What a Personal Injury Attorney Can Do for You

What a NJ Personal Injury Attorney Can Do for You

Morris County and Sussex County Personal Injury AttorneyAny time a person is injured by the reckless or negligent actions of another person, party, or multiple parties, that same injury victim may be able to recover financial compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering through some kind of personal injury lawsuit.

However, unlike workers’ compensation claims which require no proof of fault, a successful personal injury claim will require the injury victim to prove exactly how the actions of the responsible party were a) negligent, and b) were what directly caused the accident and resulting injuries in question.

While this may seem fairly obvious or easy on paper, proving these key elements, and recovering full and fair compensation is often anything but easy.

This is where having an experienced Morris County and Sussex County personal injury lawyer on your side can be of enormous benefit to you and your family when seeking compensation for the injuries and damages you have suffered.

Proving Negligence and Fault in Personal Injury Claims, Dover Personal Injury Lawyer

As mentioned, a successful personal injury claim such as a car accident injury claim or some kind of premises liability claim for injuries on a poorly maintained or unsafe property will require you (and your Dover personal injury lawyer) to prove that:

  1. the parties you believe were responsible for your accident and injuries are, in fact, responsible, and
  2. that their actions were what directly lead to your accident and injuries

Many times, proving these two key elements of a personal injury claim will require extensive investigation. Police records, eye-witness accounts, video footage, records, and your own personal testimony can all play a role in the validation of what exactly happened, and why.

Of course, reviewing all of these various elements, and then presenting the conclusions based on the evidence to the insurance company and if necessary, the court, will require a great deal of finesse, expertise, and most of all, time. Considering how crucial this gathering and presenting of evidence will be to your personal injury claim, there is an extremely high risk of “doing it yourself”, not to mention the simple fact that as an injury victim, you may not physically be able to travel to these different places, or speak with the many people that will need to be vetted, interviewed, and prepared to testify in depositions and potentially even a trial.

Proving the Full Extent of Damages in Personal Injury Claims, Newton Accident and Injury Attorney

Once you have proven that you do actually have a strong and viable personal injury claim (proof of fault and negligence), you will also need to prove the extent of the damages you have suffered as a result of your accident.

For less serious injuries, this can be relatively straightforward, simply adding up your medical expenses, the amount of time you have missed from work, and securing an appropriate amount of compensation for “pain and suffering damages”.

However, many times more serious injuries will require on-going medical treatment and rehabiliation, and can also permanently affect your ability to continue in your previous line of work, or even work at all. When this is the case, and damages need to be projected far into the future, proof of the “value” of these damages will often require consultation with a variety of professionals in order to properly asses.

By retaining the services of a personal injury attorney, not only will they already have a number of different professionals with whom they have already worked, more importantly your attorney will be able to cover the expenses of hiring these professionals during your personal injury claim process thanks to how contingency fees work. This means that you will not have to worry about the cost of paying for these very necessary consultations and testimonies at a time when you may also be worrying about how to simply put food on the table for your family, and keep a roof over their heads.

Contact A Morris County and Sussex County Personal Injury Attorney Today

At The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff, our team has extensive experience recovering full and fair compensation for injured clients and their families in towns across New Jersey, Morris County, and Sussex County, including Dover, Hopatcong, Newton, Morristown, Parsippany, Denville, Netcong, Morris Plains, East Hanover, Florham Park, Rockaway, and more.

Whether you have been injured in a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, construction accident, work-related accident, on a poorly maintained or dangerous premises, by a defective product, or in any other kind of accident caused by the reckless or negligent actions of another party, our firm is ready to provide you and your family with the knowledgeable, effective, and highly attentive legal counsel that you need and deserve during such traumatic times.

To speak with Attorney Michael Burakoff and our legal team today in a fee and confidential consultation regarding your accident, your injuries, and your options for recovering full and fair compensation through any kind of personal injury claim, please contact us online, or through either our Morristown office or our Newton office at (973) 520-0525.

How Does My NJ Car Insurance Policy Affect My Ability to Seek Injury Compensation in Morris County and Sussex County?

Car Accident Injury Lawyer Morris County NJWhen a driver is injured in a motor vehicle accident, the first place the injured driver will turn to for financial compensation is their own insurance company. However, especially for more serious injuries, that same insurance coverage may not be sufficient when it comes to paying for medical expenses and lost income if the injured driver cannot work.

In addition, pain and suffering damages (which usually represent the largest portion of a personal injury claim) are not awarded as part of first-person claims (claims filed by an injured party with their own insurance company).

So, if you have been injured while driving your car, you may not recover full compensation from your own insurance company for your car accident damages. However, you may also be limited from seeking compensation from other responsible parties depending on what type of insurance coverage you have purchased.

Here is what you need to know regarding NJ car insurance policies, and how they can impact your rights and ability to seek compensation from a third party when injured in a car accident in Morris County or Sussex County.

Parsippany Car Accident Injury Lawyer Discusses “Limited Right to Sue” Car Insurance

In New Jersey, there are two specific types of injury protection offered as part of your car insurance policy: “Limited Right to Sue” policies and “Unlimited Right to Sue” policies.

Limited Right to Sue policies tend to appear more attractive, as subscribers are offered a much lower insurance premium. However, the catch is that limited right so sue car insurance policies only allow injured drivers to file personal injury claims against other responsible drivers for very specific types of injuries, those being:

  • Loss of limb, Disfigurement, or Serious Scarring
  • Permanent Injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Death of the driver (wrongful death)
  • Loss of fetus

Consider the following scenario: you are injured in a car accident caused by another drunk driver. You suffer serious injuries to your spine, but those same injuries are projected to heal in two year’s time. Your spinal cord injuries result in extremely high medical and rehabilitative costs, and prevent you from working for some time. However, since those same injuries are not technically “permanent”, and you have purchased a “limited right to sue” car insurance policy, you most likely would not be able to file a car accident injury claim against the negligent driver who caused your injuries.

So as attractive as the reduced premium of these limited right to sue policies can appear, they do come with extreme risk when it comes to your ability to seek injury compensation for car accident injuries.

Morristown Auto Accident Injury Attorney Discusses “Unlimited Right to Sue” Car Insurance

On the other hand, unlimited right to sue car insurance policies allow injured drivers to seek personal injury compensation from other responsible third parties for any type of injury.

Considering the many dangers New Jersey drivers face, including distracted drivers, drunk drivers, negligent drivers, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bus accidents, and more, having the flexibility to seek car accident injury compensation from other negligent drivers or parties for any type of injury is a much more attractive insurance policy option, despite its greater up-front cost.

Contact A Car Accident Injury Attorney with Offices in Morris County and Sussex County Today

At The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff, we have extensive experience recovering full and fair car accident injury compensation for our clients and their families in towns across Morris County and Sussex County, including Parsippany, Morristown, Netcong, Newton, Denville, Dover, Rockaway, East Hanover, Morris Plains, Florham Park, and more.

Attorney Michael Burakoff has the unique approach of working closely not only with his clients, but with their families as well. This is because he understands just how difficult a car accident injury can be, and the impacts it can have on a family’s financial and emotional stability.

To discuss your unique needs, situation, and options moving forward after any kind of car accident in a free and confidential consultation. with our legal team today, please contact us online, or through either our Morristown office or our Newton office at (973) 520-0525.

Personal Injury Settlement Offers in Morris County and Sussex County

Newton NJ Personal Injury AttorneyMany people are surprised to learn that almost 97% of all personal injury claims end in a settlement of some kind, rather than a jury verdict or judge’s ruling. This staggering percentage is due to several different incentives (which we will discuss in detail below) for both the injury victim as well as the opposing insurance company.

However, just because the vast majority of personal injury claims end in settlement doesn’t mean that yours necessarily has to, or especially that you should accept the first offer that is made for your personal injury claim.

Here is what you need to know when it comes to the advantages of personal injury claim settlements, and how to better gauge when an offer is fair to you, when you should continue to negotiate for a better offer, or when instead you may have to rely on a jury or judge to award you the financial compensation you need and deserve for your injuries.

Dover Personal Injury Lawyer Discusses The Benefits of Settling Your Claim

As previously mentioned, there are several different distinct benefits in settling a personal injury claim for both parties involved in the dispute.

For the injury victim, recovering compensation in a timely manner can be critical to their financial stability. If their injuries leave them unable to work, or require expensive medical treatment, the cost of these factors can add up quickly. By accepting a settlement rather than spending months (if not years) in court, injury victims can much more quickly recover the financial compensation that they and their families need for the damages they have suffered.

On the other hand, insurance companies are also often incentivized into resolving a personal injury claim through a settlement, rather than risking a jury verdict. A settlement is a number that they can control, something a bottom-line oriented company like an insurance company is much more inclined towards, rather than the total unknown of a jury or judge verdict. Additionally, corporate legal representation can be extremely expensive, and the longer the personal injury claim process takes, the greater an expense the insurance company will incur.

Accepting a Settlement Offer for Your Morris County Personal Injury Claim

So while both parties have numerous different reasons to want to settle a personal injury dispute rather than have a jury or judge settle it for them, that doesn’t mean the injury victim should accept the first settlement offer that is made by the insurance company.

In fact, as a general rule of thumb, initial settlement offers are almost always lowball offers which do not accurately reflect the extent of the damages the injury victim has suffered. Evaluating the long-term implications an injury can have on your life and the lives of your family often require consultation with financial experts and medical experts, and validation of these experts findings with the opposing insurance company (all things which an experienced Morris County personal injury lawyer can provide for you).

Considering the fact that once a settlement offer is accepted for a given accident and resulting injury damages, no further claim can be pursued for the same accident and injuries, it is crucial that you recover full and fair compensation the first time around, as there are no second chances when it comes to personal injury law.

By retaining the services of an experienced attorney, you can make a much more informed and well-thought out decision when it comes to accepting a settlement offer, pursuing further negotiations, or taking your claim to trial.

Contact A Newton Personal Injury Attorney Today

At The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff, we have extensive experience helping clients recover full and fair compensation for injuries resulting from accidents of all kinds, including car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, accidents with drunk drivers, construction accidents, work-related accidents, accidents on dangerous or poorly-maintained properties, and more.

Attorney Michael Burakoff strongly believes in working closely not only with his clients, but with their families as well. This is through an intimate understanding of exactly how traumatic an accident and resulting injuries can be to the lives of all the family members, not only the injury victim themselves.

With offices in both Morristown and Newton, our firm is ready to provide effective, knowledgeable, and attentive legal service to clients and families in towns across Morris County and Sussex County. To speak with Michael Burakoff and our legal team today regarding your accident, your options for recovering financial compensation, and how exactly we can help you to do so, please contact us online, or through either our Morristown office or our Newton office at (973) 520-0525.

Paying for a Personal Injury Attorney in Morris County and Sussex County

Morris County NJ Personal Injury AttorneyWhen a person suffers any kind of injury in an accident which was caused by the reckless or negligent actions of another person or entity, they may be able to seek compensation for their resulting medical expenses, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering through some kind of personal injury claim. However, navigating the complex waters of personal injury law, and securing a successful financial recovery becomes a vastly more likely possibility with the help of a Morris County personal injury lawyer.

But if you have been injured in an accident, and are facing rapidly mounting medical costs along with the very real possibility that your injuries leave you unable to work, how are you supposed to afford a personal injury lawyer in the first place? The answer to this question is through what is known as a “contingency fee”.

Understanding Contingency Fees, Netcong Accident and Injury Attorney

By hiring a Netcong accident and injury attorney on a contingency fee basis, you are essentially agreeing to pay for your attorney’s services via a percentage of whatever compensation they are able to secure for you. In exchange, your attorney will cover all of the costs of your case, including the hiring of expert consultants, court fees, and their own legal fees, and will only take payment for these financial outlays in the event that a recovery is made. If they are unable to secure you a successful personal injury recovery, you do not owe your attorney a dime.

While you are by no means obligated to pay for your attorney via a contingency fee basis, most injury victims elect to do so for the simple reason that they are unable to afford the services of a highly qualified and experienced personal injury attorney in addition to the other expenses their injuries have incurred.

The insurance company from whom you are seeking compensation will certainly hire their own expert attorneys (generally referred to as insurance adjusters), and contingency fees allow injury victims to “level the playing field” by hiring expert counsel of their own without worrying about the cost of doing so.

Creating a Contingency Fee Agreement with your Florham Park Personal Injury Lawyer

When it comes to contingency fee agreements, the first thing that needs to be understand is that all contingency fees are capped at 33 1/3% in New Jersey.

While paying your attorney one third of whatever you recover may seem high to you, remember that having an attorney on your side during the personal injury process will almost always mean a much greater total recovery is secured than if you had elected to represent yourself, and many injury victims who do not seek legal representation are unable to secure compensation at all. Additionally, this greater total recovery that your attorney can secure for you will often pay for the contingency fee, if not more.

One exception to this 33 1/3% contingency fee cap is when the injured individual seeking compensation is a minor (under the age of 18). When personal injury claims are being filed on behalf of a minor, their personal injury lawyer’s contingency fee will be set to 25%.

The bottom line is that contingency fees are an excellent way for injured party’s to retain experienced, highly qualified, and effective legal representation without worrying about the costs of paying for this level of service in addition to the many expenses that may already be mounting due to their injuries.

Contact A Morris County Personal Injury Attorney Today

At The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff, we have extensive experience securing full and fair personal injury compensation for clients and families in towns across Morris County and Sussex County, including Netcong, Florham Park, Newton, Morristown, East Hanover, Hopatcong, Dover, Denville, Parsippany, Rockaway, Mt. Olive, Chatham, and more.

Attorney Michael Burakoff takes a unique approach to personal injury law by focusing on working closely not only with his clients, but with their families as well. This is because he understands just how difficult an injury and its results can be to the lives of the injury victim and their family, and is dedicated to keeping his clients and their families as informed, involved, and emotionally and financially secure as possible throughout the personal injury claims process.

If you or a loved one has been injured in any kind of accident which was the result of the reckless or negligent actions of another party, including any kind of car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, construction accident, an accident on a dangerous or poorly maintained property, a slip and fall, and more, Michael Burakoff and our legal team are prepared to discuss your unique needs, concerns, and options in a free and confidential consultation. Please, contact us online, or through either our Morristown office or our Newton office today at (973) 520-0525.

In recent years, there’s been increased research into the impact of head injuries on athletes of all ages who play contact sports. Although significant media attention has focused on professional football players, parents, coaches and doctors are increasingly cognizant of the dangers of concussions and other brain injuries in high school athletes and those who are even younger.

Just how prevalent are concussions among teenage athletes? That’s what researchers set out to determine in a recently-published study. About one-fifth of participants (of both genders) in 8th,10th and 12th grades reported having suffered at least one concussion.

Those engaged in contact sports like football, wrestling and hockey were more likely to report diagnoses of multiple concussions during their young lives. White, male athletes in the upper grade levels were most likely to report having suffered concussions.

Of course, the concussion rate could be even higher, because the students surveyed self-reported their concussions. Likely, some suffered concussions that went undiagnosed.

The professor who authored the research published in the issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that the more that is known about who suffers from concussions, the more that coaches and parents can do to prevent them. He called for trainers to keep records of concussions and be more vigilant about diagnosing them.

Concussions have varying symptoms. These include nausea, headaches, difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping and depression. For most people, the symptoms eventually disappear. However, as we’ve seen with too many professional athletes, repeated concussions can lead to the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Repeated concussions can begin while kids are still very young and continue throughout their athletic careers in high school and college. Parents need to be aware of how their kids’ coaches and trainers manage athletes’ injuries. Do they take them off the field to be checked or are tell them to “tough it out” and get back out there?

If you believe that your child’s concussion or other brain injury could have been prevented or wasn’t properly handled — and he or she suffered harm as a result — you may want to explore your legal options.

Source: National Public Radio, “1 In 5 Teens Reports A Concussion Diagnosis,” Greta Jochem, Sep. 26, 2017

A recent poll, conducted by NBC News, shows that at least three-quarters of all Americans believe that both sororities and fraternities should be deterred from continuing to be allowed to engage in hazing. Among those same respondents, though, 41 percent reportedly expressed concern over whether hazing would ever fully be eradicated on college campuses.

Although it’s a longstanding practice of many college fraternities to have their pledges successfully pass several hazing rituals in order to qualify to enter their ranks, this type of recruiting is illegal in many jurisdictions.

While some states lack laws on the books regarding hazing, others allow educational institutions to choose how to punish it. In some states, though, hazing is crime that may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.

Among the 50 states, only six states lack anti-hazing laws on the books. Ten states, including New Jersey, consider hazing to be a crime. In this state, it’s a criminal offense that’s likened to a disorderly persons charge.

The New Jersey anti-hazing law applies to any fraternal or student organization. Lawmakers describe hazing as being any type of reckless organization, facilitation, promotion or other type of complicit behavior that can result in bodily harm of another.

A separate portion of the law describes instances in which the victim of a hazing may suffer a serious injury. In a situation in which this occurs, the hazing charge may be upgraded to an aggravated, or fourth degree, offense.

While many hazing practices years ago may have amounted to nothing more than childish pranks, in an social media obsessed world we currently live in, the shock factor bar is constantly being set higher and higher. If you or your loved one has been injured in a hazing ritual, then a New Jersey personal injury attorney can advise you of your right to file a lawsuit for damages in your case.

Source: NBC News, “Interactive: Where Hazing Is a Crime in the U.S.,” Sep. 18, 2017

Can a victim of a violent crime sue a lock-maker if an intruder was able to get past a locked door and attack that person? That’s what one woman is going to find out.

The woman was attacked two years ago when she was 26. A man forced his way into her home, where she was alone. He stabbed her 17 times and sexually assaulted her. The man pleaded guilty to a number of charges in connection with the attack, including attempted murder.

The young woman was eventually able to escape and seek help from a neighbor. However, she had to undergo two reconstructive surgeries on her wounds. According to her attorney, she’s still dealing with the effects of the attack.

She’s also suing Kwikset, the manufacturer of the lock and Home Depot, where her father purchased it. The suit claims that the lock was “designed and manufactured with inferior strength components and materials causing it to fail.” Similar locks, according to the suit, have been returned and customers provided refunds after they too failed.

According to the woman’s attorney, the attacker was able to kick the door in, shattering the lock, after she refused him entry. He has also been named in the woman’s lawsuit.

The woman says that as horrible as the attack and its aftermath have been for her, “I want to use it to encourage others.”

We all depend on locks and a multitude of other safety products to protect our families, ourselves and our property. When those products fail to work as they should, it’s wise to find out what legal steps we can take to seek compensation and other damages.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Woman attacked in her Willowbrook home sues door lock maker, Home Depot,” Clifford Ward, Aug. 18, 2017

Waking up in the middle of a surgical procedure is a nightmare that many people have in the days prior to their own surgery. While we trust anesthesiologists to administer the proper anesthesia, unfortunately, things can go wrong.

In fact, two out of every 1,000 patients are victims of something called “anesthesia awareness.” While this term may sound fairly innocuous, at the very least, it can be traumatic.

Patients undergoing a variety of surgical procedures have described waking up in the middle of it. One described it this way: “I woke up as they were either drilling or sawing my skull, and it was kind of like an out-of-body experience.”

Another, who was having skins grafts done on his hands, said that he woke up screaming in pain. He described the experience as “horrific.”

Patients who need to undergo surgery that involves anesthesia have every right to discuss their concerns with their surgeon and with their anesthesiologist. Anesthesiologists are not always comfortable talking to patients who are awake and have questions. Nonetheless, they can and should address a patient’s questions and concerns prior to the procedure.

If you or a loved one has awakened during surgery and suffered pain and trauma, either during the immediate anesthesia awareness or later on, you should determine what your legal options are to hold those responsible for this traumatic experience accountable for their actions. A New Jersey attorney can provide you with guidance and help you seek justice. Holding anesthesiologists accountable for their errors can help prevent the same trauma from happening to other patients.

Source: CBS New York, “‘Anesthesia Awareness:’ Waking Up During Surgery Can Have Long Lasting Psychological Affects,” accessed May 19, 2017

A truck that jackknifes is incredibly dangerous to other drivers because it’s completely out of control. Typically, these accidents happen when the truck loses traction for some reason, throwing the trailer and cab out of sync. Issues that lead to it include improper braking and slick road surfaces.

However, there are steps drivers can take to prevent these accidents from happening, even if it’s hard to recover once they begin.

For example, many trailers will begin swaying or swinging slightly before they start sliding to the side and control is lost. Drivers who see small movements can slow down and regain control.

Drivers also have to keep a proper following distance. If the driver is forced to slam the brake pedal to the floor, that can cause the trailer to jackknife. Longer distances may be needed in snow, ice and rain. Obviously, truck drivers can’t anticipate everything — like a car that cuts the truck off and then hammers the brakes — but they should do what they can to avoid violent stops.

Finally, drivers are encouraged to keep full loads in their trucks as much as possible. A trailer that is weighed down is less likely to swing and therefore less likely to jackknife. Planning trips effectively in advance — to have a load when both arriving at and leaving a destination — can help.

Have you been injured in an accident with an out-of-control semi? It’s terrifying, it puts you in more danger than the semi driver, and it can lead to life-changing injuries. Be sure you know if you have a right to compensation.

Source: Bay & Bay Transportation, “How Truck Drivers Can Avoid Jackknifing,” accessed March 10, 2017

Perhaps the most notorious personal injury settlement of all time belongs to the 79-year-old grandmother from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who in 1992, sued the fast food chain after she received severe burns from the cup of hot coffee she got from a McDonald’s drive-thru.

Everyone, it seemed, jumped to the conclusion that this was a frivolous lawsuit. However, a closer inspection of the case told a different story.

The woman got burned when the coffee spilled as she tried to take off the lid to add cream and sugar. The hot liquid spilled over her legs, thighs, genitals, buttocks and groin, leaving her with third-degree, full thickness burns to 6 percent of her body.

She spent eight days in the hospital getting treatment for her burns. Her wounds were painfully debrided, and she eventually required skin grafts. The woman sued McDonald’s for her injuries. According to sources, she was willing to settle the case for $20 K, but the fast food giant took it to court instead.

Discovery revealed some interesting insider information into McDonald’s coffee. More than 700 claims had previously been filed by others who had been burned by the excruciatingly hot coffee the restaurant served in the decade prior to this lawsuit.

That indicated that the company “knew, or should have known” about the hazards of serving customers such overheated liquids. McDonald’s quality assurance manager testimony in court was that it was a company requirement to keep the coffee temperature set at 185 degrees.

That was even though the QA manager admitted there were burn risks for drinks that were served at temperatures higher than 140 degrees. In fact, he acknowledged the coffee, when poured into cups for customers, was not yet fit for consumption and would burn customers’ throats and mouths if they attempted to immediately swallow it. He also admitted that company didn’t plan to lower their coffee’s temperature.

A jury awarded plaintiff compensatory damages of $200,000, with additional punitive damages of $2.7 million. This was subsequently reduced to an undisclosed amount by mutual agreement of plaintiff and defendant to avoid a lengthy appeal.

Source: Huffington Post, “The McDonalds’ Coffee Case,” Darryl S. Weiman, M.D., J.D., Jan. 07, 2017

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