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Personal Injury in NJ: Negligence

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Personal injury claims are tort claims based on the negligence of the other party. Negligence has been the standard of civil liability in accident cases for approximately 150 years, and is defined as the failure to exercise the care of an ordinarily prudent and careful man. A negligence claim has four elements, or things that must be proven in order to win the claim: duty, breach, causation, and foreseeability.

Elements of Negligence

In order to be successful in a personal injury claim, one must first prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care. Many things we do in our everyday lives create a duty to those around us to protect them from any foreseeable harm our actions may cause. Things such as owning a dog, driving a car on public roads, and owning a home all create a duty of care to others. Once it has been established that a defendant owed a plaintiff a duty of care, one must prove that the defendant breached that duty. A person breaches their duty of care if they knowingly expose another to a substantial risk of harm. A defendant, who fails to realize the risk his actions create, when a reasonable person would have realized the risk, has also breached his duty. After establishing a breach of duty, one must prove that the breach caused their injury. In the U.S., causation is established when one can prove that an event sufficiently related to a legally recognizable injury to be held the cause of that injury, this is called proximate cause. Once causation has been proven, the plaintiff must prove that the injury he suffered was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s action or inaction. For example, it is foreseeable if you allow your dog to roam loose, he will bite someone, or if you run a red light, you will crash into another driver and injure him or her.

Damages in Negligence Claims

After proving a negligence claim, a plaintiff will have to prove the amount of their damages. Damages in a negligence claim are compensation for the plaintiff’s losses, and are meant to return them to the state they were in before the accident. Punitive damages, are not compensatory, and therefore, not available in negligence claims. Punitive damages are only available in cases of willful misconduct, such as accidents caused by a drunk driver.

For further details visit New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer or wants an appointment contact Bergen County Personal Injury Attorney here: Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C. 320 Cedar Lane Teaneck, NJ 07666

Call us today! (201) 530-6272

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New Jersey Personal Injury Law: Contributory & Comparative Negligence

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New Jersey Personal Injury Law: Contributory & Comparative Negligence

September 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Contributory negligence is a term often used in personal injury cases to indicate that the Plaintiff contributed to their injury, to some extent, through their own negligence. In New Jersey, contributory negligence does not exclude a Plaintiff from recovering damages from a negligent Defendant, so long as the Plaintiff’s negligence was not greater than the negligence of the person or persons against whom recovery is sought, and comparative negligence is used in order to determine damages. N.J.S.A. § 2A:15-5.1. Comparative negligence reduces any recovery by the percentage of negligence attributable to the Plaintiff. For instance, if a Plaintiff crossed a road in the middle, instead of at the designated crossing point, and did so without first looking, and a Defendant who was talking on his or her cell phone, hit them, causing injury, the Plaintiff might be found to be forty percent (40%) at fault and the Defendant sixty percent (60%). In this case, any judgment the Plaintiff would be entitled to, will be reduced by forty percent (40%). If there is more than one Defendant, the Plaintiff’s negligence cannot equal more than the combined negligence of all of the Defendants.

Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:15-5.2, when comparative negligence is used as a defense to a personal injury suit in New Jersey, the jury must make the following as findings of fact:

 (1) The amount of damages which would be recoverable by the injured party regardless of any consideration of negligence or fault, that is, the full value of the injured party’s damages.

(2) The extent, in the form of a percentage, of each party’s negligence or fault. The percentage of negligence or fault of each party shall be based on 100% and the total of all percentages of negligence or fault of all the parties to a suit shall be 100%.

Under the New Jersey Joint Tortfeasor Act, if a party is determined to be sixty percent (60%) or more at fault, the Plaintiff may recover from them the entire amount of damages. Otherwise, he may only recover the percentage of damages attributable to that Defendant. However, in the event a party is required to pay more than his share of the award, he or she may seek contribution from the Defendants for the excess over his or her pro rata share.  N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-3.

For further details visit New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer or wants an appointment contact Bergen County Personal Injury Attorney here: Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C. 320 Cedar Lane Teaneck, NJ 07666
Call us today! (201) 530-6272

To Read More about Personal Injury Click:
New Jersey Personal Injury Law: Contributory Negligence