Every year, more than 90,000 people die in the United States as a result of unintentional injuries.
If you have been recently injured or diagnosed with an illness, contact our office to see if you
could be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Personal Injury, General Resource Links
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Features labor data, wages, surveys, publications and more.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - CDC Injury Coverage
Injuries From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Features information on accident
causes and prevention, traffic fatalities, drowning, falls, and more.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Division of Quality Assurance
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Links to National Practitioner Data Bank and the
Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank.
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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational
purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for
advice on any legal matter.
Our personal injury lawyers represent victims of car accidents, truck accidents, dangerous
and defective products, premises liability, slip and fall accidents, dram shop, defamation,
wrongful death and dog bites and animal attacks. We also represent victims of workplace accidents.
See our Workers' Compensation page to learn more about our New Jersey workers' compensation lawyers.
The law firm of Kelly & Visotcky L.L.C., in Manahawkin, New Jersey, provides legal
advice and representation to clients throughout the southern and central Jersey Shore area,
including Long Beach Island, as well as the communities of Ship Bottom, Beach Haven, Surf City,
Long Beach Township, Eagleswood, Manahawkin, Stafford Township, Lacey Township, Forked River,
Waretown, Toms River, Dover Township, Long Beach Township, Bayville, Barnegat, Tuckerton,
Little Egg Harbor, Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington, and Atlantic Counties. We provide
aggressive and comprehensive legal counsel to a broad constituency of clients.
Personal Injury, General - An Overview
Personal injury lawsuits are filed by people (or their representatives) injured due to the
negligence of someone else. The injury may be either physical or emotional, and it can arise
from a variety of sources or types of conduct. Some of the most common types of personal injuries
that give rise to legal liability on the part of the wrongdoer include slip and fall, automobile
accidents, assaults and battery, medical malpractice, and defective product injuries. The general
goal of personal injury actions is to determine who was responsible and to compel them to compensate
the injured person for the losses sustained. If you or someone you know has been injured by the
careless actions of another, it is essential that you seek legal counsel from an experienced
personal injury attorney at once so that you can preserve your rights.
Personal Injury Damages
Personal injury lawyers can help ensure that their clients receive the maximum amount of damages
recoverable by law. Some of the items for which injured parties are legally entitled to compensation
include past and future lost wages, past and future medical expenses, damages for both physical and
emotional pain and suffering, and damages for disfigurement. Sometimes, a close family member of the
injured person, such as his or her spouse, may also be entitled to damages. This award is often
referred to as loss of consortium damages, which is intended to compensate the loved one for the
loss of the injured party's services and companionship.
Other kinds of damages that may be awarded, depending on the laws of the state where the lawsuit
is brought and the facts of the particular case, include hedonic damages, which are awarded to
compensate the plaintiff for the loss of enjoyment of activities that he or she once valued but
can no longer participate in as a result of the injuries suffered. An example would be the inability
of a person injured in a car accident to continue playing softball on a recreation league that was a
big part of his or her life. In addition, punitive damages are awarded when the defendant's conduct
was particularly egregious and the court or jury determines that the defendant should be punished
by paying an amount above and beyond the plaintiff's actual damages. Such awards may also serve
to deter others from engaging in similar wrongful conduct.
"Legal Causation" of Personal Injuries
Not every injured plaintiff is entitled to recover damages for the injury he or she sustains.
Besides the injury, the plaintiff must also establish, through credible and relevant evidence,
that the defendant is legally responsible for his or her injuries. The plaintiff must present
proof of causation both in terms of actual causation and proximate (legal) causation. Actual
causation is determined by literal cause and effect. Whether legal causation is established
depends on the facts and circumstances of the particular matter in question.
In some personal injury actions, legal causation may be established if the plaintiff can show
that the defendant engaged in intentional conduct. This means that the wrongdoer intentionally
or purposefully harmed the plaintiff or knew that the conduct in which he or she engaged gave
rise to a substantial likelihood that harm would result.
Other personal injury actions are based on a looser concept of fault called negligence. Under
the negligence theory, a defendant is held liable for the results of action, or inaction, when
an ordinary person in the same position should have foreseen that the conduct would create an
unreasonable risk of harm to others. Still other types of personal injury actions are based on
strict liability, which is a no-fault system under which liability may be established regardless
of the fault of the various parties, including the plaintiff. Strict liability may be applied
in products liability cases, such as when a manufacturer or seller of a defective product puts
that product into the consumer hands and users are injured.
The defendant can be held liable for actions taken, or actions not taken. A driver who fails
to stop at a red light and hits another vehicle and injures the other driver or passengers is
liable based on her negligent acts. A property owner who fails to clear the ice and snow from
the front steps of a business open to the public may be liable for his inaction if a patron
falls and breaks her leg when attempting to enter the premises.
Personal Injury Defenses
In some situations, the defendant's conduct, while questionable, may not rise to a level of
culpability that entitles the plaintiff to recover damages. If, for instance, a plaintiff knowingly
and willfully chooses to encounter a known hazard, then the law provides that he or she has assumed
the risk of injury and therefore the defendant may not be liable. The assumption of the risk theory
may apply, for example, in a case in which the plaintiff engaged in a friendly game of tackle football
and another player broke his arm; in such a case, the plaintiff may be unable to recover for his
injuries because he knew of the risks inherent in the game and willingly chose to encounter them.
The following are possible defenses to personal injury claims.
- Statutes of limitations are laws setting forth the time periods when the
lawsuit must be initiated;
- Sovereign immunity provides that certain government officials are immune
from civil liability for their conduct, since if they were constantly subject to litigation for all
of their acts, then they would be unable to perform their duties;
- Intentional misuse of a product in a products liability case
- Contributory or comparative negligence where the plaintiff's own
conduct caused or contributed to his or her injuries.
A personal injury lawyer can explain these and other defenses and determine whether they apply to a
Personal injury actions often require a lawyer's careful examination of the surrounding facts and
circumstances to determine whether the defendant is legally responsible for the plaintiff's injuries.
An experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney can look at the facts of your case and
determine whether you have a legally valid claim, how soon you must act to preserve your rights,
what your damages may be, and whether you may be entitled to some type of financial benefits before
your lawsuit is even resolved. And in most cases, you owe no legal fees unless and until the defendant
pays the damages award.