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Archive for September, 2011

Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage

September 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage.

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Liability in NJ Personal Injury Law

September 15, 2011 Leave a comment

In NJ personal injury law, proving liability is essential to the success of a claim. Liability is a person’s legal and financial responsibility to a party as the result of an accident causing injury or wrongful death. Two common theories of liability are negligence and strict liability. There are various defenses to a claim of negligence, such as, assumption of the risk, comparative negligence, and intervening cause; however, no defenses are available in strict liability cases.

In order to prove negligence, a Plaintiff must show that the Defendant caused the harm or injury because of his or her failure to exercise reasonable care, and that it was foreseeable that the failure might result in the injury or harm that occurred. Strict liability, however, does not require a Plaintiff to show that a Defendant was at fault, or negligent, in order for them to held liable. A Plaintiff only needs to prove that the injury occurred and that it occurred in a certain way. For example, NJ personal injury law holds dog owners strictly liable for harm caused by a dog, therefore, a Plaintiff would only need to prove that the dog bit them, and the Defendant’s negligence or lack thereof, is irrelevant.

While there are no defenses to strict liability, there are defenses to a claim of negligence. Under NJ personal injury law, contributory negligence is a defense to a negligence claim. Under New Jersey’s comparative negligence law, if a Plaintiff is found to be at least 50% at fault for the injury, he or she will not be allowed to recover. Another defense to negligence is assumption of risk. A Defendant who asserts this defense alleges that the Plaintiff knew of the dangers of the activity, which injured them, and voluntarily assumed the risk, thereby relieving the Defendant of any liability. Assumption of risk defenses are generally used when the parties were engaged in a dangerous activity such as bungee jumping. Intervening cause is a defense that may be used in a negligence claim. A classic example of an intervening cause is a doctor negligently killing a patient before the bullet fired by the Defendant is able to do so.

Liability in NJ personal injury law differs from case to case, and oftentimes, determining liability requires significant legal analysis. The key to success in a personal injury suit, however, is liability, and a Plaintiff must prove the liability of the Defendant in order to recover on his or her personal injury claim.