If you have been in a work-related motor vehicle accident and you file a third party claim for injuries suffered in the crash, your company’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier may be entitled to a portion of any recovery you receive in the personal injury lawsuit, if you also received workers’ compensation benefits. A New Jersey appellate court came to that conclusion in August, 2016.

In an appeal that consolidated claims from three different insurers, the court was asked to reconcile competing provisions of two New Jersey statutes: the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act. All three cases involved public workers who were hurt on the job and who had recovered damages in personal injury actions for medical expenses.

At the trial level, all three courts held that workers’ compensation insurance companies could not seek reimbursement of medical expenses in such occasions, as the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act prohibits reimbursement of medical expenses collected or paid under personal injury protection (PIP) policies. The trial judge concluded that, because an injured employee in a work-related accident is treated as a “no-fault” insured, the worker can’t recover medical expenses from the defendant if those medical expenses have been paid by an insurance company—that would be a double recovery. The judge concluded that, because the injured party could not recover medical expenses, the damage award could not and did not include compensation for medical expenses, so that workers’ compensation insurance company had no basis for reimbursement.

The appellate court disagreed, finding that the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act seeks to minimize insurance costs by guaranteeing medical expense coverage. Since the recovery could include reimbursement of medical expenses, and since the Workers’ Compensation Act allows a workers’ compensation insurance provider to seek reimbursement of any medical expenses paid, the requests of the insurance companies were permissible.

Contact Us

At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to men and women throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.



April 7, 2016 By Leave a Comment

According to a statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), automatic nailers or nail guns are responsible for nearly 40,000 ER visits every year. But the risk is not limited to construction workers. The CDC found that almost a third (32%) of annual nail gun injuries are sustained by consumers.

Nail guns are generally one of two types: contact nail guns or sequential nail guns. With a contact nail gun, there’s a spring loaded safety mechanism at the tip of the “barrel.” You can hold down the trigger and the gun will automatically fire when you make contact with something, as it will disengage the safety mechanism. With a sequential gun, you must first depress the safety mechanism and then pull the trigger. If you have already pulled the trigger and try to depress the safety mechanism, it won’t work. Not surprisingly, the CDC found twice as many injuries involving contact guns.

The Principal Causes of Nail Gun Injuries

Researchers founda number of causes of nail gun injuries:

  • Unfortunately, in many instances, people are hurt because they have bypassed or permanently disengaged the safety mechanisms
  • It’s not uncommon for a gun to double fire, with the second nail coming out after the gun has been pulled away from the board
  • A nail can ricochet off a metal surface or even a knot in a board
  • A framing nail can easily penetrate a stud, causing injury if a worker’s hand is on the back side of the board
  • A worker may accidentally push the gun against a leg, hand or other body part
  • A worker may miss the board, even though the safety mechanism has been depressed

Contact the Law Office of Taylor & Boguski

At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-200-8989.



March 27, 2016 By Leave a Comment

According to an annual census compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly 4,700 people (4,679) died in 2014 as a result of occupational injuries, an increase of approximately two percent over the previous year. The death toll equates to about three workers out of every 100,000 in the United States.

Here are some of the key conclusions from the 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries:

  • Deaths from slips and fall rose approximately 10%, from 724 to 793
  • There were more deaths among people who were self-employed—also a 10 percent increase, from 950 to 1,047
  • Occupations that saw the greatest increases included mining (17%), agriculture (14%) and manufacturing (9%). Deaths declined for government workers (12%) and in private, service-related sectors.
  • Older workers suffered more occupational deaths—there was a 9% increase in fatal accidents involving workers over 55.
  • Among ethnic workers, Asians and African-Americans saw increases, while Latino/Hispanic workers saw a decline
  • Work-related deaths involving women increased 13% over the prior year

Types of Workplace Accidents

In 2014, motor vehicle accidents accounted for four of every 10 occupational deaths. More than half of those fatalities involved collisions, and 17% involved pedestrian deaths. There was also a 34% increase in rail vehicle deaths.

Deaths caused by workplace violence declined over the prior year, from 773 to 749. One telling statistic—in workplace homicides where the victim was female, the perpetrator was most likely to be a relative or domestic partner. However, in workplace homicides where the victim was male, the greatest likelihood was that the assailant was attempting to rob the business.

Less than 10 percent (372) workers were killed in so-called “catastrophic” accidents, where more than one worker was killed in a single accident.

Contact Us

At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured workers throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.



March 17, 2016 By Leave a Comment

Seven construction workers were injured in a Hackensack scaffolding collapse in early December—three critically. Authorities say the workers were performing repairs on the roof of an apartment complex on Tracy Place around 3:30 in the afternoon when the scaffolding fell. There were six workers on the scaffold at the time it collapsed. The workers fell approximately 45 feet to the ground.

The accident occurred at an apartment complex known as ‘The Brookdale’, which has approximately 200 apartments in 10 buildings.

According to witnesses, the scaffold was a makeshift one. One neighbor, who declined to be identified, said that it wasn’t “a real scaffolding,” but was “jerry-rigged” together with ladders and planks. The neighbor said the way the system was set up, it did not seem reasonable that it could support the weight of all the workers. Authorities confirmed that no permit had been pulled to do the work on the roof. Both OSHA and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification reportedly came to the site for an investigation.

Under state and federal laws and regulations, building owners and general contractors have to take certain steps to minimize the risk of injury to workers. Specifically, when workers are employed at levels above the ground, they must be provided with adequate safety equipment, which may include:

  • Properly installed scaffolding
  • Safety harnesses or hoists
  • Well-maintained and sufficient ladders

Witnesses saidthat the “scaffold” setup at the apartment complex consisted of so-called “ladder jacks” holding walk-boards between two extension ladders. Preliminary investigations indicated that there were no rails on the scaffolding, and that the workers did not have safety harnesses or similar devices. Authorities believe that the workers, who were unsupervised at the time, exceeded the weight limit of the walkboard.

Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today

At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people – including workplace accidents and construction accidents – throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.



March 7, 2016 By Leave a Comment

When you are expecting a child, you can read all the books you want, but you still have to depend on your doctor to ensure that you take all the right steps to ensure the health and safety of your unborn child. With proper testing and screening, your doctor can tell you if your child will likely be born with a birth defect, such as Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida or Sickle Cell Anemia. If your doctor fails to use reasonable care to either conduct appropriate screening, or negligently interprets test results, you may have a claim for “wrongful birth” of a special needs child.

There are a number of different types of screening tests you can have administered. Some are invasive, but many are not. If circumstances warrant, you may be a candidate for what is known as amniocentesis, or for chorionic villi sampling. With amniocentesis, the placenta must be punctured to obtain a sample of your amniotic fluid, which encapsulates the fetus. With chorionic villi sampling, medical professionals will take a sample of your chorionic tissue for screening.

The less invasive procedures include:

  • ultrasounds;
  • genetic tests;
  • nuchal translucency tests; and
  • maternal blood serum screening.

As a general rule, you should expect to have prenatal screening throughout the course of your pregnancy, starting in the first trimester. Some of the least invasive types of procedures can be conducted fairly early in your pregnancy, but can provide critical information about the potential viability of your pregnancy, or may be cause to engage in more complex testing and monitoring over the course of gestation.

If your child is born with what should have been a detectable birth defect, you may have a claim against the doctor for misreading test results or for failing to order necessary tests. You may also have a claim against a lab, if there was an error in administering the test.

Taylor & Boguski

At Taylor & Boguski, we have more than 70 years of combined experience representing people across New Jersey with medical malpractice and personal injury matters. For a free initial consultation, send us an e-mail or call us at 856-200-8989.



February 23,2016 By Leave a Comment

Medical Malpractice and Shoulder Dystocia

Doctor preparing for a proceedureWhen you are giving birth to a child, there’s always the possibility that, once the baby’s head is out of the birth canal, one of its shoulders will get caught on your pubic bone, a condition known as “Shoulder Dystocia.” If your delivering physician fails to take appropriate steps, your child can suffer very serious consequences, including damage to the brachial plexus nerves that control the shoulder, arms, hands and fingers. This can lead to loss of use or paralysis. In rare situations, shoulder Dystocia may impede the flow of blood and oxygen, causing brain damage, cerebral palsy or even death.

Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy

There are commonly accepted procedures that can ease the pressure on your baby’s shoulder and minimize the risk of injury. Often, though, delivering physicians will try to force the shoulder past the pubic bone. When this causes injury to the upper group of arm nerves, your child may be left with limited range of motion of the affected arm, or may not be able to raise the arm at all, a condition known medically as Erb-Duchenne palsy, or Erb’s palsy. If, however, the carelessness of the physician causes damage to the nerves/muscles in the forearm or the hand, your child may have limited or no use of hands or fingers. It’s also common for a child who has suffered injury because of shoulder Dystocia to have the damaged arm end up shorter.

There are medical procedures and treatments for both Erb’s and Klumpke’s palsies, but they can be extensive and expensive. Your child may benefit from nerve grafting or surgeries that cut and reposition bones, muscle or tendons. It’s likely, though, that your son or daughter will face years of physical therapy.

Contact Us

At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to men and women throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.



January 7, 2016 By Leave a Comment

Under New Jersey law, you can name your health insurance provider as your PIP (personal injury protection) option for medical care in the event of a motor vehicle accident. If you do, that company will be the primary source to pay for any medical treatment required in an accident.

Choosing your health insurance company as primary provider in the event of a motor vehicle accident can minimize the total amount that you have to pay in insurance premiums, but there can be consequences to making that decision. Before you opt to designate your health insurance provider as your PIP option, you should consider the following issues:

  • Are you currently insured through Medicaid or Medicare? Under Medicaid and Medicare provisions, you cannot select either one as your primary provider for a motor vehicle accident. Medicaid and Medicare will only pay benefits if you have exceeded the PIP limits of liability on your auto policy.
  • Are motor vehicle accident injuries excluded from coverage on your health policy? Some health insurance policies specifically exclude any injuries sustained in a car accident. Check with your insurer.
  • Be certain you know deductibles, co-pays, limits and pre-certification requirements of your health insurance policy—Certain procedures may require pre-certification to qualify for reimbursement. In addition, any deductibles or co-pays apply to motor vehicle accident injuries.
  • What happens if your health insurance is terminated? You can look to your auto insurance provider if that happens, but you will have an additional $750 deductible that you’ll have to meet before you get reimbursement.

Contact Us

At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.



November 5, 2015 By Leave a Comment

Critics Say Intersection and Road Design Increase Risk to Pedestrians

Bicycle It’s become a far too common occurrence—a motorist parks on the street and opens the traffic-side door without looking, putting the open door directly in the path of an oncoming vehicle, or even worse, a cyclist. In a study conducted in Chicago earlier this decade, researchers found that “dooring crashes”—where bicyclist collided with the open door of a parked vehicle—accounted for almost one in five bicycle-related accidents (19.7%). A similar study in Boston found that about one in ten bicycle crashes involved “dooring.”

The problem is not a new one, though. Unbeknownst to most people, so-called “dooring laws” have been on the books in some states since 1956. Over the past 50 years, most states and many metropolitan areas have either enacted legislation requiring motorists to use reasonable care before disembarking from a vehicle, have mounted public service campaigns to make motorists more aware of the risks associated with opening a door into traffic, or have put both measures in place. Only ten states have no dooring law. All but two of the states with dooring laws also make it illegal to leave a door open longer than necessary to load or unload a vehicle.

Cycling advocates say that both the infrastructure that has been created for bicycling, as well as many new bicycling laws, have increased the risk of dooring accidents. For example, they point to the proliferation of bicycle lanes between road and curb, which may actually require that bicyclists ride in the path of an open door. Furthermore, some bicycle laws mandate that riders be as far to the right as possible, placing them directly in the door zone.

Contact Us

At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, our office online or call us at 856-234-2233.



November 5, 2015 By Leave a Comment

The New Jersey Traumatic Brain Injury Fund – An Overview

Brain diagram If you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), your needs can be great. You may require long-term and constant care, may need to have your home retrofitted to meet your needs, and may have to have in-home continual care. When insurance, public assistance and personal resources are inadequate to meet your needs, the state of New Jersey offers help through the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Fund.

To be eligible for assistance through the TBI Fund, you must first have medical proof of a traumatic brain injury. The injury can be open or closed head, but you must be able to demonstrate impairment of brain function. Furthermore, the brain injury must be the result of trauma—congenital or degenerative conditions will not qualify you for benefits. In addition, you must document that you have been a legal resident in New Jersey for at least three months (90 days), and that you have liquid assets (bank accounts, CDs, stocks and bonds) of no more than $100,000.

If you qualify for help from the TBI Fund, you can seek money for a number of services or needs, including:

  • Neurological treatment or cognitive therapy
  • Speech, occupational or physical therapy
  • Home remodeling
  • Medication
  • In-home assistive technology

To initiate an application for benefits, you can the TBI Fund program manager in Mercerville, New Jersey. As a general rule, once you have submitted an application for benefits, you will be assigned a case manager, who will determine both your needs and your eligibility.

Our Office

At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, our office online or call us at 856-234-2233.



October 20, 2015 By Leave a Comment

The Four Levels of a Social Security Disability Appeal

If you suffer from an injury or illness that makes it impossible for you to work for at least 12 months, you can seek benefits through the federal Social Security Administration. Unfortunately, even if your claim seems clearly to fall within the guidelines established under the law, your application may be denied. If so, though, you still have options. Here are the four levels through which a Social Security disability claim appeal will travel.

Reconsideration

The first step you can take after the denial of an Social Security disability claim is to ask for a reconsideration. This is generally a matter of formality, as, in most states, you cannot move any further up the appeals process unless you have asked for a reconsideration. The reconsideration is conducted by a claims examiner at Disability Determination Services, and is more often than not denied.

A Social Security Disability Hearing

If, as most often happens, your request for reconsideration is denied, you can ask for a hearing before an administrative law judge. The judge will fully review your claim, as well as any new medical evidence you may have, and will render a decision based on all testimony and evidence presented. The judge may take testimony from a vocational expert regarding whether you have the capacity to work in a comparable job. Though the Social Security disability hearing offers the best chance of the reversal of a denial of benefits, it can take a long time to schedule a hearing.

The Disability Appeals Council

If your claim is rejected by the administrative law judge, you still have options. You can ask the Social Security Appeals Council, a group of more than 50 appellate judges, to review the findings of the administrative law judge to determine if any errors were made.

An Appeal in Federal District Court

The final avenue of appeal in a Social Security disability case is to the federal district court. You must file your appeal within 60 days of the decision by the Appeals Council. Technically, though you are appealing the decision of the administrative agency, your filing in federal court is in the form of an initial civil complaint. Federal law prohibits the filing of a lawsuit against the Social Security Administration, so you must name the Social Security commissioner as defendant. Once you have filed a complaint in federal district court, you have the right to appeal through the federal court system, to the U.S. Court of Appeals and ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court.

the Law Office of Taylor & Boguski

At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, us online or call us at 856-200-8989.



September 30,2014 By Leave a Comment

Icy steps In New Jersey, as in all states, the owner/manager/resident of residential or commercial property has a duty to maintain the premises in such a way as to minimize the risk of injury to anyone legally on the property. This obligation has far-reaching consequences, including:

Upkeep to Prevent Risk of Injury from Slips and Falls

A landlord, tenant, owner or property manager must keep property maintained so as to avoid dangerous conditions that may lead to slips, trips and falls. This includes monitoring for slippery substances on floors, sidewalks, steps or walkways. It also includes watching for broken or damaged stairs, concrete, pavement, ramps or other structures. The duty requires that the responsible party take reasonable steps to be aware of potential dangers. The landlord/tenant/owner/property manager must either fix the problem or provide adequate notice of the danger, so that it can be avoided.

Adequate Security and Lighting to Minimize Risk of Injury in Physical Attacks

In situations where it is reasonable to expect a threat of mugging, attack or other physical violence, the owner/manager/landlord must put appropriate measures in place to minimize that risk, including adequate lighting, security entrances, gates and fencing. Particularly where there is a history of violent crime, reasonable steps must be taken to protect legal visitors.

Attention to Weather-Related Conditions to Reduce Risk of Injury

In New Jersey, where snow and ice are a common occurrence, property owners must take reasonable steps to prepare for and respond to weather conditions that pose potential risks to visitors, including:

  • Snow and ice buildup on sidewalks, steps, driveways, parking lots and parking ramps
  • Snow, ice or water runoff from eaves, roofs or other structures
  • Property Care and Monitoring of Domestic Animals
  • As a property owner or tenant, you must take reasonable steps to ensure that any domestic animals, such as dogs or cats, do not cause injury to legitimate guests.

Our Office

At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.



August 11, 2014 By Leave a Comment

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

Attorney signing documentsA personal injury (or PI) attorney does many things, and we handle many PI cases. Although most cases follow similar procedural paths, a PI attorney’s day can be very different from one day to the next. The common theme for every day is doing the most you can to help your client reach his or her goals.

Intake

A PI attorney talks to many people who have questions about or are interested in filing a PI case. A PI attorney may talk to many people who, for one reason or another, do not have viable legal claims or have genuine legal claims against a party, but the potential damages or awards are so minimal that it wouldn’t justify filing a case.

If a PI attorney wants to take a case and the potential client signs a representation agreement, the PI attorney will the potential defendant or its insurance company and let them know of the representation and tell them not to the client; it’s now the attorney they need to talk to.

Investigation

The PI attorney will learn as many facts as possible from the client, including who are potential witnesses and the nature and extent of any injuries. An investigation will start, and the lawyer will gather any relevant documents and speak to witnesses to learn as much as possible about the incident and the harm it did to the client.

Prior to filing a lawsuit, the PI attorney will often try to settle a case by ing the defendant or its insurance company. If this is unsuccessful, a lawsuit will be filed in the appropriate court.

Litigation

The PI attorney will also file discovery requests, seeking information and documents from the defendant. The defendant will probably file an answer to the complaint, may try to have the complaint dismissed on procedural grounds and will ask the plaintiff (the party filing the lawsuit) to respond to its own discovery requests. Part of discovery is depositions, in which parties and witnesses are asked questions under oath by attorneys for both sides.

Either side may file motions concerning procedural issues relevant to the case. The attorneys will write responses and may argue in favor of their clients in front of a judge on these motions. If a lawsuit survives the motions filed by the defendant and discovery is complete, the case will be on track for a trial.

Settlement

If the case hasn’t settled by now, there’s a very good chance it will before the trial starts. The defendant’s motions may have narrowed (but not eliminated) the plaintiff’s legal claims, and discovery has given both sides a good handle on the facts of the case, its strengths and weaknesses, and the strengths and weaknesses of witnesses. Given all this, and wanting to avoid spending the time, resources and expense of a trial, most times both the PI attorney and the defense attorney will have frank discussions with their clients behind closed doors until both sides come to an agreement.

Trial

If there is no settlement, there will be a trial. A jury may be picked or the judge may decide the case. Both sides present evidence, including witness testimony, supporting their side of events, and the attorneys do their best to poke holes in the other party’s case. If the lawsuit doesn’t settle during the trial, or there’s some serious procedural problem arising during the trial, both attorneys sum up the case to the fact finder (jury or judge) and a decision is made.

Every case, like every client, is unique. The PI attorney works to guide a case down its path to a conclusion. The PI attorney does his best to make sure the client has the best opportunity for a positive outcome, whether that’s a fair settlement or a decision at trial in the client’s favor.

If you have any questions about personal injury cases or want to talk about your particular situation, contact our office for a free consultation.



July 11, 2014 By Leave a Comment

When a drunk driver hits your car

Police emergency light & conesA drunk driver is a hazard to him or herself, other drivers and pedestrians. In 2011, there were an estimated 193 alcohol-related driving fatalities in New Jersey. That constituted 30.8 percent of all fatal auto accidents that year.

If a drunk driver is responsible for causing a car accident, that driver can be held criminally liable. Under New Jersey law, it’s a crime to drive while intoxicated. Intoxication can be measured by a blood or breath test of the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Anyone with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher while driving a car can be charged with DUI.

The driver, the driver’s auto insurance carrier and possibly the person or business who served alcohol to the driver could also be held financially responsible.

Criminal and civil claims

Criminal prosecutors may file charges against the driver who caused the accident. If the driver is found guilty or pleads guilty as part of a plea bargain, the driver may be ordered to pay you restitution. Even if the driver is able to pay this amount, it’s probably not what your civil case may be worth.

To recover civil damages, a lawsuit must be filed in a civil court. If the driver was convicted or plead guilty to DUI, this is prima facie evidence (enough evidence to create a presumption that the person did what he’s accused of doing) of reckless behavior. This will support your civil claim and makes it very difficult for a defendant to contest the lawsuit’s allegations.

Dram shop and social host laws

Depending on the circumstances, New Jersey’s dram shop law may allow you to pursue damages from the bar, nightclub, restaurant or alcohol vendor who served the driver who caused the accident. The state’s social host law holds noncommercial individuals liable if a guest leaves their home or event too impaired to drive.

These statutes make negligent commercial establishments and individuals potentially liable for damages caused by drunk drivers they have served.

They also could enable you to cast a wider net in which to find additional potential defendants, increasing the chances you will be able to resolve your case for a greater amount of money.

These laws are particularly important if the driver who hits you is uninsured or underinsured, and/or your uninsured or underinsured coverage on your own auto policy is insufficient to meet your needs.

We represent plaintiffs who were injured by drunk drivers. If this has happened to you or a loved one, contact our office so we can discuss your situation and your options to seek compensation.



June 5, 2014 By Leave a Comment

Understanding What Insurance Companies Pay for in a Personal Injury Claim

Physical Therapy Determining the value of a personal injury claim is critical for both you and insurance companies. This amount varies based on the facts of your situation and the applicable law. With our experience representing accident victims, we make these determinations all the time. The following is generally how these determinations are made.

Issues to consider

Normally, a party liable for an accident — and the party’s insurance company if there’s a policy covering the situation — pays an injured person for:

  • Medical care and expenses
  • Income lost due to the accident, because of lost work time caused by the injury or getting treated for it
  • Permanent physical disability or disfigurement
  • Loss of family, social and educational experiences, including missed school or training, vacation or recreation, or a special event
  • Emotional damages due to stress, depression or strains on family relationships caused by the accident and resulting physical injuries
  • Damaged or destroyed property
  • The Insurance Company’s Damages Formula
  • The insurance company adds up the total medical expenses related to the injury (referred to as “medical special damages” or simply “specials”). That is the base figure the insurance company uses to calculate how much to pay for pain, suffering and other nonmonetary losses (called “general” damages).

If injuries are relatively minor, the adjuster multiplies the amount of special damages by 1.5 or two.

When injuries are particularly painful, serious or long lasting, the special damages may be multiplied by a factor up to five (possibly a factor as high as 10 in extreme cases).

The adjuster adds on lost income due to the injuries.

This figure is not a final amount. It’s only the number from which negotiations begin.

Percentage of Fault

The most important factor affecting how much the insurance company is likely to pay is the extent to which each party is at fault. The damages formula provides a range of how much your injuries might be worth, but only after the issue of fault is considered can you get a good grasp of the actual compensation value of your claim.

This is not an exact science, but both you and the insurance company, objectively looking at the facts with unbiased eyes, should have a good idea of the degree of fault for both sides. The more at fault you were, the less the value of the claim, and vice versa for the insured.

New Jersey is considered a modified comparative negligence state. This is also known as the 51 percent rule. You may be eligible for compensation if you are less than 51 percent responsible for your injuries. If an agreement can’t be reached about who is at fault and to what extent, a civil court will examine the accident and come to that decision.

Once the damages are calculated and the degree of fault factored in, you have the financial value of your case.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact our office for a free consultation.



May 7, 2014 By By Leave a Comment

Proving that you have serious injuries

A plaintiff in a personal injury case has the burden of proving his or her case. It’s our job to put the best personal injury case possible together for our clients. One of the elements that needs to be proven is that an injury occurred. Generally, the more serious the injury, the higher the settlement or verdict will likely be.

There are several ways the extent of an injury can be established during a trial.

1. Personal testimony

You can testify as to your physical capabilities before and after the injury. You can discuss how the injury has impacted your life, the degree to which your activities have been limited, the amount of pain you’re in and how often, and the amount of times your activities have been curtailed. You could also talk about the emotional and psychological impact the injury has had and its impact on your relationships and ability to work.

2. Video evidence

Often, personal injury plaintiffs will have a “day in the life” video produced. In addition to your testimony, a video can show a judge or jury an average day in your life, making it clear what you can and cannot do.

3. Testimony of fact witnesses

People who knew you before your injury and who know how it has limited you can testify as to the injury’s impact of your life based on what they have personally witnessed (such as the facts that you rarely get out of bed, need a cane to walk, no longer engage in hobbies, etc.).

4. Testimony of a treating physician

Your treating physician can testify as to his or her observations of you, tests and results, the diagnosis made, treatments and chances of a recovery.

5. Testimony of expert witness

A doctor who is a specialist and expert in your type of injury may examine you and your medical records and testify about your condition, its causes, its impact on your functioning, how much pain you’re experiencing, your treatment and your prognosis for a recovery. This expert may have reviewed x-rays, CT or MRI scans, or blood tests and could testify as to what they show and that expert’s opinion as to what they mean.

6. Medical records

Medical records, x-rays and scan results can document the facts of your injury when you first obtained medical treatment and your condition as you’ve continued to get medical help. They can also spell out your diagnosis, how often you received care, what’s been done to treat you and the effects of treatment.

7. Medical bills

Serious injuries often result in multiple treatments, which create very expensive medical bills. A plaintiff claiming to be seriously injured and facing long-term impairments may have a difficult time proving it without a showing of extensive medical bills.

If you or a loved one has any questions or concerns about an injury and your possible legal rights for recovery, contact our office for a free consultation.



April 7, 2014 By Leave a Comment

Injuries that take a long time to heal

The fact that an injury isn’t healing well, in and of itself, has no bearing on your personal injury case. The issue would be why it’s taking a long time to heal. Depending on that answer, there could be an impact on a personal injury case.

The need to mitigate damages

As a plaintiff, you have an obligation to mitigate (or limit) your damages. You need to act as an ordinary, reasonable person would act in a similar situation. You need to act in good faith and with due diligence in the exercise of ordinary care and reasonable judgment when choosing a doctor or treatment for your injuries.

If you are following the directions of your treating physician and trying to recover in good faith, the fact that recovery is taking a long time should not be an issue. If you had surgery and recovery is delayed due to an infection or complication, though, the defendant may blame your surgeon or hospital and not want to pay for time you’re laid up due to medical complications.

If, on the other hand, you’re not following instructions by not taking medications as prescribed, not going to physical therapy or doing things above and beyond what your physician says you should be doing and you worsen or prolong the injury, that will be a problem. The defendant will try to reduce the amount of damages you may recover by showing you weren’t taking reasonable steps to reduce your loss following your injury.

Refusing surgery or a recommended course of treatment

You cannot claim damages for a permanent injury if your doctor recommends surgery or some other course of treatment that could avoid or reduce the permanency of the injury and you refuse that treatment, if a reasonable person would have followed the suggested course under the same circumstances.

Whether refusal to have surgery or a course of treatment is reasonable depends on a number of factors:

  • The degree to which the proposed surgery involves risk of death or further injury
  • Whether the surgery is relatively simple with a good record of success
  • Whether the surgery is more than routine, involves some hazard, poses serious risks or is considered major and serious surgery
  • The probability that the surgery would have resulted in a cure or alleviated the injury
  • Personal injury cases normally are filed because a serious injury has taken place and so the fact that a long recovery is needed is not unusual. If that recovery is taking a long time because the plaintiff is not acting reasonably in getting treatment, not following medical directions or otherwise not taking care of him or herself, then it becomes a problem.

If you have any questions about personal injury cases, contact our office for a free consultation.



March 12, 2014 By Leave a Comment

Documenting your medical condition after an auto accident

Being injured in an auto accident can be very traumatic. It’s usually something that happens completely out of the blue and that you never think will happen to you (auto accidents only happen to others, right?). What you do and don’t do after an auto accident could have a substantial impact on any potential legal claims.

Obviously, if you’ve been knocked unconscious due to the accident, how and where you go for treatment is out of your hands and in the hands of the ambulance driver. However, if you are conscious after the accident, take steps to protect your rights.

Get medical attention

Even if you don’t think your injuries are serious, go straight to the ER or your doctor’s office. You may be injured and not even know it. Having an independent medical professional document your condition as soon as possible after the accident should help your legal claims. You may be in such shock that you can’t feel injuries that have occurred, but a doctor may be able to diagnose them.

This exam can also serve as a baseline for your health as time passes. Without immediate medical attention, there is no way to prove your condition at the time of the accident.

Create a medical file

Get copies of records created by these post-accident visits. Though you may not need every record, the initial treatment report may become extremely useful to you in the future.

Create a file for your medical records and keep it up to date. It creates the story line of your injury and treatment. It also tracks your spending on your medical treatment. Since medical expenses are potentially reimbursable as economic damages, keeping accurate records could help you collect money from the person at fault.

Take pictures

In addition to taking pictures of the accident, take pictures of your injuries. Keep those pictures up to date as time passes. Time stamp the photos and back them up onto a computer. If your situation needs to be explained to a jury, each picture may speak a thousand words.

Keep a journal

Record your thoughts and impressions throughout your treatment and recovery. If you’re more focused on the situation, you may be better able to bring up issues with and respond to questions from your doctor. A journal should also contain the thoughts and feelings you’re dealing with. If you’re going through serious stress, sleepless nights, confusion and other mental trauma, this may help lead to an actual medical diagnosis and treatment, which could help your damages claims, including for pain and suffering due to your injuries.

Contact us

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact our office so we can talk about your situation and your legal options.



February 7, 2014 By Leave a Comment

Multidistrict Litigation and Personal Injury Cases

Mount Laurel Personal Injury Attorneys • New Jersey

Certain kinds of personal injury cases involve complex issues affecting a large number of injury victims — for example, cases involving airplane accidents, defective medical devices, dangerous drugs or exposure to toxic materials. As a result, a large number of related personal injury cases may be filed in different jurisdictions. In order to ease the burden placed on the court system and to better manage the common issues involved, the federal court system has instituted a special legal procedure intended to better facilitate the handling of such cases.

Multidistrict Litigation and the Initial Stages Involved

Referred to as multidistrict litigation (MDL), this procedure allows several civil cases that involve common issues to be transferred to a single district court. These kinds of cases often involve related civil actions from around the country and almost always have the same question (or questions) of fact. A single judge is appointed to handle the litigation during the pretrial and discovery phases. If a case does not settle or is dismissed during MDL, it is sent back to the original court where it was scheduled to be heard.

How Multidistrict Litigation Functions

The decision to bundle cases for MDL is decided by the seven-member United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. This panel is appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. If the panel decides to consolidate several cases from around the country, it transfers them to a single federal district court.

The appointed MDL judge who presides over the pretrial motions and discovery portions of the case also presides over the settlement conferences. He or she may dismiss some cases or claims. If a trial is deemed necessary for dismissed cases, they will be tried in the venue from which they originated.

Advantages and Disadvantages of MDL

One obvious advantage of MDL for corporations facing litigation on a single issue throughout the country is the cost encountered as a result. When these cases are consolidated and transferred to a single federal district court, the cost of litigation is less and working with eyewitnesses or experts is easier as well. Experts and witnesses aren’t required to testify multiple times and defendants needn’t be deposed multiple times.

MDL also makes it easier for attorneys representing injury victims to combine resources, share information and coordinate investigative efforts in preparing their clients’ cases against a defendant.

Questions Regarding MDL? Contact Injury Attorneys Taylor & Boguski

If you’ve been injured due to a defective medical device, dangerous drug, airliner crash or exposure to toxic materials, contact Mount Laurel personal injury attorneys at Taylor & Boguski today to learn how we can help you.



February 7, 2014 By Leave a Comment

Can You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit against the Government?

Mount Laurel Personal Injury Attorneys

Municipalities, state-run governmental entities and federal agencies can be held financially responsible for injuries that occur on their property or as a result of the actions of their employees. Consequently, local, state and federal entities can be sued when negligence on the part of government workers or government agencies causes injuries or fatalities. However, it is important to keep in mind that municipalities and government agencies are typically held to a different standard of liability than individuals, corporations or small businesses.

Additionally, in personal injury claims involving New Jersey public entities, an injured party must file a claim within 90 days of an accident.

Public Entities — Different Rules, Different Issues

In general, state-owned facilities and agencies may have certain restrictions in place that govern who is allowed in certain areas of buildings or what codes and regulations apply to a facility or employee, or they may be responsible for investigating themselves in cases involving personal injuries. Public transportation authorities in particular typically have an investigative arm responsible for determining what happened in bus, train and subway accidents.

For instance, New Jersey Transit (NJT) uses its own investigative team to investigate the causes of bus or train accidents. As such, it’s important to work with a personal injury attorney who can conduct an independent investigation and take steps to ensure that NJT investigators don’t cut corners or reach a conclusion that is overly sympathetic to NJT employees.

Additionally, there may be a statute of limitations that governs how long an injured person has to bring a lawsuit against a government entity. For example, people injured on a public bus or train in New Jersey have six months to bring a lawsuit against the NJT.

What Can Government Entities Be Held Liable For?

For the most part, a government entity can be held liable for injuries that occur as a result of negligence on its part. For example, municipalities, local and state governments, and federal agencies can be held financially accountable for injuries that result from:

  • Car accidents involving a government vehicle
  • Crumbling sidewalks
  • Potholes, obscured traffic signs and improperly graded roads and highways
  • Collapsed roofs or exposure to toxic materials involving government structures
  • Malfunctioning elevators or escalators
  • Slips and falls in government buildings
  • Fires in government buildings
  • Public transportation accidents
  • Negligence on the part of doctors or nurses in state-run hospitals
  • Protect Your Rights — Contact Mount Laurel Personal Injury Attorneys
  • After an injury, dealing with government agencies and investigators can be confusing and frustrating. Given the resources available to government entities, it’s essential to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who understands how to investigate accidents on government property while protecting your rights should government investigators want to talk to you.

To learn how we can protect your rights and hold the government financially accountable for your injuries, contact Mount Laurel personal injury attorneys at Taylor & Boguski today.



January 17, 2014 By Leave a Comment

Legal Duties of Pool Owners

Mount Laurel, New Jersey, Pool Injury Attorneys

While backyard swimming pools are fun, they also represent a certain amount of liability for homeowners. Homeowners should be aware of their legal obligations to take preventative steps to minimize or eliminate pool-related injuries. It’s important to also keep in mind that a swimming pool is considered an attractive nuisance — that is, something that by its very nature is likely to attract children. As such, homeowners who fail to employ every means available to ensure that their pools are secure, up to code and in compliance with applicable city ordinances can be held financially liable for injuries that occur as a result.

Failure to comply with applicable codes and statutes could result in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against a homeowner should a child wander onto the property and sustain injuries in the pool, regardless of whether the child was trespassing at the time.

Securing a Backyard Family Pool

Homeowners should install child-resistant fencing and pool alarms, post signs, keep pool water free of contaminated water and ensure that diving boards are installed correctly. Fencing is especially important as, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 75 percent of residential pool-related deaths involve children between the ages of 1 and 3 combined with inadequate fencing or a lack of supervision.

Maintaining healthy water is also important, as bacteria from improperly treated water can cause gastrointestinal illnesses, respiratory problems and ear infections (commonly referred to as “recreational water illnesses. Residential pool owners must test pool water regularly to maintain proper chlorine and pH levels to prevent the contamination of pool water. Alternatively, excessive amounts of chlorine can cause burns, creating liability for pool owners as well.

Federal Law — the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act

In 2002, 7-year-old Virginia Graeme Baker died when she drowned after becoming trapped by a drain in a hot tub. In order to prevent similar accidents in the future, the federal government passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (P&SSA) in 2008. Public pools and spas are now required to install certain kinds of anti-entrapment drain covers to prevent injuries due to the powerful suction generated by drains. Residential pool owners should comply with the P&SSA and install anti-entrapment drain covers to limit their liability for drowning injuries.

Holding Negligent Pool Owners Liable for Injuries

If you’ve been injured in a pool accident, it’s important to talk to an experienced premises liability injury attorney link to www.taylorboguski.com/premises-liability/ who understands the current laws and regulations regarding swimming pools. It’s also important to begin the investigative process before the public pool or pool owner in question removes key evidence or eyewitness testimony is forgotten.

To learn how our pool injury attorneys can help you, contact Mount Laurel, New Jersey, personal injury attorneys at Taylor & Boguski today.



blog
  • $1.4 million settlement.

    Corrections officer sustained injuries to low back and as a result was forced to retire.

    $1.1 million settlement.

    Motor vehicle accident caused brain injury and injuries to neck and back.

    $800,000 jury verdict.

    Verdict obtained for husband and wife when husband was struck from behind in motor vehicle accident that caused injuries to the husband’s back and shoulder.

    $550,000 settlement.

    Medical malpractice for failure to diagnose and control high blood pressure.

    View All