Somerset Personal Injury Lawyers

An individual who has a personal injury is not just in physical pain, they may also fear how they will be able to pay for the mounting medical bills and how this injury will impact their ability to work. When facing a stressful situation that very likely will involve an insurance company, it is best to consult a personal injury lawyer. An experienced legal professional can handle the insurance companies and knows when a personal injury case should be brought before a court.

The goal of a personal injury lawyer is to make sure the victim gets full compensation for injuries, pain, loss of income, and damage to property that resulted from the serious accident. That means the personal injury lawyer is going to go after the parties responsible for the accident to pay for those related damages.

A personal injury lawyer may focus their work on a variety of different practice areas. Some typical personal injury cases are listed below.

Car Accidents

Car accidents can lead to injury, property damage, or even death. With so many cars on the roadways and distractions, car accidents are bound to happen, and injuries are likely to result.

Since New Jersey is a no-fault car insurance state, the injuries and property damage that results from the accident may not be fully compensated. No-fault insurance policies have limits, which are usually lower than comprehensive collision coverage for damage claims. That is why it is important to speak to a lawyer about a personal injury case. A victim may be entitled to more compensation.

After a collision, a victim should call the police, the insurance company, and then a lawyer. It is best to make all of these calls quickly. New Jersey has a statute of limitations of two years for car accident lawsuits to be filed. Building a case takes time, so it is best to call right away to see if a lawsuit is the best possible option.

Motorcycle Accidents

A motorcycle rider is particularly vulnerable in a motor vehicle accident because they are not shielded by the metal

and glass box that surrounds the occupants of a car. Despite the fact that motorcycles are more vulnerable than other vehicles on the road, motorcyclists cannot turn to their personal insurance protection coverage (PIP) to cover medical bills and property damage. There is no PIP coverage for motorcyclists in New Jersey; however, PIP extends to car drivers.

So, how do riders get the medical bills and loss of income covered after a motorcycle accident? A rider likely needs to turn to their own health insurance plan, Medicare, Medicaid, or union benefits package. The problem is that many of these plans will either exclude motorcycles as well or turn to the driver who caused the motorcycle accident to be reimbursed for any compensation that was given to the motorcyclist.

Those involved in a motorcycle accident should call a personal injury lawyer. There are methods to go after responsible parties for compensation, particularly under the following circumstances:

  • The motorcyclist winds up in an accident after a car pulled into its path during an unsafe lane change.
  • When a motor vehicle sideswipes a motorcycle.
  • A motor vehicle rear-ends a motorcycle.
  • The motorcyclist is in a single vehicle accident because of a negligent driver, roadway defect, inadequate banking, curve, pothole, or debris in the roadway.

If a motorcyclist dies as a result of a collision involving another vehicle, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. A wrongful death lawsuit could be filed by the loved ones of the deceased, and it seeks financial compensation to cover the costs of medical bills, as well as the future financial needs of the dependents. This is separate from any criminal cases that may result from the fatal accident.

Bicycle Accidents

Bicycling is increasingly being embraced as a means of transportation for adults as well as children. Communities are designating bike lanes on many major roads to allow this to be a practical means of transportation. Consequently, more bikes are on the roadways.

Drivers in vehicles may be cautioned by signs and public awareness campaigns to share the road, but this often does not happen. After a bicycle accident, the victim should contact a personal injury lawyer. The bicyclist might be able to seek compensation for any injuries or damages from the accident.

Truck Accidents

The weight, height, width, and depth of a truck contributes to the severity of a truck accident. Truck accidents are more likely to be catastrophic or deadly.

The demand for the quick delivery of goods became even more of an expectation during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the surge of companies like Amazon is testament to that market shift. That means more trucks are on the road. Unlike many cars, truckers are operating under tight deadlines and working long hours behind the wheel. Since truck drivers are often working under tight deadlines with little rest or sleep, a case can be built against the truck driver’s employer. However, determining who is the liable party is a complicated issue in a truck accident case.

When a truck driver tests positive for drugs at an accident scene, the legal team has a clear picture of the responsible party. However, many companies lease equipment and vehicles or hire a staffing service or independent contractors who are not on their payroll. A truck accident victim needs an experienced lawyer with an investigative mind to get to the bottom of what entity will be held liable.

According to federal law, responsibility for a trucking accident is made clear, even if the truck is leased and the truck driver is a subcontractor. Federal law places responsibility for truck accidents on the company that owns the trucking permit. If the company placard is displayed on the vehicle, that company is likely liable for an accident.

However, because of the nature of modern truck driving, there are different parties who may be liable for a truck accident. Some possible liable parties include:

  • The truck driver.
  • The truck company.
  • The person that leased the truck from the owner.
  • The manufacturer of the truck or of the defective parts of the truck.
  • The loading company if the accident was caused by unsecured cargo.

Bus Accidents

Bus drivers go through extensive training, but bus accidents still happen. With the number of people on the bus and the top-heavy nature of its structure, a lot of people can get injured when an accident happens.

Sometimes, a bus accident is the driver’s fault. Other times, the bus itself is not up to code, has not been properly maintained, and should not be on the road at all. 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. The lawsuit will proceed differently depending on which type of owner is involved. Different bus categories include:

  • School buses.
  • Transit buses, such as city buses, shuttles, and commuter buses.
  • Intercity buses, which are buses designed for long-distance travel.
  • Passenger vans, which are vehicles that hold 15 or fewer passengers and often used for private organizations, like churches, assistance for seniors or disabled individuals, and day care.

Dog Bites and Animal Attacks

Many dogs bite out of fear and anxiety, such as when they are in an unfamiliar situation and feel cornered. Good owners will help an anxious dog become more socialized and avoid situations where the dog will feel vulnerable.

However, dog bites frequently happen in the United States. Often, the victim is a child who is familiar with the animal. Additionally, children are often bitten in the face. Dog bites are far more likely to happen at the home of a family member or friend.

In New Jersey, strict liability law applies when it comes to dog bites. Strict liability means that when a dog bites someone, the negligent dog owner is responsible for damages. It is important to know that the owner is liable if the attack happened on public properly or the victim was legally on private property. If the owner did not know that the dog was aggressive, that lack of knowledge does not make the owner less liable.

In addition to bites, there are many aggressive animals that attack or pounce on a person, knocking them over; this can cause all kinds of injuries. Dogs can injure people without actually biting them, such as by knocking someone over or chasing them and causing an accident. New Jersey strict liability statutes do not apply here. However, if a victim can prove that the dog owner was negligent, that victim might be able to receive compensation for the catastrophic injury.

A dog bite victim must prove that the dog owner failed to meet the duty to control the dog’s behavior, and the dog caused harm to a person because the owner failed to meet that duty. If a dog is involved in an unprovoked attack on a person or animal in New Jersey, an animal control office may impound the dog and notify the owner and the court. In more serious cases, a vicious dog might be euthanized.

After a hearing, if the animal is found to be dangerous, there may be a series of conditions placed on the owner keeping that animal, including:

  • Getting a special license.
  • Putting warning signs on the property.
  • Keeping the dog in a locked enclosure or on a strong leash with a muzzle.

The fine for an owner not complying with these conditions is currently $1,000 for each day of the violation.

If the victim is found to be more than half responsible for the attack, they will not receive any compensation from the dog owner. However, if the victim is found to be less than half responsible for the attack, the compensation amount owed to that victim by the owner will be reduced by their percentage of fault.

Premises Liability

A lawsuit for premises liability is based on the concept that homeowners and businesses need to maintain premises for the safety of guests. For example, not properly maintaining lights so that people can see where they are going at night is negligent.

Slip and fall accidents fall under the umbrella of premises liability. Common slip and fall accident cases involve:

  • Escalators and elevators
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Stairwells and handrails
  • Inadequate security
  • Ice and snow
  • Swimming pools
  • Supermarkets and retail stores

Like dog bite and dog attack cases, the compensation for these injuries might depend on whether or not the injured person was a guest or legally on the premises at the time of the incident.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers Compensation is designed to cover the financial needs of injured employees. Workers’ Compensation covers medical bills and a portion of lost income. Workers’ Compensation insurance provides a safety net with a compensation package for those who will not be able to return to work or who need modified job changes, regardless of fault. Likewise, death benefits may be provided to dependents of those who passed away in fatal work accidents.

Workers’ Compensation insurance controls the costs of on-the-job injuries and fatalities for the employer, too. An employer is protected against a lawsuit from the injured employee or the family members of a fatally injured worker. State laws spell out that the worker is covered from the first day of employment, so even if an accident happens on the first day, the employee should still receive benefits while recuperating.

Every employer, besides those covered by federal programs, in New Jersey has to offer Worker’s Compensation insurance, either by purchasing it or through an approved self-insurance program. Employees who are told there is no Workers’ Compensation insurance to cover the medical bills from an injury should report the problem to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The employer is breaking the law by not offering Workers’ Compensation insurance.

In some cases, equipment and tools may have been defective, improperly installed, or the users were not warned about the effects or adequately informed on how to properly use them. In those cases, a personal injury lawyer can put together a product liability case for the injured worker to receive compensation from the manufacturer of the product, the company that sold the product, or the installer.

Medical Malpractice

Accidents can happen anywhere because humans can make mistakes. In the case of a mistake in medical care, the result can be even more traumatic for the victim because medical practitioners are often trusted to heal, not harm. One example of a medical mistakes is a patient going into the hospital for an emergency appendectomy and leaving the surgery with a surgical tool left inside their body. This is going to cause pain and infection, and it will increase the amount of time that the patient needs to recuperate. It will also add another medical bill and likely result in the patient being unable to work, go to school, or perform daily tasks.

There are four main components of a medical malpractice suit: duty, breach of that duty, causation, and damages. All of these must be proven in any medical malpractice case. Doctors have a duty to provide reasonable care to patients. If a doctor performed a procedure that a patient did not agree to or failed to fully explain the risks and benefits of treatment, the patient may be able to pursue a medical malpractice suit if they were injured.

There are problems that are to be expected as one recuperates from surgery. However, like in the case of a surgical tool being left inside a patient’s body following an appendectomy, some problems point to a medical mistake and not an anticipated problem during recovery. A health care provider informs the patient of the mistake. When a patient’s suspicions are confirmed, it is time for them to talk to a lawyer to discuss their legal options.

Product Liability

Products become defective all the time, resulting in serious injuries. There have been people who suffered burn injuries from mobile phones that simultaneously exploded, and children who were injured by faulty nursery and playground equipment. Products can be designed, built, manufactured, installed, or marketed incorrectly, and a product liability case is a way for an injured consumer to be compensated.

There are three types of product liability cases:

  • Manufacturing Defects: In order to get a favorable result from a manufacturing defect claim, the injured party’s case must prove that the product deviated from design standards or performance standards set by the manufacturer.
  • Marketing Defects: This is referred to as a failure to warn case. The plaintiff here is responsible for presenting evidence that the product did not come with adequate product warnings or instructions. That is why there is so much instruction materials with all kinds of products on the market; manufacturers provide these to avoid that failure to warn case.
  • Design Defects: Sometimes, a product was manufactured correctly but designed incorrectly. The key for the plaintiff here is to prove that if the design was altered, the product would be safe.

Wrongful Death

Every day, fatal accidents happen. Medical procedures result in death as well. Whether the death of a loved one was due to conditions or actions by another person on the road, in a hospital, or anywhere else, the negligent party can be held liable for a wrongful death.

A wrongful death case is a civil matter, so 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. An example of a famous wrongful death case is the O.J. Simpson trial. O.J. Simpson was found not guilty in criminal court, but he was guilty of wrongful death in the civil suit.

A wrongful death suit allows survivors to cover the medical and funeral bills of the loved one. Wrongful death damages also provide lost income to a survivor who may have financially and emotionally depended on the deceased.

Clergy Abuse

Some children and parishioners have been abused by members of the clergy. Many victims of clergy abuse remained silent while they endured the trauma. Getting compensation for victims of clergy abuse involves a lot of complex paperwork. New Jersey clergy abuse victims should consult with a lawyer to guide them throughout the entire process.

Most abusers have been priests, but there are other parties who have committed clergy abuse, including:

  • Nuns
  • Youth leaders
  • Sunday school teachers
  • Bishops
  • Deacons
  • Choir directors
  • Volunteers

Although financial compensation cannot completely erase the pain of clergy abuse, it can help with the healing process, as well as hold the abuser accountable for their egregious actions. Some forms of compensation available to clergy abuse victims include:

  • Psychological counseling
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

The most common forms of clergy abuse include:

  • Unwanted touching
  • Sexual threats and harassment
  • Lewd acts and comments
  • Molestation
  • Sexual assault

If a victim has experienced any form of clergy abuse, it is important that they speak up and stand up against the abuser. An important first step to pursuing a civil lawsuit for clergy abuse is to speak to an experienced lawyer.

Somerset Personal Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Fight for the Rights of Accident Victims

A personal injury case may arise in various scenarios. Personal injury victims deserve justice, and negligent liable parties should be held responsible for their actions. If you need help with your accident case, speak to a Somerset personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. To schedule a free consultation and to learn more about your case, contact us online or call us at 732-249-4600. We are located in Highland Park, New Jersey, and we proudly 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, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.