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Personal injury lawyers handle cases where someone was injured or died because of the negligence of another person. Negligence is conduct that falls below the established standards of behavior set forth by statutes for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm. For example, motor vehicle statutes provide a standard of conduct, a violation of which could be evidence of negligence. Phillips v. Scrimente, 66 N.J. Super. 157 (App. Div 1961). Under the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Act (NJMVA), the driver of a motor vehicle owes the duty of care, precaution and vigilance to others that a reasonably prudent person would exercise under similar circumstances.

The NJMVA requires motor vehicle drives to exercise reasonable care in the operation and control of their vehicles. Failure to exercise reasonable care could be negligence. Additionally, the NJMVA establishes the rights, duties, and obligations of pedestrians. N.J.S.A. 39:4-32-39:4-37.1. Just like motorists, pedestrians are also expected to exercise a duty of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in the same or similar circumstances. The pedestrian's failure to act with reasonable care can be evidence of negligence.

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to retain a lawyer as soon as possible for a number of reasons. First, you would not have to worry about dealing with insurance companies. You will be able to concentrate on getting the medical treatment you require while your lawyer will conduct an investigation as to the cause and responsible parties for the accident. Second, your lawyer will gather important evidence including but not limited to witnesses' statements, accident reports, accident reconstruction reports, photographs, etc. Finally, retaining a lawyer is likely to result in a better settlement/verdict outcome (compared to a settlement procured by a self-represented litigant).

Premises liability cases are another example of cases where someone was injured or died because of the negligence of another person. Just like motor vehicle drivers, property or landowners have various duties including but not limited to: duty to inspect the property, duty to maintain the property, duty to repair the property, duty to warn of dangerous conditions on the property. The property owner's duty of care often depends on the relationship between the property owner and the injured party. In order to determine the level of care owed by the property owner, New Jersey law requires courts inquire as to the status of the injured person. Generally, the injured person falls within one of the following categories: invitees, licensees, or trespassers. In addition to the injured person's status, courts also look at the overall circumstances surrounding the accident that caused the injuries.

An invitee is a person who is invited upon the property as a member of the public for a purpose for which the land is held open to the public. Restatement (Second) of Torts §332. For example, if you are in a furniture store, you are considered an invitee because your visit to the store can confer an economic benefit to the store owner.

A licensee is a person who is on the property to convey some benefit upon the landowner other than purely economic benefit (a social guest). Restatement (Second) of Torts §330. Finally, a trespasser us a person who enters or remains on someone's property without the permission/or consent of the property owner. See Restatement (Second) of Torts §329.

Therefore, if you suffered injuries on another person's property, you may have a premises liability claim. A premises liability attorney will be able to ascertain your status as an invitee, licensee or a trespasser and the corresponding duty of care owed to you by the property owner. Once, the attorney establishes the duty of care, he/she will investigate whether there was a breach of that duty of care and whether your injuries arose as a result of the property owner's breach of his duty of care. Premises liability cases are complex due to the different duty of care owed to different categories of people. Also, it is important to determine whether the property in question is a residential or commercial in nature. If you were injured while being on the property of another, retain a lawyer as soon as possible.

If you or a loved one was injured, you may have multiple claims against multiple parties. These claims may include but are not limited to claims for negligence, wrongful death, survivorship claims, etc. Generally, claims for wrongful death may be asserted by the representative of the decedent (either the executor or administrator). You may have claims against defendants who were not directly involved in the accident. For example, if a company employee caused a motor vehicle accident and you were injured because of the employee's negligence, you are likely to have a claim not only against the employee but against the company as well if the employee was acting in the scope of his employment at the time of the accident.

In addition to claims against individuals and private companies, you may have claims against a government or publicly owned entity. If one of the negligent parties is a government entity, you must comply with the New Jersey Torts Claim Act (NJTCA). The NJTCA requires that Plaintiffs provide notice of claim to the public entity within 90 days of the incident that caused the injuries or death. N.J.S.A. 59:1-1 et seq. The 90-day timeframe for notices of claim is strictly enforced and failure to submit such a notice to the public entity may preclude the Plaintiff from filing a lawsuit. Additionally, claims are subject to statute of limitations and failure to comply with these statutes may result in the "dismissal with prejudice" of the plaintiff's complaint. Retaining a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible is crucial due to the complexity and time sensitive nature of personal injury claims.