When life takes an unexpected turn due to someone else’s negligence, you need a team of attorneys who can fight vigorously for your rights. With years of experience, our Camden personal injury lawyers are dedicated to securing the justice and compensation you deserve, whether you’re dealing with a car accident, workplace injury, medical malpractice, or any other form of personal injury. Let us help you navigate the complexities of the legal system with the professionalism, skill, and compassion you need to make your road to recovery as smooth as possible. Contact our Camden personal injury lawyers at Cuneo & Leonetti for your free consultation today.
What is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law in Camden, New Jersey, like in other parts of the United States, focuses on legal remedies and defenses involved in civil lawsuits brought as a result of wrongful conduct. This area of law covers situations where an individual’s body, mind, or emotions are hurt, typically due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness.
Common Types of Personal Injuries
Personal injury cases can vary widely in terms of the circumstances and types of injuries involved. Some common types of personal injuries in Camden include:
- Car Accidents: One of the most common causes of personal injuries, often resulting in whiplash, fractures, head injuries, and even fatalities. In the event of a car accident, a qualified Camden car accident lawyer is prepared to offer expert legal guidance.
- Slip and Fall: Premises liability cases often involve injuries sustained when a person slips, trips, or falls due to a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property.
- Medical Malpractice: This category includes negligence on the part of healthcare providers like misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication mistakes, and birth injuries.
- Workplace Accidents: Workers may sustain injuries due to machinery malfunctions, falls, or other hazards in the workplace. Workers’ compensation often plays a role here. If you were injured in the workplace, a Camden worker’s compensation lawyer can offer specialized advice catered to your unique circumstances.
- Pedestrian Accidents: Individuals may sustain injuries while walking, especially due to negligent drivers. These can range from minor injuries to severe trauma or death.
- Bicycle Accidents: Cyclists are at risk from both vehicle collisions and road hazards, often resulting in serious injuries like broken bones or head trauma.
- Motorcycle Accidents: Due to the lack of protection compared to cars, motorcycle accidents can lead to severe or fatal injuries.
- Dog Bites and Animal Attacks: Attacks by domestic or wild animals can result in injuries that range from minor bites to severe mauling.
- Product Liability: Injuries caused by defective or dangerous products like machinery, consumer electronics, toys, and even medications fall under this category.
- Assault and Battery: Intentional torts like assault and battery can lead to criminal charges as well as civil liability for the perpetrator.
- Wrongful Death: This is a special category that seeks compensation for the families of individuals who have died as a result of someone else’s negligence or intentional act.
- Public Transport Accidents: Injuries sustained in accidents involving buses, trains, or other forms of public transportation.
Common Injuries Sustained in Personal Injuries
In personal injury claims, the types of injuries sustained can vary widely depending on the nature of the accident or incident that caused them. However, some commonly encountered types of injuries include:
- Soft Tissue Injuries: These include sprains, strains, and bruises, often resulting from slips, falls, or minor car accidents.
- Whiplash: Common in car accidents, especially rear-end collisions, whiplash affects the muscles and ligaments in the neck and back.
- Broken Bones and Fractures: These can occur in various types of accidents, from car and cycling accidents to slips and falls.
- Cuts and Lacerations: These injuries are often the result of car accidents, workplace injuries, or even animal attacks.
- Burns: These can occur due to fire, electrical accidents, or exposure to harmful chemicals.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Accidents that involve heavy impact or falls can result in damage to the spinal cord, potentially causing paralysis or other permanent disabilities.
- Head and Brain Injuries: These range from concussions to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and are often caused by falls, vehicle accidents, or assaults.
- Internal Injuries: These are often the result of blunt force trauma and can be life-threatening if not treated immediately.
- Amputations: Severe accidents can result in the loss of a limb, either during the accident itself or as a necessary medical procedure afterward.
- Dental Injuries: Accidents that result in damage to the teeth, jaw, or mouth.
- Psychological Trauma: Emotional or psychological harm, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression, can be as debilitating as physical injuries.
- Birth Injuries: These occur during the birthing process and may be a form of medical malpractice, resulting in conditions like cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy.
- Fatal Injuries: In the worst cases, an accident can result in the death of the victim, leading to a wrongful death claim by the victim’s family.
- Occupational Diseases: Long-term exposure to harmful substances or environments can lead to diseases like mesothelioma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Workers Compensation in Personal Injury Claims
Workers’ compensation and personal injury are two distinct areas of law, but they can intersect in certain situations. In Camden, here’s how workers’ compensation laws can interact with personal injury claims:
- Exclusive Remedy – In general, workers’ compensation serves as the “exclusive remedy” against an employer for injuries sustained on the job. This means that an employee generally cannot sue their employer for injuries if they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Third-Party Claims – While workers’ compensation restricts the ability to sue an employer, it does not prevent an injured worker from pursuing a personal injury claim against a third party whose negligence contributed to their injury. For example, if a construction worker is injured due to a faulty piece of machinery, they may file a workers’ compensation claim for immediate benefits and also pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer of the machinery.
- Types of Damages – Workers’ compensation typically covers medical bills, a portion of lost wages, and disability benefits. It does not compensate for pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of enjoyment of life. In contrast, a personal injury claim can include these types of damages, making it potentially more valuable than a workers’ compensation claim alone.
- Dual Claims – In some instances, an injured worker might have both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim running concurrently. If both claims are successful, there might be an obligation to repay some of the workers’ compensation benefits from the personal injury settlement, depending on the specifics of the laws and policies involved.
- Liability and Fault – Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that employees can receive benefits regardless of who was at fault for the injury. Personal injury claims, on the other hand, require the injured party to prove that someone else was negligent and that their negligence caused the injury.
Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Claims
The statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the injury. This means that you have two years from the date you were injured to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. Failure to file within this timeframe typically means you lose your right to bring legal action for that injury.
There are certain exceptions and special circumstances where the statute of limitations might be extended or shortened:
- Discovery Rule: In some cases, injuries may not be immediately apparent. New Jersey allows for the “discovery rule”, which means the statute of limitations clock may start running from the date you discovered the injury or reasonably should have discovered it.
- Claims Against Government Entities: If you’re filing a claim against a city, county, or state government agency, there are special rules you must follow, including specific notice requirements and shorter deadlines. Typically, notice must be given within 90 days of the incident.
- Wrongful Death: In the case of wrongful death claims, the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the deceased person’s death, not the date of the accident that caused the death.
- Medical Malpractice: While generally subject to a two-year statute of limitations as well, there are complexities around when the clock starts running, especially concerning ongoing treatment.
Types of Damages in Personal Injury Claims
In Camden, the types of damages available in personal injury claims can be classified into different categories, each serving to compensate the plaintiff for various types of losses. Here are some common types of damages that might be applicable to your claim:
- Economic Damages
- Medical Expenses: Compensation for costs of medical care related to the injury, both immediate and future.
- Lost Wages: Reimbursement for income lost due to time off work as a result of the injury, as well as future lost earning potential.
- Property Damage: Compensation for damage to personal property, such as a car in an auto accident.
- Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Reimbursement for other miscellaneous expenses directly related to the injury, like transportation costs to medical appointments.
- Non-Economic Damages
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and emotional anguish suffered as a result of the injury.
- Emotional Distress: Sometimes separate from pain and suffering, this compensates for the psychological impact of an injury, such as anxiety, depression, or loss of enjoyment of life.
- Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the loss of companionship, sexual relations, or spousal services that one’s spouse or family may suffer as a result of the injury.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for changes to the injured person’s ability to enjoy life and participate in activities they used to enjoy.
- Punitive Damages
- Punitive Damages: These are not intended to compensate the plaintiff but to punish the defendant for egregious behavior and to act as a deterrent. In New Jersey, punitive damages are generally limited to five times the amount of compensatory damages or $350,000, whichever is greater.
Note that New Jersey follows a “modified comparative negligence” rule, which means that your total damages award is reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you. If you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you cannot recover any damages. Also, some types of damages may have limitations, especially in cases like medical malpractice.
Contact Our Camden Personal Injury Lawyers Today
At Cuneo & Leonetti Law Firm, we understand that facing a personal injury can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. Our Camden personal injury lawyers are committed to providing you with the compassionate representation you deserve, ensuring your voice is heard, and fighting relentlessly for the compensation you are entitled to. Don’t navigate the complexities of the legal system alone; trust our experienced team to guide you every step of the way. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation, and let us put our experience to work for you. Your well-being is our top priority; let us help you secure the justice you deserve.