My husband, as the result of his car accident, suffered terrible pain for weeks before he succumbed to his injuries and his life ended. Doesn’t he deserve something for his pain and suffering?

The answer is yes. It can be said that the Wrongful Death Act is one for the protection and compensation of the survivors; meanwhile, the survivor statute affords the deceased the right to compensation. Although the deceased will not be allowed a recovery for those aspects of his/her life which he/she will miss out on in the future, he/she will be able to collect for the pain and suffering, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses that took place prior to his or her death. This is called a survivor action and it is structured to compensate for losses suffered by decedent.

This claim of action will be instituted by the decedent’s estate. The heirs of the victim will be the resulting beneficiaries of the victim’s estate. A distinguishable difference between a recovery made in a Wrongful Death action and a Survivor action are that the creditors of the deceased can collect against a Survivor recovery but cannot collect against that of the Wrongful Death recovery.

How can Riviere Advocacy Group LLC help me in this time of need?

With attorneys based in Monmouth County and throughout the State of New Jersey, our firm is here to help. Your case’s success will be determined by, not only the merits of your case , but also, by your chosen attorney’s experience, understanding and compassion. It will require a firm grasp of New Jersey’s statutes dealing with wrongful death and survivor actions.

It can be said that a wrongful death action is akin to a personal injury action; however, the recoverable damages are structured differently. For instance, a personal injury action provides for pain and suffering whereas a wrongful death action allows for recovery of financial losses only.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

The trucking industry is governed by numerous federal and state regulations. The federal regulations can be found in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 C.F.R. §§ 350-399). These regulations govern all vehicles engaged in interstate traffic. These regulations are also very extensive and can be confusing. Our central New Jersey truck accident lawyers are knowledgeable about these regulations and can analyze how they may apply to your truck accident case.

Trucking accidents happen for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to, driver exhaustion, aggressive driving, DWI/DUI, dangerous roadways, overweight trucks, negligently maintained trucks and/or negligent hiring decisions made by the trucking companies. Under the previously mentioned federal motor carrier laws, a trucking company can be held responsible for its driver’s negligence.

Why does it make a difference if I was in an accident with a Commercial Vehicle?

When you are involved in a car accident in New Jersey, if your automobile insurance coverage is limited by the verbal threshold, you cannot recover non-economic damages in a lawsuit, unless you suffer from extremely serious, permanent and/or fatal injuries. When an accident involves a truck, there is no verbal threshold limitation about which you need to be concerned. As such, you will be able to collect for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, with having to be injured to extent required in an automobile accident.

Also, quite often, there will be a difference in the “value” in commercial truck cases as compared to auto-to-auto cases Commercial truck cases are potentially much larger with recoveries that are much greater. Generally speaking, this is due to the larger policy limits and coverage which commercial trucks carry. Where your personal auto policy may be as low as the mandatory minimum limits requiring $15,000, a commercial vehicle, such as a flat bed, company van, pick-up, tow truck, etc., usually carries much higher limits. This provides for a greater “pool” of insurance funds from which to recover.

What Precisely is a Slip and Fall Injury?

There is no precise answer to this question as you will see below that slip and fall injuries can come in many shapes and forms. When a person slips, trips, and falls down due to the negligence of another individual or business and there are resulting injuries, a slip and fall injury has taken place.

A slip and fall accident can happen while slipping on the proverbial “banana peel”, spilled liquid, ice/snow and any other surface bedeviled by a slippery substance. An accident may occur due to tripping on a faulty sidewalk, traversing an awkward gradient change, becoming snagged on a guy-wire, falling over a negligently placed sign . . . the list goes on.

The fall that occurs in a legitimate slip and fall accident case must be due to the negligence of someone else. New Jersey Premises Liability law is written so that a property owner or possessor who is legally responsible for a residence, business or governmental property is legally liable for any of injuries that arise on the property due to negligence or faulty construction.

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

  • Slippery, uneven and/or broken sidewalks, cobblestones, or pavement
  • Potholes
  • Failure to maintain and/or clear walkways in times of inclement weather
  • Steeply sloping driveways
  • Slippery floor surfaces or floor coverings
  • Oil, grease, water, liquids, or food on the floor
  • Uneven stairs or inadequate stair rails
  • Hazardous store aisles
  • Entrance/exit defects
  • Carpet, rug, and mat placement or defect
  • Walkway defects
  • Construction area hazards, including falling debris
  • Unsafe balconies and/or railings
  • Poor lighting

Injuries Associated with Slip and Fall Accidents

  • Herniated disc(s);
  • HNP;
  • Radiculopathy;
  • Disk bulge;
  • Disk protrusion;
  • Degenerative disc disease;
  • DDD;
  • Ankylosis;
  • Rotator Cuff tear;
  • Paralysis;
  • Spondylosis;
  • Spondylolisthesis;
  • Chondromalacia;
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI);
  • Concussion;
  • Shoulder instability/dislocation;
  • Knee ligament injuries (ACL; PCL; MCL; LCL);
  • Knee dislocation;
  • Fractures and a multitude of other injuries may that may result.

Common Medical Procedures Associated with Slip and Fall Accidents

  • Arthroscopic and minimally-invasive surgery of the shoulder, elbow, knee, hip and ankle
  • Knee ligament reconstruction and meniscal transplantation
  • Cartilage restoration, OATs, Autogenous Chondrocyte Implantation and Allografts Osteotomies
  • Arthroscopic rotator cuff reconstruction
  • Arthroscopic Bankart reconstruction (capsulolabral repair of the shoulder)
  • Arthroscopy of the knee, shoulder, hip, elbow, wrist and ankle
  • Hip, knee and shoulder replacement
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction
  • Ankle and mid-foot procedures
  • Carpal tunnel surgery and wrist procedures
  • Hand tendon repairs
  • Open reduction, internal fixation of shoulder, elbow, wrist and ankle fractures
  • Spinal procedures and joint injections

Product Liability Act (PLA)

These three categories of Products Liability Law are enumerated under New Jersey’s Product Liability Act (PLA) which provides that a product manufacturer or seller shall be liable in a product liability action if the plaintiff proves by a preponderance of the evidence that “the product causing the harm was not reasonably fit, suitable or safe for its intended purpose[.]”

The PLA defines three types of defect, each of which may render a product “not reasonably fit, suitable or safe”:

(a) a manufacturing defect;
(b) a failure to “contain adequate warnings or instructions”; and
(c) a defective design. N.J.S.A. 2A:58C-2.

Manufacturer’s Responsibility

As cited above a manufacturer has a duty to design a safe product. For example a pharmaceutical company should not release a product that causes heart attacks or other known adverse side effects, a toy manufacturer should not use lead paint, or a food company should not put toxic or deleterious foods on the shelves.

Where a product can’t be designed to be absolutely safe, then a manufacturer has a duty to guard or protect against that dangers presented by the product (i.e., automatic shut-off or safety guard). If a product’s dangerous susceptibility can’t be adequately guarded, the manufacturer has an obligation to provide clear instructions and warnings for its use (i.e., flammable or emits noxious chemicals, such as gasoline or kerosene).