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Somerville Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

Semitruck crash causes: Trucker error to equipment failure

People who head out on the roadways in New Jersey are taking a risk. The chance of being involved in a motor vehicle crash is great. There are some accidents that can't be prevented but there are others that are due to negligence or recklessness on the part of the drivers.

When semitruck drivers are on the roads, it is imperative that they are taking appropriate safety measures. They must ensure their trucks are in good condition and that they are cognizant and able to drive. When this doesn't happen, crashes occur. Consider these common causes of semitruck crashes:

How many fatal motorcycle accidents occurred in 2016?

You may wonder how many motorcycle accidents occur each year and in New Jersey specifically. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the 2016 statistics, the most current ones available.

Across the country, 5,286 motorcyclists died in a collision, a 5.1 percent increase from 2015. Only 69 of these fatal accidents took place in New Jersey. Alcohol played a role in some of these incidents. Bikers who died in New Jersey had a blood alcohol content of at least .08 percent in 20 percent of these incidents, while 13 percent had a BAC level higher than .15 percent. Across the country, 25 percent of bikers were legally drunk when a fatal accident occurred. While you may think that most fatal crashes would occur at night or in inclement weather, this was not the case in 2016. The sky was clear or cloudy in 97 percent of these incidents and 59 percent occurred during the day.

What workers need to know about mesothelioma

Many New Jersey workers are at risk for developing mesothelioma, a malignant form of cancer for which there is no cure. As FindLaw explains, mesothelioma is caused by the asbestos fibers that a worker inhales or ingests building up in the linings of his or her lungs, heart and/or abdomen.

Unlike other types of cancer, mesothelioma cannot be reversed by surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. It can only be managed through such things as pain management and breathing assistive devices and therapies.

What should I do if I have an auto accident?

As a New Jersey driver, you know that you face an ever-present risk of being involved in an auto accident. As FindLaw explains, should this risk turn into an actuality, there are several things you should do immediately after your accident.

The most important thing you should never do immediately after an accident is to indicate to anyone that you may have been the person at fault. Even if you think you may have been, an auto accident is a highly stressful event at best, and you may not be thinking clearly. Nor is there any way for you to know right away exactly what happened. That is what law enforcement and insurance company investigations will establish.

Which animals carry rabies?

 If you are a New Jersey resident who was bitten by a dog, you undoubtedly are concerned about the possibility of the animal being rabid. If it was, you will need to undergo painful anti-rabies treatment.

While dogs may be the first animals that come to mind when you think about rabies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that any mammal can carry rabies. This includes such animals as the following:

  • Domestic animals
  • Exotic pets
  • Wild animals
  • Bats

Tour bus accidents: Who is at fault for these tragedies?

Most New Jersey residents have had the experience of getting on a large tour bus and going somewhere with a group of people. Maybe you went on a trip like this when you were a child on a school field trip. Maybe you joined your church group for an outing. Or, maybe you simply enjoyed a tourist trip while you were on vacation.

When so many human lives are put in one vehicle, the bus driver and the bus company have a massive responsibility to keep these riders safe. Failure to take necessary and reasonable safety precautions in this regard -- or failure to follow the law and safe driving practices -- could render the tour bus company liable if those failures result in an accident. Other parties could be liable for injuries and deaths in a tour bus accident as well.

What is social host liability?

If you are a New Jersey parent who has teenaged children, you should think twice before letting them have a party in your home where alcohol will be available. FindLaw explains that New Jersey has a social host liability law that holds you responsible if any of your teenager’s guests becomes drunk at the party and then causes an accident on his or her drive home.

Neither you nor your teenager has to be serving the drinks. In fact, you do not even need to be present in the house while the party is going on. If you knew or should have known that alcohol would be available to the underage party guests, that is sufficient to make you responsible for their actions if they later cause property damage or death or bodily injury to themselves or others. Consequently, if someone files a personal injury or wrongful death suit against you, you could be required to pay thousands of dollars in damages.

What you need to know about asbestos in the workplace

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral found in numerous products and materials with which New Jersey construction workers come into contact on a daily basis. As FindLaw explains, asbestos is known for its excellent insulating ability and resistance to fire and was extensively used in building projects through the 1970s. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 1 million commercial and public buildings contain significant amounts of asbestos.

While asbestos usage has been curtailed in the past 40 years, it is still found in many commercial and consumer products, including the following:

  • Floor tiles
  • Heavy machinery parts
  • Plastics
  • Paper goods
  • Brake pads
  • Textiles

Hearing loss is the nation’s most common workplace injury

If you have a job in New Jersey, odds are, the job poses at least some degree of risk. While certain jobs, such as those held by, say, firefighters or construction workers, have clear, overt risks involved, others, such as those held by office workers, have risks that are less apparent. Today’s single-most prevalent work-related injury, however, is hearing loss, and it can affect workers across multiple industries. At Lieberman, Ryan & Forrest, L.L.C., we understand the many ways in which work-related hearing loss can impact your life, and we have helped many clients who suffered this type of injury seek recourse.

According to USA Today, about 22 million American workers face exposure to dangerous levels of noise while on the job each year. Furthermore, American employers are spending roughly $242 million every year in workers’ compensation costs relating to hearing loss, with safety advocates scrambling to find methods of minimizing noise-related risks.

Understanding New Jersey’s new distracted driving law

New Jersey drivers probably are aware of the fact that it is illegal to talk to someone on a hand-held cellphone while driving and/or to send or receive a text message. Both of these activities are considered to be “primary offenses” in New Jersey. What drivers may not be aware of, however, is that other motorists can now turn them in for texting while driving. As reported by New Jersey 101.5, a new distracted driving law went into effect on July 27, 2017. Under this law, whenever anyone sees a motorist texting while driving, the observer is asked, but not required, to turn the culprit in to local law enforcement.

Naturally, a “guilty” motorist cannot be issued a citation for texting while driving based on an anonymous tip. Instead, a letter is sent to the driver’s home informing the person that someone has reported him or her for texting while driving. The letter also informs the person of the fine he or she will face should a law enforcement officer catch him or her texting while driving.

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