If you have been seriously injured due to the negligence of another, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you suffered. In personal injury cases, the word damages refers to physical emotional and financial losses. For example, if you are injured in a car accident when a distracted driver runs through a stoplight, recoverable damages may include physical pain and suffering, hospital bills, the amount of income lost if you are unable to work, and the cost to repair your car.
At Kreizer Law, our highly-skilled, experienced personal injury lawyers have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims in New Jersey for years. We have an impressive track record of obtaining substantial results for our clients.
Do not make the mistake of trying to initiate this complex process with just any lawyer, or without legal counsel by your side. Efforts to reduce costs are frequently in vain; without a comprehensive understanding of personal injury law, victims can unknowingly sign away tens-of-thousands in financial awards. In larger cases, awards can even be in the hundreds-of-thousands, or millions.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will thoroughly review your case and position you for the most favorable outcome possible. Contact Kreizer Law today at 888-578-5222 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
Who Needs a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you’ve been injured in any type of accident, a New Jersey personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to move forward. If negligence contributed to the accident, the at-fault party or parties may be liable for your injuries and other damages. But following an injury, accident victims are often too overwhelmed to pursue immediate legal action. They may be consumed by the aftermath of sustaining serious injuries. With medical bills piling up and paychecks coming to an abrupt stop, filing a personal injury claim is likely the furthest thing from their mind. Furthermore, injury victims are frequently unsure of who was at fault, if anyone. And in some cases, multiple parties are at fault.
From assessing the viability of your case to determining fault, gathering evidence, and negotiating for a substantial settlement, calling a personal injury attorney after an accident can be the best financial decision you make. Having a lawyer by your side will also reduce the stress and overall burden of dealing with insurance companies and other involved parties.
Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle
At Kreizer Law, we handle all types of personal injury cases, from slip and fall accidents, car crashes, medical malpractice, accidents from dangerous toys, work injuries, and nursing home abuse. But certain cases are much more common. These include:
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of personal injury in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 38,000 people die in crashes every year. In New Jersey specifically, more than 580 people were killed in auto accidents in 2018 alone. And these accidents come with significant financial costs as well; in 2018, national traffic-related deaths resulted in a whopping $55 billion in medical expenses, lost wages, and the financial burden on survivors.
At Kreizer Law, our experienced car accident attorneys have an impressive track record of obtaining substantial results for clients in all types of motor vehicle accidents, including those involving large trucks, taxi cabs, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Contact a NJ injury lawyer today if you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another.
Medical Malpractice, Birth Injuries, and Brain Injuries
According to a 2016 study conducted by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, errors and negligence in the medical field account for roughly 10 percent of all U.S. deaths, making medical errors the third leading cause of death in this country.
“People don’t just die from heart attacks and bacteria, they die from system-wide failings and poorly coordinated care,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Martin Makary. “It’s medical care gone awry.”
Medical errors are defined as “lapses in judgment, skill or coordination of care; mistaken diagnoses; system failures that lead to deaths or the failure to rescue dying patients; and preventable complications of care.” But not all medical errors will result in a medical malpractice lawsuit. In order for a malpractice claim to be valid, the following four criteria must be present:
- There was a duty of care to the patient;
- There was a breach in that duty of care;
- That breach caused the damages in question;
- The plaintiff suffered actual harm.
Dr. Danielle Ofri has been an internist at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital for more than 20 years. In her new book When We Do Harm, she warns that medical errors are much more common than we think. And medical mistakes are even more prevalent as hospitals treat the wave of COVID-19 patients.
“I don’t think we’ll ever know what number, in terms of cause of death, is [due to] medical error — but it’s not small,” says Ofri.
Common causes of medical malpractice claims include birth injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), errors in drug administration, and missed or delayed diagnoses.
Nursing Home Abuse
When we make the difficult decision to put an elderly loved one in a nursing home, we hope they will receive the high level of care, compassion, and attention they deserve. Sadly, elder abuse in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities is shockingly and disturbingly common.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), 10 percent of older Americans receiving institutionalized and in-home nursing care have reported being victims of elder neglect and abuse, including physical, psychological, sexual, and financial abuse. Individuals with dementia and other disabilities are particularly vulnerable to this type of abuse.
If you are concerned that your loved one is being neglected or abused by a caregiver, contact an injury lawyer with extensive experience in elder abuse and nursing home abuse immediately.
Sexual abuse and assault are typically treated as criminal acts, resulting in the punishment of the perpetrator, but no financial award for the victim. But victims may also file a civil suit, following a criminal case, to obtain compensation for damages suffered, including costs for therapy and other medical expenses, and lost wages. In certain cases, sexual abuse occurred so long ago that the perpetrator is no longer alive. Such is often the case with sexual abuse cases in boarding schools and Catholic Churches all over the country, with some dating back 50 years, or more.
In response to the wave of these decades-old claims, NJ Governor Phil Murphy signed new legislation into effect on May 13, 2019, temporarily extending the statute of limitations for sexual assault and creating a two-year “look-back,” during which more survivors of sexual assault can seek justice. Prior to this look-back, adult survivors had only two years to file a claim, and child survivors had two years after their 18th birthday.
With the new legislation, all sexual abuse and assault victims have seven years to bring a civil action against their abuser. The law also opens a one-time, two-year window for survivors who were previously barred from bringing lawsuits under the previous statute of limitations. But it’s important to note that this window is nearing its close; those impacted have until November 30, 2021 to file a claim.
It is a fairly well-known fact that construction is one of the country’s most dangerous occupations. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), out of 4,779 total workplace fatalities in 2018, 21.1 percent occurred in the construction industry. In Layman’s terms, one in five workplace deaths involve construction workers.
The leading causes of construction-related deaths are often referred to as the Fatal Four. In fact, these causes are so prevalent that they accounted for more than half of all construction worker deaths in 2018. The Fatal Four include:
- Falls—33.5 percent
- Being struck by an object—11.1 percent
- Electrocutions—8.5 percent
- Getting caught in, or crushed between, heavy machinery or other objects—5.5 percent
As with all workplace accidents, construction accidents are often eligible for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a statutory no fault system that ensures injured workers’ in New Jersey receive needed medical treatment and temporary disability benefits while in recovery.
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent or reckless actions of another, you may be able to receive compensation for your losses. In NJ, recoverable damages include:
- Loss of the decedent’s income (the victim’s projected earnings that would have been contributed to survivors)
- Medical expenses acquired prior to death (if the victim survived for a period of time following the accident and required medical care during that time)
- Loss of services (if the victim provided survivors with certain household services, such as child care)
Although wrongful death cases can arise from any type of injury accident, they are most often seen in cases involving motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and neglect, and criminal acts.
Those who may be able to file a wrongful death claim include the surviving spouse, children under the age of 18, and other family members, if they were financially dependent on the decedent.
As with all negligence/personal injury cases, wrongful death cases have a two-year statute of limitations.
“Every action brought under this chapter shall be commenced within 2 years after the death of the decedent, and not thereafter, provided, however, that if the death resulted from murder, aggravated manslaughter or manslaughter for which the defendant has been convicted, found not guilty by reason of insanity, or adjudicated delinquent, the action may be brought at any time.” (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:31-3)
Although the types of cases above are among the most common we handle at Kreizer Law, our injury attorneys have experience in all areas of injury law, including dog bites, product liability, swimming pool accidents, motorcycle accidents, boat accidents, and any other injuries caused by someone’s reckless or careless actions.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately. Most injury lawyers will offer a free initial consultation, and most will not charge a dime unless you recover damages.
What to Expect When Working With a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you work with Kreizer Law, our skilled, compassionate legal team will thoroughly analyze and evaluate your situation to determine if you have a solid case. If so, we will begin the process of filing a claim, gathering evidence to substantiate that claim, dealing with insurance companies and other involved parties, and negotiating for the largest possible settlement. Our goal is to settle out of court, but we are prepared to take your case trial when insurance companies and responsible parties offer a settlement that isn’t fair. And without exception, your lawyer will remain by your side from start to finish.
How Much Do NJ Personal Injury Lawyers Cost?
Generally speaking, there is no upfront cost to hire a personal injury lawyer. Most injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that they do not bill hourly, or even require a retainer to get started.
Under a contingency fee agreement, your injury lawyer will not get paid unless you do. When your case is successful, resulting in a pre-trial settlement or court-awarded recompense, the law firm will be paid a previously agreed-upon percentage of that compensation.
Proving Negligence in Personal Injury NJ
In order to recover damages, we will need to prove that negligence played a role in your injuries. In some cases, fault is quite obvious. But more often than not, proving negligence involves a deeper investigation into the situation.
Duty of Care
Step one in proving negligence is to show that the at-fault party owed a duty of care to the victim. A duty of care is basically an obligation to avoid harming someone. Generally speaking, we all owe some duty of care to others, but this duty varies widely based on multiple factors.
Consider the following scenario: Andrew owns a furniture store and has a duty of care to keep his customers reasonably safe from harm in that store. A step on the staircase leading to the upper showroom develops a large crack. Knowing that it poses a risk to his customers, Andrew has been meaning to have the step fixed, but it’s been a busy month and he keeps forgetting. An elderly woman who doesn’t notice the crack, trips on it and falls, breaking her right hip. In this scenario, Andrew’s duty of care to his customers obligated him to have the dangerous step fixed in a timely manner. His failure to do so will likely make him liable.
But that doesn’t mean that Andrew is liable for any accident that occurs in his store. Let’s consider a different scenario: A customer drops her thermos of coffee while shopping at Andrew’s furniture store, spilling coffee on the floor. She walks away to find an employee who can clean up the spill. In the two minutes that pass between when she leaves the scene of the spill and Andrew arrives with a Wet Floor sign and a mop, another customer slips on the spill and hits his head. Although the accident was unfortunate, the customer’s injuries were not a result of negligence. Andrew has a reasonable duty of care to his customers, but that duty does not equip him with the ability to detect a spill the second it happens and magically clean it up just as quickly. In this particular scenario, Andrew acted quickly and reasonably to resolve the situation, effectively fulfilling his duty of care to his customers.
Breach of Duty
Once we have established that the victim was owed a duty of care, step two is to determine whether that duty of care was breached. When the at-fault party’s actions are reckless, careless, or otherwise negligent, they will likely constitute a breach.
In the scenarios above, Andrew breached his duty of care when he failed to fix the broken step. He knew about the step but failed to fix it in a timely manner. These actions were careless. But he did not breach his duty of care in his handling of the coffee spill. In some cases, proving that a duty of care was breached is fairly straightforward, such as when several eye witnesses say a car sped through a red light before hitting the victim. In other cases, proving this breach can be quite difficult. This is why it is so important to work with a knowledgeable injury lawyer if you have been harmed by the negligence of another.
If a duty of care was owed and that duty was breached, we now have to show that the breach (negligence) actually caused the injury. Remember when Andrew’s customer tripped on the broken step, falling and breaking a hip? Well, let’s change the story a bit to illustrate causation. Let’s say that instead of tripping on the broken step, the customer fell because she tripped over her untied shoelaces. In this scenario, there is no causal link between Andrew’s negligence (failure to repair the step in a timely manner) and the customer’s injury. Even though Andrew owed the customer a duty of care and he breached that duty, she is unlikely to have a valid injury claim because Andrew’s breach did not actually cause her injury.
Furthermore, causation is not an all-or-nothing concept. For example, if you trip on a broken step while running backwards up the staircase for fun, causation may be a mixture of the store owner’s negligence and your own carelessness.
Finally, in order to obtain compensation in a personal injury case, you must be able to show actual damages. Damages are the legal term given to the physical, and financial losses you suffer in a personal injury case. Simply saying something hurts isn’t enough to warrant a financial recovery. If you slip and fall on ice at a store because the store owner failed to put down sand or remove the ice, you may be entitled to compensation for related hospital bills and lost income. But if your injuries are limited to a small scrape (and, maybe, a mildly-bruised ego), you aren’t likely to recover any type of compensation in an injury lawsuit. Damages are intended to make an injury victim “whole” again; if you haven’t lost anything due to the incident, there is nothing to make whole.
Types of Damages You Can Recover After You’ve Been Injured
Following an injury accident, you may be able to obtain compensation for physical, and financial losses incurred. These vary widely from case to case, but the most common damages awarded in personal injury lawsuits include:
- Pain and suffering
- Current medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost income from time off work
- Long-term or permanent disability
- Loss in quality of life
Your New Jersey personal injury attorney will review your case to calculate damages and determine how much is needed to settle out of court. If a reasonable settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer should be prepared to take your case to trial and fight tirelessly to obtain the compensation you deserve.
NJ Personal Injury Laws
In New Jersey, comparative negligence is applied to personal injury cases. In essence, comparative negligence means that everyone owes a duty of care to everyone. As such, if you were partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, you can still recover damages, but any award for damages will likely be reduced by that amount. If, however, you were more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you will not receive any compensation.
It’s also important to note that personal injury claims against municipal and other government/public entities are handled a bit differently. Although these entities are not generally immune to liability, there are certain exceptions, as well as different requirements involved with filing an injury claim or lawsuit. An attorney with experience specific to these types of claims can help you determine how to proceed if the negligent party was a public entity.
Contact Kreizer Law Today
Accidents and injuries happen all the time, but when another’s negligence causes enough harm to negatively impact your physical, and/or financial wellbeing, you may be entitled to compensation. At Kreizer Law, our skilled, experienced injury lawyers understand how the big insurance companies think. We know how to effectively evaluate your case, gather substantiating evidence, accurately calculate damages, negotiate with insurers, and help you get the largest settlement possible.
If you’ve been injured, do not make the mistake of trying to go about it alone; we have successfully protected the rights of countless NJ injury victims, and our knowledgeable, compassionate attorneys will remain by your side throughout the entire process.
Contact Kreizer Law today at 888-578-5222 for a free and confidential consultation on your case.