Category Archives: Personal Injury

What are Common Hospital Medical Malpractice Errors?

Our health care system requires us to place our faith in doctors and nurses, often during the most challenging times in our lives. Their training and experience guide hundreds of decisions every day. While many of those help us, some mistakes happen. When they do, hiring a medical malpractice lawyer might be an option to hold negligent providers accountable.

Some common hospital medical malpractice errors include:

  • Failure to diagnose or to properly diagnose an illness, heart attack, or stroke
  • Failure to treat an illness
  • Incorrect treatment of a diagnosed illness
  • Improper use of anesthesia
  • Improper administration of drugs
  • Failure to order proper tests
  • Failure to consult with a specialist
  • Failure to monitor a patient
  • Failure to stabilize a patient
  • Improper use of a medical device
  • Surgical errors and anesthesia errors
  • Failure to obtain the informed consent of a patient
  • Birth injury or birth trauma due to obstetrical physician, nursing, or hospital negligence
  • Injury to mother or child during a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-Section)
  • Failure of hospital staff to properly interpret doctors’ orders on patient charts, resulting in incorrect administration of medications or treatments
  • Unnecessary surgical procedures
  • Hospital malpractice
  • Nursing home abuse

The most common of these errors are misdiagnosis, failure to accurately diagnose, and delayed diagnosis. Many of these cases involve cancer and heart attacks. For example, a doctor may diagnose a patient with a less serious condition and by the time the real condition is realized, the patient’s condition has worsened. When looking for a New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer to handle these situations that often are difficult to prove, it is important to look into how much experience the attorney has with similar cases.

In some cases, a doctor or medical specialist may be at fault while in others, a nurse, midwife, or other medical assistant may bear responsibility. You may also be able to pursue legal action against a hospital, nursing home, or other medical facility. In any event, medical malpractice claims can be difficult to prove, as you must show that an error occurred and you suffered damages because of that error.

Contact a New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. at (908) 561-5577 or contact us online at any of our North and Central New Jersey law offices for a free consultation.

What Types of Injuries Are Common For Accidents Due To Improperly Maintained Roads

Steering clear of potholes in New Jersey after this past winter is like dodging land mines on a battlefield – and with potentially the same risk of injury or death.  In fact, driving on deficient roads costs New Jersey motorists nearly $12 billion annually.  But the biggest cost by far is the potential for injuries that can change your life, or cause the death of a loved one.  If you are the victim in a car accident on an ill-maintained road, a New Jersey personal injury lawyer can find the responsible party and get the compensation you deserve.

Thirty-five percent of New Jersey’s major roads are in poor condition, providing motorists with a bumpy ride. Improper maintenance can include conditions such as:

  • Missing guardrails
  • Pot holes
  • Uncovered man holes
  • Road erosion wheel ruts
  • Shoulder drop-offs
  • Steep “berm” drops
  • Blind curves
  • Poorly painted road lines
  • Missing, damaged or confusing road signs
  • Obstructive landscaping
  • Problematic road lighting
  • Debris or dead animals on the road

Car accident injuries stemming from the above conditions are wide ranging and can be as treatable as whiplash and other soft tissue injuries, or as catastrophic as a spine injury, or even death.  Here are the some common car accident injuries:

Because poorly maintained road and defective highway design lawsuits may involve city, county, and state governmental agencies as well as engineering firms and construction contractors, these claims are more complex than conventional traffic accident cases. Your case may not even involve another vehicle, so you might not even know you have the right to file a lawsuit.

When you retain a lawyer, your attorney explains what damages you might be entitled to and launches a full investigation to prove who was at fault for your injuries. Don’t try to take on such a complex legal endeavor on your own – get knowledgeable counsel on your side to ensure you obtain maximum recovery.

The New Jersey car accident lawyers at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. have experience representing clients with the above injuries and more. Call us today at (908) 561-5577 or contact us online to secure the skilled representation and fair compensation you deserve.

What Types of Birth Injuries are Most Common?

Joy, excitement, and elation are emotions you should feel when you or your partner gives birth. You should not have to fear for your child’s health or well-being. When a doctor, midwife, or nurse makes an error, a serious birth injury might incur. One seemingly minor injury could lead to a lifetime of health complications. Nothing is more important than the welfare of your child — if something went wrong during labor, contact a New Jersey birth injury lawyer for help filing a legal claim.

Common birth injuries include:

  • Cerebral palsy A non- progressive brain disorder, cerebral palsy is generally a lifetime disability. It may be caused by an infection during pregnancy, lack of oxygen during birth, severe jaundice, Rh incompatibility, or a traumatic brain injury during birth.
  • Brachial plexus injury / Erb’s palsy – Brachial plexus injuries are caused by nerve damage, which could be caused by an improper deliver.
  • Spina Bifida. When tissue that develops into the brain and spinal cord does not develop properly in the womb, it can cause spina bifida, which can lead to a series of physical disabilities. It is detectable via ultrasound.
  • Brain damage. A variety of issues can arise if the brain is damaged during birth due to lack of oxygen, traumatic brain injury, or a reduced blood flow.
  • Caput succedaneum. Babies subjected to a vacuum birth are at risk for caput succedaneum, a swelling of the soft tissues of the baby’s scalp.
  • Fractures. Improper birthing methods could lead to broken bones.
  • Cephalohematoma. Cephalohematoma is an area of bleeding underneath one of the cranial bones. In some cases, a fracture or other injury causes this bleeding in newborns.
  • Subconjunctival hemorrhage. When a small blood vessel breaks just under the surface of your eye, it is known as a subconjunctival hemorrhage. This can occur due to a birth injury.

Mothers giving birth are also at risk of injury or death if not properly cared for. Medical professionals have the duty to provide a high standard of care. They are expected to warn you of risks associated with you and your baby’s treatment. If you can prove medical malpractice in a court of law, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, emotional distress, and more.

Our personal injury lawyers keep flexible office hours, with weekend appointments available, and we can meet you in your home or hospital room if you cannot travel to our office. Call us today, or contact us online, we’re standing by to assist you at (908) 561-5577.

Steps to Take After a Mass Transit Accident

Unfortunately, many people in New Jersey have become injured as a result of a mass transit accident. Some of the common accidents that can occur on mass transit include:

  • Slipping and falling on train platform
  • Being a passenger on a bus involved in a motor vehicle accident
  • Getting injured due to a bus or train stopping short
  • Tripping while getting on or off a bus
  • Being in car struck by a bus or train

If you have been involved in a mass transit accident, the first things you should do, if medically able, is file a report with the bus driver, conductor or other employee of transit line. After filing the report, and then seek medical attention.

After you had sought medical attention for your immediate needs, you should contact a competent attorney because there are many special rules that apply with regard to mass transit accidents and you need an experienced attorney to properly evaluate the claim and follow the correct procedure. The procedure that needs to be followed depends on whether the accident occurred on private company transit line, on a public carrier or a PATH train.

In New Jersey much of the mass transit is handled by NJ Transit, which is governmental agency. Because NJ Transit is a governmental agency many rules apply to NJ Transit that would not apply to a private carrier such as Greyhound.

Under N.J.S.A. 59:2-1, if you are seeking damages against a governmental agency, you must serve a tort claims notice upon the government entity within 90 days of the date of the alleged incident. This notice must be served correctly to the proper governmental agency or authority. Once the tort claims notice is served, there is a statutory waiting period of six months before a person is permitted to file a lawsuit for damages. The six month period allows is to allow the governmental agency or authority to properly evaluate the claim. An injured person must also file his or her lawsuit within two years of the accident or the claim is forever barred.

Bi-agencies such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the PATH trains, have their own separate rules and regulations such as shorter statutes of limitations of only one year.

Because of the strict notice requirements, it is important that you contact an personal injury attorney as soon as you are medically able. At Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman we have handled thousands of cases resulting from mass transit accidents. Our firm has offices throughout New Jersey. If you have been involved in a mass transit accident, please contact one of our attorneys today for a free consultation.

Our personal injury lawyers in New Jersey keep flexible office hours, with weekend appointments available, and we can meet you in your home or hospital room if you cannot travel to our office. Call us today, or contact us online, we’re standing by to assist you at (908) 561-5577.

The Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010

New Jersey’s multitude of turnpikes, highways and streets present a host of dangers to motorists. Drunk, distracted or reckless drivers create a constant need for defensive driving and good sense. Blind intersections, perilous curves, poorly maintained road surfaces, inadequate signage and markings, bad weather — all of these conditions pose challenges to even the most diligent drivers.

But those are all factors that drivers can anticipate and understand. When faulty automobile equipment leads to a motor vehicle accident, you are betrayed by the very equipment that you trust to deliver you and your family safely on your daily rounds. There are basically two ways by which our society regulates the safety of motor vehicles: by creating standards for safe manufacture and maintenance, and by empowering citizens to pursue legal action when they have been harmed due to an auto defect. Federal regulation of automobile safety is getting a close look this summer in legislation currently before Congress.

The Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) oversees many aspects of American automobile safety, and it has maintained an Early Warning Reporting (EWR) program to detect emerging vehicle safety issues since 2000. But as this past year’s series of Toyota auto defect reports revealed, a stronger EWR system would put necessary pressure on manufacturers to launch timely recalls when problems become apparent. More information about production irregularities, consumer claims and performance issues serves the public interest. The House version of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 (HR 5381), was recently approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and may receive full attention before the end of this year. One important provision would improve the EWR system by making more data public on a quarterly basis. Other provisions involve a host of safety issues, including:

  • Electronic data –  Semis and other commercial vehicles have long been required to preserve data that may provide clues to the cause of a crash. The new law makes progress on requiring vehicles sold in the U.S. to be equipped with a data recorder that allows law enforcement to investigate the cause of accidents, but automakers successfully lobbied against a clear deadline for this improvement.
  • Reducing drunk driving – The bill funds research for the development of on-board sensors that measure the alcohol in a driver’s system and prevent intoxicated drivers from being able to start their cars. Commercial viability of such systems may be more than a decade away, however.
  • Unintended acceleration – The bill would require installation of a brake override in new vehicles that will reduce power in the event that the accelerator sticks. Other technical improvements include new standards for push-button electronic starting systems and improvements to transmission shifting systems.
  • Automaker accountability – Automakers are not currently required to disclose data that they deem a confidential part of business operations. Under the 2010 law, the scope of the EWR system would be expanded in favor of maximum public availability of safety information. Maximum civil penalties would increase over tenfold from the $16.4 million Toyota was required to pay, and federal safety regulators would be granted the authority to order immediate recalls.

Former NHTSA administrators from the Bush, Clinton and Carter administrations have stated their support for the bill, arguing that “additional resources for NHTSA are crucially important because the motor vehicle safety program has been underfunded for years, and indeed is losing ground to additional requirements imposed on it and to inflation.” Henry Waxman, the Democratic chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued a statement that the bill “will dramatically improve the safety of motor vehicles.” He defended the compromises from the original version, claiming that “through this process we were able to earn broad support from our membership.” The bill will now go to the full House for debate. A similar bill (S 3302) is under consideration in the Senate, and further compromise of safety measures is likely.

Asserting a Claim of Negligence

Clear evidence of an automobile defect can play a vital role in motor vehicle accident litigation. Airbags that fail to deploy, vehicles that roll during the slightest evasive maneuver, and tires in seemingly good condition that suddenly rupture can all lead to unexpected tragedy. For accident victims and their families who believe that a faulty part or design flaw contributed to a catastrophic injury or highway fatality, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can provide clear insights about all available legal options and a plaintiff’s prospects for recovery of damages.

Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys keep flexible office hours, with weekend appointments available, and we can meet you in your home or hospital room if you cannot travel to our office. Call us today, or contact us online, we’re standing by to assist you at (908) 561-5577.

What is the Definition of a Domestic Dog?

Were you the victim of a terrifying dog attack? While most domesticated dogs are docile and fairly harmless, when a vicious dog bites, the results can be catastrophic. But how exactly does New Jersey define a “domestic “animal? If you were seriously injured by a dog bite and you want to pursue legal action, it’s helpful to understand legal definitions of related terms. Our NJ dog bite lawyers explain some basic legal terms for you.

NJ dog bite law basics and definitions

Basically, the owner of a dog is to be held accountable if the dog attacks a person. This is true even if the dog has no prior history of attacks, or the owner’s knowledge of such attacks.

Here are some helpful definitions when determining if you have a lawsuit:

  • “Domesticated animal” means a dog, cat, bird, fish or other animal which does not constitute a health or safety hazard.
  • “Domestic animal” means any cat, dog, or livestock other than poultry.
  • “Potentially dangerous dog” means any dog or dog hybrid declared potentially dangerous by a municipal court pursuant to section 7 of P.L.1989, c. 307 (C. 4:19-23).
  • “Vicious dog” means any dog or dog hybrid declared vicious by a municipal court pursuant to ` section 6 of P.L.1989, c. 307 (C. 4:19-22).

New Jersey animal laws do not define what constitutes a “wild” animal. But, one can infer that a “wild” animal is one that is not attached to an owner.

What is an “owner” for purposes of the Dog Bite Statute?

Under N.J.S.A. § 4:19-16, “owner” is not defined. For this reason, courts have developed case law to define who is an owner. Typically, the owner is the person in charge of the dog. This includes the person who bought, adopted, and/or registered the animal, or the person who was charged with caring for the dog. Pippin v. Fink, 350 N.J. Super. 270, 794 A.2d 893 (App. Div. 2002), the court ruled that an “owner” is a person who holds themselves out to the world as such and enjoys the benefits and burdens of having the dog.

Landlords who own property where dogs reside, but are not in charge of the dogs, are generally not held liable under New Jersey case law.

Our personal injury law firm keep flexible office hours, with weekend appointments available, and we can meet you in your home or hospital room if you cannot travel to our office. Call us today, or contact us online, we’re standing by to assist you at (908) 561-5577.

How Do Our Attorneys Collect Evidence of Improperly Maintained Charter Buses?

As common carriers, charter bus companies are legally obligated to employ necessary safety precautions to protect passengers. What happens when your charter bus fails to keep you and the other passengers free from harm? What happens when your bus is not serviced properly and causes an accident? Our NJ bus accidents lawyer assist bus crash victims with filing lawsuits against negligent bus operators to compensate them for medical costs, lost work, and pain and suffering. A common carrier must exercise a high degree of care to protect its passengers from dangers that are known or are reasonably foreseeable. This includes properly maintaining all vehicles in their fleet. Carriers must use the utmost caution to protect their passengers, the kind of caution that is characteristic of a very careful and prudent person.

Types Of  Poor Maintenance Evidence

When investigating poor maintenance in a bus accident case, this is how our attorneys collect evidence:

  • Reviewing servicing and maintenance records – Our lawyers sift through the charter’s service records to see how often service was performed and what problems had been identified prior to the crash.
  • Cross-referencing with service manuals – We look to see if the amount of service performed on the bus matched the recommended serving instructions provided by the bus manufacturer.
  • Examining the bus itself – Our attorneys look at the vehicle, and use expert mechanics to determine if mechanical or electrical problems contributed to the accident.
  • Interviewing witnesses – We collect statements from the driver, passenger, service engineers, bus company employees, and anyone else involved in the crash. We depose those with knowledge of the crash and the events leading up to the accident.

Proper service includes maintaining all aspects of the vehicle and its parts. Our personal injury lawyers see if the bus in question:

  • Had each scheduled maintenance tasks performed on it according to mileage
  • Had regular oil changes
  • Was too old or too unsafe to be on the road
  • Met all industry standard safety requirements, as well as state and federal standards

Our NJ personal injury law firm keeps flexible office hours, with weekend appointments available, and we can meet you in your home or hospital room if you cannot travel to our office. Call us today, or contact us online, we’re standing by to assist you at (908) 561-5577.

Common Reasons for Fatigue of Commercial Truck Drivers

Long hours on the open road. Pressure to meet deadlines. Extreme loneliness. Commercial tractor-trailer operators must endure harsh conditions which often lead to unsafe exhaustion. Studies show that fatigued driving could be as dangerous as drunk driving. A combination of fatigue plus a thousand pounds of metal equals a deadly mix for other drivers on the road. Our New Jersey truck accident attorneys see these types of crashes all too often — and we are here to help if you have fallen victim to a fatigued driver.

Common Reasons For Exhaustion

Our New Jersey truck accident lawyers often see these reasons for exhaustion in commercial truck drivers:

  • Exceeding driving hours – According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, commercial truck drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. When drivers exceed the legal amount of driving hours, they put themselves at risk for fatigue.
  • Not taking breaks – Truck drivers work long hours and need frequent breaks to refuel. In an effort to log more miles, drivers may try to avoid resting when needed.
  • Improper training – If a driver isn’t adequately trained on safety precautions and battling fatigue, he or she could fall victim to fatigue. Drivers needs to know when to rest and when to keep going.
  • Eating poorly – Truck drivers are always on the go, and nutrition is not always a priority. Inadequate intake of vitamins and minerals could led to fatigue and decreased focus.

A tractor-trailer operator may drive in spite of exhaustion to earn extra money by driving extra miles, or to meet tight delivery deadlines. An unscrupulous company may even order a driver to keep going despite the driver’s complaints of exhaustion.

When investigating your truck accident claim, an attorney at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. will examine the driver’s logbook to see if the correct number of hours were worked and proper breaks were taken. We stop at nothing to ensure we build a solid case against the negligent party or parties.

Our personal injury attorneys in New Jersey keep flexible office hours, with weekend appointments available, and we can meet you in your home or hospital room if you cannot travel to our office. Call us today, or contact us online, we’re standing by to assist you at (908) 561-5577.

10 Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Your loved ones deserve the best care. They deserve to be treated dignity and respect. When you place an elderly family member in an assisted living facility, you expect their best interests are protected. Unfortunately, physical, sexual, emotional, mental, and financial abuse inside nursing homes is all too common. If you suspect someone you love has been taken advantage of, our New Jersey nursing home abuse lawyers can help.

Signs of nursing home abuse are dependent upon the type of abuse or neglect that has occurred. Some indications your loved one has been abused include:

  • Bed sores —if your family member stays in one position too long, bed sores could occur.
  • Missing money — if an unscrupulous power of attorney or other person in charge has access to your loved one’s finances, they may misappropriate funds.
  • Unexplainable bruises and marks — these are signs your relative is being handled in a rough manner.
  • Suspicious changes in legal documents — elderly people of unsound mind are at risk of people close to them changing their wills, trusts, advanced health care directives, and more.
  • Hazardous living conditions — if you noticed the nursing home property is not being maintained, is lacking in handicap accessibility, has poor lighting, unclean facilities, and other signs of hazardous living conditions, other abuse may be taking place as well.
  • Improper administration of medication — take legal action if you find your loved one is being under-medicated, over-medicated, or given the wrong medication.
  • Unexplained weight loss — some elderly persons fall victim to starvation or malnutrition.
  • Bruising, scratches, or marks around the breast or genitals — one of the worst forms of abuse is sexual assault.
  • Bruising around the wrists or neck — this is an indication of unethical physical restraint.
  • Fear or embarrassment — if your family member is afraid to talk about the conditions he or she is subjected to, this may be a sign of abuse. Your loved one may have been threatened to keep quiet.

This is but a small sampling of the various types of abuse your relative might incur. The elderly are prime targets for mistreatment — they are fragile, vulnerable, and sometimes mentally unsound. Don’t let someone you love become victim. Our personal injury law firm in New Jersey keeps flexible office hours, with weekend appointments available, and we can meet you in your home or hospital room if you cannot travel to our office. Call us today, or contact us online, we’re standing by to assist you at (908) 561-5577.

What Do Social Security Disability Benefits Cover?

You can’t work. Your disability is preventing you from providing for your family, and performing the tasks you once loved. When you can no longer hold a job due to a physical or mental illness, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. A SSD lawyer in NJ can evaluate your situation and see if you should pursue a Social Security claim. If you require SSD, you have two options depending upon your circumstances.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) might be appropriate for you if:

• You are “disabled,” meaning you cannot work as you did before; you cannot perform another job due to your medical condition; and your disability has lasted more than a year, or is expected to last more than a year or result in death; AND
• You meet the required number of “work credits,” meaning you have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify for benefits.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) might be appropriate for you if:
• If you are blind, aged, or disabled under the SSA’s definition of disabled; AND
• You do not meet the required number of “work credits”

Differences Between SSDI And SSI

One of the main differences between SSDI and SSI is SSDI is funded by you paying in the Social Security system throughout your career, and SSI is funded by general tax revenues. The amount of funds you receive from either program depends on your unique circumstances, such as your living situation. Under some circumstances, your spouse may be entitled to Social Security benefits as well.

SSD benefits are only available to those with a permanent disability. If you are currently working, you might be precluded from receiving benefits. Your disability must be covered under the SSA’s List of Impairments.
The sad truth is most SSDI and SSI claims are denied the first time around, even to the most worthy people. Do not fret. Our NJ personal injury lawyers keep flexible office hours, with weekend appointments available, and we can meet you in your home or hospital room if you cannot travel to our office. Call us today, or contact us online, we’re standing by to assist you at (908) 561-5577.