Piscataway Personal Injury Lawyers
Victims suffering injuries through no fault of their own often believe they have no legal recourse. Any type of personal injury could occur, and victims deserve to recover compensation when they did nothing to cause the situation. These cases can be tense and fraught with misunderstandings, and that is why hiring a Piscataway personal injury lawyer helps the victim take the appropriate steps in their recovery.
The massive array of accidents that might occur may surprise anyone living in the Piscataway area. Serving as a hub for industry in North Jersey, Piscataway hosts large companies such as American Standard, Hapag-Lloyd, and Ingersoll Rand. Traffic pours into the area from New York City and nine surrounding townships, and public land near the Raritan River, local parks, and surface streets make personal injuries even more common.
The injuries listed here should be taken seriously by victims no matter the scale. A serious injury often involves negligence on the part of a person or business, and uncovering that negligence is critical in hoping to prevent those accidents in the future. Victims should not assume that an accident is just an accident when so many other variables could be at play.
What Happens if I Suffer Burn Injuries?
Burn injuries often take the greatest toll on their victims because of the emotional nature of the injury, the anguish felt during recovery, and the medical care required to complete a full recovery. According to the American Burn Association, a civilian fire death occurs about every two and a half hours, and Americans have a one in nearly 1500 chance of dying of exposure to fire, smoke, flames, or fire damage. Deaths from home fires are still dropping as a result of greater public awareness and prevention, but New Jersey residents must be aware of basic safety procedures to follow in the home, including the following suggestions:
- Do not use stoves or ovens while impaired, intoxicated, or drowsy.
- Stay in the kitchen while using burners or ovens.
- Use timers to prevent overheating.
- Remove flammable substances from the cooktop.
- Create a three-foot space around all heaters.
- Unplug portable heaters when not in use.
- Place portable heaters on a level surface.
- Keep children and pets away from portable heaters.
- Stop smoking inside the house.
- Replace or repair frayed electrical cables.
- Never light candles in the house.
- Ensure smoke alarms work properly.
- Create an escape plan in the event of a fire.
- Keep at least one fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
Residents should not attempt any home repairs without the guidance of a licensed professional. Fires can start in a variety of ways, and even simple home repairs can be unpredictable. Explosions may occur while working with hot water heaters. as they function under pressure and may violently release scalding steam if damaged. Scalding is also a common injury among small children, and slightly older children are often injured while playing with fire or possibly smoking.
Burns also occur after exposure to caustic or acidic substances. Although acute chemical skin injuries make up only two to five percent of total burn injuries, they must be taken seriously and treated accordingly. Active flushing of the burn using potable water or a Diphoterine solution is recommended. Unfortunately, there is no reporting system for chemical burns, and the total number of incidents may be underreported. Victims should seek medical attention as soon as possible after suffering any burn and follow the doctor’s orders carefully.
If a lawsuit is brought concerning burn injuries, those cases fall under either products liability or general negligence law. Products liability cases involve defective products from manufacturers, be it the construction of the product or defective parts. General negligence cases involve the negligence of, for example, a hotel that does not ensure its windows can open and help victims escape a fire.
In burn cases, lawyers calculate damages based on the following questions:
- Is the victim disabled?
- Is the victim disfigured?
- How much emotional distress has the victim suffered?
- Did the victim lose income?
- Is the insurance provider paying claims appropriately?
Can I Receive Compensation for Motor Vehicle Accidents?
Motor vehicle accidents are compensable provided that another driver or entity caused the accident. Because vehicular accidents cover such a wide range of scenarios, victims must understand their legal recourse in each situation.
Passenger vehicles. Car accidents occur every day, and they can involve a wide range of drivers and situations. If one car strikes another, the at-fault driver’s negligence will be litigated in order to recover compensation. When an outside entity such as a construction company causes an accident, the affected parties may file suit against the business.
Bicycle accidents. Bicycle accidents occur when motorists do not see a bicyclist, or the road surface is not safe for riding. Riders on a designated trail or lane may find the terrain is far too rough for riding, and they could be ejected from the bike. If a driver strikes a bicyclist, a catastrophic injury or even death may be the result. Motorists might cut off bicycles and force them off the road, or they did not give the bicyclist proper right of way, causing an accident.
Bus accidents. Bus accidents often involve cars, trucks, or other buses. When this is the case, the bus driver may be liable for their negligent operation of the vehicle. If the owner of the bus has not properly maintained the vehicle, the victims may seek compensation from the operating business or agency.
Passengers inside the bus are also eligible to recover damages when they are injured in these accidents. The driver might stop too fast, or passengers might fall or sustain injuries when slamming into the windows, seats, or support poles. Passengers may also recover damages if they suffer injuries while entering or exiting the bus.
Dangerous or defective roads. Roads that are improperly engineered or inadequately maintained cause accidents because of a lack of maintenance or appropriate design. Drivers may swerve to miss a pothole and cause a crash. The accident is avoidable if the local municipality or state agency responsible for the road keeps the surface in good repair. Poor designs also cause issues as drivers take unnecessarily tight turns, the road does not have proper signage, or there are no markings on the road surface. Other common issues include the following:
- Poorly designed ramps
- Damaged pavement
- Defective guardrails
- Damaged or missing traffic signals
- Sloped shoulders
- A lack of drainage
- Poorly marked merge zones
- Leaving roadside hazards in place
Hit and run accidents. These accidents occur in two forms. The offending driver either leaves the scene or stops for a moment before leaving. A hit and run accident often leaves the victim behind without any idea who caused the accident. Even if the victim saw the at-fault driver or vehicle, they do not have photographic evidence of who caused the accident.
If a hit and run driver stops briefly at the accident scene, it is because they do not understand the severity of the situation. When that is the case, this person might linger before realizing they must leave to avoid prosecution or liability. If possible, the motorists who is hit should take pictures of the driver, their vehicle, and their tags.
Mass transit accidents. These accidents often occur because of poor operation, manufacturing defects, operator intoxication or impairments, or a lack of maintenance. The NJ Transit system includes trains covering an area stretching from Atlantic City to Pennsauken; Trenton to Newark; Bay Head to Secaucus; west to High Bridge, Gladstone, and Hackettstown; and into New York City and its Hudson Valley suburbs.
Train lines include crossings, stations, and the trains themselves. Although most injuries occur in train stations or trains, accidents may occur when pedestrians or vehicles are struck by the train. Technicians servicing these trains must complete their work properly, and only factory parts are acceptable. If the NJ Transit authority does not do its due diligence, it is responsible for everything from derailments to breakdowns.
Motorcycle accidents. In 2018, there were 525 fatal motor vehicle accidents and 564 fatalities. Of those, 53 accidents involved motorcycles. Even though motorcycle deaths are falling every year, staggering statistics point to a need for safer driving and riding. For example, 81 percent of motorcycle riders killed were wearing Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmets. As a result, passenger car drivers should remain on the lookout for motorcycles.
Motorcycles are small and difficult to see. If drivers take basic safety precautions, they are less likely to be involved in accidents with motorcycles. The most common motorcycle-related accidents tend to be sideswipes, rear-end, and head-on collisions.
Commercial vehicle accidents. These accidents involve parcel services from UPS to FedEx and box trucks managed by companies throughout the region. Amazon has a massive fleet of delivery vehicles, and businesses from florists to restaurants use delivery vehicles every day. If the delivery truck driver is negligent in operating the vehicle, they or their employer may be subject to a lawsuit.
Truck accidents. These accidents may involve an impaired or negligent driver. The owner of the truck may fail to service or repair the truck properly, or the truck might not be loaded properly. Improper servicing or loading can lead to tip-overs, jackknifing, or unintended acceleration.
Truck drivers may violate standing federal rules regarding logging driver hours or driving without proper rest. If an employer forces the driver to falsify their records or drive longer than they should, the employer is liable for these accidents.
Accidents involving uninsured drivers. Motorists driving without insurance cause accidents and leave behind thousands of dollars in damage, but most insurance policies include addenda that account for accidents involving uninsured drivers. Even so, victims may need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover compensation. Additionally, the uninsured driver’s vehicle may be defective or an outside entity, such as a government agency or construction company, may be responsible.
Pedestrian accidents. According to a study completed by the Governors Highway Safety Association, New Jersey was the 12th worst state for pedestrian accidents in 2018. Pedestrian accidents often occur because of an increase in pedestrian traffic across North Jersey, but pedestrians must limit their walking or jogging to sidewalks rather than using the shoulder or surface streets. Drivers must look out for pedestrians and give them the right of way in crosswalks or specialty crossing zones. Pedestrians injured in even minor accidents should speak to a personal injury lawyer and look to recover compensation for their injuries or losses.
How Should I Handle Dog Bites?
Dog bites and animal attacks can be traumatic for the victim or witnesses. When these attacks occur, claims are most often filed against dog owners or property owners where the attack occurred. The Piscataway municipal code requires dog owners to apply and pay for a dog license. Owners of potentially vicious dogs must pay an additional fee of $700 to keep their dogs within the township, and all dogs must wear registration tags. Furthermore, dogs are not allowed to disturb the peace, run at large, walk without a leash, or cause property damage with impunity.
After a dog bite or dog attack, municipal authorities may impose fines, file criminal charges against the owner, and even quarantine or destroy vicious animals. At the same time, victims may file a civil suit to recover damages after the attack. Disfigurement and scarring, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) result after these attacks, and victims may require additional medical compensation to assist with their recovery.
What Types of Construction Accidents are Compensable?
Construction accidents involve falling objects, slip and fall events, or defective or faulty machines. In the event of these accidents, victims may suffer from amputations, brain or spinal trauma, burns, broken bones, electric shock, cardiac trauma, lower body injuries, neck injuries, back injuries, or paralysis. Workers’ Compensation coverage is available for eligible employees. All other victims may sue the construction company, the owner of the construction site, or the manufacturer of a faulty device/vehicle.
As drivers pass through construction zones, they might collide with construction vehicles or debris in the roadway. Some construction zones use improper barriers or confuse drivers, and other zones are so narrow that vehicles may not fit safely.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is an issue impacting patients across New Jersey every day, and patients must be diligent in monitoring their care. Common instances of medical negligence or misconduct include the following:
Anesthesia errors. These errors are caused by improper management of anesthetics before, during, and after a procedure. Anesthesia errors can be fatal, or they may cause severe and irreparable harm.
Birth injuries. Mistakes involving the birthing process may harm both the baby and the mother. Babies might die during birth as a result of the mishandling of the delivery, suffer from lifelong palsies, or even experience brain damage because of a lack of oxygen during delivery.
Failure to diagnose. A failure to diagnose any disease establishes grounds for medical malpractice, but conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure can be especially deadly. Failure to diagnose might also include a failure to listen to the patient and address their concerns.
Improper prescriptions. An error in prescribing drugs can cause serious illness or even death. Although doctors are tasked with writing prescriptions, pharmacists must also fill these prescriptions appropriately to avoid scrutiny.
Surgical errors. Errors occurring during a surgical procedure may begin with something as basic as leaving medical instruments inside the patient, but surgeries might be completed improperly, ignored, or wrongly delayed, causing the patient severe injury or even killing them.
Slip and fall accidents. These accidents may involve victims on residential, commercial, or industrial properties. The plaintiff might slip on poorly maintained floors or walkways, trip on damaged stairs, or fall when handrails break. The owner or manager of the property is liable for all damage caused as a result of their inattention.
What Should I Do if I Suffer an Injury in a Wheelchair?
Approximately three percent of wheelchair users fall from their chairs or experience a tip-over every year, and compensation is available in many cases. Although there are unfortunate accidents, certain wheelchairs are not designed or manufactured properly. Injured wheelchair users might aggravate their existing conditions, suffer brain injuries because they cannot stop their heads from hitting the ground, or experience bodily contusions.
Fractures, further spinal injuries, and lacerations may also occur. If the wheelchair is in good condition, the stairs, ramps, or walkways may be in poor condition. Injured wheelchair users may file suit to recover damages caused by unsafe surfaces or vehicles that should accept them. For example, the lift used to pull wheelchairs onto a large bus could malfunction and cause injuries, or a kneeling bus may not raise or lower in a safe manner.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, all public transit systems are required to offer three-point restraints for every wheel, and wheelchair users should also be secured using the appropriate means. The system may not work properly, and the transit system is liable for damages in that instance. Additionally, drivers or assistants may not use the restraint systems properly, and they are liable for injuries that occur if the wheelchair shifts or the user falls.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability cases point to the lack of maintenance and care on a property. Although damaged flooring, slippery surfaces, and unkempt land can cause injuries, other factors can cause similar injuries. Common issues in premises liability cases include the following:
Elevator damage or breakdowns. Those tripping when entering or exiting elevators deserve compensation, and those stuck inside a poorly maintained elevator may suffer from PTSD.
Falling objects. Falling objects can harm anyone in a warehouse or other location with massive storage shelves or racks.
Inadequate lighting. This causes slip and fall incidences along with other injuries. At the same time, poor lighting allows assailants to access facilities and assault those inside. In amusement parks, poor lighting makes certain attractions too dangerous to enjoy.
Swimming pool accidents. Pools must remain in excellent condition to protect guests or visitors from injury. Pools must be free of germs or bacteria, covers must prevent victims from falling in or drowning, and the area should be supervised by lifeguards. Raising a fence around a swimming pool helps prevent small children from gaining access, but that fence must remain in good condition.
Parking lot accidents. Most people realize that parking lots can be dangerous for drivers, but potholes, cracks, and fissures may also cause slips, falls, and/or serious injuries.
Are My Injuries Compensable?
Injuries caused by the negligence of another party, such as drivers, property owners, pet owners, and/or local businesses are compensable in a variety of ways. Victims may seek compensation from all responsible parties, including manufacturers, distributors, and operators. Recoverable damages in a personal injury case include the following:
Medical costs. These costs include every medical expense incurred by the victim during their recovery. Because the victim’s recovery may not be complete as the case is decided, a medical expert can be consulted to estimate the total value of the victim’s recovery.
Lost earnings. Earnings lost because the victim cannot work must be recovered because the victim often misses work from the day of the accident until they are fully recovered. Some victims see their lifetime earnings reduced, and they may sue to recover the difference.
Property loss. Compensation for property loss includes any damages incurred because of the accident. Everything from electronics and clothing to vehicles and keepsakes may be reimbursed at full market value.
Emotional distress. This involves the sleepless nights, anxiety, depression, and other mental injuries suffered by the victim.
Pain and suffering. This includes the physical pain and discomfort suffered by the victim. If the accident results in chronic pain or the victim’s maximum recovery level does not return them to normal motor function, compensation may increase.
Punitive damages. These damages serve to mitigate the losses caused by the defendant’s wanton and/or willful negligence. These damages may grow as much as five times the damages award or $350,000, whichever is greater.
It is important to note that comparative negligence in the state of New Jersey requires the court to reduce the plaintiff’s damages by the percentage they are responsible for an injury. A $100,000 damages award is reduced to $95,000 if the court finds the plaintiff is five percent responsible for their injuries. If the court finds that the victim is more than 50 percent liable for their injuries, the claim is nullified.
When Should I Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer?
A personal injury lawyer should review the case as soon as possible after an accident. Each accident scene is unique, and evidence from the accident will disappear soon after the victim visits the hospital. If someone at the scene can take pictures or find eyewitnesses, that helps build a compelling case.
When consulting with a lawyer, victims must share as much information as possible. Lawyers determine not only how the accident occurred but also who was negligent. Because a wide variety of people or businesses/entities might be involved, the lawsuit could expand to hold each responsible party accountable. Moreover, these cases may take time to litigate, especially if other people suffered similar injuries in a similar manner.
Victims should allow a lawyer to explain how to reach a settlement, what happens during a trial, and how to close the case. Because every victim deals with a unique set of circumstances, cases end in varying ways. Although one case may end in a quick settlement, others may go to trial and remain in court for some time. Having a lawyer present helps the victim recover while awaiting the completion of the legal process.
Piscataway Personal Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Victims Obtain the Compensation They Deserve
If you suffered injuries through no fault of your own, reach out to the Piscataway personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. We will take the time to listen carefully to your questions and concerns, and learn the details of your accident, so that we can tailor our representation to get the outcome you seek. Call us today at 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, and Colonia.