Edison Personal Injury Lawyer

When one person commits a wrongful act that causes physical and emotional harm to another person, New Jersey law permits the person harmed to take legal action against the wrongdoer seeking money damages. Lawyers call these sorts of wrongful acts “torts,” but whatever word you use to describe them, they should not happen and victims of them deserve compensation.

Although money cannot take away physical pain, it does help pay for medical care, and to replace income lost because of a severe injury. In New Jersey, personal injury victims must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the injury in most cases. That is why you need to reach out to Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s Edison personal injury lawyers as soon as you can if you have sustained injuries in an accident that was not your fault.

Ways to Prove Personal Injury Liability in Edison

New Jersey law imposes legal liability for causing personal injuries in a wide variety of situations. We explain three of those below.

Injuries Caused by Someone’s Negligence

As humans living in a community, we owe each other both a legal and a moral obligation to act in a reasonable manner that does not injure others around us. Sadly, people fail to live up to that “duty of care” and cause severe injury or even death to others. When a person fails to act in the way a reasonable person is expected to act to keep others free from harm, we say that person has acted “negligently.”

To succeed in a personal injury lawsuit based on allegations of negligence, a victim of personal injury must show 1) that the other person owed a “duty of care”; 2) that the person breached that duty by acting in a way that caused an unreasonable risk of injury or harm; and 3) that the victim suffered injury as a result of that violation of a “duty of care.”

Personal injury lawyers spend their days thinking about how to prove all three of these “elements” of a “claim” involving an injury to their client. It is usually fairly simple to show a duty exists. We all have a duty to drive our vehicles safely, for example. Medical professionals have a duty to act in the way a professional in good standing in their community would act. Landowners owe certain duties to keep visitors to their land safe from harm. Landlords owe duties to their tenants and employers to their employees.

Proving that someone breached a duty is not always so straightforward. In motor vehicle accidents, if the other person broke the law and caused your accident (drove while intoxicated, ran a red light or stop sign), it’s pretty easy to show that the driver breached the duty to operate his vehicle in a reasonable manner. In other types of cases—such as medical malpractice and some landlord-tenant disputes—it is not so clear whether someone has acted in a “reasonable” manner.

Finally, lawyers sometimes must work hard to show that the violation of a “duty of care” actually caused the injury to a client. If the victim already had back trouble, for example, and an accident made it worse, then the lawyer will have to collect and present evidence to that effect.

Strict Liability for Certain Types of Injuries

Sometimes, the law holds people liable for the harm they cause to others without taking into consideration whether or not they have acted negligently. This is called “strict liability.”

For instance, the manufacturer of a product that is unreasonably dangerous when used as it was intended to be used, or that there were insufficient warnings on the product regarding its dangerous nature, will have “strict liability” to anyone injured by the product.

Similarly, in New Jersey, dog owners are held strictly liable when their dog bites someone and causes an injury. Likewise, a person or company engaging in abnormally dangerous activities, can be held strictly liable for injuries those activities cause. Examples of abnormally dangerous activities include conducting demolitions, storing or using explosives, transporting hazardous chemicals, and fumigation.

Injuries Caused by Intentional Acts

Finally, a person who intentionally causes harm to another person will nearly always be held legally liable for that other person’s injuries.

The most common intentional acts leading to legal liability are assault and battery. The first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “battery” is likely a person hitting, kicking, or striking another person. But it also applies to certain types of medical malpractice, such as a surgeon removing the wrong organ or performing a procedure of some type without the consent of the patient. Assault is the creation of the fear of a battery. Throwing a punch but missing the intended victim is assault.

Assault and battery are also crimes, of course. However, seeking money damages for an assault and battery constitutes a legal action completely separate from a criminal prosecution. In fact, even if a jury acquits a person charged with the crimes of assault and battery, or even if that person never faces criminal charges, the victim still has the right to seek money damages through a lawsuit in civil court.

Other intentional acts that could lead to legal liability for damages include false imprisonment (intentionally keeping someone in a bounded area by force, threat, or improper assertion of legal authority) and intentional infliction of emotional distress (outrageous conduct that leads to severe mental distress in the victim, on purpose). As in the case of assault and battery, victims of these intentionally harmful acts have rights to seek compensation even if the wrongdoer never faces, or is acquitted of, criminal charges.

Common Types of Personal Injuries in Edison

Sadly, the types of injuries innocent people suffer at the hands of others are nearly limitless and can range in severity from minor to death. If you have suffered from any of the injuries below, or indeed any number of others, New Jersey law may entitle you to recover monetary damages from the person who caused your injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

TBIs occur as a result of a jolt, blow, or penetrating to the brain or when it is deprived of oxygen for a sustained period of time. They are difficult to diagnose because the person experiencing one may not exhibit symptoms until days or weeks after the incident. TBIs range in severity from mild in the form of a concussion to massive damage that results in death. TBIs can cause long-lasting, severe motor, cognitive, and emotional impairment, making them difficult to live with and to treat. The victim of a slip and fall or vehicle accident or someone who has been battered may suffer a TBI.

Bone Fractures and Sprains

Fractures and sprains are common, everyday injuries. Although most heal in time, some require significant medical intervention and cause severe disabilities, chronic pain, and limited range of motion. Frequent causes of fractures and sprains include accidental falls and motor vehicle accidents.

Burns

Burns are common in serious car accidents, but can also be sustained as a result of unsafe working conditions, or a poorly maintained residence. Most people probably think of burns in the sense of “thermal” injuries sustained by touching a hot object. But there are many other sources and types of burn injuries. Cold burns occur from frostbite. Friction burns like road rash are caused by something that rubs off layers of a person’s skin. Sunburns are classified as radiation burns. Contact with an electrical current causes electrical burns, and coming into contact with strong acids, solvents, or detergents can cause chemical burns.

Depending on the severity of the burn, a burn victim may require painful skin grafts and be left with scarring or disfigurement that causes mental trauma.

Lacerations

Lacerations, or cuts, often occur as a result of animal attacks, the use of an unsafe product, or workplace accidents. They may also be the result of a battery if in the commission of the tort the perpetrator used a knife or other type of sharp object. However they occur, lacerations can leave victims struggling with a lifetime of health complications and physical limitations.

Cancers and Other Terminal Illnesses

Exposure to toxins can lead to birth defects, a depressed immune system which makes people more susceptible to disease and illness they would otherwise fight off, certain types of cancers, or respiratory illnesses. Unsafe working conditions are common causes of cancers and terminal diseases. They can create long-term health problems that result in an inability to work or perform activities of daily living, and even cause death.

Loss of Limbs or Digits

The loss of limbs or digits may occur from medical malpractice, exposure to toxins, vehicle accidents, burns, or unsafe working conditions. Amputations may result in the victim being unable to return to his or her pre-incident professional work, having to make expensive modifications to their homes or cars, or losing the ability to engage in their favorite leisure activities and pastimes. It is understandable, then, that those who undergo an amputation can also be left with severe emotional trauma.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Severe batteries, medical malpractice, and serious automobile accidents are common causes of spinal cord injuries that leave victims permanently paralyzed. Spinal cord injuries change their victims’ lives forever, forcing them to adapt to severe, lifelong limitations, and to confront constant secondary health complications. Spinal cord injuries also come with enormous financial costs, which can run into the millions of dollars over a lifetime, and include expenses for rehabilitative therapy, specialized medical equipment such as wheelchairs and beds, and modifications to living spaces.

What to Do if You Are Injured

There are some steps you should take as soon as you can after you have been injured because of someone else’s wrongful actions. Understandably, if you are seriously injured, you may not be able to take all of these steps right away, but when you can, do them—or have someone do them for you or on your behalf.

Always, Always Document

As the victim of someone else’s wrongful actions that caused you to suffer significant injuries, it is critically important for you to keep accurate records of all the costs associated with diagnosing, treating, and recovering from your injuries. This includes those documents associated with your initial hospital stay, any surgeries, follow up appointments, medications, therapy, rehabilitation, necessary modifications to your home or vehicle, any copays or coinsurance you were responsible for paying, and the cost of hiring someone to perform the services you used to provide for yourself.

When it comes to collecting money damages for your injuries, if you can’t prove them, then you can’t collect for them from the defendant. It’s a daunting task, but your Edison personal injury lawyer can help you compile all of the bills, medical records, and other documentation you need to file your claim.

File Your Insurance Claims

Be sure to file any auto or health insurance claims necessary under your own insurance policies, and be sure to do so within any time limits your insurance company may have set. If your costs are covered by insurance, you can’t double dip. In other words, you can’t collect from both your insurance company and the defendant for the same costs. Here, again, your personal injury attorney can prepare the paperwork and make sure you file your claim properly and within New Jersey’s statute of limitations.

Contact Our Experienced Edison Personal Injury Lawyers

Personal injuries can disrupt or even ruin lives, irreparably changing them forever. Each case is unique and requires its own legal analysis. While no attorney can guarantee a specific result in your case, you can count on the attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, to bring the full force of our nearly 50 years of personal injury litigation experience and track record of success to your case.

Because we believe in making high quality legal representation available to all injured people regardless of their financial means, we operate on a contingency basis—you never pay us anything unless we recover compensation for you. Trust us to handle your legal matters while you focus on your physical recovery.

Contact us online or by phone in our Edison office at (732) 287-6890 today for your free case evaluation.