School Busdriver Charged with Death by Auto

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

Suffering a dog bite that results in a fatality is certainly rare, but such instances do still occur. Conventional wisdom often accuses certain breeds of canines of being much more likely to attack and injure humans, but according to a recent study in the December 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, this assumption is statistically untrue.

According to the study, seven factors were found to most influence the likelihood of a canine-on-human attack, and all of them were potentially preventable. Four of the factors were related to owner treatment of the dog, including an owner keeping dogs on a property (instead of keeping as a family pet), owner mismanagement, owner neglect and abuse and an owner choosing to not spay or neuter. Three more factors were related specifically to victims of canine attack, including a victim having no pre-existing relationship with a dog, a victim being physically unable to control his or her encounter with a dog and the absence of any physically capable person who could intervene in an attack. In the cases studied, 80.5 percent of all attacks featured four or more of these seven factors.

Curiously, the breed of a dog was not particularly relevant to the study, since the breed of a dog was not identifiable 80.5 percent of the time. Of the 45 cases where breed was known, 20 separate breeds were identified.

While it is extremely unlikely to suffer an attack from a dog, and even more unlikely that such an attack will result in a fatality, it is always wise to seek legal representation if you are involved in such an incident. Regardless of the severity of the injuries, we can ensure that your rights are protected and work diligently for a fair outcome.

At the Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff, PA, we have been in the business of representing families in wrongful death lawsuits for over 35 years. We have handled so many cases and so many different legal scenarios, you would think that we have seen every kind of factual circumstance under the sun. Nevertheless, if there is one thing that being in practice has proved, it’s that every single case we take on is entirely unique.

We have learned that the best approach is not the “cookie-cutter” approach. We take the time to get to know our clients, to understand their personal situations, and we also get to know the memory of the loved ones that they have lost. Ultimately, a wrongful death suit is not just about money — it is about honoring the memory of someone who needlessly died at the hands of another party’s negligence.

A wrongful death lawsuit is about justice. It is about bringing as much fairness to a situation as possible. We fully realize that no amount of litigation and no amount of financial restitution will ever right the wrong of a wrongful death, but financial compensation is the only way our legal system has of approaching balance. Furthermore, the process of holding responsible parties accountable for their negligence is immeasurably helpful to family members in reaching a sense of closure following their loved one’s death.

Did you lose your loved one in an accident? The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff, PA, offers free, no-obligation, first-time consultations to families who have lost a loved one in an accident. Best of all, our firm offers legal services on a contingency fee basis, which means that our clients do not pay a dime in legal fees until — and only if — we successfully recover money on their behalf.

In a successfully navigated wrongful death case, pecuniary injuries often make up part of the award. Pecuniary injuries refer to the difficult-to-value losses associated with loss of support, lost future inheritance, lost funeral expenses and lost medical costs. In most cases, the law provides that close family members can hold the party responsible for their loved one’s death responsible for pecuniary losses — and the liable party must pay the injured party fair and just compensation for those injuries.

Determining pecuniary losses will require a thorough evaluation of the facts and evidence that apply to the decedent. For example, the person’s age, health condition and character must be analyzed. So too must the person’s intelligence, health, earning capacity and life expectancy.

Usually, the primary considerations which will make up the largest part of a damage award will be the amount of family income that will be lost and the loss of parental guidance. In order to attach a financial figure to the loss of earning, for example, a jury will look at the amount of the decent’s salary when he or she died, the most recent amount earned before he or she became unemployed and the potential for future career advancement.

In many situations, expert witness testimony is important for pinpointing an economic theory to determine a dollar amount of a particular pecuniary loss. For example, an economist might be used to show the intrinsic value of a housewife’s contribution to a family. For example, increased expenditures will be incurred by a family that no longer has a housewife or househusband’s services.

Considering the complexities involved with the typical wrongful death case, and determining and proving pecuniary loss, New Jersey residents who lose a loved one may want to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before initiating a lawsuit.

Source: FindLaw, “Wrongful death overview,” accessed Jan. 15, 2016

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