Protecting Your Rights after You Have Been Hurt in a Motor Vehicle Accident

After a car accidentIn the aftermath of an automobile accident, in the confusion and uncertainty that can abound, it can be easy to forget to take simple steps to protect your rights. Here are the most important things to do.

Get the Medical Care You Need

This is legal, as well as medical, advice. Before you can even think about protecting your legal rights, you need to make certain you get all the treatment you need. Remember, this isn’t the time to be brave. Don’t try to shake off serious injuries. If you find it difficult to move under your own power, don’t try to do so. Let emergency responders come and examine you. They will take every precaution to ensure that you don’t make your injuries worse, and that you get the care you need.

Even if you leave the scene under your own power, take yourself to an emergency clinic, a hospital emergency room, or make an immediate appointment with your doctor. You may have injuries that have not yet surfaced. Get a checkout and tell medical personnel exactly what happened and advise them of anything that feels out of the ordinary. Don’t just focus on the most obvious injury—don’t let all the attention focus on your broken leg without telling them that you hurt your back or neck, or bumped your head.

Getting the medical treatment you need is critical to protecting your legal rights. When you seek damages, a significant portion of your recovery will be based on any physical injuries you suffer. You need to document them as soon as possible, so that defense attorneys don’t try to claim they were the result of some event other than the motor vehicle accident.

Gather as Much Information as You Can

The more information you gather, the easier it will likely be for your attorney to prepare a case to help you get full and fair compensation for your losses. If you can, get basic contact information from anyone else involved in the accident, as well as witnesses. This includes name, phone number, e-mail address, home address, and name of their insurance company.

It can also be beneficial to get pictures. Use the camera on your phone, if necessary. Take pictures of anything related to the accident, from the damage to your vehicle or any bruises or scrapes you may have to skid marks, traffic signals and signs, and even weather conditions.

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

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.

Police detective in N.J. State in accident and charged for drinking and driving

In Trenton, NJ, State Police Detective Sgt. 1st Class Joseph P. Brennan who is 43 years-old, was charged with drunk driving after a car crash. It was reported that he drove his car off a road in Chatham Borough. The car crashed through a concrete wall and ended up on a large rock. The officer had been drinking after playing the bagpipes at a private birthday party. He is a member of the Pipes and Drums of the Blue and Gold which is a nonprofit bagpipe band. When police asked him if he had been drinking, he mumbled the word no. Nonetheless, he was charged with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and refusal to submit to a breath test. The detective was suspended without pay which will remain pending until the outcome of the charges. No one was injured in the accident. Coverage on this news can be found here and here.

If you or someone you know gets into an accident while working, you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. Thus, if you were acting within the scope of your employment, such as accidents while running errands for a boss, accidents while delivering packages as part of your job duties, or accidents which occur on business trips, your could be eligible for compensation benefits. Injured persons can be covered for medical bills and lost wages. However, there is a ceiling on the compensation available for you. When serious injuries are involved, the negligent driver’s insurance policy or your own uninsured or underinsured insurance coverage will be able to provide additional coverage beyond the basic compensation amounts.

If you or someone you know have lost time from work because of a job related injury or an injury on the job which is a repetitive-stress injury you should speak to someone bout your rights to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Learn about your rights and discuss issues of liability with the experienced personal injury lawyers at Taylor & Boguski in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. Call 800-404-5299 or 856-234-2233 for a free of charge consultation with a Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Attorney.

Tragedy When Car Strikes Morning Bicyclist

A morning bicycle ride ended in tragedy when a Mount Laurel cyclist was struck and killed by a car. The cyclist left behind four children, 13 grandchildren, his wife, his mother, and his company which he owned.

Bicycling is a healthy, joyful, and generally safe activity. Bicycling is growing significantly each year, especially in cities where bike rental is available and convenient to access.

Despite increased awareness of cyclists on the road in New Jersey and elsewhere, in most cases, car drivers are not looking out for cyclists on the roads. In 2010, there were more than 52,000 cyclists injured in crashes in New Jersey and throughout the nation.

While bicyclists have the same rights to the road as car drivers do, car drivers often disregard this to a biker’s peril. Motor vehicle drivers whose careless or negligent actions strike and injure a bicyclist may be held liable for medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the crash.

Common causes of NJ bicycle accidents include:

  1. A bicycle and car are riding parallel to one another and the car driver turns into the bike’s path, striking the cyclist.
  2. A bike and a car are heading in opposite directions toward an intersection. When they get into the intersection, the auto driver fails to yield right of way to the cyclist, striking him or her.
  3. A car driver parks the car and opens the door into the path of an oncoming bicyclist, who cannot swerve to avoid it.
  4. Inattentive car drivers simply do not see a cyclist.
  5. A bicycle that has been poorly maintained or is missing something as critical as brakes – and yes, cyclists do ride on occasion without brakes.

When cars are driving at speeds and crash into a bicyclist, the chances are great that the biker will suffer life-changing injuries. It can help a great deal to have someone who understands personal injury law and bike accident issues protect your rights.

Call 800-404-5299 or 856-234-2233 for a Free Consultation with a Lawyer

To learn more about your rights and issues of liability and damages on behalf of injured bicyclists and pedestrians, email or call the personal injury lawyers of Taylor & Boguski in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. We offer a free, private consultation where you can get your questions answered and your case will be evaluated.

Construction Vehicle Accidents and Personal Injury – New Jersey

An average of 1000 construction workers die in accidents on construction sites each year. A full 15% of workers’ compensation costs are related to workers injured on construction sites. Construction vehicle accidents play a significant role in some of the most deadly of accidents on construction sites and on southern New Jersey roads.

Preventable Construction Vehicle Accidents

Sadly, a great percentage of construction vehicle accidents and ensuing injuries are preventable if safety rules are followed. Minor mistakes or carelessness can lead to serious accidents and injures such as:

  • A worker started walking between a backhoe’s swinging bucket and a concrete wall. The worker was approaching the area from the backhoe operator’s blindside. The backhoe operator did not see the worker and the big metal bucket struck the worker, crushing him against the cement wall.

    Had the employees been trained in minimal safety work procedures or had the area been fenced off as hazardous, the tragic construction accident would never have happened.
  • A bulldozer operator was driving at the top of a slope. The dozer started to slide sideways down the slope, which was ice-covered. It tipped over and pinned the driver under its roll bars. The driver had not been wearing a seat belt. The seatbelt may have prevented him from getting pinned.
  • A driver of a tractor was driving up a loading trailer. The driver had not centered the tractor and the wheels started sliding off the side and the tractor began tipping over. The driver jumped out, but the rollover structure that was supposed to protect him crushed him instead. Again, had the time been taken to center the tractor before attempting to drive up onto the lowboy trailer, tragedy may have been prevented.

Injured in a Construction Vehicle Accident? Speak With Experienced NJ Work Comp and Personal Injury Attorney

At the law office of Taylor and Boguski, we fight for the rights of the injured and those who have lost loved ones in construction vehicle crashes, work accidents, and other types of accidents. To discuss your concerns and learn how we can help, schedule a free, private consultation with an attorney in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, office today. Please call 800-404-5299 or 856-234-2233 or contact us online.

Fatal Crash in New Jersey Leaves Two Dead

Sunday October 1, 2012 started out as a glorious autumn morning, with clear skies and warm weather. Sadly, for one New Jersey family, the promise of the day turned into tragedy when a New Jersey father and his son were killed in a crash when their car collided with a jeep Cherokee.

The father, age 38, and his young son, died in the crash, while the daughter, age 4, is currently hospitalized. The driver of the other car did not suffer serious injuries.

2.2 Million Injuries From Motor Vehicle Accidents in U.S.

The cause of the fatal crash is under investigation and at this point it is unclear what caused the collision. This much is known, nearly 33,000 people were killed in car crashes in 2010 in the United States and over 2.2 million people were injured in car and other motor vehicle accidents throughout the nation. Statistics show that about one in eight people who lost their lives were passengers in the automobile.

Accidents happen all the time. No matter how safe and careful of a driver you are, you cannot always control the actions of other people on the roads. Dangerous drivers are out there. Texting drivers are out there, in increasing numbers. Roadway conditions in southern New Jersey, including construction areas, can distract drivers, just enough for them to make a mistake, sometimes with tragic results.

If you or a loved one has been injured or if you have lost a family member due to a fatal crash that was caused by someone else’s careless actions, you may have reason to file a personal injury or wrongful death legal claim. Speaking with an experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorney can answer your questions and help you have some understanding of your rights in situations like these.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney in Southern New Jersey

At the law office of Taylor and Boguski, we fight for the rights of the injured and those who have lost loved ones in car crashes, work accidents, and other types of accidents. To discuss your concerns and learn how we can help, schedule a free, private consultation with an attorney in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, office today. Please call 800-404-5299 or 856-234-2233 or contact us online.

Driving Hour Log Violations—18 Wheeler Accidents

In today’s competitive market, with the strong emphasis on profitability, many trucking companies and over-the-road truckers face intense pressure to minimize costs and provide quick turnaround to their customers. Unfortunately, one of the areas where trucking concerns can cut corners is with respect to driving or maintenance logs. Federal laws require that truckers maintain accurate logs of their activity, tracking how many hours they are driving in a given period, as well as how much cargo they are carrying. To maximize profits, they may drive without adequate rest, or may carry loads that exceed safety limits. In far too any instances, these shortcuts result in serious injury to others on the road.

The Federal Highway Administration takes the regulations governing hours of service very seriously. Trucking executives have been sentenced to time in federal prison for instructing and conspiring with employees to falsify driving logs.

If you have been injured in an accident involving an 18 wheeler, tractor-trailer or big rig, you want an experienced and effective attorney to protect your interests. The lawyers at Taylor & Boguski can help.

The 11/14 Rule for Truck Drivers

Federal trucking regulations mandate that:

  • A truck driver cannot work more than 14 hours in a 24 hour period.
  • In addition, you cannot drive more than 11 hours in any 24 hour period without taking a 10 hour break. Accordingly, a trucker may not drive the last 11 hours of one day and the first 11 hours of the next day. They must take a minimum 10 hour break after 11 hours during a 24 hour period.

The purpose behind reducing the number of hours on the road is to assure that the trucker is well-rested, and can be alert at all times while on the road.

Truckers and trucking companies can employ a variety of schemes to falsify driving hour logs, including using two sets of logs, or simply understating time on the road. An experienced lawyer will look at all food and gas receipts and will cross-reference them with driving log entries, looking for evidence of fraudulent activity.

Contact the Law Office of Taylor & Boguski

To schedule a free initial consultation with experienced New Jersey family law attorneys, contact Taylor & Boguski by e-mail. To learn more about our practice, visit our practice area overview page.

Dealing with Your Insurer after an Accident

Mount Laurel Personal Injury Attorneys

In 2010, Allstate, one of the nation’s largest insurers, paid $10 million to settle a lawsuit brought against it by 41 states. The lawsuit claimed there were inconsistencies in how Allstate used a claims software called “Colossus” to calculate claim payments in injury accidents. While Allstate agreed to standardize the use of Colossus, the claims software is still used today – and not just by Allstate. Colossus is used by many large and smaller insurance companies in order to determine claims payouts in car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian knockdowns, and other kinds of accidents where personal injuries are involved.

What is Colossus?

Colossus is a proprietary software used by some of the nation’s largest insurers (MetLife, Farmers, and the Hartford) for estimating claims in personal injury cases. In many ways, Colossus acts like a database for providing a baseline range of costs associated with different kinds of injuries that are similar in kind. To begin, a claims agent selects certain variables and enters them into Colossus – variables like “broken femur, “concussion,” lost wages, and the kind of accident you were in. Using pre-determined algorithms, Colossus then estimates the amount you should be paid based on costs associated with injuries that are similar to yours in your situation.

However, since there are certain questions associated with each variable entry, what is entered determines how each variable interfaces with value drivers considered by Colossus. Value drivers include such things as the kind of injury involved, hospitalization, its duration, treatment, etc. After analyzing costs associated with these value drivers, Colossus provides an estimate for a claims payout.

Questioning the Estimates of Colossus in Injury Claim Payouts

In this way, the results provided by Colossus depend in part on the variables entered by a claims agent in the first place. If your broken shoulder results in chronic pain or the weakness in your hand, the estimate provided by Colossus may not take into account these other factors that are a part of your injury. Critics of Colossus have pointed to this aspect of Colossus, though its supporters claim the software has been improved. Additionally, the manner in which Colossus determines an average payout has come under fire since insurers can tweak results by selecting from the low end of what is considered an average payout.

Why It’s Important to Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney

Insurance companies don’t always tell you that they’ve used a computer software to estimate your claim. And, since the result provided by Colossus is dependent upon what a claims agent enters, the estimate is subject to error. Further, Colossus does not take into account pain and suffering, especially in cases where an injury results in chronic pain or a loss in strength or the use of an arm or a leg. For these reasons, it’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who understands how to challenge the estimates provided by Colossus and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, truck wreck, motorcycle crash, your slip and fall, contact Mount Laurel personal injury attorneys at Taylor & Boguski today to discuss your case.

Hit and Run Car Accident Injuries – Who Pays?

Mount Laurel UM/UIM Car Accident Attorneys

Due in part to the economic downturn, more and more Americans are driving without insurance coverage. In fact, experts and other observers have noticed an increase in uninsured / underinsured drivers since 2009. With foreclosures, unemployment, and bankruptcy affecting millions of Americans, many are choosing to let their car insurance lapse in order to pay for other things. As a result, it’s likely that the number of uninsured / underinsured drivers will continue to rise. Consequently, it’s not unreasonable to expect a rise in the number of hit and run accidents as uninsured motorists attempt to avoid criminal charges or lawsuits after hitting another car, bicyclist, or pedestrian.

Recovering Compensation after a Hit and Run Accident

If you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident, you can recover financial compensation under the terms of your own policy’s uninsured / underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage. Since UM/UIM coverage is not mandatory in New Jersey, you’ll want to make sure you purchased it and for how much you’re covered. If you purchased $100,000 UM/UIM coverage, you can claim up to that amount in damages under the terms of your UM/UIM policy less any amount you received from the responsible parties insurance.

Here, however, is where a hit and run injury victim can encounter difficulties with their own insurer. Since insurance companies are in business to make money, they can be difficult to deal with regarding UM/UIM claims.

You may be on good terms with your agent and have an excellent rapport with him or her. However, once you submit a UM/UIM claim after a hit and run accident, your relationship essentially becomes adversarial: since the other driver fled the scene, your insurer is unlikely to recover the losses it has to pay you. As a result, they may delay your payment, choose to take their time in the investigation, or dispute the severity of your injuries.

Protecting Your Interests after a Hit and Run Car Accident

If your insurer disputes your claim, you’ll need to hire a personal injury attorney to represent you. Although UM/UIM claims generally do not go to trial in New Jersey, they are handled through arbitration. Here, an impartial third party will listen to both sides of the case and decision. Arbitration requires that both parties agree to adhere to the arbitrator’s decision which means you and your insurer must accept what is final decided.

Hiring an experienced car accident attorney can help you prepare for and participate in the arbitration process. An experienced car accident lawyer understands what sorts of tactics insurers resort to minimize claims, including the use of claims software like Colossus and medical economists and life care planners. As such, you and your personal injury attorney may need to hire your own experts in order to challenge those working for your insurer.

Contact Mount Laurel UM/UIM Claims Attorneys

A hit and run accident can be a nightmare beyond the physical injuries you suffer if your insurer balks at paying your claim in a timely fashion. To protect your interests and learn how we can help you, contact Mount Laurel car accident attorneys at Taylor & Boguski today.