What if the other driver claims that I am at fault?
Thankfully, it’s not up to the driver who hit you to determine whether or not he or she is responsible for the damage caused by the crash. Ultimately who is responsible will be determined by either a judge or a jury. Liability (who’s at fault) can be an issue in some cases, it’s best to talk to an attorney who understands the law and can advise you as to whether or not you have a claim.
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim?
In New Jersey the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim is two years. If a governmental agency, like New Jersey Transit or a municipality was responsible for your injury the Tort Claims Act requires notice is served within 90 days of the injury. It’s best to speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you’ve been injured.
What is premise liability?
Premise Liability is when the condition of a property causes injury. Some examples are an icy sidewalk outside of a commercial property or a tripping hazard in a grocery store. It’s not simply enough that you were injured on someone else’s property, there has to be negligence. The rules for premise liability can get fairly complicated; it you have been injured it’s best to speak with an attorney right away.
How is fault proven in premises liability cases?
The typical question is whether the defendant was negligent. To be negligent a person or organization has to fall below the reasonableness standard. This means the person or organization did not act reasonably prudent. If the parties are not able to resolve their claims, a jury will determine whether or not a person’s actions or inactions fell below a the reasonableness standard. Sometimes an expert witness will be hired to help the jury understand why the person or organization’s actions fell below this standard.
What damages can be recovered?
The purpose of damages in a personal injury suit is to, as best as money can do, correct the damage done to an injured person. Specifically, in New Jersey an injured person can recover non-economic damages for pain, suffering, disability, impairment, and a loss of enjoyment of life. Economic damages include lost wages, any out of pocket expenses, co-pays and deductibles (sometimes), property damage, and any other money that was lost as a result of someone else’s negligence.
Can you tell me how much my case is worth?
Eventually. The two big questions in a damages case are (1) what’s wrong with you and (2) how have and will your injuries impact your life. To answer those questions, we usually need time. Time for you to treat with the right medical professionals and time for you to recover and determine what you are limited in doing and no longer able to do. The more of an impact an injury has on your life the greater the damages. At Laddey, Clark, and Ryan, we take a slow approach. You only have one chance to resolve your lawsuit and we want to make sure we don’t miss anything.
How do personal injury attorneys charge?
Your case will be handled on a contingency fee basis. That means there won’t be any out of pocket expenses for you and you won’t get a bill from us for the time we spend on your case. At the end of your case a percentage of the settlement goes to attorneys’ fees. When a settlement offer is made, we will tell you how much of the offer goes to you so you can make a fully informed decision about whether or nor to accept the offer.
What is the statute of limitations?
The statute of limitations is the time during which you either have to have your claim resolved or file a lawsuit. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations is two years. For minors it’s two years after the injured child’s 18th birthday.
Are there exceptions to the statute of limitations?
Some, but they are rare. The most common is called the discovery rule. The statute of limitations can be stayed if you either did not discover that you were injured or did not know that the injury was the fault of another. There are also recent exceptions the legislature has created regarding past sexual abuse.
Are there other limitations that may hinder a claim?
Many, that’s why it’s best to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. The biggest hinderance is likely found on your own auto insurance. Most auto insurance companies will ask you if you would like to save hundreds of dollars on your car insurance by having the “verbal threshold” or “limitation on lawsuit option” apply to their policies. An overwhelming number of people in New Jersey have selected this option, but most don’t know that they are potentially giving up their right to recover personal injury damages if they are injured in a crash through no fault of their own. It this verbal threshold applies, you can only recover personal injury damages if you have a permanent injury. That means your doctors have to point to some type of objective medical testing that shows damage that will never get better.
What should I do after I have been injured?
The most important thing to do is seek immediate medical attention. If you’ve been in a crash it can be very hard to determine if you have any internal injuries. Additionally, your adrenalin is likely pumping and you will not feel the effects of the crash until later after you have calmed down.
After you have determined you are not in any immediate medical risk it is a good idea to speak with someone who can help guide you through the process. If you were in a car accident your medical bills are probably not going to be paid for by your health insurance. If you have a slip and fall on a commercial policy, there may be a way to get your out-of-pocket medical expenses covered. An attorney may be a very good resource for you, even if you don’t have a viable claim.
What is considered negligence?
Negligence has four parts, duty, breach, causation, and damages. Duty means the defendant owed a responsibility to the person who was injured. Breach is when the defendant failed to meet that duty. Causation means the breach was the cause, or one of the causes, of the injury. Finally, damages refers to the injury and loss someone suffers as a result of the breach of the duty.
An example would be a rear-end car crash. The person who drove into the back of the car in front of him or her owed a duty to the other driver. That duty was breached by the crash. The crash would not have happened but for the breach, so there is causation. Finally, if the person in the car that was rear-ended was injured they would have suffered damages.
Some claims are not as straightforward so if you think you may have been injured or suffered damages as the result of someone else’s negligence you should speak with an attorney to get more information.
Do I need a lawyer?
That depends. Have you been injured? Was the injury a result of someone else’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness? If the answer to those questions is Yes, or Maybe, we would be happy to speak with you. There is a two-year statute of limitations in New Jersey from the time you are injured until you either have to have your claim resolved or file a lawsuit. While that may seem like a lot of time, it can creep up on you quickly, so it’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to learn about your options. Give us a call today, 973-729-1880.
How is Laddey, Clark, and Ryan different?
We have a long track record of obtaining outstanding results for our injured clients. Many of our verdicts have been among the highest ever obtained in those particular counties. We are able to consistently achieve the success we do by being very careful about the cases we accept and then spending the time on your case to give it the best chance of success. All of our clients are different and have a different story to tell; we will take the time to learn your story and how your injury has had an impact on your life. Then we will spend the time necessary to help you tell that story.
I was just in a car crash what should I do?
First, don’t panic, and assess the situation. Have you been injured in an obvious manner that needs to be addressed ASAP? How about anyone else in your car or the other car? If so call 911.
Second, is it safe to get out of your car and check the damage? A second crash, when you’re out of the car can cause a lot more damage to you. If it is safe get out and do so.
Third, call the police. It is always better to have a police report of a crash because it creates a record of what happened.
Finally, if you are not feeling right seek out medical attention. A lot of times people at the scene of a crash have a lot of adrenaline pumping through their system and don’t feel the pain until later. If you are experience symptoms of an injury after a car crash get to a medical professional, it may be nothing, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Who pays for my medical bills when I’ve been injured?
Your insurance. If you’ve been in a car crash your own insurance pays for your own medical bills up to your coverage limits. If you’ve been injured outside of your car, typically your own medical insurance will cover your treatment.
Sometimes homeowners or commercial insurance policies will have small policies that cover out-of-pocket medical expenses, like co-pays, up to a certain limit.
What is PIP?
PIP stands for personal injury protection insurance. It is a coverage most drivers in New Jersey have on their car insurance policies. If you have been in a car accident in New Jersey and you need medical treatment your own auto insurance will usually be the primary insurance for any treatment you receive that is related to the accident. Your personal health insurance is secondary.
Most PIP policies have a co-pay and deductible that you will have to pay, but once those limits are met the treatment won’t include any additional out-of-pocket cost to you.
How much insurance coverage do I need for my car?
As much as you can comfortably afford. Your car is the place you are most likely to be injured and having better coverage protects you, and your family, from the unexpected. Don’t be fooled by the car insurance commercials claiming to be able to save you money, you might be giving up a lot of valuable and necessary protections just to save a few bucks.
The other driver’s insurance company is asking me questions, should I answer them?
No! There is no need to talk to the other driver’s insurance company. The insurance adjuster calling you has two jobs; (1) to assess the risk posed by your injury to his insurance company, and (2) to minimize that risk. Don’t put yourself in a position where you may say the wrong thing or offer information you shouldn’t. There is a two year statute of limitations from the day of your crash until you either have to have you case resolved or you file a lawsuit, there is no rush to speak with anyone from the other driver’s insurance company.
How long will my case last?
Every case is different. Some cases can be resolved in relatively short time period, meaning months, others take years to resolve. It all depends on the injuries, treatment, complexity of what happened, the insurance coverage available, and the settlement expectations of both sides.
At Laddey, Clark, and Ryan one of the keys to our success has been treating each case differently and allowing them to take the right amount of time to obtain the best result for our client. We are not fast. We are going to allow you to treat with your doctors and explore the best treatment options for you. You only have one chance to be compensated from the insurance company for the permanent damage done to your body and success for us is making sure they consider everything that has happened to you and will happen to you in the future.
How do I know which lawyer to hire?
You want a law firm with a proven track record of success, one that has been recognized by its peers as one of the top in the state, one that is not afraid to take a case to trial if that is what is necessary.
You also want to be comfortable with the attorney and the staff working on your file. Can you get a return phone call? Do they treat you with respect when you ask a question. Do their values match with yours.
Are all personal injury lawyers the same?
Every lawyer is different. How they view your case, your injuries, and you can all be different. At Laddey, Clark, and Ryan if we take your case, you can be confident we will invest in your case, give it the time and attention it needs, and do everything we can do to get you the best result possible.
What is uninsurance/underinsurance?
There are a lot of people in New Jersey driving around with no insurance or the minimum amount of insurance required. If you have a permanent spinal injury, the $15,000 insurance policy of the driver that hit you will be nowhere near enough to fully compensate you for your injuries. That’s where uninsured/underinsurance (UM/UIM) coverage comes in to play. If you have purchased UIM coverage that is greater than the other driver’s coverage then you have the right to make a claim with your own insurance company up to your UM/UIM limits. At Laddey, Clark, and Ryan we have a proven track record of successfully bringing UM/UIM claims.
A 76-year-old woman was struck, lifted up and thrown to the ground by a school bus as it was making a turn within a parking lot. As a result, she sustained serious and catastrophic injuries including a lacerated spleen, pinched ureter (requiring a stent and surgery every six months), rib fractures, lumbar spine (lower back) fractures and multiple internal hematomas, among other injuries. A lawsuit was filed against the transportation company that owned the school bus, the driver of the school bus, the owner of the parking lot where the incident occurred, and the valet company who managed/operated the parking lot. During discovery, and following mediation, the defendants offered a global settlement of $3,000,000 to resolve the matter without further litigation.
A 53-year-old man was rear-ended by an Amerigas Propane Truck, resulting in serious and permanent injuries to his neck (including three cervical herniations and two cervical bulges). He underwent a two-level disc replacement surgery in his neck. While awaiting trial in Sussex County, Amerigas offered $385,000 to resolve the matter and avoid trial.
A 59-year-old woman was T-boned, resulting in a displaced fracture to her wrist. The fracture was operated on and left the woman with hardware in her wrist. The tortfeasor had a limited insurance policy of $15,000, which was quickly offered. A claim for underinsured motorist benefits was made against the injured woman’s insurance company, Allstate. Allstate offered an additional $275,000 to resolve the matter pre-trial.
A 53-year-old woman was struck head on, resulting in two herniations in her cervical spine and post-concussive syndrome. She underwent a two-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. Tortfeasor carried minimum policy limits with Esurance for $15,000, which was tendered following the surgery. The injured woman sought compensation under her underinsured motorist policy with NJM. NJM offered an additional $270,000 to resolve the matter pre-trial.
An 81-year-old woman sustained two herniations in her lumbar spine when the tortfeasor’s vehicle failed to yield to hers, causing a front-end collision. The injured woman ultimately required surgical intervention in the form of a two-level lumbar laminectomy. A complaint was filed in Hunterdon County, and Allstate for the tortfeasor offered $220,000 to settle the matter without the need for further litigation.
A 13-year-old student was injured at recess when he fell on a concrete septic cover located in the center of the school’s soccer field. Specifically, the young boy injured his left knee when the knee landed directly on the septic cover. Two separate surgeries were performed to repair the fracture, and significant ligament injuries that had occurred in the fall. A settlement with the school, in the amount of $413,500, was reached prior to attending binding arbitration.
Obtained a $300,000 settlement for a minor child, who was seriously injured from a dog bite that occurred in Vernon, NJ (Sussex County). The client, who was supposed to be supervised by the dog owner, was ultimately attacked by a pitbull and sustained multiple facial lacerations and scarring. Initially, the homeowner's Insurance Carrier, Homesite Insurance Company, refused to accept responsibility for the dog attack and attempted to disclaim coverage under the homeowner's insurance policy. Laddey Clark & Ryan’s passionate and vigorous representation ultimately led to the carrier tendering its full policy limits to settle the matter.
19-year-old girl is rear-ended and had a herniation in her neck that will eventually result in surgery. The insurance company for the other driver, Mercury Insurance, claimed all of the spinal damage was due to old age and only made a minimal settlement offer. The jury was able to see how much the spinal damage and constant pain impacted the future for this young woman.
A 14-year-old girl’s father ran a stop sign and collided with a passing car. She suffered a herniation in her neck, which harms her ability to play the viola. She had been a serious candidate at Julliard. The insurance company, Allstate, offered $7,500 pre-trial, which forced this case into the jury’s hands.
A woman leaving work at 1 a.m. slipped on black ice in the parking lot outside of her office building, fracturing her ankle. She worked at an international company that conducted business at all hours of the day. The company that was hired to perform 24/7 monitoring of the property claimed it had no idea that people would be working that late and therefore should not be held responsible for re-freeze situations. We successfully argued that the snow and ice removal company, which received weather alerts every two hours, should have known that there was a re-freeze situation, and that it was well aware people worked in this office 24/7.
An elevator maintained by Schindler Elevator Corporation dropped and slammed to a stop in Stateline, Nevada, severely injuring one of the passengers. Schindler and its attorneys maintained throughout the case that it did nothing wrong despite the admissions of its own supervisors that it was not maintaining the elevators to the proper standards.
A 72 year-old man slipped and fell on black ice outside a Wells Fargo Bank. He suffered a spinal injury and required emergency surgery that confined him to a wheelchair. Wells Fargo and the company it hired to clear ice from the property attempted to blame the victim, but we were able to convince the jury the ice was an ongoing condition caused by a poor drainage pipe.
Аn 18-year-old woman was rear-ended on her way home from college and suffered a herniation in her lower spine. Her doctors said her injury would eventually result in a fusion surgery. The insurance company, New Jersey Manufacturers, offered only $50,000 to resolve the case before trial started. We were able to show the jury how the terrible injury to this young woman has dramatically altered her life, and the woman’s treating doctors showed how the damage to her spine is progressive.
Schindler Elevator Corporation created false work reports claiming a secretary performed maintenance on an elevator at the Headquarters Plaza building in Morristown, NJ. The elevator eventually failed catastrophically, severely injuring the carpenter inside. The man will never work again and is now in constant pain from his injuries. This case was a retrial after a previous jury entered an award of $4,000,000 in the same case that Schindler was able to get reversed on appeal.
"The car that rear-ended me on Route 23 changed my life forever. The injuries I suffered ultimately led to a fusion surgery and I am still in a lot of pain. It has changed how I parent, my relationship with my husband, how I spend my free time, what I can do around the house. Essentially my entire life was upended. The people at Laddey, Clark & Ryan took the time to learn my story and used it to obtain a settlement that will help us move forward and past this terrible incident."
"From the very first time, we went through the doors of Laddey, Clark & Ryan and met you, we were so very pleased that we chose to go there. You were exceptional. You were so polite, so friendly and yet very professional. Before the day ended, we knew where we stood with our case. You were very thorough in explaining everything to us, in words that we understood. We both were very satisfied when we settled our case. I just wanted you to know that should we ever need another attorney, we know that we would definitely call on Laddey, Clark & Ryan attorneys again. Thank you for everything,"