NJ Laws Email Newsletter E285
Kenneth Vercammen, Attorney at Law
October 22, 2008
In This Issue
1. GOT KIDS? Estate Planning is Recommended
2. $1.7M Award for Head Injury from 1995 Crash
3. $486K Jury Award for Permanent Back and Leg Pain
4. $2.4M Settlement in Fall from Faulty Railing
5. In Driving While Suspended / DWS, Uncounseled Prior Plea Cannot Enhance Jail. State v. Thomas 401 NJ Super. 180 (Law Div. 2007)
6. South Brunswick Boys Soccer #1
7. If You Are Hurt In An Accident, We Can Help
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Greetings Kenneth Vercammen,
1. GOT KIDS? ESTATE PLANNING IS RECOMMENDED
If you have minor children and do not have a will, one author wrote you are doing them a great disservice bordering on child neglect. If you do not name a guardian for your minor children think of the worst relative you have and that's who will get the kids. Makes you shudder, doesn't it?
We've finished the graduation season and kids have started college. Do you have a recent high school grad? Is your son or daughter over 18 and heading off to college? Did you remember that your child is now an adult and your control over them is limited? For example, if your daughter becomes ill while at school and is admitted to the hospital or student health center, you are NOT legally entitled to know about it-or about her condition; even if you are paying for everything.
So, here's the plan. Have your college son or daughter prepare a HIPAA authorization form. This allows your child to name the parents as the persons to discuss health care matters with medical personnel. Without it, you cannot legally learn anything. It's something that most parents never think about.
It may also be prudent for your child to execute the basic documents listed above, including the Durable Power or Attorney and Advance Directives. Once a child turns 18, your legal connection is irrevocably changed.
Do you own real estate? How is it titled? Is it a survivorship deed? Have you considered a transfer on death deed? Some states permit those and they work very well. Do you have a second home? Is it outside your home state? What are the laws in that state regarding the inheritance of property? Schedule an appointment with your attorney.
2. $1.7M AWARD FOR HEAD INJURY FROM 1995 CRASH
Armed with a New Jersey Supreme Court decision loosening a six-year statute of limitations, a 32-year-old woman has been awarded $1.7 million by an arbitration panel for her injuries in a car crash when she was 18. In 1995, Jennifer Lake was the passenger in a car that went off a road in Pittsgrove and struck one tree, then another. She received extensive treatment for head injuries during 10 days in the hospital, and for the next several years continued to have physical and emotional problems. An initial claim against the driver was settled within his policy limits of $100,000, but afterward when an underinsured motorist claim was filed with New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., it was turned down because there was a "failure to toll the statute of limitations." A legal malpractice case was brought against Lake's first law firm, but in 2005 the Supreme Court decided Price v. New Jersey Manufacturers,which allowed an equitable tolling of the statute of limitations. Lake v. New Jersey Manufacturers thenwent to an arbitration panel consisting of Robert G. Harbeson, George A. Prutting and Maury K. Cutler, which awarded the $1.7 million.
Source: NJ Lawyer Daily Briefing 10-7-08
3. $486K JURY AWARD FOR PERMANENT BACK AND LEG PAIN
A driver whose nervous system was permanently damaged by a rear-end crash, resulting in eight months of lost wages and a struggle with chronic back and right-leg pain, was awarded $486,000 by a Cumberland County jury in Saduk v. Huckleberry. Superior Court Judge Michael Brooke Fisher reduced the award to $450,000 because Joanne Saduk already had received some wage disability payments through her employment-based insurance. Saduk was waiting to turn left on a Port Elizabeth street in 2004 when James Huckleberry struck her from behind, blowing out the back window of her car and leaving her unconscious. Tests eventually revealed that her nerve damage was permanent and could only be controlled by medication.
Source: NJ Lawyer Daily Briefing 10-10-08
4. $2.4M SETTLEMENT IN FALL FROM FAULTY RAILING
A man injured after he leaned against a second-story railing that gave out has settled his personal injury suit in Middlesex County for $2.4 million. John Rojas was helping a friend move out of his Chester apartment in March 2006 when he fell, fracturing his elbow and femur. He now walks with a limp. The property owner, 76 Main Street LLC, will pay $1 million toward the settlement reached before Superior Court Judge Jessica R. Mayer. Cafaro Brothers, Inc., which installed the railing, will pay $500,000. Plus, $900,000 will be covered by AIG, which sold an excess-damages policy to 76 Main Street.
Source: NJ Lawyer Daily Briefing 10-14-08
5. IN DRIVING WHILE SUSPENDED / DWS, UNCOUNSELED PRIOR PLEA CANNOT ENHANCE JAIL. State v. Thomas 401 NJ Super. 180 (Law Div. 2007)
No defendant may be sentenced to an increased period of incarceration for any offense on the basis of a prior un-counseled conviction.
Source: 192 N.J.L.J. 574.
6. SOUTH BRUNSWICK BOYS SOCCER #1
The Vikings clinched their 3rd Straight Red Division Title With a Win Against Edison. This is the first time in school history the boys soccer program has won any championship 3 years in a row. Congratulations gentleman on this great accomplishment. South Brunswick is seeded #1 in the Middlesex County Soccer Tournament. Brendan V is forward on the varsity team.
7. IF YOU ARE HURT IN AN ACCIDENT, WE CAN HELP
If you are hurt in a car, slip and fall or other type of accident, please call us. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality of legal representation to accident victims. We represent accident victims only - Not insurance companies. We Will fight for your rights and try to resolve your claim as fast as possible, with the goal being to obtain the maximum compensation for you. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation.
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KENNETH VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC
ATTORNEY AT LAW
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
Admitted to practice law in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, US Supreme Court and Federal District Court
Mike McDonald - Editor of NJ Laws Newsletter Blog