Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents and Fatalities on the Rise

Morristown Pedestrian and Bicycle Accident Attorney

Morristown Pedestrian and Bicycle Accident AttorneyA recent report released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety paints a rather grim picture when it comes to American road safety (or lack thereof), especially for people walking, biking, skating, etc.

Specifically, this report states an increase of 61% in hit and run deaths between 2009 and 2016 (the last year for which data is currently available), with 2016 totaling over 2,000 hit and run fatalities. Perhaps even more alarming is the added fact that fully two-thirds (66%) of these fatalities were bicyclists and pedestrians.

Our Morristown pedestrian and bicycle accident attorneys believe that there are a number of potential contributing factors to this alarming statistic, some of which can be controlled by the accident victims, some of which lie in the hands of drivers, and some of which are out of our control entirely.

In today’s article, we will discuss some of the potential causes of this spike in pedestrian accidents and bicycle accident injuries and deaths, some safety measures that can be taken to mitigate risk, and what can be done in the case of a pedestrian or bicycle accident injury or wrongful death.

Causes of Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents in Morris County

There are always a large variety of contributing factors to any given accident, but a few things in particular stand out when it comes to this alarming increase in accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians:

  • Distraction – By far the biggest contributing factor, distracted driving is known to be a massive danger on U.S. roads across the country. However, it is not only drivers that need to pay more attention to roads, people walking, biking, etc are equally as guilty of using their mobile devices or other electronic devices and losing awareness. While you can only control your own actions, for your own safety as well as others, pay more attention to what you are doing, your surroundings, and traffic safety!
  • Health – As people are becoming more and more health-conscious, it is no surprise that walking and biking in general are on the rise. Whether it is for commuting to work or simply exercise, the bottom line is that there are more cyclists and pedestrian on our roads than ever before, increasing the chances overall for accidents and injury.
  • Lack of Infrastructure – Many modern cities, in response to this notable increase in pedestrian and bike activity, have added separate “pedestrian lanes” to their roads, lanes which are protected by concrete barriers.  While road-crossing still remain a safety hazard, pedestrians and bikers who use these lanes are certainly safer than they would be otherwise. However, many towns and cities lack the funds, or space, to enact similar safety measures.

While we believe these three to be the biggest contributing factors (especially distracted driving/distraction in general), obvious things like nicer weather (or poor weather leading to poorer visibility and road conditions), environmental concerns, and even population density all play a role.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Injury and Wrongful Death Claims Lawyer Parsippany NJ

While we can control our own actions, and mitigate the risks of pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents, at the end of the day these precautions only go so far, and accidents do happen.

As dangerous as car-on-car accidents can be, modern cars are designed and tested to be in accidents, and have a host of safety measures to reduce the affects of an accident. However, pedestrians and cyclists do not have this luxury, and cars traveling even as slow as 20-25mph can cause extreme injury and in some cases death to unprotected walkers and bikers.

When a negligent driver causes a bicycle accident or pedestrian accident, it is especially important that injury victims and family members recover the compensation they need and deserve considering the seriousness of vehicle-on-pedestrian collisions.

Of course, depending on the circumstances of the accident, workers’ compensation, personal injury, or wrongful death may apply. We have written, in detail, about each of these types of NJ accident claims, so feel free to read any of these articles or call our offices to discuss your pedestrian accident or bicycle accident in a free and confidential consultation with our legal team.

Contact Our Morristown Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorneys Today

At The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff, we have extensive experience helping accident victims and their families to recover full and fair compensation across Morris and Sussex County, including Parsippany, Dover, Netcong, Newton, Morristown, and the surrounding communities.

Attorney Michael Burakoff built his practice on the belief that not only do his clients deserve attentive and highly informative legal counsel, families of accident and injury victims are just as concerned about the recovery process and its success, and deserve just as much attention and information.

To speak with Michael Burakoff and our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding a bicycle accident, pedestrian accident, hit and run accident, or any other kind of accident, your options for recovering 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.

Injured by a Drunk Driver NJ Dram Shop and Social Host Liability LawsEvery day 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve someone under the influence of alcohol, according to the Center for Disease Control.  This translates to approximately one death every 50 minutes.  Annually the monetary cost exceeds $44 billion. Drunk drivers were responsible for 601 deaths in 2016 as well as countless injuries in New Jersey alone.

Not everyone is aware that drunk driving injury victims may be able to secure compensation via a personal injury claim through New Jersey’s dram shop and social host liability laws. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident in Sussex County, Morris County, or surrounding communities, involving an impaired driver, Attorney Michael Burakoff may be able to help get the compensations you or they deserve.

Dram Shop Injury Claim Lawyer Dover NJ

New Jersey is one of several states that allow victims of drunk drivers to seek personal injury claims against not only the impaired driver but also, if they became intoxicated at a bar or other social venue, potentially against the social host who was the provider of the alcohol as well.  Loosely known as “Dram Shop Laws” or social liability laws, New Jersey is one of 43 states with these laws on the books.

Dram Shop Laws can be powerful tools that an experienced attorney is able to use to assist those injured in drunk driving incidents in Sussex County, Morris County, Dover, Morristown and other areas across New Jersey, seek fair restitution for whatever injuries they may have suffered.

According to the New Jersey Revised Statutes section 2A:22A-4, any person injured by an intoxicated individual can file suit and damages from a vendor who served the alcohol if:

  • the host or vendor knew or should have known the individual being served was a minor under age 21
  • the individual was “visibly intoxicated” when served by the host or vendor

These laws were instituted for two reasons.  Primarily to permit greater opportunity for restitution for victims of drunk drivers. Also to obligate servers of alcohol to be mindful of the state of their customers and mandate that they exercise good judgment and civic responsibility in their business practices when it comes to the selling and serving of alcohol.

Morristown  Social Host Liability Attorney

New Jersey statue 2A§ 22A-3 defines a social host as a “licensed alcoholic beverage server” meaning a person who is licensed to sell alcoholic beverages pursuant to R.S. 33:1-1 et seq. or who has been issued a permit to sell alcoholic beverages by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

Specifically New Jersey’s dram shop law allows “exclusive civil remedy for personal injury or property damage resulting from the negligent service of alcoholic beverages by a licensed alcoholic beverage server”.  This means that drunk driving victims can seek to secure compensation not only from the intoxicated driver but from the social host as well.

Contact Our Intoxicated Driver Accident Lawyers Today

Personal injury attorney Michael P. Burakoff has proudly protected the legal rights of drunk driving victims and their families across Morris County, Sussex County, Netcong, Florham Park, Mt. Olive, Chatham, East Hanover, and all of Northern New Jersey for more than 40 years. Our personal injury team works with closely with all our clients to recover full and fair compensation for damages including lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, incidental expenses, and much more.

Rely on our experience to hold not only the offender of your drunk driving accident, but also the dram shop or social host liable for your injuries and let us help on the path to being whole again.

Contact us online or call our Morristown office or Newton office today at (973) 520-0525 or online, for a free and confidential consultation with a member of our experienced legal staff regarding your accident, your injuries, and your potential for compensation through a personal injury claim.

Denville NJ Pain and Suffering Compensation LawyersThe lives of accident victims and their families can be changed in an instant. For those who suffer serious injuries such as brain injuryspinal cord injurypermanent disability, or even wrongful death, it is possible to recover damages beyond mere reimbursement through a successful personal injury claim. Perhaps the most common and the most valuable form of compensation in personal injury cases is that of pain and suffering. Many victims are entitled to financial consideration to compensate for both the physical pain and the emotional suffering to which they were exposed as a result of an accident.

Today, our personal injury attorneys will be defining pain and suffering compensation for personal injury cases, discuss how it is calculated, and much more.

Denville, NJ Pain and Suffering Compensation Lawyers

Our Denville pain and suffering compensation lawyers understand that there are two types of damages awardable through personal injury claims: economic and non-economic. Simply put, victims are entitled to both straight one-to-one reimbursement for incurred expenses AND additional considerations which are meant to protect victims, punish wrongdoing entities, and compensate for the undue suffering of the victim and their families.

Economic or Compensatory damages may include:

  • Medical expenses such as doctor’s bills, ambulance fees, rehabilitation costs, hospital bills, and more
  • Lost wages for work that was missed in the past, present, and projected into the future
  • Property damage which was sustained as the result of the injurious accident

Non-Economic or Non-Compensatory damages may include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional Anguish
  • Wrongful Death
  • Loss of Companionship
  • Loss of Consortium
  • Punitive Damages

How is Pain and Suffering Calculated in Morris County?

As mentioned previously, pain and suffering compensation has the potential to make up the highest percentage of an overall personal injury settlement or verdict. That is due to the way damages are calculated in New Jersey. In the majority of cases, pain and suffering is determined using a calculation based on your incurred medical expenses. This can include all expenses which you have incurred or may incur in the future. At this point, it is a matter of your Morris County personal injury attorneys proving the severity of your injuries.

The amount by which your medical bills will be multiplied is heavily dependent on the severity of your injuries. For example, let us look at two scenarios where the same accident led to different injuries, and therefore a different pain and suffering settlement.

Susan and Janine are both injured in car accidents. They both have medical expenses in the amount of $10,000. Susan has suffered a sprained neck and several lacerations, which are expected to fully heal. Janine has suffered multiple fractures which has led to a permanent disability. In these cases, Susan’s medical bills may be multiplied by a smaller number between one (1) and three (3) whereas Janine’s bills will be multiplied by five (5), ten (10), or even more. Due to the nature of their injuries, Janine may be entitled to $100,000 in pain and suffering while Susan may only walk away with $10,000.

Injured in a Serious Accident? Contact a Morristown Personal Injury Attorney Today

At The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff, P.A.our legal team works with the families of accident victims, not just our clients. We believe that this dedication to the attorney-client relationship allows us to deliver more personalized and ultimately more high quality legal service for those who have been injured in serious accidents. Attorney Burakoff has decades of experience serving local Morris and Sussex County communities such as Hopatcong, Morristown, Newton, Netcong, Roxbury, Mt. Olive, Rockaway, and all of Northern New Jersey. Our attorneys have secured multiple million dollar settlements and verdicts for our local clients and we will work hard to make sure you and your family get the financial support you deserve.

For a free and confidential consultation regarding your accident, injuries, and personal injury claim, please contact us online or through our Morristown or Newton, NJ offices today by calling (973) 520-0525.

Bus Accident Results in Fatality and Injury in Mount Olive NJ

Wrongful Death Attorney Parsippany NJEarlier this month, a fatal accident occurred when a school bus allegedly attempted an illegal u-turn on Interstate 80 in Mount Olive, New Jersey.

The bus, driven by Paramus Board of Education employee Hudy Muldrow Sr., 77, was carrying 44 passengers as part of a school trip. Tragically, two of the passengers, teacher Jennifer Williamson, 51, and an unnamed student of ten years of age were killed as a result of the accident.

Muldrow is now facing two counts of vehicular homicide, also known as “death by auto”. While these charges will be decided on in criminal court, whether or not any kind of civil personal injury lawsuit will be filed is yet to be answered.

Wrongful Death Attorney Parsippany NJ

The first type of claim that might be filed in this case is that of a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims in New Jersey are filed with the purpose of seeking recovery for specific types of damages when a family member is killed by the reckless or negligent actions of another person or party(s).

Wrongful death damages include compensation potentially for:

  • The loss of the financial support the deceased provided to the family
  • The loss of the “companionship, consortium, guidance, and kinship” the deceased provided to the family
  • The loss of intangible benefits provided by the deceased to the family such as care=taking, home-making, child-raising, and more
  • Expenses related to any medical costs incurred before the deceased actually passed
  • Expenses resulting from a funeral and burial

However, unlike personal injury claims, wrongful death claims can not recover punitive damages or pain and suffering damages.

Of course, if you are considering filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased family member, it is highly recommended that you first consult with an experienced Parsippany wrongful death attorney so that you can better understand your rights and options, and navigate the entire claims process in an effective, informed, and ultimately successful manner.

Negligent Driving Injury Lawyer Netcong NJ

While this bus and truck accident did result in the tragic deaths of two different people, many others were also injured when the bus was struck from behind by a dump truck. Depending on the extent of the injuries suffered, these individuals may wish to consider filing a personal injury claim in order to recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost income if they are unable to work, and the physical and emotional pain and suffering they experienced due to the accident and resulting injuries.

However, as with any personal injury claim, some act or acts of recklessness or negligence must be proven in order to secure personal injury compensation. In this case, several key factors could potentially be considered negligence.

  1. According to reports, the bus driver missed his exit, and then attempted to correct for this by making an illegal U-turn through the mediation reserved only for emergency vehicles. If proven true, such an act of negligent driving could potential result in a successful personal injury claim against the driver and his insurance provider.
  2. Apparently, driver Muldrow has also received a total of 8 speeding tickets, and has had his license suspended 14 different times from 1975 to present. With this kind of driving record, a case could potentially be made that he was hired negligently by his employer. An experienced negligent driving injury attorney may be able to make the case that any entity who is employing individuals to drive others should never hire a person with such a driving record, and that doing so was an act of negligence in-and-of-itself.

Again, due to the stringent requirements for proving negligence, proving the full extent of the injuries and damages suffered, and ultimately recovering full and fair compensation in any personal injury case, retaining the counsel of an experienced injury lawyer is highly recommended any time you are seeking compensation for your injuries and accident-related damages.

Contact A Morristown Personal Injury Attorney Today

At The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff, we have extensive experience helping our clients and their families to recover full and fair compensation in wrongful death and personal injury claims of all kinds in towns across Morris County and Sussex County, including Parsippany, Netcong, Morristown, Newton, Dover, Mount Olive, Denville, Hopatcong, Morris Plains, Hanover, and the surrounding communities.

Attorney Michael Burakoff has a unique approach to personal injury law in that he strongly believes in not only keeping his clients highly informed throughout the process, but also involving their family as well. This is because he understands that any kind of serious injury will affect the whole family, and not just the injury victim themselves. By providing informative, inclusive, and highly effective legal counsel, Michael Burakoff aims to lessen the stress involved with the accident/recovery process, and ensure that your family’s future is protected and secure.

To speak with Michael Burakoff and our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding any kind of accident you or a family member has suffered, your options for securing personal injury or wrongful death compensation, and how exactly we can help you and your family to do so, please contact us online, or through either our Morristown office or our Newton office at (973) 520-0525.

Many people are drawn to surgical procedures and medical devices that promise to help people lose dramatic amounts of weight that they can’t otherwise seem to drop. One type of obesity treatment, balloons filled with saline and inserted in the stomach, has been linked to at least five deaths since last year. The treatment involves two balloons inserted into the patient’s stomach and then inflated using the solution to help give people a sensation of being full.

The victims were using the Orbera Intragastric Balloon System made by Apollo Endo-Surgery or the ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System manufactured by ReShape Medical Inc. All died within a month of getting them. Three of these deaths occurred within the first three days of insertion. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety alert on these two products.

The FDA is also investigating two more deaths of people using these products. One suffered a perforated esophagus and the other a perforated stomach. The exact causes of all of the deaths hasn’t been reported. However, the FDA has recommended that doctors monitor their patients using these devices for acute pancreatitis and to check for spontaneous overinflation of the balloons.

Apollo Endo-Surgery asserts that the company has reports of 21 deaths of people using the balloon system since 2006. It says this is an incidence rate of “less than 0.01 percent.” The company also says that it’s “received no product liability-related claims” involving the most recent cases, which involved people in four different countries, including the U.S.

The FDA says that it hasn’t yet determined “the root cause or incidence rate of patient death, nor have we been able to definitively attribute the deaths to the devices or the insertion procedures for these devices.”

Before using any medical device, particularly one that’s going to be inside your body, it’s essential to do some research on its success rate and potential complications. It’s also important to ask your physician how many times he or she has performed the procedure needed to place the device and the outcomes on other patients.

When injurious and fatal incidents involving medical devices occur, it’s not uncommon to have manufacturers and physicians blaming each other. An experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney can help you work to determine who should be held liable so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.

Source: CNN, “5 deaths reported while using weight loss balloon treatment, FDA says,” Madison Park, Aug. 11, 2017

A second inmate of a Hudson County jail has died in just over a month. The most recent victim was a 48-year-old woman who was serving a six-month DWI sentence. That’s the mandatory sentence for anyone convicted of a third DWI.

The woman reportedly suffered a head injury in a fall from her bunk. She had spent over half of her sentence, which was almost over, in the infirmary. That’s where she would be found dead in the early morning hours of July 14. Jail staff claim that they had checked on her just an hour earlier, and she seemed to be fine.

The Union City woman also reportedly had a number of plastic objects, including what was believed to be part of a food tray, in her stomach, in addition to Styrofoam. A source said only that she had “behavioral issues.” Her autopsy results, which could take four to six weeks, are still pending.

A spokesman for the county said that the woman’s death was discussed in a committee that was formed to investigate the death last month of a 35-year-old immigrant detainee. The man, whom his lawyer said was the victim of mistaken identity, died from gastrointestinal bleeding after he was transferred from the jail to Jersey City Medical Center.

Medical services are provided to inmates of the jail by CFG Health Systems, which is based in Marlton. The company signed a five-year contract last December worth nearly $30 million.

While surviving loved ones of inmates may not always be the most sympathetic victims, they are nonetheless entitled to take civil action if a family member dies from improper medical care while in jail or from the actions or negligence of jail staff who are tasked with protecting them and other inmates. If you have lost a loved one who was serving time, talk with an experienced New Jersey attorney to determine what your legal options are.

Source:, “Inmate who died had head injury, pieces of plastic in stomach, sources say,” Caitlin Mota, The Jersey Journal, July 19, 2017

Crashes that involve cars and trucks generally end far worse for those in the smaller vehicle. Unfortunately, despite more stringent safety regulations, fatal crashes that involve large trucks are increasing rather than decreasing.

One of the most dangerous scenarios is when a car ends up underneath a large tractor-trailer. Federal law mandates that large trucks be equipped with underride guards, but it does not require those safeguards for the sides of trucks, even though crash tests have shown that dummies inside a car have their heads smashed if the car hits a truck from the side — even one going as slow as 35 miles per hour.

An official with the Institute for Highway Safety, which conducts these tests, said that a side underride guard “prevented the car from going underneath and consequently the airbags and seatbelts were able to protect the driver dummy in those crash tests.”

Although the IIHS has recommended that side underride guards be required on tractor-trailers, that isn’t currently the law. Safety experts continue to recommend that drivers be particularly cautious around large trucks, allow extra space and make sure that they are not in the blind spots of truck drivers.

If a loved one has been killed in a crash that involved a truck, it’s essential to determine whether the truck driver had any fault in the crash. If so, you may be able to hold the driver, the company for whom he or she worked and potentially other entities liable. While of course this won’t bring back a loved one, it can help you deal with any financial issues and perhaps incentivize those responsible for the crash to take action to prevent further tragedies.

Source: CBS SF Bay Area, “A Simple Fix Could Save Lives In Car Vs. Truck Collisions,” Julie Watts, accessed June 15, 2017

A person dying is a tragedy for his or her own sake and the sake of those who loved this individual. Depending upon the the circumstances of their deaths, there may be cause for legal action. If you have lost someone you care about, you may be considering filing a wrongful death suit. Before you do, it is important to consider if the case qualifies.

The first thing to establish is that the death of the person in the case occurred due to one of two possible reasons. One is negligence, the failure of a culpable party to take care of something to such an extent that the failure directly contributed to the death. The second possible reason is intent to cause harm, with the culpable party having intentionally taken a path of action or inaction that was meant to harm the person who died.

In addition to these factors, wrongful death suits typically require the existence of surviving family members who are suffering some kind of monetary injury due to the death of their relative. If this is the case, they will have standing to file the suit. They will still need to ensure that a qualified personal representative is appointed to the decedent’s estate.

Wrongful death cases can arise out of varied sets of circumstances that result in the death of the decedent. These include automobile or airplane accidents, criminal behavior, exposure to hazardous substances or conditions in the context of work, and medical malpractice. Each set of circumstances requires its specific package of information and analysis to determine fault.

If fault is determined, the relatives filing the wrongful death suit after the loss of a family member can be awarded damages. Since those damages can be very important to obtain, looking into the prospect of filing a wrongful death suit can be a good idea for anyone who recently lost a loved one.

Source: FindLaw, “Wrongful Death Overview,” accessed May. 11, 2015

If your loved one was killed in an accident, the loss can leave you so bereft and mired in grief that you don’t even know how to take the necessary steps to resolve urgent financial matters. Below are some tips for survivors in the days and weeks following their loved one’s death.

— Organize the paperwork and documents you need to submit with any applications for benefits. Your family’s short-term financial needs must continue to be met even while grieving.

— Start a list of who all needs to be notified of the death. For instance, if it was your husband who was killed in an auto accident, his employer will need to be notified, as well as the Social Security Administration and potentially any pension fund administrators. Write down when you called, whom you spoke with and the details of each call.

— Formal notice in writing will also be required, so make sure that you make copies of all letters you mail. Start a paper and email file to make document retrieval easier.

— Calculate short-term expenses and income. In addition to monthly expenses, you will also be faced with final expenses and possibly medical bills. Determine which debts are the highest priority and tackle those first. Funeral homes often will agree to wait and accept the proceeds from insurance policies or other sources if you ask.

— Request certified copies of your loved one’s death certificate. The funeral director may be able to assist you with determining how many you will need. If you get too few and need additional copies later, you can request them from the local or state agency that keeps them on file.

— Apply for benefits from pensions and insurance policies. Each will require a copy of the death certificate. There may be more coverage than you realize. Check with past employers, fraternal organizations and even credit card companies. Many pay out small accidental death benefits of a couple of thousand dollars, which can be quite helpful right now.

— Seek the counsel of a New Jersey attorney if you are considering taking legal action against the at-fault parties that caused your loved one’s death. He or she can offer guidance during this very difficult process.

Source: Truck Safety Coalition, “Practical Tips for Survivors,” accessed Dec. 30, 2016

Losing a loved one to workplace violence is horrific. Family members and loved ones will be thrust into a nightmare they can’t escape as they try to make sense of a senseless act that took the life of someone they held dear.

Due to its negative impact on America’s workforce, some industries now recognize incidents of workplace violence as occupational hazards that can be averted or reduced implementing specific safety precautions.

For a decade and a half, violence in the workplace has been listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as one of the four primary causes of fatalities at work. Consequently, thousands of employees and their family members are adversely affected each year.

Below are some factors that have been identified as increasing the risk of workplace violence. Such factors

— Handling money

— Working the graveyard shift

— Dealing with valuables

— Working on-site alone

— Isolated work sites

— Work sites located in high crime areas

— Being a care provider or service personnel

— Working with members of the public

— Having unstable or volatile co-workers

— Working at facilities where alcohol is served

According to the BLS, on average there were 590 homicides each year in the decade between 2000 and 2009. This number was actually on the decline from the 677 similar deaths in 2000. Women are especially at risk, as homicides at work were the top cause of workplace fatalities in 2009 for females.

One survey indicated that between 2005 and 2009, most non-fatal incidents were initiated by strangers. During those same years, 19 percent of the victims were employed in the field of law enforcement. Another 13 percent worked in retail; 10 percent worked in the medical field.

If you are facing life without your family member due to an act of workplace violence in New Jersey, you may decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Workplace Violence Incidents,” David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH Assistant Secretary, accessed Oct. 21, 2016

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