Somerville Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

Should you lay down your bike?

New Jersey motorcyclists may have heard of this common tip: to avoid motorcycle injuries, you should lay your bike down. However, is this practice really as safe as people seem to think? Will it really save you from further injury?

According to Ride Apart, this may actually not be a safe option. Laying your motorcycle down is the practice of turning your motorcycle to the side to avoid colliding into something directly. This is supposed to be a safe option that will allow you to avoid taking a direct impact to your entire body or bike.

The ABC test for employers who pay independent contractors

Some employers consider themselves exempt from the New Jersey requirement to provide workers’ compensation coverage. Employers may claim to be outside the scope of the law because they only pay independent contractors or subcontractors for services rendered. For employers who claim to be exempt due to the independent contractor status of workers, they must meet all the requirements of New Jersey law.

According to The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the law in New Jersey creates a presumption that persons are employees if they provide “personal services” for an employer. Federal law mandates that audits be completed so that employees are protected under applicable unemployment compensation law and so that taxes are paid on an appropriate basis. To comply with these requirements, New Jersey officials conduct audits of employers. Auditors review employer records to ensure that employees are not incorrectly paid as independent contractors. When an employee is incorrectly identified and paid as an independent contract, the employee is neither protected under New Jersey unemployment compensation law nor taxed correctly. To ensure proper classification of independent contractors, New Jersey auditors use the “ABC” test.

State laws vary when it comes to motorcylce helmets

Motorcyclists in New Jersey are required by law to wear helmets, but the country actually has a patchwork of laws regarding helmets.

As the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports, there are laws in 19 states that require helmets to be worn by all motorcyclists. These are called universal helmet laws, and Washington, D.C., also has one. An additional 28 states have laws on the books that regulate helmet use for some motorcyclists, such as minors. Only three states have no laws on the books, and those are Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire. Universal helmet laws used to be federally mandated in order to receive certain funding, but in 1976 the laws changed, and states began to dictate who was required to wear a helmet while on the road.

Dog bites: who is to blame?

Dogs have long been known as loyal and loving companions. After all, they offer unconditional support, entertainment, and protection to their human owners. Although these four-legged children are commonly considered members of the family, there are some that compromise these popular and endearing notions. Like any animal, dogs can have ranging temperaments; this is especially true regarding dogs who have been abused and who are raised to fight. While both of these practices are prohibited in New Jersey, they are not the only reasons a dog may bite, and there are nevertheless many instances in which a dog bites a person and an injury occurs as a result. Regardless of the type of attack, who is to blame for damage done? 

Unfortunately, some breeds have a somewhat negative reputation across the United States. New Jersey News reported on a particularly vicious dog attack, in which a Pit Bull and Rottweiler escaped their apartment home and attacked a passerby on the street. The man fought the dogs for nearly an hour before police arrived on the scene, and the victim received one of the largest dog bite settlements in the history of the state. New Jersey News goes on to state that recent laws are more sympathetic to dog bite victims, wherein victims have strict liability and owners take responsibilty for damage. The report also shows that in New Jersey, landlords can also be held liable if they fail to warn those inside the building that dangerous dogs are present.

Drill risks: Hand and face injuries

Using a drill isn't that dangerous, right? Think again: These devices cause a lot of construction site injuries every year. When you use a drill infrequently at your home, the chances might be slim that you'll get hurt. But when you use one of these devices on a day-to-day basis as your job, every time you use a drill your statistical chance of getting hurt goes up.

Hand and face injuries are the most common when it comes to drills. Let's take a look at how you can prevent these injuries on the job.

The dangers of cat bites

New Jersey residents may not be aware of the fact that cat bites can actually be even more dangerous than dog bites. While people treat dog bites immediately, they may be more inclined to let a cat bite sit without proper treatment, which could be a dangerous or even deadly decision. states that cat bites need to be cleaned thoroughly and bandaged well in order to prevent infection at the bite site. Infection and swelling can also be prevented if the injured area is kept elevated above heart level. However, due to the puncture-like nature of cat bites, they're able to inject bacteria deep below the surface of the skin. This is what makes cat bites so dangerous compared to dog bites, which tend to be more on the skin's surface.

Understanding the New Jersey Tort Claims Act

There are potential hazards across the state of New Jersey, so it is no surprise that injuries can happen in public parks or government buildings as easily as in an amusement park or grocery store. What many do not realize, however, is that when someone sustains an injury at a government-owned facility, the rules of premises liability differ slightly.

According to reports from, the New Jersey Tort Claims Act is a state law in place that protects governmental agencies in the state from many types of liability. In order to bring a lawsuit, a case must include a government employee "engaging in willful misconduct" or have caused permanent injury to the plaintiff. There are also time limits governing the filing of lawsuits: the public agency must be notified within 90 days of the incident and six months before any lawsuit can be filed.

How a 'designated texter' can help drivers avoid accidents

If you haven't noticed from the public service announcements this summer, distracted driving is still a huge problem on America's roads. It is expected that injuries stemming from distracted driving accidents will exceed last year's total. Despite numerous laws banning the practice, it appears that many drivers disregard the law.

But just when you think safety advocates are out of ideas on how to curb texting and driving, they appear to have taken a page from drunk driving PSAs.

Enter the "designated texter."

How to handle dangerous motorcycle riding situations

Cruising along the streets of New Jersey can be thrilling, but there are many situations that can be especially dangerous for motorcycle riders. As a driver, you can increase your safety by being constantly aware of the possible obstacles you may face on the road. We at Lieberman, Ryan and Forrest have created this guide to detail the dangers to watch out for when you are riding a motorcycle.


How you can help your accident case before it goes to court

When it comes to prevailing in a car accident claim, it is always helpful to have favorable facts. This commonly helps to win a case before you even get to the courtroom. Insurance companies certainly like it this way. This is probably why they want to take their time if there are any questions as to liability. Basically, if there is a chance that the other driver may be liable, the insurer wants to know about it.

Just because the insurer wants to investigate, this does not prevent you from doing the same. With that said, there are three things that can help your case, and they may be enough to stave off legal action. This post will identify them.