Taking the first steps
You’re ready to move forward and take the next step. You’re worried about how you’re going to pay the medical bills and recoup lost wages. But if you don’t know what your rights are, it’s difficult to protect them.
These are just some of the many areas of personal injury law that Larry Reynolds Law covers. If you or a loved one has been injured, or worse yet has died as a result of any of these types of accidents, please contact Larry Reynolds Law to discuss the details of your case.
One minute, you’re driving to work like any typical morning. The next minute, you’re struck by another car or truck. Your life has changed in an instant. You’re overwhelmed and don’t know what to do. You know the accident wasn’t your fault, but you’re unsure of what to do next. It could be the negligence of the other driver. It could be an issue with the vehicle that struck you. You need a personal injury attorney with experience, and an attorney who knows NJ tort law. Because very often, these two areas of personal injury and product liability may overlap.
Slip and Fall
Probably all of us at one time or another have slipped or taken a fall. Most times, you get up, dust yourself off, and maybe even laugh a little. But if you’ve suffered a serious trip, slip or fall that resulted in continued pain or suffering, you know it’s no laughing matter. You may have slipped and fallen due to conditions such as water or other liquids on the floor, ice on the ground, or maybe have gotten your foot caught in a damaged sidewalk or broken grate. The fact is, these accidents may have been caused as a result of poor maintenance. And very often, it’s the property owner who’s responsible and could be liable.
You show up at work to do your job. You’re honest and dependable. You expect your work environment to be safe and reliable. You assume your employer has complied with necessary regulations. Yet, you’ve experienced an injury on the job. The fact is, you can’t always rely on employers’ claims of safety. You need a lawyer who knows this area of the law. If you’ve been injured, despite the fact that you’ve complied with all of the safety measurements in place, you still may be eligible for damages under the law, so it’s important to have an expert review your case.
You purchase a product thinking that it’s safe and reliable. You assume the manufacturer has conducted the right testing and found the product to cause no harm. Yet, despite any due diligence on their part, you’ve experienced an injury as a result of using the product. You can’t always rely on manufacturers’ claims of safety. It’s their responsibility to make sure that the products we buy and use are safe. Even if you’ve been injured because you’ve misused or mishandled a product, you still may be eligible for damages under the law.
Sadly, every day, patients are injured as a result of a doctor or health care provider’s bad decision. Many times, those injuries are debilitating, and even permanent. Or worse yet, they may have led to your loved one’s death. If you find yourself in that type of predicament, you need to understand your rights and the rules that regulate medical malpractice. You need someone in your corner who knows the law, and who is tough on the insurers that cover medical practitioners so you receive the damages you’re entitled to help you get on with your life.
Glossary of Legal Terms
For those who are not familiar with the many legal and insurance terms often used in personal injury cases, understanding the language of law can be confusing. This glossary of legal terms is a selection of typical terminology associated with personal injury law, and has been compiled for your education and use.
Adjuster – an employee (usually a non-lawyer) of an insurance company or an adjustment firm employed by an insurance company to negotiate an early settlement of a claim for damages against a person, a business or public body (like a city).
Administrator – the person appointed by the court to handle the estate of someone who died without a will, with a will but no nominated executor, or the executor named in the will has died, has been removed from the case or does not desire to serve.
Affidavit – any written document in which the signer swears under oath before a notary public or someone authorized to take oaths (like a County Clerk), that the statements in the document are true.
Appeal – to ask a higher court to reverse the decision of a trial court after final judgment or other legal ruling.
Arbitration – a mini-trial, which may be for a lawsuit ready to go to trial, held in an attempt to avoid a court trial and conducted by a person or a panel of people who are not judges.
Civil Action – any lawsuit relating to civil matters and not criminal prosecution.
Claim – the making of a demand (asserting a claim) for money due, for property, from damages or for enforcement of a right.
Comparative Negligence – a rule of law applied in accident cases to determine responsibility and damages based on the negligence of every party directly involved in the accident.
Complaint – the first document filed with the court (actually with the County Clerk or Clerk of the Court) by a person or entity claiming legal rights against another.
Contingent Fee – a fee to a lawyer which will be due and payable only if there is a successful conclusion of the legal work, usually winning or settling a lawsuit in favor of the client (particularly in negligence cases), or collecting funds due with or without filing a lawsuit.
Damages – the amount of money which a plaintiff (the person suing) may be awarded in a lawsuit.
Decedent – the person who has died, sometimes referred to as the "deceased."
Defendant – the party sued in a civil lawsuit or the party charged with a crime in a criminal prosecution. In some types of cases (such as divorce) a defendant may be called a respondent.
Defense Counsel – the attorney representing the defendant in a lawsuit or criminal prosecution.
Deposition – the taking and recording of testimony of a witness under oath before a court reporter in a place away from the courtroom before trial.
Discovery – the entire efforts of a party to a lawsuit and his/her/its attorneys to obtain information before trial through demands for production of documents, depositions of parties and potential witnesses, written interrogatories (questions and answers written under oath), written requests for admissions of fact, examination of the scene and the petitions and motions employed to enforce discovery rights.
Executor – the person appointed to administer the estate of a person who has died leaving a will which nominates that person.
Expert Witness – a person who is a specialist in a subject, often technical, who may present his/her expert opinion without having been a witness to any occurrence relating to the lawsuit or criminal case.
Federal Court – the court system which handles civil and criminal cases based on jurisdictions enumerated in the Constitution and federal statutes.
File – to deposit with the clerk of the court a written complaint or petition which is the opening step in a lawsuit and subsequent documents, including an answer, demurrer, motions, petitions and orders.
Injury – any harm done to a person by the acts or omissions of another. Injury may include physical hurt as well as damage to reputation or dignity, loss of a legal right or breach of contract.
Insurance – a contract (insurance policy) in which the insurer (insurance company) agrees for a fee (insurance premiums) to pay the insured party all or a portion of any loss suffered by accident or death.
Interrogatories – a set of written questions to a party to a lawsuit asked by the opposing party as part of the pre-trial discovery process.
Judgment – the final decision by a court in a lawsuit, criminal prosecution or appeal from a lower court's judgment, except for an "interlocutory judgment," which is tentative until a final judgment is made.
Liability – one of the most significant words in the field of law, liability means legal responsibility for one's acts or omissions.
Lien – any official claim or charge against property or funds for payment of a debt or an amount owed for services rendered.
Loss – the value placed on injury or damages due to an accident caused by another's negligence, a breach of contract or other wrongdoing.
Motion – a formal request made to a judge for an order or judgment.
Negligence – failure to exercise the care toward others which a reasonable or prudent person would do in the circumstances, or taking action which such a reasonable person would not.
No-Fault Insurance – a type of automobile insurance required of car owners in New Jersey, in which the persons injured in an accident are paid basic damages by the company that insured the vehicle in which they were riding or by which they were hit as a pedestrian.
Parties – one of the participants in a lawsuit or other legal proceeding who has an interest in the outcome.
Pleading – every legal document filed in a lawsuit, petition, motion and/or hearing, including complaint, petition, answer, demurrer, motion, declaration and memorandum of points and authorities (written argument citing precedents and statutes).
Preponderance of Evidence – the greater weight of the evidence required in a civil (non-criminal) lawsuit for the trier of fact (jury or judge without a jury) to decide in favor of one side or the other.
Punitive Damages – synonymous with exemplary damages, damages awarded in a lawsuit as a punishment and example to others for malicious, evil or particularly fraudulent acts.
Retainer – the advance payment to an attorney for services to be performed, intended to insure that the lawyer will represent the client and that the lawyer will be paid at least that amount.
Release – the writing that grants a release, releasing one from his/her obligation to perform under a contract, or to relinquish a right to an interest in real property.
Settlement – the resolution of a lawsuit (or of a legal dispute prior to filing a complaint or petition) without going forward to a final court judgment.
Statute of Limitations – a law which sets the maximum period which one can wait before filing a lawsuit, depending on the type of case or claim.
Strict Liability – automatic responsibility (without having to prove negligence) for damages due to possession and/or use of equipment, materials or possessions which are inherently dangerous.
Subpoena – an order of the court for a witness to appear at a particular time and place to testify and/or produce documents in the control of the witness.
Subrogation – assuming the legal rights of a person for whom expenses or a debt has been paid.
Summation – the final argument of an attorney at the close of a trial in which he/she attempts to convince the judge and/or jury of the virtues of the client's case.
Summons – a document issued by the court at the time a lawsuit is filed, stating instructions as to the need to file a response to the complaint within a certain time.
Surrogate Court – a court with jurisdiction over probates, estates and adoptions.
Tort – a civil wrong or wrongful act, whether intentional or accidental, from which injury occurs to another.
Federal Tort Claims Act – a statute (1948) which removed the power of the federal government to claim immunity from a lawsuit for damages due to negligent or intentional injury by a federal employee in the scope of his/her work for the government.
Trial de Novo – also known as motion for a new trial, a request made by the loser for the case to be tried again on the basis that there were significant legal errors in the way the trial was conducted and/or the jury or the judge sitting without a jury obviously came to an incorrect result.
Verdict – the decision of a jury after a trial, which must be accepted by the trial judge to be final.
Venue – the proper or most convenient location for trial of a case.
Voir Dire – from French "to see to speak," the questioning of prospective jurors by a judge and attorneys in court. Voir dire is used to determine if any juror is biased and/or cannot deal with the issues fairly, or if there is cause not to allow a juror to serve.
Workers’ Compensation – state statutes which establish liability of employers for injuries to workers while on the job or illnesses due to the employment, and requiring insurance to protect the workers.
Wrongful Death – the death of a human being as the result of a wrongful act of another person.
Source: LAW.COM The People’s Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill