Carlos Acosta Law » Services

Motor Vehicle Accidents – auto, bus, truck, taxi, motorcycle, pedestrian

Carlos H. Acosta Law represents clients who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey. With over 22 years of success in obtaining the highest monetary awards for our motor vehicle accident clients, you can be sure we will provide you with the most experienced attention and care to get you compensation for medical bills and vehicle damage. As an example, below are some of the actions we will take on your behalf once you retain us for your representation:

  • Obtain a police report, interview witnesses, if appropriate, and obtain surveillance or police videos of the accident, if available.
  • Work with you to open a PIP (Personal Injury Protection) claim to get your medical bills and lost wages paid.
  • If the other driver was charged with a motor vehicle offense or consumed alcohol and was driving while intoxicated, we will obtain their records from the police department and the Municipal or Superior Court.
  • Contact the driver and owner of the other vehicle and obtain their insurance information.
  • Contact the other insurance company and get them to open a claim.
  • Obtain your emergency room records and other hospital records
  • Obtain any available records and reports from treatment doctors and other health care providers.
  • If necessary obtain your treatment records from prior injuries or medical conditions and have them analyzed by a physician to determine the extent of any aggravation of a pre-existing condition that you have suffered.

As developments of the case unfold, we will:

  • Put together a comprehensive Settlement Package to send to the defendant’s insurance carrier and attempt to negotiate a favorable resolution of your case.
  • If your case cannot be settled because either the insurance carrier is unreasonable or the full extent of your injuries cannot be medically determined within the statute of limitations, we will file a lawsuit in either state Superior Court or Federal Court to seek damages for your injuries.
  • We will do our best to settle your case during the litigation process, but, if it cannot be settled we will try your case to completion in front of a jury.

New Jersey law requires anyone who operates a motor vehicle to carry liability insurance, however, many drivers either violate the law and do not or carry insurance or carry a minimum policy without adequate coverage to compensate you for your injuries. Fortunately, both Uninsured Motorist Policies and Underinsured Motorist Policies are available in New Jersey and most other states. If you are covered under such a UM/UIM Policy we can recover from your own insurance company the difference between what the available limits are on the other driver and the value of your injuries.

Carlos H. Acosta Law will provide you with a free consultation and if we believe you have a valid claim will accept your case on a contingency basis, meaning that you will only have to pay a fee if we are successful in obtaining a recovery for you. You may be entitled to damages including compensation for disability and impairment, pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical expenses, loss of income, and future losses.

Worker’s Compensation

Each year, millions of Americans are hurt at work. Employees who are injured or become ill at work — and family members of individuals who die as a result of a workplace injury or illness — may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under New Jersey law.

The concept of workers’ compensation is relatively straight forward but in practice, however, workers’ comp can be much more complicated. This is particularly true in situations where the insurance company challenges your claim or sends investigators to follow you in order to disprove your claim.

When you are unable to work because of a work-related illness or injury, getting benefits is critical to both your medical recovery and your financial stability. If you have been hurt or became ill while working, Carlos H. Acosta Law (insert ‘Contact Us’ link here) can help you file a claim and fight for your right to benefits.

Who Is Covered Under New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Law?

All employers in the state of New Jersey must carry workers’ compensation coverage, except for those who are covered by federal programs. Alternatively, employers can self-insure, subject to approval by the New Jersey Commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance. Self-insurance means that in the event of a claim, the employer pays benefits out of its own pocket, instead of the claim being paid by insurance.

Under the workers’ comp system, benefits are available for workers who are injured or who contract an occupational disease while working. As a general rule, only employees are covered under New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Law. Independent contractors cannot file a workers’ comp claim.

However, employers often misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying certain taxes and benefits. In these situations, we may be able to argue that you are entitled to benefits.

Importantly, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that you do not have to prove that your employer did something wrong in order to receive benefits. However, in most cases, you cannot file a personal injury claim if you have been injured at work.

If you have been hurt or developed an occupational illness, you should consult Carlos H. Acosta Law for a free consultation to determine what benefits you may be eligible for under the law.

Wrongful Death

A wrongful death is a devastating, life-altering event that can occur to anyone and at a most unexpected time. If you have experienced the sudden loss of a loved one, please accept our condolences.

As no one plans to be in this unfortunate circumstance, you likely have many questions, concerns, and stresses at this time. Our kind and compassionate team of New Jersey wrongful death attorneys are here to answer all of your questions.

When a wrongful death occurs, the victim’s heirs have the right to recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.

Compensatory damages for a wrongful death claim may include:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Property loss
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium

Defining “Wrongful Death”

New Jersey defines a “wrongful death” as a death “caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default of another.” The conditions that caused the death must be such that, if the deceased person had lived, he or she would have been able to bring a personal injury claim to court.
In this way, a wrongful death claim can be understood as a personal injury claim in which the injured person is no longer available to bring his or her own claim to court. Instead, another party must bring the claim on the deceased person’s behalf.

New Jersey allows a wrongful death claim to be filed in civil court even if a related criminal case has also been filed. Because a wrongful death claim is a civil claim, it must be filed by the personal representative or beneficiaries directly, and liability in the case is expressed solely in terms of money damages. A criminal case, by contrast, is filed by the prosecuting attorney, and culpability is penalized with incarceration, probation, and other penalties.

Time Limits for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in New Jersey

New Jersey has a time limit, called a “statute of limitations,” that requires wrongful death claims and other civil suits to be filed within a certain time period. A wrongful death case in New Jersey must be filed within two years of the date of the deceased person’s death. If the claim is not filed within that two year window, it will almost certainly be barred from court entirely.
Because several factors can affect the running of the statute of limitations, if you are close to the two-year deadline it may be time to speak to one of our experienced New Jersey wrongful death attorneys (insert ‘Contact Us’ link here) at Carlos H. Acosta Law to make sure you are in compliance with the time limit. Call us today for a free consultation.

Dog Bites/Attacks

Dog bites can lead to serious injuries including cuts, bruises, lacerations, amputations, and disfigurations. In some cases, dog bites can lead to fatal infections, and attacks can cause death. To protect the citizens of New Jersey from the aftermath of dog attacks, the state has some strict rules. Here is what you need to know about dog bite laws.

New Jersey Is a Strict Liability State
Concerning dog bites and attacks, the state of New Jersey is a strict liability state. With most personal injury cases, you have to prove that the responsible party was negligent to establish liability.

However, with dog bite cases the owner is automatically liable if their dog attacks you on public property. The owner is liable even if the dog has never attacked or shown any signs of aggressive behavior before.

Owners are also liable if their dog attacks you on their property. However, in these situations, you must be on the property legally. In other words, you need to be invited or you need to be there for a legally sanctioned task such as delivering the mail. If you are trespassing, the owner may not be liable for the attack.

Victims Have a Two-Year Statute of Limitations
If you want to bring forward a lawsuit against a dog owner, keep in mind that you have a limited amount of time, which is typically two years. If you wait longer than that, you may not be able to hold the dog owner liable.

At Carlos H. Acosta Law, we have the experience you need to fight a dog bite case. To learn more, contact us today for a free consultation.

Bicycle Accidents

Most experienced cyclists are well-aware of the danger posed by traffic collisions with cars and trucks. Unfortunately, there is little you can do to protect yourself when a person drives recklessly and endangers your safety. With the staggering statistics on bicycle accident injuries and deaths, the New Jersey Department of Transportation states that it has made bicycle safety a top priority. There are also strict laws in place to protect New Jersey cyclists and laws that provide cyclists with legal avenues through which to pursue compensation if they are injured by negligent drivers.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in New Jersey, it is vital to know your rights. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your injuries while cycling, you may be entitled to pursue damages for financial losses and the emotional and physical toll the injuries have taken on your life. The applicability of personal injury law related to your bicycle accident can be complicated, so you should contact Carlos H. Acosta Law for a free consultation about your case as soon as possible if you are injured in a biking accident. Remember that you have a limited amount of time after your accident to bring a legal claim in court, so it is important to act quickly.

How Does New Jersey Law Protect Bicyclists?
New Jersey law states that drivers who operate motor vehicles have a duty to drive reasonably safely under the circumstances. If a motorist fails to drive with reasonable caution and care, causing injury to a bicyclist as a result, the driver can be held liable for negligence with a personal injury lawsuit.

If you are injured in a bicycle accident, and you have an auto insurance policy that provides personal injury protection (or “PIP” coverage — Insert link to PIP copy), that coverage may be your first line of defense in paying medical bills. It may seem counterintuitive, but many PIP insurance policies cover medical bills related to any accident “involving” a motor vehicle, whether you were driving or not. If you do not have PIP insurance, your healthcare insurance may cover your medical bills. Beyond immediate medical costs, you may be able to obtain compensation from the other party for negligence.

If you are able to prove that the driver who hit you was negligent, the recoverable damages may include pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages and time off work, and potentially even additional damages based on the specific facts of your case. It is therefore important that you document everything related to your bicycle accident, from taking photos at the scene (after you have called 911 and sought any required medical attention, of course) to saving medical and other receipts or documentation related to missed paychecks and time-off requests at work.

Falldown – slip and fall, ice, supermarket, sidewalk

A slip and fall accident can occur in almost any location, from a wet floor in the grocery store to a dangerously uneven sidewalk. Not every situation, however, gives rise to legal liability. If you’re making an injury claim against the property owner responsible for your slip and fall in New Jersey, be prepared to hear the other side argue that you bear some amount of responsibility for what happened. And if the argument is successful, any settlement or court award you receive could be significantly lower than what you would expect.

After a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property in New Jersey, it’s probably a good idea to look into your options for getting compensation for your losses. That’s especially true when it’s fairly clear that the property owner’s negligence played a part in the accident.

Whether you decide to file an insurance claim, or take the matter to court via a personal injury lawsuit, a number of New Jersey laws and legal rules will almost certainly affect your case. Two of the most important of these are the statute of limitations deadline for filing a slip and fall lawsuit, and “shared fault” rules that can affect your right to recover compensation if you bear some amount of responsibility for the accident.

The Slip and Fall Statute of Limitations in New Jersey
A statute of limitations is a law that puts a time limit on your right to have a lawsuit heard in the state’s civil court system. If you attempt to file your slip and fall lawsuit after the deadline has passed, the property owner will surely bring that fact to the court’s attention, and the court will almost certainly dismiss your case. (Note: In some rare situations the statute of limitations clock may pause or “toll,” giving you more time to get your case started. Talk to an attorney for the details on these exceptions in New Jersey.)

As in most states, the statute of limitations that will affect a slip and fall injury claim in New Jersey is the same as the larger one that applies to most personal injury cases brought in the state’s courts. Specifically, New Jersey Statutes section 2A:14-2 says: “Every action at law for an injury to the person caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of any person within this State shall be commenced within two years next after the cause of any such action shall have accrued.”

In plain English, that means you must get your slip and fall lawsuit filed in court against the property owner within two years of the incident’s occurrence. (Note: The success or failure of the case will most likely turn on whether you can prove that the property owner’s negligence caused your accident. Learn more about proving fault for a slip and fall accident.)

If you want to file a lawsuit over any property damage that resulted from the slip and fall accident — maybe you broke an expensive watch when you fell — the statute of limitations for “for any tortious injury to real or personal property” (that’s from New Jersey Statutes section 2A:14-1) gives you six years to get the case started.

Even if you’re confident that your injury claim will settle, you want to leave yourself plenty of time to file a slip and fall lawsuit. Having the option of going to court will give you more leverage during settlement talks.

Products Liability

New Jersey law requires manufacturers and sellers of products to ensure their products are not defective or dangerous to users. If any part of their product is unsafe or if using the product in a certain way could be hazardous to the user, proper warnings must be provided.

Danger from products may arise in a variety of ways, including:

  • Design defect;
  • Manufacturing flaw; and
  • Failure to Warn.

The most common product liability claim against a manufacturer is usually referred to as a strict liability claim. If you file a strict liability claim against a manufacturer, while you may not have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent (which is necessary in most other injury claims), you may have to establish that the product was defective; that the defect existed prior to the manufacturer releasing the product; and that the defect caused your damages. Besides the manufacturer, the distributor and seller of the product may also be liable.

Many of the injuries or deaths that are the result of defective products could have been avoided had manufacturers designed better products or properly warned users of product dangers. For over 35 years, the attorneys at Carlos H. Acosta Law have helped obtain compensation for people injured or killed by dangerous products.

In New Jersey, either the person who was injured or the family of a person who has died as a result a defective product can file a products liability claim if they can prove that the product was dangerous when it left the manufacturer’s control and that there was no warning to indicate the risk of an unreasonable danger.

The successful resolution of a products liability case calls for an attorney who is experienced and dedicated. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Medical Malpractice

Compared with other injury-related legal claims, a medical malpractice lawsuit is usually a fairly complex undertaking. Legal issues and medical evidence can get complicated quickly and the plaintiff (the injured patient, or his or her legal representative) needs to understand the special procedural rules and compensation limits that come into play.

New Jersey’s Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
New Jersey, like a number of states, has a broad injury-related statute of limitations that also applies to medical malpractice lawsuits.

A “statute of limitations” sets a time limit on a prospective plaintiff’s right to file a lawsuit after suffering some kind of harm. If you try to file the case after the deadline has passed, the court will almost certainly throw it out. In a malpractice case, usually the doctor or health care entity you are trying to sue points out that the statutory deadline has passed so it’s crucial to pay attention to the statute of limitations as it applies to your case.

In New Jersey, the standard statute of limitations as it applies to a medical malpractice lawsuit gives you two years to get your lawsuit filed, starting from the date the harm was inflicted. That typically means two years from when the alleged medical error occurred, but in some cases it can mean two years from the date on which you discover — or could reasonably have been expected to discover — that you were harmed by medical malpractice.

New Jersey also has a special lawsuit filing rule for birth-related medical malpractice. The statute says that these cases “shall be commenced prior to the minor’s 13th birthday.”

New Jersey Caps Only Punitive Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case
A lot of states have laws on the books that limit (or “cap”) medical malpractice damages, effectively limiting the amount of money that a successful plaintiff can receive, even after a jury has heard all the evidence at trial and found the defendant liable for medical malpractice.
There is currently no overall cap on compensatory (economic or non-economic) damages in medical malpractice cases in New Jersey. But in any injury case, punitive damages are limited to $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.

Keep in mind that punitive damages are pretty rare in a medical malpractice lawsuit, and in New Jersey they require proof that the defendant acted with “actual malice” or a “wanton and willful disregard” of whether or not someone would be harmed or injured.

A few years ago, a New Jersey Assembly session bill was introduced that would cap non-economic damages at $250,000 in medical malpractice cases. Non-economic damages include compensation for things like the plaintiff’s pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, stress, anxiety, and other effects of the defendant’s medical negligence. About half of U.S. states have placed a cap on these kinds of damages in med mal cases, and New Jersey may follow suit, so stay tuned.

If you’re looking for more specifics on New Jersey’s medical malpractice laws and how they apply to your potential case, contact Carlos H. Acosta Law for a free consultation.

Construction Accidents

Under New Jersey law, the general contractor of a building project has a legal duty to maintain safe working conditions on a job site. Oftentimes, however, contractors will sacrifice worker safety for larger profits, and construction workers end up working in unsafe conditions.

Unique Legal Issues Involved in Construction Site Accident Claims

Construction site accidents can implicate numerous parties making them potentially responsible for injuries sustained on unsafe construction sites. In addition to employer liability, third party liability claims may be exercised against general contractors, subcontractors, property site owners, engineers, architects, and equipment manufacturers.

Any party that has acted carelessly or recklessly in maintaining a construction site may be responsible for their negligence if it leads to an injury-producing accident. If defective equipment is the cause of the accident or injury, the manufacturers, designers, distributors and markets of the defective component may also face liability.

Due to the complex legal issues involved in construction site accident claims, individuals injured at construction sites should never attempt to obtain compensation for their injuries without the assistance of an experienced New Jersey construction accident lawyer.

As all employees are entitled to safe working conditions, there are often Workers’ Compensation issues involved in construction site accidents. Other legal issues that need to be considered include the time in which a claim must be filed (the “statute of limitations”), the identification of all potentially responsible parties and the preservation of evidence at construction sites.

Individuals injured at construction sites should keep extensive records of all medical treatment received, lists of potential witnesses and a log of all communications to or from any potentially responsible parties. To aid in the proper investigation of your claim, injured construction workers should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the injury or accident takes place.

We, at Carlos H. Acosta Law, are ready to exercise the rights of builders and subcontractors injured on the job due to the negligence or misconduct of a general contractor, property owner, equipment manufacturer, or other subcontractor working on the site. Call us today for a free consultation.

New Jersey Nursing Home Negligence

Nursing homes in New Jersey are required to meet a standard of care regarding resident health, comfort, and social life. Federal regulations protect residents living in nursing homes, and a nursing home can be fined and have its ratings downgraded if reports of neglect and abuse of residents are substantiated. When an elderly or infirmed resident is injured, he or she is often unable or unwilling to speak up to protect his or her rights. It is usually a loving family member who recognizes the fear or confusion resulting from the negligence or misconduct of the NJ nursing home staff, residents, or administration.

What is the difference between nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse?
Neglect and abuse are two different offenses which each cause harm in different ways. Neglect is the failure of the caregiver to attend to a person’s basic needs such as food, water, proper medication, clothing, and attention to the person’s physical and mental health needs. In failing to provide these things, neglect can cause injury to a resident.

Abuse is the intentional infliction of harm. While neglect is passive, abuse is active, it is done knowingly with the intention to cause pain, injury, or mental anguish in the resident.

Examples of nursing home neglect or abuse
If your loved one residing in a nursing home or long-term care facility in New Jersey has exhibited signs of injury or fear because of another resident or staff member, don’t wait to see what will happen. Many nursing homes have a very poor record of resident safety. The only way to affect change for your loved one and other residents is to seek compensation on their behalf.

Contact our experienced lawyers at Carlos H. Acosta Law for a free consultation if your loved one indicates sign of injury or distress resulting from:

  • Bedsores, pressure ulcers
  • Elopement, wandering off
  • Hip fractures and fall injuries
  • Infected cuts or open sores
  • Injuries from assault by other resident or staff
  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Medication errors, harmful prescription drugs
  • Verbal abuse
  • Wheelchair and van transport injuries

Divorce & Family Law

Navigating through divorce and family law matters can be one of the most challenging experiences in one’s life. It’s not just about the dissolution of a marriage; it encompasses various aspects like child custody, spousal support, property division, and other sensitive issues. The legal landscape of divorce and family law in New Jersey is intricate, with its own unique set of rules and statutes.

New Jersey’s Stance on Divorce and Family Law

In New Jersey, a couple can file for a no-fault divorce based on “irreconcilable differences”, which means neither party has to prove fault of the other. However, grounds such as adultery, desertion, or extreme cruelty can also be used to file for divorce. Child custody is determined based on the best interests of the child, considering factors like the parents’ ability to communicate, stability of the home environment, and the child’s needs. Alimony or spousal support is another key area, and its amount and duration depend on numerous factors including the length of the marriage, financial standing, and age and health of the parties involved. Property acquired during the marriage is generally divided equitably unless there’s a prenuptial agreement.

Given the emotional and financial implications of divorce and family-related disputes, it’s essential to be guided by an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of New Jersey’s family law. Whether you’re contemplating divorce, dealing with custody disputes, or negotiating spousal support, Carlos H. Acosta Law is here to support and guide you through every step. Reach out to us for a complimentary consultation.

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