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Somerville Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

Is it a serious crime to allow a dog to attack?

New Jersey residents come into contact with many dogs, but bites and attacks are relatively rare. However, if you have ever experienced or witnessed a dog go wild, you know that the barrier between the domesticated friend and the vicious animal is not always as sturdy as it seems. Be that as it may, a dog attack might not always lead to you filing a criminal case.

You might wonder if attacks are due to a lapse in judgment on the part of the dog owner, or if there was some malicious intent involved that led the dog to bite— and you would not be alone. It might surprise you to learn, however, that while there are many crimes involving animal care, dogs are not considered to be deadly weapons under the New Jersey statutes. This might make it somewhat difficult to pursue some of the higher criminal sanctions the state has to offer.

Vehicle owners should be aware of potential recalls

Motor vehicles are involved in countless injuries and fatalities across the country each year. Most are due to driver error, adverse weather or poor road conditions. However, some accidents are caused by a fault in a vehicle, whether it was a defect in manufacturing affecting a small number of cars or a major defect that could potentially injure dozens or hundreds of people. It is important for drivers in New Jersey to stay updated on recalls involving their vehicles.

How do consumers become aware of recalls? In many cases, a vehicle manufacturer will notify car owners of dangerous defects through the mail or by email. Defects that involve multiple vehicles will often be broadcast through news outlets, especially if a flaw has already injured or is likely to injure consumers. People may also look up potential problems by visiting the Consumer Reports website or by doing an internet search on their vehicle.

What makes a pothole dangerous?

New Jersey drivers understand just how annoying potholes can be. They can do more than just tear up your tires. They can cause massive damages to your car and leave you with an expensive bill, or leave you suffering from injuries.

Pothole.info shows that potholes are actually a big financial drain and cost billions of dollars in damages to cars every year. Not only that, but potholes can be massively dangerous when they're on freeways or highways, leading to a number of fatal accidents.

TVs and heavy objects at home can endanger your child’s life

When there are young children in the home, most parents in New Jersey and elsewhere childproof their house, including plugging up electrical outlets and installing child-proof locks on cabinets. It may be easy to overlook other common dangers that can be just as deadly as medications or sharp objects within reach, including heavy household items that many people believe are not a threat.

A recent, well-reported tragedy is still fresh in many people’s minds. USA TODAY reported on the incident, in which a young girl was killed at a Payless shoe store when a wall mirror fell on her. Authorities believed the mirror was not properly secured to the wall.

Understanding death benefits

If a loved one dies after sustaining a work injury in New Jersey, people may wonder how they will care for their family. In this situation, a family can usually receive death benefits.

People typically can receive death benefits if they are a dependent of the deceased loved one. According to the State of New Jersey, this means someone was a part of the deceased's household before he or she died. If someone is a full-time student younger than 23, he or she may also be eligible for these death benefits. Children in a family who have mental or physical disabilities may also receive these benefits. If people were not living with their loved one when he or she died from the injury, they sometimes may need to prove that they are a dependent.

Autonomous car accidents: A new legal issue that's here to stay

Autonomous cars are safer than human-driven cars, proponents say, because self-driving cars follow the rules of the road, they don't get distracted by their cellphones and they don't drive drunk. However, are they safe enough at this stage to successfully navigate human-driven traffic and human pedestrians?

Perhaps they will be in the future, but at the moment, self-driving technology brings up a lot of questions about safety and liability.

Biggest hazards motorcyclists face from other drivers

Spring has finally arrived, and for many New Jersey residents, this means motorcycle season. Before dusting off the bike and getting ready to ride, it is important for motorcyclists to understand the many dangers they will face in traffic.

The Cheat Sheet has provided a list of common hazards that regularly injure or claim the lives of motorcyclists across the country. The dangers that come from other motor vehicles sharing the roads with bikers include the following:

  • Intersections, especially when a driver is attempting to make a left-hand turn and is not watching for approaching motorcycles
  • Oncoming traffic
  • Sudden stops in traffic that may cause a motorcyclist to slam on the brakes
  • Drivers changing lanes without checking for motorcycles or using their turn signals
  • Vehicles that may rear-end a motorcyclist
  • Drivers opening their car doors in front of an oncoming motorcycle

Teenage distracted driving practices

Although New Jersey parents may realize that their teenagers should be free of distractions as they drive, they may not realize how dangerous distracted driving can be. Adolescent drivers can experience many distractions on the road and it is important for these young drivers and their parents to understand the dangers.

The 2016 statistics concerning teenage distracted driving may take some people by surprise. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,323 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 were involved in a fatal collision and 303 of these adolescents were driving while distracted. Distracted driving caused the deaths of 263 teenagers and 339 people died after being in a collision with a teenager who was distracted behind the wheel.

Understanding your rights if a dog attacks your pet

Almost nothing can be more terrifying than a vicious animal going after you or one of your loved ones. Like many other New Jersey residents, you consider your pets to be members of your family. You might feel helpless if you are walking your dog and another dog attacks. Many of the members of Lieberman, Ryan & Forrest, L.L.C., also love pets, and we understand the fear and outrage you would feel if your dog or cat was injured or killed by another person’s animal.

What steps can you take to protect your pet from an aggressive dog? According to the Mercury News, limiting or restricting your pet from contact with other dogs might be the most effective solution, and proper training and understanding dog behavior may also help. You might consider the following tips:

  • Keep your dog on a leash when going on a walk.
  • If you see another dog, cross the street if possible or walk the other way.
  • Understand how your dog reacts around other dogs, such as being nervous, aggressive or overly friendly, and realize that dogs may be unpredictable.
  • Keep your cats indoors, if possible.
  • Be extremely cautious when taking your dog to a dog park or area where dogs are allowed to run off leash. It may be wise to avoid these areas for your dog’s safety.
  • Consider enrolling your dog in obedience classes to teach him or her to stay by your side and return when called.

How can pedestrians be at risk near construction sites?

As the weather begins to warm up, New Jersey residents will see more construction of buildings and roads around town. This can also spell danger for those who are walking close to where workers are renovating offices, putting up new buildings or improving roads. The last thing you would expect as you are walking to work or getting your shopping done is to be injured by a nearby construction project, but unfortunately, this can happen.

Pedestrians may be at risk from numerous common accident types that normally injure construction workers, according to FindLaw. Four accident types in particular are responsible for injuring or killing hundreds of workers on the job every year – falling, electrocution, being struck by objects or being caught in between machinery or objects. If you are walking down the sidewalk near a construction site, these accidents could injure you in the following ways:

  • You might trip over debris from a construction project that is littering the walkway.
  • A live power line might fall from the construction site and land in your path.
  • A worker might drop a heavy object from above, where it could hit you as you are passing by.
  • You might get struck or pinned by a construction vehicle or piece of heavy machinery that is operating near the sidewalk.
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