Kenneth Mr. Vercammen was included in the 2020 “Super Lawyers” list published by Thomson Reuters.

To schedule a confidential consultation, email us at VercammenAppointments@NJlaws.com, call or visit www.njlaws.com

(732) 572-0500

Sunday, May 31, 2020

AMERICARE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE, INC. VS. THE CITY OF ORANGE TOWNSHIP, ET AL. (L-2397-19, ESSEX COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-0117-19T4)

On leave granted, the New Jersey Department of Health Office of Emergency Medical Services appealed from a July 16, 2019 Law Division order lifting the summary suspension of plaintiff AmeriCare Emergency Medical Service, Inc.'s license to operate as an emergency medical service provider and permitting an action to proceed under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act, N.J.S.A. 10:6-1 to -2 (CRA). Although there is no jurisdictional requirement that administrative remedies be exhausted in order to bring suit under the CRA, the party alleging a claim must show a violation of a substantive right or that someone "acting under color of law" interfered with or attempted to interfere with a substantive right. State v. Quaker Valley Farms, LLC, 235 N.J. 37, 64 (2018). Since AmeriCare could not make that showing without agency adjudication of its administrative claims, the panel reversed the Law Division order.

Henry Sanchez v. Fitness Factory Edgewater, LLC (082834)(Morris County & Statewide) (A-93-18;

By its terms, RISA applies to services contracts. Further, in the statute as written, there is no requirement that a contract include a financing arrangement to be covered by RISA.

S.C. v. New Jersey Department of Children and Families (081870) (Statewide) (A-57-18

The Court reverses and remands (a) for the Department to provide improved notice of the basis on which its investigation has found some evidence -- which the Court stresses must be some credible evidence -- to support the allegation of harm; and (b) for S.C. to have an informal opportunity before the Department to rebut and/or supplement the record before the Department finalizes its finding. The Court does not address the amici’s challenge to the validity of the “not established” category but recognizes problems with the standard as presently articulated and notes that it would be well worth the effort of the Department to revisit its regulatory language concerning the standard for making a “not established” finding as well as its processes related to such findings.

In the Matter of John F. Russo, Jr. (082636) (D-100-18; 081862)

Based on its review of the extensive record, the Court finds beyond a reasonable doubt that there is cause for removal. Because of Respondent’s multiple, serious acts of misconduct -- in particular, his inappropriate behavior in a matter involving an alleged victim of domestic violence -- the Court orders his removal from office

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

RICHARD UNDERHILL, ET AL. VS. BOROUGH OF CALDWELL, ET AL. (L-1631-17, ESSEX COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-1800-18T4)

This personal injury case arises from a pedestrian's fall on black ice in a parking lot leased by private owners to the Borough of Caldwell. The injured pedestrian and his wife sued both the Borough and the private owners, alleging negligent failure to maintain the parking lot and the internal driveway connected to it in a safe condition. The written lease between the owners and the Borough expressly delegates to the Borough the responsibility to clear the premises of ice and snow.
The trial court granted the Borough and the property owners summary judgment. Plaintiffs now appeal the ruling solely as to the property owners, arguing they had a non-delegable duty under tort law to keep the premises safe from accumulated ice and snow, or alternatively, that the language of the lease does not delegate that duty with sufficient clarity
We affirm, albeit for a legal reason not articulated by the trial court. Based on the Supreme Court's very recent opinion in Shields v. Ramslee Motors, 240 N.J. 479 (2020), the property owners are entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. That is because the lease explicitly delegates to the Borough the exclusive responsibility to remove snow and ice from the premises. The fact that the tenant in this case is a public entity and that it uses the premises for a municipal parking lot does not warrant a different result than in Shields.

CARMELLA C. MINELLI, ET AL. VS. HARRAH'S RESORT ATLANTIC CITY, ET AL. (L-1509-15, MERCER COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-4431-18T1)

Plaintiffs Carmella C. Minelli and her husband Anthony Minelli appeal from the dismissal of their personal injury action against defendants Harrah's Resort Atlantic City, Harrah's Operating Company, Inc., Caesars Entertainment and Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, Inc. based on the two-year statute of limitations, N.J.S.A. 2A:2-14. Because the court concludes that operation of Section 108(c)(2) of the Bankruptcy Code made plaintiffs' claims timely filed, at least as to the debtor, defendant Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, the judgment is reversed.

In the Matter of John F. Russo, Jr. (082636) (D-100-18; 081862)

Based on its review of the extensive record, the Court finds beyond a reasonable doubt that there is cause for removal. Because of Respondent’s multiple, serious acts of misconduct -- in particular, his inappropriate behavior in a matter involving an alleged victim of domestic violence -- the Court orders his removal from office

Monday, May 18, 2020

GURBIR S. GREWAL, ET AL. VS. WILLIAM AND OTHILIA GREDA, ET AL. (L-3414-16, UNION COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-0604-18T2)

In this action, the Attorney General and Director of the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights alleged defendants violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 to -49, by asking a prospective tenant of an apartment if she was a Muslim, refusing to lease the apartment based on the prospective tenant's religion, and making statements concerning the gender of a Division on Civil Rights investigator posing as a prospective tenant. A jury returned a no-cause verdict on plaintiffs' claims. The court reverses and remands for a new trial.
The court determines the trial court erred by allowing cross-examination of the prospective tenant about her religious beliefs and the teachings of the Quran in violation of N.J.R.E. 610 and in derogation of the privilege embodied in N.J.R.E. 512. The court rejects defendants' argument the cross-examination was permissible because the prospective tenant "opened the door" to questions about her religious beliefs and the teachings of the Quran during her direct testimony.
The court also concludes the trial court abused its discretion by allowing cross-examination of the prospective tenant about the alleged use of the term "infidels" by Muslims to refer to individuals that do not practice Islam. The court finds the cross-examination testimony, which defendants relied on to attack the prospective tenant's credibility, inadmissible under N.J.R.E. 608.
The court also finds the trial court did not conduct a proper analysis of the admissibility of the available portions of one of the defendant's recorded interview with a news organization, during which the defendant spoke about his interactions with prospective tenant and his beliefs concerning Muslims. The trial court incorrectly determined the available recorded portions of the interview were inadmissible under the "rule of completeness" without conducting the required analysis for the admissibility of the available portions of the recorded interview under the standard established by the Court in State v. Nantambu, 221 N.J. 390 (2015).

Monday, May 11, 2020

Shipyard Associates, L.P. v. City of Hoboken (082446) (Hudson County & Statewide) (A-83/84/85-

Both ordinances at issue are unquestionably zoning ordinances subject to the limitations of the MLUL, the plain language of which contains no exception for the retroactive application of changes in zoning requirements within two years of the issuance of a final approval. The City therefore cannot apply either ordinance to the Project, because they became effective within two years of the issuance of Shipyard’s final approval. And Shipyard’s period of statutory protection has been tolled.

Linda Cowley v. Virtua Health System (081891) (Camden County & Statewide) (A-47-18

Here, where a patient removed the tube herself and refused replacement, important questions about the procedures, protocols, and duties of a licensed nurse in these circumstances must be explained in order to establish a deviation in the standard of care. In addition, important considerations about patient autonomy complicate the standard-of-care analysis. A jury could not reach a determination as to a nurse’s responsibility under these circumstances without the benefit of expert opinion as to the appropriate balance between patient autonomy and prescribed treatment. An affidavit of merit was therefore required.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF A CHILD BY C.J. (FA-08-0012-17, GLOUCESTER COUNTY AND STATEWIDE)(RECORD IMPOUNDED) (A-2593-17T2)

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF A CHILD BY C.J. (FA-08-0012-17, GLOUCESTER COUNTY AND STATEWIDE)(RECORD IMPOUNDED) (A-2593-17T2)
An attorney has an obligation to inform the court if he or she is not able to handle an assigned matter professionally due to a lack of expertise and inability to obtain sufficient knowledge to appropriately represent the client, and also is unable to retain a substitute attorney knowledgeable in the area. We sua sponte determine that appellate counsel was so ineffective in this contested adoption appeal that the mother was deprived of her right to appellate counsel. In counsel's five-page brief he relied on an inapplicable statute, cited to no cases and failed to mention the lack of a transcript of the judge's decision. We therefore adjourn this appeal to appoint substitute appellate counsel and obtain the transcript.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

5 30A GENERAL DUTY OWED BY DRIVERS



5.30A GENERAL DUTY OWED BY DRIVERS In a Civil Jury Trial, the Judge will give an outline of the law and how to determine the facts. These are called Jury charges. We find it is a good idea to provide clients with an outline of the law prior to a trial (Approved 8/99)

NOTE TO JUDGE

While the judge may prefer to adopt his/her own version of this phase of the charge, the following has been found to be satisfactory by many judges.

         The plaintiff asserts that the defendant in this case was guilty of negligence in the operation of his/her automobile.  You can appreciate that 
when people drive their motor vehicles on our highways, they have certain rights and assume certain obligations and responsibilities.  They have the right to enjoy the streets and highways but they must make proper and lawful use of this right.  They must use it with reciprocal regard for the rights of others who may be driving upon the highway, and so as not to negligently injure other persons lawfully upon the streets.  This simply means that the driver of an automobile upon a public highway is under the duty of exercising for the safety of others that degree of care, precaution and vigilance in the operation of his/her car which a reasonably prudent person would exercise under similar circumstances.  It has sometimes been defined as care commensurate with the risk of danger.  Thus, the driver of an automobile is required to use reasonable care in the control, management and operation of his/her machine.  He/She is required to make such observation for traffic and road conditions and to exercise such judgment to avoid collision or injury to others on the highway, as a reasonably prudent person would have done in the circumstances. This duty of reasonable care by users of the highways is mutual and ordinarily each may assume that the other will observe that standard of conduct in the use thereof.  Negligence is then the failure to adhere to this standard of conduct.
Cases:
Goldstone v. Tuers, 189 N.JSuper. 167, 169 (App. Div. 1983) held that “it is a firmly settled principle of law that a person has the right to assume that the driver of an automobile will exercise reasonable care and observe the standard of conduct required of him in the use of the highway.”  Therefore, this principle should be ordinarily charged.  In this particular case, however, the failure to charge the principle was deemed to be harmless error.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF A CHILD BY C.J. (FA-08-0012-17, GLOUCESTER COUNTY AND STATEWIDE)(RECORD IMPOUNDED) (A-2593-17T2)

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF A CHILD BY C.J. (FA-08-0012-17, GLOUCESTER COUNTY AND STATEWIDE)(RECORD IMPOUNDED) (A-2593-17T2)
An attorney has an obligation to inform the court if he or she is not able to handle an assigned matter professionally due to a lack of expertise and inability to obtain sufficient knowledge to appropriately represent the client, and also is unable to retain a substitute attorney knowledgeable in the area. We sua sponte determine that appellate counsel was so ineffective in this contested adoption appeal that the mother was deprived of her right to appellate counsel. In counsel's five-page brief he relied on an inapplicable statute, cited to no cases and failed to mention the lack of a transcript of the judge's decision. We therefore adjourn this appeal to appoint substitute appellate counsel and obtain the transcript.

Paul Barila v. Board of Education of Cliffside Park, Bergen County (081626) (Bergen County & Statewide) (A-39-18; 081626)

The Court concurs with the Appellate Division that the parties’ dispute did not raise a scope-of-negotiations question and that the trial court therefore properly asserted subject matter jurisdiction. However, the Court reverses the Appellate Division’s judgment on the vested-rights claim. As the governing contracts made clear, a given teacher’s right to sick leave compensation did not vest until that teacher, having served the length of time required by the agreement, retired or otherwise separated from employment with his or her sick leave still unused. When the Board and the Association limited such compensation in their 2015 Agreement for the Association’s members, they did not infringe on a vested right. The cases on which the trial court and Appellate Division relied address issues distinct from those involved here and warrant no departure from the unambiguous contractual terms to which the Board and the Association agreed.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Med mal affirmed here for failure to advise of test for genetic mutation Rowe v. Madison

Monday, April 20, 2020

Paul Barila v. Board of Education of Cliffside Park, Bergen County (081626) (Bergen County & Statewide) (A-39-18; 081626)

The Court concurs with the Appellate Division that the parties’ dispute did not raise a scope-of-negotiations question and that the trial court therefore properly asserted subject matter jurisdiction. However, the Court reverses the Appellate Division’s judgment on the vested-rights claim. As the governing contracts made clear, a given teacher’s right to sick leave compensation did not vest until that teacher, having served the length of time required by the agreement, retired or otherwise separated from employment with his or her sick leave still unused. When the Board and the Association limited such compensation in their 2015 Agreement for the Association’s members, they did not infringe on a vested right. The cases on which the trial court and Appellate Division relied address issues distinct from those involved here and warrant no departure from the unambiguous contractual terms to which the Board and the Association agreed.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Get a Living Will medical directive Attorneys advise people to prepare d...



Get a Living Will medical directive Attorneys advise people to prepare during COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus Estate Planning in NJ- Now is the Time to have an attorney prepare a Will, Living Will & Power of Attorney
Are you prepared for a potential illness, incapacity or death?
In New Jersey Legal documents you need most during COVID-19
Kenneth Vercammen’s Law Office new Will preparation online without having to travel to law office and follow up consults over phone & online.

To assist potential clients and seniors we now offer document preparation remotely and consults. We are concerned about your health and well being.
1. For Wills, Power of Attorney, Living Wills, please email Vercammenlaw@njlaws.com. We will email the interview form.

2. Type response/ Fill in details., email completed Will Questionnaire back. For Wills Please type up & fill out completely and email to vercammenlaw@njlaws.com. Typing name and details is required. Save as word doc or text, not pdf. This form is extremely important. Your accuracy and completeness in responding will help us best help you. All sections and information must be filled out prior to discussing with the attorney. Cannot be handwritten since we cannot cut and paste into the forms.

3. Ken V will call to discuss after typed interview form received.

4. After persons pay by credit card online or payment confirmed from PayPal, we will draft documents and email to you.
5. Ken V will call to answer further questions
6. Sign documents in front of notary and two witnesses [ spouse ok as witness]. Signing instructions provided. UPS stores continue to be open and have notaries.
Stay safe but still get your important documents done. We strongly recommend all adults have a Power of Attorney prepared in the event they are temporarily incapacitated or hospitalized. We do require interview forms be completed in full and emailed back so we can provide accurate advice. The doctor’s office similarly has patients fill out details prior to the consult. We also recommend signing a Living Will with COMBINED ADVANCE DIRECTIVE FOR HEALTH CARE. The Living Will contains a Power of Attorney for Health Care & Medical Decisions. In signing your Living Will, you will designate an individual you trust to act as your legally recognized health care representative to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

Coronavirus Estate Planning in NJ Now is the Time to have an attorney p...



Coronavirus Estate Planning in NJ- Now is the Time to have an attorney prepare a Will, Living Will & Power of Attorney
Are you prepared for a potential illness, incapacity or death?
In New Jersey Legal documents you need most during COVID-19
Kenneth Vercammen’s Law Office new Will preparation online without having to travel to law office and follow up consults over phone & online.

To assist potential clients and seniors we now offer document preparation remotely and consults. We are concerned about your health and well being.
1. For Wills, Power of Attorney, Living Wills, please email Vercammenlaw@njlaws.com. We will email the interview form.

2. Type response/ Fill in details., email completed Will Questionnaire back. For Wills Please type up & fill out completely and email to vercammenlaw@njlaws.com. Typing name and details is required. Save as word doc or text, not pdf. This form is extremely important. Your accuracy and completeness in responding will help us best help you. All sections and information must be filled out prior to discussing with the attorney. Cannot be handwritten since we cannot cut and paste into the forms.

3. Ken V will call to discuss after typed interview form received.

4. After persons pay by credit card online or payment confirmed from PayPal, we will draft documents and email to you.
5. Ken V will call to answer further questions
6. Sign documents in front of notary and two witnesses [ spouse ok as witness]. Signing instructions provided. UPS stores continue to be open and have notaries.
Stay safe but still get your important documents done. We strongly recommend all adults have a Power of Attorney prepared in the event they are temporarily incapacitated or hospitalized. We do require interview forms be completed in full and emailed back so we can provide accurate advice. The doctor’s office similarly has patients fill out details prior to the consult. We also recommend signing a Living Will with COMBINED ADVANCE DIRECTIVE FOR HEALTH CARE. The Living Will contains a Power of Attorney for Health Care & Medical Decisions. In signing your Living Will, you will designate an individual you trust to act as your legally recognized health care representative to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

ANGEL ALBERTO PAREJA VS. PRINCETON INTERNATIONAL PROPERTIES, ET AL. (L-2283-16, MERCER COUNTY AND STATEWIDE) (A-2111-18T3)

The court rejected the applicability of the ongoing-storm rule, which arbitrarily relieves commercial landowners from any obligation to try to render their property safe while sleet or snow is falling. The court held a commercial landowner has a duty to take reasonable steps to render a public walkway abutting its property—covered by snow or ice—reasonably safe. The court imposed a duty of ordinary care and identified factors to consider when determining whether the landowner breached that duty, emphasizing that reasonableness is the polestar.

If You Have a Sports Injury Claim, Don't Delay

 If You Have a Sports Injury Claim, Don't Delay

         Have you been in an sports accident and are considering making a claim, call a lawyer promptly, as there are time limits for making claims.  These time limits (called "statutes of limitations") have harsh results if not followed. Recently, a woman who was hurt in a car accident made a claim one day after the statue of limitations for injury actions passed. Despite this minor violation, a court dismissed her claim, and she could not recover for her injuries and losses. In addition, a "Notice of Claim" must be served on a Public Entity within 90 days. However, don't let the fact that your signed a waiver scare you away from at least speaking with an attorney.
   Los Angeles attorneys Greene Broillet & Wheeler on their website give helpful suggestions to injured persons.

Was your child injured because the paid coach was playing with their cell phone instead of supervising the activities?
        A sprained ankle or broken arm might be expected in a rigorous sporting event, but few parents think their child’s life could be in danger when they head off to the football field on a summer day, or to a municipal swimming pool or day camp. Yet every year dozens of people die and hundreds are seriously injured in sports and recreational accidents
https://www.gbw.law/los-angeles-sports-injury-lawyers/

     From dangerous conditions on the property to a lack of sufficient training for coaches, there are many ways that your child or family member can sustain a catastrophic injuryon the training field or during a sporting event. Depending on how this accident occurred, there could be multiple parties responsible for you or your child’s injuries.
Some common causes for serious sporting injuries:
         Negligent coaching
         Defective or dangerous products
         Failure to remove property hazards
         Lack of appropriate supervision
         Abuse and acts of violence
         Alcohol or substance abuse

In many cases, those who participate in athletic events or sports camps are asked to sign a liability waiver to protect the organization from lawsuits later on. However, don’t assume there is no way to hold the right party accountable just because you or the victim signed a waiver of liability. Sports and recreation accidents happen in a number of ways, and sometimes the waiver of liability does not apply because of dangerous pre-existing conditions or because a different party was responsible. This is especially true in the case of defective products, as a manufacturer or seller may actually be to blame for injuries.

         What happens in a Personal Injury Sports Claim:


    We will not handle a case unless there is bona fide negligence. You must have a serious permanent injury.

AT THE ACCIDENT SCENE

1. Stop . . . do not leave the scene of the accident.
CALL THE AMBULANCE, tell them where the accident occurred and (ask for medical help if needed).
2. Notify the property manager or owner, if possible.  Insist they observe where you fell.  For example, if you fall on debris at an ice skating, notify the manager.
3. Have immediate photos taken of accident site. 

4. Get names and addresses of all witnesses 
         Witnesses will be a tremendous help to you in any subsequent court action if there is any question of liability involved. Get the names and addresses of as many witnesses as possible. If they refuse to identify themselves, jot down the license plate numbers of their automobiles. Do not discuss the accident with the witnesses. Do not give the witnesses' names to anyone but the police, your attorney or your insurance company.

4. While waiting for ambulance, write down- Accident Information
Date   __    Time __
Location   __      
Weather __
conditions __
Damage __

Summary of accident __

6. Diagram of accident location

7. Call an ambulance.  If you have any reason to suspect you were injured in the accident, go to a hospital immediately or see a physician promptly. You'll want it on record that you sought treatment right away, not in a week or so.

8. Write down name of Ambulance crew Police Officers, Department and Badge Number,  etc. -  Be cooperative with the police.

9. Do not assign or accept blame for the accident.
- The scene of the accident is not the place to determine fault. Discuss  the accident only with the ambulance and medical personnel, your attorney and with representatives of your insurance company. Give the other party only your name and address. 

10. . Call a personal injury attorney immediately, not a real estate attorney.    
Call Kenneth A. Vercammen-  Trial Attorney
Attorney At Law      
(732) 572-0500
When you need help the most, we will be ready to help you. 

11. Never give a signed statement to the claims adjuster representing the property owner's insurance company.  The same goes for a phone recording.  They may be used against you in court to deny your claim. Speak with your personal injury attorney first.



IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED DUE TO NEGLIGENCE IN A SPORTS INJURY

 It is important that you --
1.      DO NOT discuss your case with anyone except your doctors and attorney.
2.      DO NOT make any statements or give out any information.
3.      DO NOT sign any statements, reports, forms or papers of any kinds, .
4.      DO NOT appear at police or other hearings without first consulting with your attorney.
INFORM YOUR ATTORNEY PROMPTLY of any notice, request or summons to appear at any hearings.
5.      Refer to your attorney anyone who asks you to sign anything or to make any statement or report or who seeks information concerning your case.
6.      Direct your doctor and other treatment providers  not to furnish or disclose any information concerning your case to any entity other than your insurance company without YOU AND YOUR ATTORNEY'S WRITTEN PERMISSION.
7.      You may have insurance coverages such as Blue Cross, Blue Shield or Major Medical, which require prompt attention.  However, be sure to have your treatment providers send bills immediately to all of your insurance companies.
8.      Notify your attorney promptly of any new developments.  Small things may be important.  Keep your attorney informed.
9.      Maintain accurate records of all information and data pertaining to your case.
10.    If you or any witnesses should move, be sure to notify your attorney of the new address.

Financial Recovery if injured while in sports events

1. Kenneth Vercammen Helps  Injured persons
         A person who is injured as a result of the negligence of another person is what we in the legal profession refer to as a personal injury claimant.  In other words, they have been injured as a result of an accident, and now wish to prosecute a claim against a negligent property owner and its insurance company.  As the attorney of record, I will be bringing this action for the injured person.  Therefore, I request that all clients do as much as possible to cooperate and help in every way.  The purpose of this article is to describe the procedure that we may follow and give you sufficient instructions to enable you to assist us in this undertaking. Needless to say, helping us is just another way of helping yourself. 

2. Clients should provide my office with the following
1.  Any bills
2.  All Hospital or doctor records in your possession
3.  Photos of scars, cuts, bruises
4.  Photos of damage to your clothes and property
5.  Photos of accident site
6.  Major Med Card
7.  Paystub if lost time from work


3. Attorney- Client Confidential Relationship
         First, I want to thank our clients for giving me the opportunity to assist them in their case.  I am a legal professional and I have great pride and confidence in the legal services that I perform for clients during our relationship as attorney-client. If you have concerns about your case, please call my office.  (732) 572-0500 
         We feel that this case is extremely important not only to you, but to this office as well. This is not simply a matter of obtaining just compensation for you, although that is very important; we take professional pride in guiding our clients carefully through difficult times to a satisfactory conclusion of their cases.   

4. Submission of Bills to Major Medical Second
         
5. Diary
         We want you to keep a diary of your experiences since your accident.  In addition to this daily record, we also ask you to start describing a single day in the course of your life.  In other words, describe what you do when you get up in the morning, the first thing you do after you go to work, what type of work and effort you put into your employment, what activities you engage in after work, etc.  In other words, we need you to describe the changes in your working life, your playing life, your life as a husband or wife or child or parent.  In your written description of your day, we would appreciate your explanation in the greatest detail possible and in your own words how the accident and subsequent injuries have affected your life, your personality, and your outlook. Remember that suffering does not entail mere physical pain; suffering can be emotional and can be transmitted to your family, friends, and co-workers.    
         Keep a diary of all matters concerning this accident-no matter how trivial you think it may be. You should include notes on the treatments you receive, therapy, casts, appliances, hospitalization, change of doctors, change of medication, symptoms, recurrence, setbacks, disabilities and inconveniences. If you have any doubt about the propriety of including some particular information, please call the office and let us assist you.

6. Record expenses
         You can also begin to set up a system for recording the expenses incurred in conjunction with your claim in minute detail.  Medical and legal expenses are a strong part of the value of your lawsuit, so good records of these expenses must be kept at all times.  
         From time to time, however, there will be expenses incurred that you must keep track of yourself.  We ask you to make every effort to avoid any possible error or inaccuracy as jurors have a relentless reverence for the truth.  Keep your canceled checks and your list of expenses together, for we will need them at a later date.
         Your attorney will keep track of your legal expenses, which may include costs of filing, service of complaint, investigation, reports, depositions, witness fees, hospital/ medical records, etc.

7. Investigation and Filing of Complaint
     Procedurally, the following events occur in most personal injury cases. First, your attorney must complete the investigation. This will involve the collection of information from your physician, your employer, and our investigator. We will need your doctors to provide us with copies of all bills, medical records and possibly a medical report.
         When we feel that we have sufficient information to form an opinion as to the financial extent of your damages, we will commence negotiations with the opposition for a settlement. If the insurance company will not make an adequate offer, then a Complaint and Case Information Statement is prepared by your attorney.  It is filed in the Superior Court, Law Division.  Your attorney then will prepare a summons and have the defendants personally served with the Summons and Complaint.  The defendant, through their insurance company, must file an "Answer" within 35 days.

8. Interrogatory Questions and Discovery
         The Answer is followed by a request for written interrogatories. These are questions that must be answered by each party. The Superior Court has set up certain "Form A" Interrogatory Questions, which are contained in the Rules of Court. Generally, written interrogatories are followed by the taking of depositions, which is recorded testimony given under oath by any person the opposition wishes to question. The deposition is just as important as the trial itself. In the event you are deposed during the course of this action, you will receive detailed instructions as to the procedure and will be required to watch a videotape. After taking depositions, the case will be set down for an Arbitration. If the parties do not settle after the Arbitration, the case will be given a trial call date.
         Altogether, these procedures may take from six months to several years, and your patience may be sorely tried during this time. However, it has been our experience that clients who are forewarned have a much higher tolerance level for the slowly turning wheels of justice.

9.  Doctor/ Treatment
         It will help your case to tell us and your doctors about any injury or medical problems before or after your accident. Good cases can be lost by the injured person concealing or forgetting an earlier or later injury or medical problem. Insurance companies keep a record of any and all claims against any insurance company. The insurance company is sure to find out if you have ever made a previous claim.
         Tell your doctors all of your complaints. The doctor's records can only be as complete as what you have given. Keep track of all prescriptions and medicines taken and the bills.  Also save all bottles or containers of medicine.
         
10.  Bills 
         Retain all bills, which relate to your damages, including medical expenses, hospital expenses, drugs and medicines, therapy, appliances, and anything needed to assist in your recovery. If possible, pay these bills by check or money order, so that a complete record may be kept. If this is not possible, be certain to obtain a complete receipt with the bill heading on it, to indicate where the receipt came from and the party issuing it.

11. Evidence
         Be certain to keep anything that comes into your possession which might be used as evidence in your case, such as shoes, clothing, glasses, photographs, defective machinery, defective parts, foreign substances which may have been a factor in your accident, etc. Be sure to let the office know that you have these items in your possession.
   
12. Photographs
         Take photographs of all motor vehicles, accident site, etc., that may be connected--directly or indirectly--with your accident. Again, be sure to let the office know that you have such photographs.

.i.13. Keep your attorney advised
         Keep this office advised at all times with respect to changes in address, important changes in medical treatment, termination of treatment, termination of employment, resumption of employment, or any other unusual change in your life.
   
i.14. Lost wages 
         Keep a complete record of all lost wages. Obtain a statement from your company outlining the time you have lost, the rate of salary you are paid, the hours you work per week, your average weekly salary, and any losses suffered as a result of this accident. Where possible, also obtain other types of evidence such as ledger sheets, copies of time cards, canceled checks, check stubs, vouchers, pay slips, etc.
   
.i.15. New information
         In the event that any new information concerning the evidence in this case comes to your attention, report this to the attorney immediately. This is particularly true in the case of witnesses who have heretofore been unavailable.

16.   Do not discuss the case
         The insurance company may telephone you and record the conversation or send an adjuster (investigator) who may carry a concealed tape recorder. You should not discuss your case with anyone.

         Obviously, we cannot stress too strongly that you DO NOT discuss this matter with anyone but your attorney or immediate, trusted family. You should sign no documents without the consent of this office. Remember that at all times you may be photographed and investigated by the opposition. If you follow the simple precautions, which we have set out in your checklist, we feel that we will be able to obtain a fair and appropriate amount for your injuries. If you get any letters from anyone in connection with your case, mail or fax them to your attorney immediately.

17.  Questioning
         If any person approaches you with respect to this accident without your attorney's permission, make complete notes regarding the incident. These notes should include the name and address of the party, a description of the person, and a narrative description of what was said or done. Under no circumstances should you answer any question(s). All questions should be referred to your attorney's office.

18. Investigation by Defendant Insurance Company
         Permit us to reiterate at this time that the opposition's insurance company will in all probability have a team of lawyers and investigators working diligently to counter your claim. During the course of their investigation, it is quite possible that they may attempt to contact you through various (and sometimes, devious) methods. Please do not make their jobs any easier for them by answering their questions.

         We cannot emphasize too strongly that you should refrain at all times from discussing this matter with anyone--and that includes your employer, your relatives, your neighbors, and even your friends. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.

         If there are friends or neighbors or relatives who know all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident and can be of assistance to you, then they should be referred to this office so that their natural sympathy can be channeled into an effective asset for you.

         Insurance companies pay money to claimants when they are satisfied there are both liability and damages that support a recovery. They can be expected to thoroughly investigate the facts of the accident and any past injuries or claims. The insurance company will obtain copies of all of the claimant's past medical records.


19. Surveillance by Insurance Companies
         Remember at all times that you may be under surveillance and, therefore, subject to being photographed or filmed by the adverse party. Be advised that there are cases where photographs and films have been introduced in court showing claimants who were allegedly in serious condition participating in activities which they alleged they were unable to do. You do not have to live in fear of being photographed, of course, if your cause is a just one.

         However, when carrying on your usual activities, keep in mind at all times that you are subject to investigation. If you have been seriously injured, do not do anything that will jeopardize your case during the course of your daily life. You should always follow your doctor's advice. If you have to do things, which cause you, pain, this can usually be explained to the full satisfaction of any court or jury.

         There are cases where the insurance agent has attempted to discredit a personal injury plaintiff by taking movies of the claimant engaged in various physical activities. In one case, large rocks weighing over one hundred pounds were placed at the door of the garage during the night so that claimant would have to be forced to remove the rocks in order to drive to work. This, of course, was filmed and used to discredit the plaintiff's claim in court.
         

20.  The value of a case depends on the Permanent Injury, medical treatment and doctor's reports
         Undoubtedly, you have questions as to how much your case is worth.  We are going to be frank:  The fact of the matter is there can be no answer to this question until we have completed the investigation in your case.  Once we complete our investigation, of course, we can make a determination as to the amount of the defendant's liability, if any, and even at that we will only be at a starting point.  After that, we must obtain all necessary information concerning your lost wages, your disability, your partial disability, your life changes, and your prognosis.  You may rest assured of one thing, however, and that is the fact that your case will not be settled below its true value, that is the fair compensation for the injuries you have received.  You may also rest assured that no settlement agreement will be entered into without your consent.

Conclusion
         We appreciate that this is a great deal of information to absorb.  We also appreciate that our requests for client's assistance have been numerous.  However, we are certain that our clients appreciate having this information from the outset.  Each request and bit of information given here represents an important part in recovering full value for your injury.  Therefore, we respectfully request your full cooperation. If you have questions or concerns regarding these instructions, we encourage you to feel free to contact the office at any time.