Personal Injury FAQ
Attorney - Robert A. Scirocco
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Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Law

Can A Personal Injury Lawsuit Be Filed For Sports Injuries?

Yes, for excessively harmful conduct. In the case of Angland v. Mountain Creek Resort, Inc. (New Jersey Supreme Court 2013), the New Jersey Supreme Court revisited and confirmed the standard of liability of individuals toward each other in sporting events.

The standard is recklessness or intentional conduct, and not mere negligence, when it comes to injuries in sporting activities. The issue came up in a case involving a number of skiers at Mountain Creek Resort. There, one skier collided with another, who sustained serious injuries and eventually died. The party at fault has to be more than just negligent.

Can I File A Lawsuit For Invasion Of My Privacy?

Yes. The appellate division recently ruled on a case involving alleged privacy violations. An office building owner with common bathrooms was sued after it was discovered that cameras secretly recorded the sink and stall areas.

In the case of Patricia Soliman v. Kushner Co’s, et al (appellate division), the court wrote: ”Here, defendants deployed a highly invasive, intentionally clandestine video surveillance system in bathrooms intended to serve the occupants and visitors of this office complex.”

The court sited both common law as well as a statute, NJSA 2A:58D-1a, for a definition of the invasion of privacy which includes conduct that “strikes directly at the personhood of the plaintiff,” or the aggrieved party.

How Is A Standard Of Care Established In A Personal Injury Case?

It will vary on a case by case basis. Expert testimony is often required to establish the standard of care in a personal injury case. An expert’s testimony helps jurors form valid judgments on whether the defendant’s conduct was reasonable. Generally, the person bringing the suit – the plaintiff – will need to establish the proper standard of care and by presenting expert testimony. Butler v. Acme Mkts., Inc. 89 N.J, 270, 283 (1982).

Is It Bad Faith If My Insurance Company Refuses To Pay?

Although every insurer has the duty to settle claims, whether an insurer has acted in bad faith and breached its duty in connection with settlement will depend on the specific circumstances of a case. Am. Home Assurance Co., v. Hermann’s Warehouse Corp., 117 N.J. 1, 7 (1989); Lieberman v. Empl’rs Ins. Of Wausau, 84 N.J. 325, 336 (1980).

An insurance company’s good faith standards include determining whether it breached its fiduciary obligations as determined in the case of Badiali v. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance, A-48 September Term, 2012, 071931. Bad faith cases are complex. Insurers have a right to reject award. In other words, if an insurer has a reasonable basis to support its decision to reject an arbitration award, bad faith does not exist.

Is An Expert Opinion Always Used As A “Net Opinion?”

In the case of Deborah Townsend v. Noah Pierre, a negligence action involving a car accident, the New Jersey Supreme Court barred an expert from testifying on the issue of causation because the expert’s opinion diverged from the evidence. To reconcile his opinion with the testimony, the expert changed facts and asserted that the plaintiff’s own testimony about her accident was wrong. The expert’s testimony was thus inadmissible as a “net opinion” because it was not supported by factual evidence.

Can Intentional Acts Result In Exclusion From Insurance Coverage?

Yes. In the case of Devoe v. Koury (N.J. App. Div, March 2015), Michael Koury shot and killed a store owner and himself at a jewelry store in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Because Koury was living with his parents at the time of the shooting, a claim was brought against his parents’ homeowners’ policy, insured by New Jersey Manufacturers (NJM). Although Koury’s actions were of the type normally considered intentional and excluded from coverage (Voorhees v. Preferred Mutual Insurance Co., 128 N.J. 165 [1992]), NJM had the burden to prove that Koury’s actions came within the intentional-conduct exclusion.

The two ways in which an action can be intentional are (1) if the alleged wrongdoer subjectively intended or expected to cause an injury and (2) if the nature of the occurrence is such that injury is the reasonably foreseeable result. In this case, the appellate division found that Koury’s conduct was objectively intentional because when he fired his gun, the likelihood of bodily injury or death was extremely high.

Do Courts Distinguish Employees From Independent Contractors Under The Workers’ Compensation Act?

Yes. To distinguish a worker as an employee or an independent contractor, the court applies several factors such as how much control the employer has over the employee’s daily work output and the relative economic dependence on the employer by the employee.

This is determination is critical because the benefits of the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) apply only to employees and not independent contractors. Under the WCA, employees with work-related injuries are given medical treatment and limited compensation without regard to the negligence of the employer. N.J.S.A. 34:15-7. As a trade-off for this coverage, however, the employer is given immunity from all other lawsuits relating to the work-related injury..

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Contact Robert A. Scirocco and Associates Counselors at Law online or call us at 973-691-1188 for an in-depth consultation and specific legal counsel about your personal injury questions.