Icy stepsIn 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.

Contact 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, contact our office online or call us at 856-234-2233.

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.


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 contact the potential defendant or its insurance company and let them know of the representation and tell them not to contact the client; it’s now the attorney they need to talk to.


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 contacting the defendant or its insurance company. If this is unsuccessful, a lawsuit will be filed in the appropriate court.


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.


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.


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.

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.

Understanding What Insurance Companies Pay for in a Personal Injury Claim

Physical TherapyDetermining 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.