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Saturday, September 23, 2006

NJ Laws Newsletter E222 September 12, 2006

In this issue:
1. Disfigurement or permanent injury required in car accident cases where the lawsuit threshold applies
2. Spine Injuries in Accidents
3. Inadequate Security and Liability for Criminal Attack
4. Plea Requires Defendant to Admit Essential Element of Offense.
5. New webpage: Alimony and Child Support in New Jersey

1. Disfigurement or permanent injury required in car accident cases where the lawsuit threshold applies

Kenneth Vercammen & Associates Law Office help people injured due to the negligence of others. We provide representation throughout New Jersey. The insurance companies will not help. Don't give up! Our Law Office can provide experienced attorney representation if you are injured.

In order to recover damages in most in a car Personal Injury case, the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he/she sustained injuries which fit into one or more of the following categories: 1. Death; 2. Dismemberment; 3. Significant disfigurement or significant scarring; 4. Displaced fracture; 5. Loss of a fetus; 6. A permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.

At the trial, the Judge will read the "formal instructions" to the Jury. They are called Request to Charge. The Request to Charge in an accident case was revised recently.
Disfigurement or permanent injury required in car accident cases where the lawsuit threshold applies. More information at:

2. Spine Injuries in Accidents
Persons who are in car accidents or fall down often do not feel pain in their back until the next day. Testing for back injuries could include: muscle conduction tests, MRI, CT scan, and X-ray. A person concerned about a knee injury should probably consult an orthopedic doctor who can order and read most of the above tests.

Even in a low impact accident, there can be a back injury. According to medical journal excerpts:
1) "The truth is that all driving can be dangerous. More than 80 percent of all car crashes occur at speeds less than 40 mph. Fatalities involving non-belted occupants of cars have been recorded at as low as 12 mph. That's about the speed you'd be driving in a parking lot."
Source: Seat belt safety pamphlet, number D)T HS 802 152, distributed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

2) "The amount of damage to the automobile bears little relation to the force applied to the cervical spine of the occupants. The acceleration of the occupant's head depends on the force imparted, the moment of inertia of the struck vehicle, and the amount of collapse of force dissemination by the crumpling of the vehicle. The inertia of the struck vehicle is related to the weight and the relative ease with which the vehicle rolls or moves forward."
Source: Charles Caroll, M.D., Paul McAfee, M.D., Lee Riley, Jr., M.D.: Objective findings for diagnosis of "whiplash". Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine, March, 1986, pp. 57-74.

3) "The accident does not need to be severe in order to generate cervical trauma. Using the brakes when the light suddenly turns red and when the neck is too relaxed is enough to cause trauma. The neck may projected backwards even though not violently. The head, which weighs five kilograms and is balanced over the cervical spine, being supported by only two small articular surfaces no greater than a thumbnail, is also thrown backwards pulling the cervical spine with it. In addition, a sudden reflex contraction of the flexors on the neck occurs with a certain delay. We shall not describe all the details of the mechanism of the production of these whiplash injuries..."

It is easy to imagine that the joint injuries are not the same if during a collision, or any other accident, the head is directed along the axis of the impact or if the head is rotated or if the impact is directed laterally. In the final analysis, it is the result of the injury which is important."
Robert Maigne, M.D., Orthopedic Medicine - A New Approach to Vertebral Manipulations, CC. Thomas, 1972, p. 196.
4) "The position of the head at the moment of collision influences the type of injury. This is particularly true of the degree of rotation in relationship to the direction of the impact...the foramen are open equally when the head faces forward but are narrowed on the side toward which the head is laterally flexed or to which the head is turned. Not only will the already narrowed foramen be compressed ligaments will be far more damaging. Rotating the head at the time of collision increases the possibility of more serious injury."
More information at: http://www.geocities.com/kenvnjlaw/Spine_Injuries_In_Acc.htm

3. Inadequate Security and Liability for Criminal Attack
Many people are injured when attacked on a business property, when the property owner fails to provide adequate security. Injured persons may be able to recover damages plus payment of medical bills. The New Jersey Supreme Court in Kuzmicz v. Ivy Hill Park Apartments, 147 N.J. 510. (1997) reviewed liability for injuries suffered by people attacked. The duty of landowners for injuries that occur on their premises, the analysis no longer relies exclusively on the status of the injured party. Instead "[t]he issue is whether, 'in light of the actual relationship between the parties under all of the surrounding circumstances,' the imposition of a duty on the landowner is 'fair and just.'" Brett v. Great Am. Recreation, 144 N.J. 479, 509 (1996) (quoting Hopkins v. Fox & Lazo Realtors, 132 N.J. 426, 438 (1993)). For off-premises liability, the issue is substantially the same. In both contexts, however, the analysis is fact-sensitive.

4. Plea Requires Defendant to Admit Essential Element of Offense. State v. Piniero ___ NJ Super. ___ A4764-02T4 (App. Div. April 19, 2006).
The defendant's guilty plea to absconding from parole lacked a factual basis. Although the trial judge properly questioned the defendant to independently satisfy himself that there was a factual basis for the plea and although the defendant was "difficult," the judge should have refused to accept the plea when it became clear that the defendant denied an essential element of the offense.
Source: 15 NJL 913.

5. New webpage: Alimony and Child Support in New Jersey
NJ Court Rules which apply to all Divorce, alimony and child support cases


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