it covers medical costs and provides income protection for those who are hurt at work, regardless of who is at fault. This type of insurance also limits legal actions that can be taken against the employer. However, not all accidents are the result of either a worker’s mistakes or an employer’s neglect. Some are the result of defective products or defective installations, making equipment or materials used at work unsafe.

Medical Malpractice

There are some problems that are anticipated during a medical procedure or surgery, but when the result of the procedure is another injury or infection or even death, it is likely a mistake made by the medical professionals involved. For example, a patient treated for appendicitis develops a secondary infection from a surgical sponge left inside the body during the emergency surgery. That patient has the grounds to file a suit for medical malpractice for the damages done from that mistake.

According to law information site nolo.com, there are three questions to keep in mind when considering filing a malpractice suit:

Was there a lack of informed consent? If a procedure was performed that a patient did not agree to or the health care provider failed to fully explain the risks and benefits of treatment, and the patient wound up with injuries from this procedure, that is medical malpractice.

Were there extraordinary consequences from a procedure? Like in the case of a surgical sponge being left inside a patient’s body following an appendectomy, some post-surgery problems are clearly a medical mistake.

Did a health care provider inform the patient of the mistake? When a patient’s suspicions are confirmed, it is time to talk to a lawyer to get compensation for the damage.

Products Liability

People have suffered burns from mobile phones that simultaneously explode, children are often injured by faulty nursery or playground equipment, a person fixing a house gutter steps onto a ladder step that breaks off, and the list goes on.

Products can be designed, built/manufactured/installed, or marketed defectively, and products liability cases are a vehicle for those injured by a defective product to get financial compensation.

The three types of products liability cases are as follows:

Manufacturing defects. For this type of case to succeed, the injured party’s case must prove that the product deviated from design standards or performance standards set by the manufacturer; this means the design was fine, but the manufacturing was done improperly.

Marketing defects. A marketing defect is also called failure to warn. To successfully prove this, there must be evidence that the product did not come with adequate product warning or instructions. The goal is to prove that the accident was not the fault of the injured product user, but the company who did not adequately warn of potential problems. To avoid these cases, drug manufacturers, in particular, loudly proclaim the potential side effects of all kinds of drugs in television commercials. Viewers may wonder why a medicine could cause so many side effects. The manufacturer’s legal department is attempting to keep things transparent so that a consumer does not get the medicine and wind up with one of those secondary problems, then file suit against the manufacturer for not warning potential users.

Consumers may also wonder why there is so much paperwork provided with any kind of product, even a mobile phone, when much of the documentation is available electronically anyway. Those packaging inserts are the manufacturers’ legal department ensuring that failure to warn suits, while inevitable, will not be successful.

Design defects. Sometimes the product may have been manufactured correctly, but the specifications are off and problems result. An example of this would be monkey bars where children get their heads stuck because the bars were specified to be set at the wrong distance apart. To win this kind of lawsuit, the victim’s side needs to prove that if the design were altered, the product would be safe.

Pedestrian Accidents

A vehicle hitting a person can lead to severe injuries and death. A person who was walking across the road when struck by a car, bus, or truck can file suit against the driver’s vehicle insurance for medical claims and damages from the accident. There may be other sources of compensation for pedestrian accidents; for example, a pedestrian who is hit in a commercial parking lot may have the option of a premises liability suit for unsafe conditions that led to the accident.

Premises Liability

Whether it is a person’s home or a business, the expectation that the building will be maintained in a way that is safe, with nothing falling down from the building, adequate lighting, and security, is an assumption made by all in or near the building. When a person falls from a third story deck because the deck fencing was rotted out, that is a premises liability case.

Serious and Catastrophic Injuries

Although a case may fall under a different type of lawsuit, such as a car accident or a premises liability suit, the extent of damages may open the door for another suit because the damages are so life changing. Amputations are one serious and catastrophic injury that may be the result of any type of accident.

Wheelchair Tip Overs

Because of the vulnerability of people in wheelchairs, accidents involving these devices deserve their own category. Wheelchair tip overs are a civil rights violation, and they happen often at long-term care and nursing home facilities. It may be the result of a design error, a manufacturer error, incorrect information on marketing materials explaining how to set the wheelchair up, or a mistake by a care professional. A tip over is often the result of a care professional not setting up the wheelchair so that it stays level.

Wrongful Death

Unfortunately, some accidents result in death every day. Medical procedures result in death as well. A wrongful death lawsuit can be the result of work-related injuries and can be the result of any questionable circumstances surrounding the death of a loved one.

A wrongful death suit is filed by the surviving family members and is a civil action seeking financial damages. It is unrelated to any criminal investigations or proceedings.

Whether the death of a loved one was due to conditions or actions by another person on the road, in a hospital, an accident on the road, or anywhere else, the negligence or actions of a person or entity that lead to the person’s death will be the focus of a wrongful death case.

If there is a criminal prosecution as a result of the person’s death, a wrongful death lawsuit does not interfere with it in any way. This sounds confusing. But here is an example of a wrongful death case and a criminal case both proceeding from a murder: Many recall the OJ Simpson murder trial for the death of his estranged wife Nicole Brown Simpson. OJ Simpson was found not guilty of the criminal charges, but in a wrongful death civil suit filed by Nicole Simpson’s family and the family of Ron Goldman, the young waiter who was also killed, Simpson was found to be responsible.

Wrongful death suits provide a method for the loved ones of a person killed because of either the misconduct or the negligence of another. Compensation can cover the medical bills, funeral bills, and the lost income of the loved one, who may have been a financial and emotional support of the family.

Bicycle Accidents

Because bicycling is being embraced by more adults as a form of commute now, communities are designing bike lanes on major roadways to help this green method of getting around continue to grow. The bike lane is usually clearly marked, and law enforcement asks drivers to share the road with bicyclists. But not everyone does what they are asked, or guided, to do. This increases the chances of bicycle accidents.

Because the bicycle has no frame around it to protect the bicyclist, the rider is particularly vulnerable in collisions, and accidents often result in serious injuries.

Clergy Abuse

It has been well documented that thousands of New Jersey children, as well as children around the world, were sexually and physically abused by Roman Catholic priests, sometimes for years. The church has set up a fund to pay for damages to those who file suit against for clergy abuse, but the window is closing on that fund for New Jersey residents. Adults up to 55 years old can still file suit, but the opportunity for filing suit ends in December 2021.

Metuchen Personal Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Fight for Victims

The experienced Metuchen personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr have a proven record of over 40 years winning for victims in court and in settlements. We help victims receive the compensation they deserve and move on with their lives. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we 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, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.