Emotional Distress and Mental Anguish Damages in Personal Injury

emotional distress in personal injury casesIn personal injury cases, damages refers to the permanent injuries suffered by the accident victim, for which monetary compensation is sought to help make them “whole” again. Personal injury awards and settlements are designed to compensate injured people for the harms and losses that they sustain. In certain cases, damages may be sought for the mental, emotional, and psychological injuries sustained by the injured plaintiff.

Emotional Distress / Mental Anguish

Mental anguish and emotional distress are sometimes used interchangeably to describe the emotional and psychological impact of a serious injury or a traumatic accident. These damages may be categorized under pain and suffering.

Depression

When someone suffers a catastrophic injury, the resulting changes can lead to depression and other mood disorders. In particular, depression frequently accompanies a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Other times, just dealing with pain, rehabilitation, life changes, and other consequences of injuries can lead to depression.

Fear

Feelings of dread and fear frequently […]

The Role of Occupational Therapists in Personal Injury Cases

Occupational Therapists in Injury Cases

Occupational therapy and rehabilitation services are essential to the physical and psychological recovery of many personal injury victims. After a serious slip and fall, motor vehicle accident, work injury or other catastrophic accident that causes severe physical damage, the injured person’s life may be greatly altered. Accident victims often require ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitative care to deal with the effects of injuries. Occupational therapists are on the front line of this important battle.

What is an Occupational Therapist?

An occupational therapist (OT) is a healthcare professional who helps aging, injured and/or disabled patients achieve physical, psychological, and functional goals, thereby improving the patient’s overall quality and enjoyment of life.

Some common services an OT performs include:

  • Assessing the impact of injuries on a patient’s life and functional abilities
  • Assessing new challenges presented by the injuries
  • Developing a plan to restore the client’s pre-injury […]

Snow & Ice Slip and Falls in New Jersey

snow-and-ice-slip-and-fallsSlip and fall accidents are a common year-round occurrence, sending thousands of victims to the emergency room each year. But inclement weather, such as freezing rain and snow, increases the chances of these painful and often serious accidents.

In New Jersey, winters are typically harsh. Average snowfalls in December through March range from 2.6 inches to 9.3 inches. And low temperatures that frequently hover in the single digits ensure that conditions are icy for a good portion of the winter months. Thus, hazardous weather conditions affect outdoor walking surfaces in the Garden State for roughly a third of the year.

Winter Slip and Fall Accidents

Cold New Jersey winters present familiar problems to the state’s residents, ranging from dangerous driving conditions, to falling branches, burst pipes and slippery outdoor surfaces. Indeed, one of the most common hazards that exists during this time of year is ice and snow covered walkways, parking lots and sidewalks.

Causes

Nearly half […]

Most Common Slip and Fall Injuries in New Jersey

common slip and fall injuries in New JerseyFall down injuries are the number one cause of emergency room visits every year, numbering over 8 million, with 12 percent of all falls caused by slip and fall accidents.  The CDC reports that, on average, 1 out of 5 fall down accidents results in serious injury. Injuries in these cases can be wide-ranging, from minor scrapes and bruises, to catastrophic injury and even death. It is not surprising that slip and fall cases are some of the most frequently filed personal injury lawsuits in the courts.

Common Slip and Fall Injuries

There are many ways that a person can slip and fall, as well as an unlimited number of locations where these accidents can occur. A number of factors contribute to the type and severity of injuries that slip and fall accident victims suffer. The age and health of the injured person weighs in heavily […]

$1.32 Million Recovered for Retired NYPD Officer Injured in Essex County, NJ Slip and Fall

Trial Attorney Richard A. Reinartz of The Reinartz Law Firm recently obtained a $1.32 Million settlement for a client who was injured in a slip and fall accident. On Sunday January 5, 2014, retired New York City Police Department officer Andrew L. slipped and fell on ice located on the front steps of his apartment complex in Verona, NJ. As a result, Andrew sustained a trimalleolar fracture of his left ankle requiring multiple surgical procedures. It was alleged in the ensuing Essex County personal injury lawsuit that the owner of the premises had been negligent and failed to take proper measures to protect apartment residents such as Andrew against snow and ice hazards at the property. Liability and damages were disputed by the defense, and a total of 6 expert witnesses in various disciplines were retained by The Reinartz Law Firm to support Andrew’s case. The lawsuit settled just prior to a scheduled July […]

New Jersey Slip and Fall Cases on Commercial Properties

slip and fall on commercial propertiesSlip and Fall accidents are one of the most common types of premises liability claims.  Causes of these accidents can include icy sidewalks, foreign or man-made objects, potholes in parking lots, slippery floors, uneven sidewalks and other hazards.

In most slip and fall cases, the plaintiff must prove the defendant’s negligent failure to properly maintain the property. Thus, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the premises owner had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition in order to sustain the claim.  In other words, the plaintiff must prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition upon reasonable inspection of the premises, but failed to discover and remediate the condition in due course, causing the injury.

There are some cases, however, where the plaintiff does not have the burden of proving the property owner’s actual or constructive notice […]

Mode of Operation Doctrine in New Jersey Slip and Fall Cases

Mode of Operation Doctrine njIn the typical premises liability / slip and fall case, the injured plaintiff must prove the negligence of the premises owner.  This mean that the plaintiff must prove the premises owner knew or should have known about a dangerous condition on the property, but failed to identify the condition upon reasonable inspection, and as a result the plaintiff sustained an injury.

Under certain circumstances, however, the legal doctrine known as the “mode of operation,” frees the plaintiff of the burden of proof and creates a rebuttable presumption of negligence against the premises owner.  The mode of operation doctrine generally applies to self-service businesses, where the defendant’s mode of business operation, by its nature, creates a dangerous condition.

The mode of operation often applies in slip and fall cases arising at supermarkets and grocery stores, where floors regularly become slippery from spilled food and liquids that are […]

What to Do When You Have an Accident on Someone Else’s Property

injury on someoneAccidents that occur on someone else’s property are occasionally the fault of the property owner for allowing a dangerous or defective condition to exist on the property. Premises liability is a legal concept whereby a property owner can be held responsible for damages caused by their failure to keep the property in a safe condition.

While slip and fall cases are the most common type of premises liability claim, they are not the only one. Inadequate lighting in parking lots can pose a risk at night and can expose a premises owner to liability. Additionally, unsafe chemicals or hidden dangers on a property can provide a basis for a premises liability claim.

All of these types of cases share one common factor: the person responsible for the property failed to keep it in a safe condition, and that caused someone to be hurt.

What Should You […]

Negligence Claims in New Jersey

negligence claimsWhen building a case in a personal injury matter, the primary legal claim to be proven is the claim of negligence against one or more defendants. The plaintiff typically has the burden of proof, and whether the plaintiff can prove the defendant was negligent will usually determine the outcome of the case.

Under New Jersey law, negligence is defined as a party’s failure to act as a reasonable person would, or failure to exercise the “degree of care for the safety of others” which a “person of ordinary prudence” would exercise under “similar circumstances.”  NJ Model Jury Charge (Civil) 5.10A “Negligence and Ordinary Care – General” (1984).

In order to prove a negligence claim, four elements must be established by a preponderance of the evidence.  First, an injured plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, meaning the defendant had an […]

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