Common Defenses to a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Personal Injury Lawsuit

When you’ve been hurt because of the carelessness or negligence of another person, it can seem like an open and shut case. That’s seldom the reality, though, as the defendant will often have some policy of insurance that provides some level of coverage, and will have lawyers retained by the insurance company whose job is to diminish or defeat your claim. Accordingly, you can expect that those attorneys will raise a number of potential defenses to liability. Those defenses generally allege either that you (the plaintiff) caused the accident or that your injuries did not arise from the accident.

Contributory and Comparative Negligence

It’s not uncommon that both parties involved in an accident were negligent in some way—the driver who hit you may have been speeding, but you may have failed to come to a complete stop at a red light. In reality, it’s almost always possible to assert that, had you done something differently, the accident would not have occurred. For centuries, this doctrine, known as contributory negligence, was a complete bar to recovery by an injured person. If the defendant could show that you contributed to the injury in any way, you could recover nothing.

Because of the perceived harshness of such a rule, the doctrine of contributory negligence has generally been replaced by the concept of comparative negligence. There’s some disagreement with respect to the scope of comparative negligence. Some states apply a rule of “pure comparative negligence,” where an injured person may always recover something, even if he or she was primarily at fault. Other states, including New Jersey, have adopted what is known as “modified comparative negligence,” where the plaintiff may only recover if his or her liability was less than that of the defendant(s).

Assumption of Risk

This defense contends that the injured person knew that the activity engaged in was potentially dangerous and voluntarily assumed the risk of injury by participating in the activity or event. This type of defense is common when someone is injured at a spectator event (being hit by a baseball or a hockey puck, for example), or when someone is hurt while engaged in a dangerous activity, such as bungee jumping or skydiving.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been injured, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Settling a Work Comp Claim in New Jersey

Work Comp Claim

When you have been hurt on the job in New Jersey, you have the option to settle your case before your injury fully heals, or before you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. There may be a number of reasons for doing so—you may simply want to be done with the insurance company, or you may want a lump sum settlement. A settlement may or may not, however, be in your best interests. You should talk to an experienced attorney before making the decision to accept a settlement.

In New Jersey, there are two types of workers’ compensation settlements:

  • Section 20 settlements—This type of settlement is only available if the workers’ compensation insurance company initially rejected your claim. By accepting a settlement, you relinquish all further claims related to the injury, including any claims for future medical treatment. Furthermore, you will be prohibited from reopening your claim at any time.
  • Section 22 settlements—If you and the workers’ compensation insurance company can agree on a specific permanent disability rating, you can settle any workers’ compensation  claim, even one that has been approved, with a Section22 settlement. A caveat, though—under a Section 22 settlement, payments will always be in installments under the state’s schedule of benefits.

Why You Might Want to Wait to Settle Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

Though you can settle the claim at any time, it’s usually wise to wait until your doctor has indicated that you’ve reached MMI, or maximum medical improvement. If you wait, you’ll still be eligible for coverage for any procedures that become necessary. If you settle too early, and you need additional surgery, you won’t have coverage.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been injured in the workplace, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Can You Resist Arrest if Police Use Excessive Force?

Police Use Excessive Force

In most instances, when a law enforcement officer is attempting to place you under arrest, you don’t have the legal right to resist. In fact, it’s an additional offense in most contexts. But there are limited circumstances where you can take measures to protect yourself and may actually be entitled to use force yourself. Here’s when that may be legitimate.

The Use of Excessive Force by a Police Officer

Under New Jersey law (similar to many other states), if a police officer uses unnecessary and excessive force when making an arrest, and the suspect reasonably believe that the force could result in “great bodily harm,” the suspect may use that force necessary to protect himself. In most jurisdictions, the use of excessive force is considered to be assault or battery, thereby giving the victim the right to defend himself.

In a recent decision handed down by the New Jersey Supreme Court, a man sentenced to nine years in prison for resisting arrest was granted a new trial in just such a case. According to testimony, the man was pulled over by police officers on suspicion of drug charges. During the traffic stop, he was repeatedly beaten by police officers, suffering broken ribs and having at least 10 of his dreadlocks forcibly torn from his scalp. Police charged him with a number of drug offenses, as well as resisting arrest. He was acquitted of all charges except that of resisting arrest.

In its decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court reiterated established law that allows an arrestee to respond or counter excessive and unreasonable force for self protection. The court also concluded that any injuries suffered by a police officer using excessive force are not the result of a criminal act, so the defendant could not be charged with a crime for responding to excessive force with physical force.

Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at Mallon & Tranger

We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered a needless injury. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Singer Names Former Trump Campaign Manager in Sexual Assault Complaint

Sexual Assault Complaint

Recording artist Joy Villa, also an aspiring political candidate, says that Corey Lewandowski, a former campaign manager for Donald Trump, touched her inappropriately at a holiday party at Trump International Hotel in November. Known on stage as Princess Joy Villa, she has become known in part for the outfits she’s worn to the Grammy awards. Villa has filed a formal complaint.

According to Villa, she met Lewandowski at the party and talked to him about her interest in politics. She then suggested that they have their picture taken together, which he initially rebuffed. He then agreed and, shortly after the picture was taken, slapped her on the buttocks. Villa called it “completely demeaning and shocking.” She then told Lewandowski that she could report him for sexual harassment and says that he told her, “go ahead, I work in the private sector,” and then repeated the slap.

This is not the first time that Lewandowski has been accused of sexual assault. A female Breitbart reporter alleged inappropriate behavior during the presidential campaign. Lewandowski was charged with simple battery, but was never prosecuted. He was fired by the Trump campaign shortly after the incident.

Villa said she was initially “fearful” to come forward, as she has been encouraged by Trump to run for elected office. She says that she would be happy with an apology, but has heard nothing from Lewandowski.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been the victim of sexual harassment, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year!

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year!

The Different Types of Brain Injuries

Types of Brain Injuries

According to statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease Control, more than a million people visit the emergency room every year with some type of traumatic brain injury, and about one in four of those people are hospitalized. A brain injury, however, can be anything from a bump on the head to an open-head wound, and it’s not necessary that you have significant trauma to suffer some type of brain injury. Brain injuries are commonly categorized as:

  • Concussions—Usually caused by a blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head, a concussion typically bruises the brain when the brain collides with the skull. Concussions can be pretty common, particularly in contact sports such as football, where about a third of all players report a concussion every year. Concussions can be serious, leading to permanent cognitive dysfunction.
  • Closed head injury—Similar to a concussion, a closed head injury may not be visible, but can cause serious trauma. Whiplash is a common cause of closed head injuries.
  • Acquired brain injury—You can suffer brain injury without physical trauma, typically from hypoxia or oxygen deprivation. In addition, you can acquire brain dysfunction because of exposure to toxic chemicals or prescription errors.

Signs that You May Have a Brain Injury

Even though your injury may seem minor, there are many telltale signs that you may have incurred some trauma to your brain:

  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Difficulty thinking, reading or talking
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Frequent headaches
  • Forgetfulness or inability to concentrate
  • Blurred vision
  • Persistent fatigue

Contact Mallon & Tranger

Don’t ignore a soft-tissue injury. We offer a free initial consultation to anyone in New Jersey who has been a victim of a personal injury. For a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Popular Jersey Shore Bar Faces Sexual Harassment Action

Jeresy Sexual Harassment ActionA 33-year-old woman has filed a lawsuit against a popular Margate bar, alleging that the owners condoned and even participated in repeated acts of sexual harassment after she took a job as a waitress there in February, 2017. The plaintiff took the job at Tipsy Taco and Tequila Bar on Ventnor to supplement her income as a nurse, and alleges that the sexual harassment began almost immediately.

Ericka Puglisi, from the Atlantic City area, alleges in her complaint that the bar’s engaged in numerous acts that constituted sexual harassment, including:

  • Repeatedly fondling her thighs, shoulders and other body parts
  • Calling her suggestive names, such as “sexy,” “babe,” and “sweetie”
  • Putting his crotch in her face when she was bent down to get something from her purse
  • Offering her money in exchange for sexual favors, including $150 for oral sex

She further alleges that the bar owners required her (and all other female employees) to allow customers to “purchase” body shots, ranging in price from $20 to $100, where they permitted a customer to lick salt of a female employee’s body, do a shot of tequila, and then suck a lime wedge out of the employee’s mouth. Puglisi says she initially refused to perform body shots, but gave in when the owner relentlessly insisted.

Puglisi also alleges that other male employees were encouraged and allowed to grope, grab or otherwise touch female employees, and that a number of them regularly touched her breasts and buttocks, and one male employee forced her hand on his crotch.

According to the lawsuit, when Puglisi’s mother came to the bar to confront the owner, he responded by threatening to burn down Puglisi’s house.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been the victim of sexual harassment, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

The Mode of Operation Doctrine in New Jersey Slip and Fall Claims

New Jersey Slip and Fall

In New Jersey, as in other states, a person or entity exercising control over residential or commercial property has a duty to reasonably monitor the premises and maintain them so as to prevent injury to anyone legally on the property. When you’ve been hurt on someone else’s property, you customarily file a legal claim alleging negligence, and must show that the property owner’s conduct fell short of the duty imposed.

There’s a legal doctrine, known as the “mode of operation” rule, however, that has been recognized in New Jersey, which creates a presumption of negligence in certain types of slip and fall cases. This doctrine applies in situations where the business has a certain “mode of operation” that would reasonably lead owners and managers to expect potential safety risks. Initially, the rule was applied to any type of business where it’s a common occurrence to have liquids, foods or other slippery substances fall on the floor on a regular basis. In its original application, it could be applied to restaurants, bars, grocery stores, cafeterias and similar establishments.

In 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a ruling limiting the scope of the “mode of operation” doctrine. According to that decision, the mode of operation rule will only be appropriate when the business in question offers self-service options, and will only apply to those parts of the premises where the self-service takes place.

Contact the Attorneys at Mallon & Tranger

We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered any type of loss or injury as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another person. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-End CollisionOne of the most frequent types of motor vehicle accidents involves one car striking another from behind. Often, such an accident is the result of distracted driving, where the operator of the trailing vehicle is looking at a handheld device or paying attention to the scenery, instead of the road ahead. Such an accident can also occur when drivers don’t take adverse road conditions into account.

One of the fundamental rules of the road is that you must maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. A good rule of thumb in one car length per 10 mph you are traveling—three car lengths if you are going 30 mph, for example.

In the state of New Jersey, there is a presumption that a person who strikes the rear of another vehicle is at fault. Accordingly, even if the car in front of you makes a sudden stop, you are expected to maintain sufficient space to allow you to stop without a collision.

Injuries Resulting from a Rear-End Collision

The classic injury tied to a rear-end collision is whiplash. The force of the rear impact causes the driver of the front vehicle backward into the seat. The contact with the seat then forces that driver to snap back forward. Depending on the force of the impact, the seat may actually break. Furthermore, if the driver is properly wearing a seatbelt, that can cause the driver to be pulled back again. The violent movement back and forth can cause significant injury to neck, spine, lower back and the brain. In addition, if the forward thrust is hard enough, the driver may strike the steering wheel or dashboard of the car.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been injured in the workplace, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

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