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From the desk of Richard D. Schibell

Motorcyclists Face an Elevated Risk for a Serious Accident and Injury in the State of New Jersey

Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than those who drive cars, trucks and SUVs.  Unfortunately, plenty of drivers are still incapable of properly sharing the streets with those riding motorcycles and mopeds.  Making matters worse is the fact that motorcycles do not provide adequate protection to riders.  Unlike automobiles, motorcycles do not have airbags or seat belts.

Motorcycle collisions are much more likely to cause significant injury or even death compared to other traffic accidents.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports about 30% of all auto accidents cause injury to one or several people in the compromised vehicles.  More than 73% of all motorcycle riders and passengers suffer an injury in motorcycle crashes.  It is interesting to note merely .003% all traditional auto accidents are deadly while 6% of motorcycle accidents cause rider death.  A recent study conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Administration determined motorcycle deaths cause nearly 12% of all deadly traffic accidents in the state of New Jersey.  Sadly, in 2017 alone, more than 5,100 motorcyclists were killed in collisions.

New Jersey motorcyclists who do not perish in an accident must still deal with the harsh injuries sustained in the collision.  Here is a list of the most common injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents:

Broken and fractured bones: Motorcycle riders frequently break their bones as a result of the motorcycle crushing the rider, slamming into the road or hitting a stationary object with significant force.

Amputations: The amputation of a limb and a number of lifelong disabilities are likely to occur after involvement in a nasty motorcycle accident.  Those seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident usually attribute their injuries to the lack of protection as well as the negligence of other drivers.

Internal organ injuries: The force involved in a motorcycle collision can lead to significant damage to the internal organs.  It is possible such damage will compromise the organs’ ability to function.  In fact, there might not even be a visible injury when such functioning ceases.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and additional head injuries: Head injuries are quite common even when motorcycle riders are wearing helmets.  It is possible a head injury will cause myriad symptoms ranging from blurred vision to confusion, insufficient impulse control, speech difficulties and vomiting.

The cost of medical care for an injured motorcyclist is likely to be quite substantial given the extent of the rider’s injuries.  Though such costs hinge on the severity of the crash, the NHTSA reports those who survive motorcycle crashes are typically saddled by hospital bills between $10,000 and $40,000.  Those who were protected by a helmet typically have lower hospital bills than helmeted riders.  These figures are certainly eye-opening yet the real cost of a motorcycle crash in New Jersey extends well beyond the cost of simply treating the victim’s injured body sites.

Studies show medical expenses are only 6% of the aggregate cost of motorcycle crash injuries.  Plenty of those involved in motorcycle accidents endure considerable pain for lengthy periods of time.  In fact, certain injuries suffered in these violent crashes will never full heal.  As a result, those who survive motorcycle accidents are likely to miss time at work during their recovery period.  Such individuals are also likely to find it difficult to return to work at a later date as injuries stemming from motorcycle accidents tend to be permanent.  The sad truth is injuries endured in a motorcycle accident often prevent the rider from working as they did prior to the accident.  As a result, the crash victim might have to take a job that pays less or is not as fulfilling.  Juries and judges often consider the drop in earning potential when determining the damages to be paid in motorcycle accident lawsuits.

Reach out to Our New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Today

If you or a family member are injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our experienced New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer Richard Schibell today to go over your legal options.  We are also here for those who lost a loved one in such an accident.  Our personal injury attorneys will fiercely advocate on your behalf to ensure justice is served.  You can contact us by dialing 732-774-1000.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by calling our law firm.  We refuse to charge any type of fee unless we emerge victorious in your case.

Does New Jersey Have No-fault Laws for Auto Accidents?

If you are injured in an auto accident in the state of New Jersey, our auto accident attorney Richard Schibell is here to navigate the murky legal waters of personal injury law on your behalf.  We provide no-cost, no-obligation initial consultations to help prospective clients learn about their legal rights.  Our team is here to guide you through the nuances of the insurance claims process, understand the details of your insurance policy and calculate the aggregate value of the harm/damage resulting from this unfortunate event.  Our personal injury attorneys’ overarching goal is to help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve to be made whole again.  Below, we take a look at no-fault auto insurance in the state of New Jersey.

Why No-fault Auto Insurance is so Important

No-fault auto insurance, also referred to as personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, provides essential coverage to drivers as well as passengers who get into an auto accident.  This coverage is available regardless of who is determined to be at fault for the collision.  Only 17 other states mandate PIP insurance aside from New Jersey.  This form of auto insurance is required by law for every single New Jersey driver.

No-fault auto insurance is different from policies that are comprehensive, liability or collision.  Such policies merely pay according to damages based on the individual determined to be responsible for the collision.  PIP policies pay damages as long as the collision is covered under the terms of the insurance policy.  According to the nuances of the state’s no-fault insurance system, accident claims are made through the driver’s insurance provider.  Your insurance company pays for the damages tied to the accident instead of the other driver’s insurance provider in the event someone aside from you caused the accident.

A reduction in costs is a key benefit of no-fault insurance.  One of the goals of the process is to cap litigation and insurance claim costs so they do not spiral out of control.  Since the coverage is no-fault, it is possible to process claims in an expeditious manner, especially when compared to those processed in states where insurers in opposition conduct investigations.

Coverage Through No-fault Insurance Policies

No-fault insurance can pertain to myriad expenses resulting from a car crash, regardless of whether you are at fault or if the collision is the fault of another driver.  Expenses that can be covered include the following:

  • Lost wages
  • Health insurance deductibles
  • Payment for necessary services rendered due to the victim’s inability to provide them as a result of the injury
  • Extra medical costs that extend beyond the health insurance policy limits

Under a no-fault insurance system, you might not be able to file a claim against the driver at-fault for the damages beyond what the insurance provider is willing to pay.  However, certain circumstances permit a lawsuit that usually involves considerable medical bills or injuries beyond a certain amount.  No-fault PIP insurance is not applicable to certain types of damage that other policies would cover.  As an example, no-fault PIP insurance does not provide coverage for the following:

  • Medical expenses in excess of the limits of the no-fault insurance policy.
  • Damage to the vehicle caused by the crash.  It is necessary to add collision coverage to the policy so compensation for automobile repairs/replacement is available.
  • Damage caused to the property of others stemming from the collision.  Property damage liability coverage is necessary in order to compensate others for damage inflicted on their property in a crash you are involved in.
  • Automobile theft.  Comprehensive coverage is necessary to replace an automobile that is stolen.

Since no-fault insurance is not applicable to the above-referenced expenses related to the accident, it is imperative to ensure insurance coverage is sufficient and includes the proper coverage type.

There is a Difference Between Medical Payments Coverage and PIP

A separate type of coverage known as medical payments coverage is distinct from PIP.  This coverage is optional.  Similar to no-fault insurance, medical payments coverage is unnecessary in New Jersey.  If you have medical payments coverage, it can be applied for the reimbursement of medical costs tied to the collision up to but not in excess of the chosen limits.  Though state minimum coverages exist, motorists are required to select higher limits for extended protection if an accident were to occur.

Reach out to Our Experienced Attorneys for Assistance With Your Case

If you are injured in an auto accident attributable to another individual’s negligence (carelessness), you might be entitled to financial payment to cover expenses ranging from lost wages to medical bills, pain, suffering, etc.  Let our New Jersey auto accident attorneys led by Richard Schibell fiercely advocate on your behalf.  We will hold the negligent party responsible for his or her carelessness and strive to recover as much financial compensation as possible.

Reach out to us today at 732-774-1000 for a no-cost, no-obligation appointment.  We will review the facts of your case and explain the legal options that will help you bounce back from this unfortunate event.  Our law firm does not charge upfront fees.  You will not have to pay a single penny unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf.

New Jersey Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

The Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey (BIANJ) hosted the 13th annual gala event this past March in Livingston’s Crystal Plaza.  The event took place in March as its month is Brain Injury Awareness Month. The purpose of the gala was to raise money to assist those who have suffered a brain injury.  BIANJ is a NJ nonprofit group created to enhance the quality of life for those who have endured a brain injury.  TBIs can lead to crippling injuries for the duration of one’s life or even cause death.  Unfortunately, such outcomes negatively impact the injured individual as well as his or her loved ones.

The lucky ones who survive their TBI often deal with fallout that spans several days or even the remainder of their lives.  TBI effects range from impaired movement to impaired memory, the inability to think clearly, compromised vision and hearing.  “It is even possible for a TBI to cause an alteration in emotions” says Richard Schibell.  As an example, plenty of those who suffer a TBI end up depressed or have a noticeable change in personality.  Such issues impact the injured parties as well as family members and the community as a whole.

The top causes of TBIs are auto accidents and falls. Schibell & Mennie has more than three decades of experience with a wide array of personal injury accident cases including those involving TBIs.  Lean on our New Jersey TBI lawyers to investigate the accident that compromised your well-being or that of a loved one and we will do everything in our power to hold the negligent parties responsible for the injuries as well as subsequent losses.  Our law firm has extensive experience with TBI cases.  We have consulted with neurosurgeons, neurologists, therapists, rehab centers and other medical professionals to gain deeper insight into our clients’ TBIs.

Have You or a Loved One Suffered a TBI?  Contact Schibell & Mennie Today

If you or a family member have endured a TBI resulting from an auto accident, a truck accident, a slip and fall accident or a workers’ compensation accident, our law firm can help.  Our New Jersey TBI attorneys are here to provide a no-cost case evaluation.  Lean on us in your time of need and you will rest easy knowing our experienced personal injury attorneys will provide the legal advice necessary to help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve.

New Jersey’s statute of limitations for personal injuries is two years.  If you do not bring a personal injury lawsuit in this period of time, the window of opportunity will close.  This is precisely why we ask that you reach out to our law firm today for timely assistance.  There is no fee unless your case results in a settlement or court-awarded judgment.  Give Richard Schibell a call today at 732-774-1000 and we will begin reviewing the specifics of your unique TBI case.

Highway Auto Accidents in New Jersey

New Jersey roads have some of the highest accident rates in the country. Below our auto accident attorney Richard Schibell breaks down some of the most popular and statisticly dangerous roads in our state.

Garden State Parkway Collisions

New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway was the site of 29 automobile collisions that resulted in 32 deaths in 2016 alone.  Rewind time to 2015 and merely 10 people perished in 10 total accidents on this dangerous road.  The frequency of collisions and subsequent deaths makes the Garden State Parkway New Jersey’s deadliest place to drive.  According to New Jersey State Police, 10 individuals perished after being ejected from their automobiles on this stretch of roadway.  The majority of these victims were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the accident.  The parkway’s fatality rate was 0.49 per 100 million miles, surpassing the Parkways’ average of 0.41 deaths for every 100 million miles traversed across the prior 10 years.

The rise in Garden State Parkway traffic is part of the underlying problem.  More automobiles sharing a limited amount of space almost always translates into an increase in accidents and deaths.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94% of accidents are caused by driver err.  The Garden State Parkway stretches approximately 173 miles, running from Cape May to Montvale.  Officially known as New Jersey Route 444, the Parkway is the longest road in the entire state.  Complicating this stretch of road is the fact that is has the busiest toll-ways in the entire nation.  All in all, two million vehicles cross the Garden State Parkway every single day.

The Garden State Parkway was built after the end of World War II.  Though construction officially commenced in 1946, progress slowed until about five years passed.  Once the state legislature provided proper funding for the continued development of the road, it finally began to take shape.  The end result was a lengthy stretch of road featuring a unique landscape and a highly-innovative means of travel, allowing New Jersey residents to enjoy a corridor throughout the state.  The Parkway features safeguards ranging from landscaped medians to wide lanes, overpasses that blend in with the nearby landscape and rumble strips.

Collisions on the New Jersey Turnpike

Though the New Jersey Turnpike experienced an uptick in traffic in 2016, the fatalities on this stretch of highway dropped to 21.  A year prior, the Turnpike was the site of 25 deaths.  The Turnpike is located on the same route as I-95, covering a total of 122 miles across the Garden State.  This stretch of highway extends from the Salem County US 130 interchange to the Delaware Memorial Bridge and all the way to the George Washington Bridge located in Bergen.  Both the Turnpike and I-95 provide a convenient corridor between the interstates located along the Hudson River to interstates by the Delaware River.

Of all the toll roads in the United States, the Turnpike is the sixth busiest.  Those who engineered the Turnpike designed it to accommodate vehicles moving between 70 mph and 75 mph for the majority of its length.  The Turnpike’s first speed limit was 60 mph.  Today, there is a 65 mph speed limit on the Turnpike and the rest of the state’s highways.

Car Accidents on Route 287

Those looking to traverse the New York-New Jersey beltway around the Big Apple through the eastern counties of New Jersey are reliant on Interstate 287.  The Garden State portion of this route extends about 70 miles from Middlesex County’s I-95 to the part of the Hudson River located at South Nyack.  In 2017, Interstate 287 in New Jersey had a 1.82 crash rate as measured by collisions per every million miles traversed.  This is a minor increase from the 1.73 crash rate in the years prior.

Auto Accidents on Route 10

New Jersey’s Route 10 stretches nearly 24 miles across the northern region of the state, connecting Route 46 with Essex County’s Prospect Avenue.  According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation, in 2017 there was a collision rate of 3.81 accidents per million miles traversed on Route 10.  This is a considerable increase from the 3.48 crash rate for the same area in the prior year.

Accidents on Route 46

Route 46 spans 75 miles, stretching from the George Washington Bridge to Warren County’s I-80.  This route is an essential east-to-west corridor for transportation linking the Delaware and Hudson rivers.  In 2017, Route 46 had an accident rate of 3.72 accidents for every million miles traversed.  This figure is slightly higher than the 3.63 crash rate in 2016.

Collisions on Route 80

Route 80 stretches nearly 70 miles from Teaneck’s I-95 corridor and NJ Turnpike to the Delaware Water Gap.  Exactly 11 fatalities occurred on Route 80 three years ago – an increase from nine in the year prior.  This death total puts Route 80 as New Jersey’s eighth most fatal road.  In 2017, Route 80 had a crash rate of just over two accidents for every million miles traveled, a minor increase from 1.97  the year prior.  It is interesting to note the crash rate in 2015 was 1.94.

Accidents on Route 280

Route 280 links Morris County’s I-80 to Kearny’s I-95.  This route stretches a total of 18 miles across the Watchung Mountains.  Route 280’s crash rate in 2017 was 3.96 accidents for every million miles traversed.  This is a meaningful increase from the ’16 crash rate of 3.85 and the ’15 crash rate of 3.87.

If you are involved in an auto accident and feel immediate pain or no pain at all, contact Richard Schibell today.  We will help you obtain compensation for obvious injuries as well as injuries that do not manifest right away.  Contact us today to schedule a consultation and fast-track your case for justice in the form of the financial compensation you need and deserve.

What to do if you’re involved in a Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle accidents have increased in frequency throughout New Jersey and beyond in recent years. It is quite shocking to learn nearly 10 million motorcycles are currently registered across the country. Motorcycles are becoming more popular as fewer people are willing to make the financial commitment necessary to purchase an automobile.  Riding a bike of any type, whether it is a motorcycle, scooter, moped or motorbike is certainly fun yet it is an inherently dangerous activity.   Motorcycle accident statistics reveal these vehicles are involved in excess of 70,000 accidents each year.  All in all, motorcycle accidents comprise 10 percent of highway fatalities.  A whopping 80 percent of reported motorcycle accidents cause significant injury compared to merely 20 percent of automobile crashes.

The Most Common Injuries Resulting from New Jersey Motorcycle Accidents

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, there is a good chance you will be injured.  It is interesting to note 98 percent of all motorcycle riders in multiple-vehicle accidents suffer at least one injury.  A whopping 96 percent of motorcycle riders involved in single-vehicle collisions are injured.  The most common motorcycle accident injuries include burns, broken bones, road rash, facial fracture, disfigurement, traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injuries, paralysis and compromised limbs that sometimes require amputation.

The top Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in New Jersey

The majority of motorcycle accidents are not the result of the motorcyclist’s err.  Rather, most of these accidents are caused by a negligent driver.  About three-fourths of all motorcycle accidents are the result of contact with another vehicle.  In most such cases, the other car is a regular passenger vehicle.  Sadly, statistics show motorcyclists had the right of way in about 60 percent of accidents.

The failure to check blind spots is one of the most common causes of New Jersey motorcycle accidents.  Motorcycle riders are low to the ground and sit atop comparably small vehicles.  It is awfully easy for such a rider to be lost in a car driver’s blind spot.  If the driver does not see the motorcyclist in his or her blind spot and does not perform a head check, the biker will be cut off or struck.

Misjudged Motorcycle Speed

Motorcycles are quite small, making them that much more difficult to see in side and rearview mirrors.    Even if a nearby driver sees the motorcyclist, it will be difficult to judge the bike’s speed.  Most drivers struggle to gauge motorcyclists’ speed only to pull out ahead of the bike or changing lanes and hitting the biker.

Motorcyclists’ Rapid Stops

Motorcycles are engineered to stop faster than traditional vehicles.  Though stopping on a dime is certainly helpful in some situations on the road, rapid stops also hike the chances of a rear-end collision with a tailgating automobile or even a tractor-trailer.

Distracted or Drunk Driving

Though everyone understands it is wrong to drink and drive, people still do it.  Distracted and drunk drivers are major threats to motorcyclists.  If the driver’s abilities are impaired by alcohol, drugs or another distraction, the driver will not be able to pay full attention to the road.  A distracted or drunk driver is less likely to see a motorcyclist and contact that rider with considerable force.

Mechanical Issues or Equipment Flaws

The motorcycle or vehicle itself might be the true cause of the crash.  Even the slightest defect in the manufacturing process or a defective design can make the motorcycle that much more challenging to operate.  If it is raining or has recently rained, motorcyclists should stay off the road.

Problems With the Road

Motorcycles are highly vulnerable to accidents resulting from roadway imperfections.  Everything from loose gravel to potholes, puddled water, road undulations and uneven lanes can lead to a nasty motorcycle accident.  In certain situations, the government agency tasked with maintaining the road in question can be deemed legally liable for damages resulting from a crash.

Reduced Visibility

As noted above, motorcycles are difficult to see due to their small size.  Motorcycles are often blocked from drivers’ view due to vehicle pillars, blind spots and inclement weather.  Vehicles that emerge from side street curb parking, driveways and parking lots are especially likely to move into the path of a motorcycle rider.

Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?  Contact Schibell & Mennie, LLC Today

Richard Schibell is here for all New Jersey motorcycle accident victims.  Even if you are slightly at fault for the accident, it still might be possible to obtain compensation.  Our New Jersey legal team is here to pursue damages ranging from medical expenses to emotional distress, pain, suffering, lost wages and beyond.  In fact, we can even pursue compensation for future expenses causally related to the motorcycle accident.  If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident or if you have lost a loved one as a result of such an accident, reach out to our legal team right away.  You can contact Schibell & Mennie, LLC by dialing 732-774-1000.

The Most Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a joint study that identified the most common causes of accidents with semis, semi-trailers, tractor-trailers, flatbeds and other sizable commercial trucks.  This joint study is titled the “Large Truck Crash Causation Study”.  Without further adieu, let’s take a look at the most common causes of commercial truck accidents.

Distracted Driving

Truck drivers are not allowed to text or use any sort of hand-held phone or other mobile computing device when driving.  Sadly, plenty of truck drivers cannot resist the temptation to check their smartphone or other electronic device while on-the-job.  Distracted driving has the potential to cause an incredibly serious auto accident simply because commercial trucks are of considerable size and weight.

Fatigue

Too many commercial truck drivers operate these massive vehicles while fatigued.  Some such drivers are simply under too much pressure from their employer.  According to the federal government’s hours-of-service regulations, those driving large trucks are permitted to be behind the wheel for no more than 11 hours at a time.  Sadly, truck driver surveys reveal a surprising number of drivers are working beyond the permitted hours.  Such hours-of-service regulations are almost always the result of employer pressure.

Brake and/or Tire Issues

Brake failure is one of the most common causes of commercial truck accidents.  If a tire blows out, it will cause the truck driver to lose control of this massive vehicle and possibly slam into one or several vehicles.  Those who own large trucks have a duty to ensure these enormous vehicles are adequately maintained prior to hitting the road.

Intoxication

Nowadays, federally illegal drugs such as marijuana are being used across the nation.  Some truck drivers will be tempted to use marijuana as well as alcohol and other intoxicants as they travel across the country.  Prescription drugs also have the potential to impact truck driver performance.  Thankfully, most truck drivers are drug tested with regularity to ensure they are not using illegal drugs or driving while drunk.

Driver Error

Truck drivers error just like “regular” drivers who do not operate a massive vehicle for a living.  Common truck driver errors that lead to accidents include speeding, traveling faster than appropriate for the conditions, failing to adequately observe their environment, performing illegal maneuvers such as U-turns and following other vehicles too closely.

Highway/Road Problems

Poor highway or road construction has the potential to contribute to a commercial truck crash.  If this is the case, the truck driver is not completely at fault.  The liability might fall on a local or state government agency.

Shifting Cargo

The truck industry is governed by FMSCA regulations that dictate how cargo is to be loaded and secured.  If these rules are violated and cargo shifts cause an accident, the trucking business will likely be liable for damages.

Aggressive Driving

Some truck drivers simply drive too aggressively.  Weaving in and out of lanes, tailgating other vehicles and other aggressive actions qualify as forms of reckless driving.  If you notice a truck weaving in and out of traffic or performing another reckless act, contact the police right away.  Your call for help just might prevent a fatal truck accident.

Reach out to Our New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyers Today

Schibell & Mennie, LLC and Richard Schibell are here for all truck accident victims in the greater New Jersey area.  We will help you obtain compensation for all of your losses related to the truck accident.  Meet with our legal team so we can determine which party or parties are truly liable and push for a fair and just result.  Contact us today to coordinate a no-cost consultation.

New Jersey Boat Accident Attorney

New Jersey presents more than enough boating, fishing and water skiing opportunities for Garden State residents.  Our proximity to the water makes it awfully tempting to buy or rent a boat and take a mini-vacation every weekend.  Sadly, one negligent individual or drunk boater can transform a dream-like day on the water to an absolute nightmare.  Boating accidents have the potential to result in injury or drowning.  If you, a relative or anyone else you know has been injured by another boater’s negligence or wanton disregard for safety, you have the right to seek compensation for all related losses.

The Rules of the Water

New Jersey boat owners are not permitted to use such recreational vessels unless they are in proper working order.  Every single New Jersey boat should have the proper safety equipment.  Boaters are also required to obey navigational rules.  In general, local boat owners are expected to operate their vessel in a responsible manner.  If another boater fails to provide such respect, he or she can be found guilty of negligence.  If it is determined such negligence exists, the careless boater can be on the hook for all of your costs related to this unfortunate event on the water.

How to Proceed After a Boating Accident

New Jersey boat operators and riders are provided with specific legal rights and requirements, regardless of which local body of water they frequent.  As an example, boaters are required to stop and provide aid to fellow boaters involved in an accident on the water.  Boaters must also attempt to save those who are drowning and rescue them from danger.  Reach out to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife as soon as possible to notify them of a boating accident that results in a disappearance or death.

Additional details including the boat’s name, registration number and the names/addresses of the vessel’s operator and owner must also be provided.  Be patient after this unfortunate event, remain calm and collected, gather the appropriate information and meet with an attorney.  It might also be necessary to provide the aforementioned group with a written report if the crash causes death, an individual’s disappearance from the boat, physical damage to the vessel in excess of $2,000 and medical care beyond first aid.  Such a report must be provided within 48 hours or less of the boating accident.  If the boat operator cannot submit the report, the vessel owner must do so on his or her behalf.

How a New Jersey Boating Accident Attorney can Help

Boating accidents are somewhat complex as they take place on the water where laws are different than those on the road.  Do not attempt to make it through this incredibly challenging legal maze without the assistance of a proven New Jersey Boating accident attorney such as Richard Schibell.  Your attorney will investigate the accident, conduct interviews with the investigating officer and identify every party that might have even the slightest liability.  There are some cases in which the court determines both the boat operator and the boat owner are distinctly liable for causing the accident.

Your boating accident attorney will assess your losses ranging from medical expenses already incurred to future medical expenses, present/future lost income, pain and suffering.  If you or a loved one have endured a disabling injury, lean on your boating attorneys to calculate the cost of continued care and assistance.  If necessary, your boating legal team will work closely with life planners to accurately estimate the total cost of the boating accident.  Legal assistance is necessary to prepare a comprehensive claim that reflects the true extent of the injuries and losses resulting from the boating accident.

The next step is to engage in negotiations with the insurance representatives of all responsible parties to obtain the financial settlement you deserve.  If Schibell & Mennie, LLC can negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance provider(s) in a timely manner, you will receive the funds you need to cover the cost of medical bills and other expenses without significant delay.  If a fair settlement cannot be reached, we have no qualms with taking the matter to court.  Ask our current and former clients about our litigation skills and you will be inundated with praise.

Let’s take a look at an example for further clarification.  If a fellow boater who caused a boat crash is charged with boating while impaired by alcohol or drugs, he or she will be subjected to criminal prosecution.  However, the criminal conviction of a boater who caused an accident does not provide compensation to replace lost wages if unable to work or cover medical bills.  A completely separate civil suit must be filed against each responsible party to obtain the proper amount of compensation for losses.

The Common Causes of Boating Accidents

An array of factors have the potential to cause a life-changing boating accident.  Unfortunately, plenty of people in New Jersey and beyond are negligent when operating boats.  According to the United States Coast Guard, there are some especially common causes of boating accidents.  These causes include the use of alcohol or drugs, inattention, boating at an excessive speed, behavior of passengers/skiers and general careless operation.

Every recreational boat in the state of New Jersey must have a personal flotation device for each guest.  Boats that measure 16 feet in length or longer must be stocked with at least one personal flotation device that can be thrown to those in need.  Youngsters must don a life jacket when the boat is moving unless restricted to an enclosed cabin.  Boat operators who take to the water after the sun sets are required to have lights.

Contact Our Experienced Boating Attorneys Today

It is clear the laws pertaining to boating accidents are quite detailed.  If you, a loved one or anyone else you know has been injured or perished in a New Jersey boating accident, reach out to Richard Schibell at Schibell & Mennie, LLC today.  We understand how serious boating accidents can be.  Our legal team is here to answer your questions, address your concerns and explain the letter of the law in plain English.  Meet with us and you will enjoy top-notch legal guidance centered on a thorough understanding of New Jersey’s boating and personal injury laws.  Give us a call at 732-774-1000 to schedule an initial consultation.

New Jersey Swimming Pool Accident Attorneys

Most children and adults visit the local pool at least once each summer.  Some people swim with regularity as they have a backyard pool.  Though swimming pools are certainly fun, they pose a high level of risk for injury and death.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports upwards of 3,500 people drown in the United States each year.  However, there are some unreported drownings that go unreported.  Sadly, one in every four drowning victims is younger than the age of 15.  Drowning is the second most common cause of unintentional death related to injury for children between the ages of 1 and 14.

Why Drownings Occur

Drownings occur for more than one reason.  As most would guess, the lack of barriers around local pools and insufficient adult supervision are the top causes of drownings.  The majority of drownings for kids between the ages of 1 and 4 occur in residential swimming pools.  Drownings can occur in a nearly instantaneous manner.  Most parents and relatives of young drowning victims were last seen in the house a mere five minutes or less prior to the drowning.  This is precisely why parents should install fencing around the pool.  The fence should be tall enough to prevent children from climbing over and entering the pool.  Fail to install such a barrier and supervise the children using your backyard pool and you might be liable for resulting injuries and death.

Safety at Public Pools

Public pools are legally required to post pool area rules in a visible manner.  These rules must warn users about the potential danger of diving into shallow water and running around the pool area.  If the public pool does not have a lifeguard on duty, it must post signs indicating a lifeguard is not present.  Furthermore, the pool area should have a phone that can connect directly to 911.  If no such phone is present, there must be an emergency notification system available to pool users.

Public pools must also be void of obstructed walkways.  All machinery and sidewalks should be adequately maintained.  Those in charge of public pools must also maintain the proper level of chemicals in the water to prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms.

The Obligations of Private Pool Owners

Private pool owners must notify visitors of on-site dangers ranging from faulty pool ladders to trip hazards and beyond prior to entering the water.  Those who install a backyard pool must install the appropriate fencing to prevent a wayward child from venturing to the pool and drowning.

Pools are categorized as attractive nuisances as kids are drawn to them.  It merely takes a slightly open gate to tempt a curious child to enter the backyard and possibly fall into the pool.  Though homeowners who own their own pool may not necessarily have to install a fence, this safety measure is absolutely essential to maintain property safety.  In order to minimize or completely eliminate liability for pool accidents, property owners should take every necessary step to prevent drownings and other pool-related accidents.

Swimming Pool Accidents Beyond Drownings

Drowning is certainly the most common swimming pool accident yet there is also the potential for additional injuries to occur in or near the water.  Swimming pool accidents range from electrical shock to head injury, sprains, brain damage, broken bones, spine or neck injury and exposure to elevated levels of chemicals.

Injured in a Pool Accident?  Our Legal Team can Help

If you live in the greater New Jersey area and were injured in a swimming pool you do not own, contact our legal team led by Richard Schibell right away.  We understand the nuances of New Jersey swimming pool laws.  Let us review the facts of your unique case, determine if there is legal footing for a lawsuit and fiercely pursue justice on your behalf.  Though many cases settle, we prepare each as though it will go to court. Reach out to us today at 732-774-1000 to schedule a no-cost consultation.

Damages in Personal Injury Cases Explained

When an individual is injured due to another person’s lack of due care, the offending party is guilty of  negligence.  The injured party has the legal right to file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain damages equal to their current and future losses.  However, there is some confusion amongst the general public as to what the term “damages” means.

A Brief Explanation of Damages

In personal injury cases, “damages” is the money provided to the injured party to compensate for the harm endured as a result of the offending party’s negligent, intentional or reckless behavior.  Personal injury damages are divided into two distinct types: economic damages and non-economic damages.  Both economic and non-economic damages can be sought in a personal injury case.  If the plaintiff endured a personal injury, it is possible to obtain economic damages to cover the cost of medical expenses.  The plaintiff can also push for compensation to account for lost income caused by the accident.  If the injury is serious to the point that the plaintiff endured pain and suffering, loss of companionship or another intangible loss, it is also possible to push for non-economic damages.

Economic Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Economic damages, also referred to as special damages, are financial compensation provided to the injured party for losses endured due to the defendant’s actions.  Economic damages can be quantified with receipts for medical bills along with other forms of documentation.  Examples of this type of damage include: lost income, diminished earning capacity, medical bills, property damage to an automobile and the cost necessary to replace an automobile that has been completely totaled.

The cost of replacing damaged property after an auto accident is easy to quantify as the victim’s amount of lost income can be measured down to the penny.  If the defendant paid to repair or replace damaged items or if his or her medical bills are available, it will not be difficult to quantify the cost of replacing damaged property.  Let’s take a look at an example for further clarification.

Consider an individual texting while operating a motor vehicle.  This negligent driver drives straight into another vehicle.  The collision results in a totaling of the victim’s vehicle.  This unfortunate driver paid $40,000 for the new vehicle a few months ago.  This means the cost of replacing the automobile is right around $40,000 minus depreciation.  Determining the cost of replacing damaged property becomes that much more complicated when a price tag is placed on medical care that will be required in the days, months and years to come.  Our experienced personal injury attorneys led by Richard Schibell are here to help quantify these costs across posterity and obtain appropriate compensation.

Non-economic Damages

Non-economic damages, also referred to as general damages, stem from the at-fault party’s negligent action.  However, it is more challenging to quantify non-economic damages as the type of harm in question is not tied to damaged property, medical bills or lost income.  As an example, consider an individual hit by an automobile while traversing a crosswalk.  The victim suffers a broken leg that causes considerable pain for months after the collision.  The victim cannot walk.  Nor can the victim get out of bed without assistance.  The pain is so severe the defendant is limited to a wheelchair and cannot sleep at night.  In such a situation, the victim can be awarded non-economic damages for pain and suffering.  Additional examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, loss of companionship and/or consortium, mental anguish, physical impairment and disfigurement.

If you are a loved on has fallen victim to a personal injury, call Richard Schibell today for your free consultation.

Nursing Home Neglect Explained

Though no one wants to suspect their loved one is being neglected or abused in a nursing home, such poor treatment is surprisingly common.  The sad truth is most industry experts are adamant nursing home abuse is much more rampant than statistics indicate.  This is due to the fact that nursing home negligence and abuse are under-reported. According to the New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study, for each known case of elder abuse, 24 are unknown.  Some seniors are afraid to speak up as there is the potential for additional abuse.  Others lack the family or social support necessary to speak up in confidence.  Sadly, some senior citizens suffer from dementia so hardly anyone would believe them if they complained.  Let’s take a closer look at what constitutes elder abuse and resulting nursing home lawsuits.

Defining Elder Abuse

According to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), hundreds of thousands of senior citizens are neglected, exploited or abused every single year.  A considerable percentage of these victims are frail, highly vulnerable octogenarians incapable of helping themselves.  These needy seniors are nearly completely dependent on others to satisfy their basic needs.

ACL defines the term “elder abuse” as a caregiver’s intentional, knowing or negligent action that results in the risk for harm or harm to a vulnerable individual.  Examples of neglect and elder abuse include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, abandonment and financial abuse.  Examples of neglect include malnutrition, dehydration and failing to take care of the senior’s hygiene.

Legal Action in Response to Nursing Home Abuse

Placing a senior citizen in a nursing home is an incredibly difficult decision.  No one wants to put their father, mother or other loved one in a situation in which there is the potential for a complete stranger to abuse them.  However, there comes a point in time at which family members are unable to care for their loved ones.  Most nursing homes are staffed by honest, hardworking professionals who mean well.  However, there is the potential for nursing homes to hire shady characters or employees with minimal experience.  Some nursing homes are understaffed to the point that they cannot provide the level of care originally promised.

Meet with our personal injury legal team and you will find a surprising number of nursing homes do not meet their responsibilities.  These institutions are governed by the Nursing Home Reform Act, the Social Security Act, the Older Americans Act and Medicaid/Medicare.  However, the hiring of unqualified employees and/or malicious individuals or even a shortage of employees will result in elderly residents paying quite the hefty price.  It is awfully difficult to come to terms with the fact that nursing home neglect and abuse are becoming increasingly common.  Such neglect or abuse can go on for an extended period of time before the senior’s loved ones find out.

If nursing home negligence or abuse are uncovered, the nursing home can be sued for damages.  If there is enough evidence to file a case against the nursing home, expect the corporate attorneys on the other side to put up a fight.  This is precisely why you need a talented nursing home abuse attorney on your side.  There is a good chance your case will settle out of court as few nursing homes want to pay for the costs of lengthy litigation in court.  If you suspect your loved one has been neglected or abused in a nursing home, reach out to Richard Schibell today to schedule an initial consultation.