Brick New Jersey did a good job explaining the potential impact of Superstorm Sandy to waterfront homeowners like myself!! I live in the Baywood section of Brick and we definitely got flooded. There was not a lot of good news, but information that was provided was what water front homeowners needed to hear and know. Please contact us at www.leporeluizzi.com if you need any help!! See the full story at the Brick Patch at the link below!! Pete Luizzi
Fifteen passengers lost their lives on March 12, 2011, when a bus in New York City crashed on Interstate 95 and turned on its side. Just two days later, a bus crashed on the New Jersey Turnpike and took the lives of the driver and another passenger. Later that month, a tour bus crashed in New Hampshire. No one was killed but several were injured. In early April, two men were killed after falling out of a tour bus in Massachusetts.
All of these accidents prompted legislators to take note. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 221 buses were involved in fatal collisions in 2009, the most recent national data available. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates an average of 19 bus passengers are killed each year and dozens more injured.
Bus safety was the topic of a recent U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee on March 30th. Suggestions mentioned at the hearing include:
Currently none of the above are required for commercial buses. Proponents of increased regulation say these simple measures could save lives. Around half of bus passenger fatalities occur because of rollovers, and during those rollovers, about 70 percent are thrown from the bus. Seatbelts and stronger roofs and windows could help prevent those deaths.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NSTB) studied driver influence in accidents, and found driver fault in 60 percent of crashes over a 12-year period. Yet creating stricter mandates on driver training is proving difficult.
For the last six years the DOT has been working on updated regulations for driver training, but as yet nothing is official. Nor is this anything new. Congress has pressed the Transportation Department into developing stricter standard testing for the last 20 years. In 2004 the DOT finally passed regulations, only to have them struck down in court as not being in line with the DOT’s own data.
For now, the NTSB will have a public forum in May to check on the DOT’s progress to improve bus safety. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has indicated the DOT will issue mandatory training standards by this fall.
If you have been in a car or bus accident you may be able to recover the costs of medical expenses and wage loss. Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your rights.
In March, two related bills entered both houses of Congress aimed at preventing concussions and other sports injuries to children. The Children’s Sports Athletic Equipment Safety Act would raise standards for football helmets that must be met within 9 months of the bills’ enactment. If the companies do not improve standards on their own, the proposed bills give the Consumer Product Safety Commission the ability to set mandatory guidelines.
The bills come amid concern about the ability of current football helmets to prevent concussions. According to Rep. Bill Pascrell, the sponsor of the U.S. House of Representatives bill, approximately 3.8 million American athletes receive a concussion every year while playing sports, and sports trails only motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of traumatic brain injury for those aged 15 – 24.
The bill also targets companies that make misleading claims about safety products, from football helmets to headbands and mouthguards. For example, many helmets have the manufactured date inside the padding of the football helmet, making it difficult to know how old the helmet is. Football helmets lose their protecting power over time.
The sponsor of the Senate bill, Sen. Tom Udall, asked the Federal Trade Commission in January to investigate claims by football helmet manufacturers regarding “potential unfair and deceptive practices related to the sale of football helmets, especially those advertised for children’s use.” In a letter to the FTC Chairman, Sen. Udall cited the football helmet manufacturer Riddell for claiming a new helmet reduced the chance of concussions by 31 percent without providing enough research to back that claim.
A concussion occurs when the brain hits the inside of the skull from a violent motion or impact to the head. Concussions can cause memory loss, severe headaches and confusion, among other things. According to Doctor Jonathan T. Finnoff of the Mayo Clinic, serious or repeat concussions can have long-lasting effects in children, and in worst cases can produce fatal brain swelling. Postconcussion syndrome causes a person to lose some ability to think or remember. It can cause changes in personality, such as depression or irritability. It can also cause unsteadiness in balance and vision. Anyone with a previous concussion is more likely to get one in the future.
If you believe your child may have suffered a concussion seek medical help immediately. If your child has been injured from a defective product you have rights. Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss potential compensation for your child’s injuries.
New Jersey drivers can currently purchase up to $250,000 worth of protection for damages in medical expenses and pain and suffering after a car crash through personal injury protection insurance, or PIP. Recently, however, a proposed administrative revision of PIP seeking to lower the amount of protection a New Jersey resident can purchase underwent a hearing on Oct. 6, 2011, in the state’s Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. On one side at the hearing were insurance companies claiming this high limit reduces their profitability through arbitration on claims disputes; on the other side were medical providers and personal injury attorneys who say that long delays by insurance companies in processing PIP claims brings additional and preventable pain and suffering to their patients and clients.
The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance has the final say on the new regulations. In 2009, the DOBI created fee scheduling, which set limits on the amount medical providers could charge for certain procedures. The Superior Court’s Appellate Division upheld the decision, despite doctor complaints that the fees were arbitrary and too low. The proposed regulations would further restrict the ability for doctors to set fees for the cost of certain medical procedures.
The DOBI took comments on new regulations, which have been quite controversial, up to Oct. 17. NJ.com reports that the DOBI received over 12,000 letters between August and October regarding the proposed PIP revisions.
Regulations Still Current – but Likely to Undergo Changes
It is unclear what changes the DOBI will ultimately make to PIP regulations. Several aspects are under scrutiny; for example, the current proposed revisions would only allow an appeal of an insurance company’s denial of a PIP claim within five days of the denial. This means a doctor would have very little time to diagnose injuries, especially for pain and suffering, before filing an appeal on a rejected claim. For patients with injuries that manifest themselves later, such as back pain or brain injuries, these regulations would greatly limit the timeframe under which they can recover.
Speak to an Attorney
For those injured in an auto accident, the bureaucracy involved in getting needed medical treatment and procedures to mitigate pain and suffering can be a nightmare. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, speak to an experienced attorney familiar with obtaining awards for damages and navigating insurance claims settlements. An advocate can greatly enhance your ability to recover the appropriate amount of costs that resulted from the accident.
According to a report published recently in the medical journal Pediatrics, a child under the age of five is taken to the emergency room after falling down the stairs an average of once every six minutes in the United States. Infants age 12 months and younger faced the highest risk, accounting for nearly one-third of the injuries.
The problem is due in part to the fact that many stairways are not designed with child safety in mind, according to one author of the study. In addition, many serious accidents occur when adults fall on the stairs while carrying a child, greatly increasing the chances of hospitalization.
Premises Liability for Injuries in New Jersey
While many stair injuries occur in the home, others happen in places like day care centers, public spaces and at the homes of others. Under a legal theory known as premises liability, property owners and occupants in New Jersey have a legal responsibility to keep their premises safe for visitors, and may be held liable for injuries that occur if they fail to uphold that responsibility.
The extent of the landowner’s duty to protect visitors from harm depends largely on the circumstances. Commercial properties like stores, malls and restaurants generally owe the highest duty of care to visitors and can be held liable for injuries caused not only by known dangers, but also by dangers that the property owner could have discovered upon reasonable inspection of the property.
In contrast, owners and occupiers of residential property generally have no duty to inspect their property and are liable only for injuries that result from known hazards. If a homeowner knows about any hidden dangers on the property, such as a rotten step or loose railing, he or she must warn visitors about them.
While landowners generally have a very low duty of care to adult trespassers, in certain cases they can be held liable for injuries to child trespassers. For instance, if a young child is injured by falling into a neighbor’s pool when it is not properly secured, the neighbor may be liable for the child’s injuries.
If your child has been hurt in an accident outside the home, you may be able to receive compensation for the injuries, medical expenses and rehabilitative costs resulting from the accident. For more information about seeking compensation after an injury in New Jersey, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.