Justin Cohen’s Trial Victory Affirmed by Appellate Division

One of attorney Justin Cohen’s recent trial victories was affirmed by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, in a written opinion issued last week.  In its opinion in Frank Hodson v. C. Abbonizio Contractors, Inc., A-2083-14T3 (App. Div. May 2, 2016), the Division held that the Workers’ Compensation Judge’s finding that the injured worker was entitled to benefits because he and his witnesses were more credible was based on sufficient evidence in the record.  They refused to reverse the Judge’s finding that the worker’s injury arose out of the course and scope of his work.

At trial, Justin presented and cross-examined multiple witnesses, including the injured worker and his coworkers.  He also brought a board-certified orthopedic surgeon to court to convince the Judge that the injuries were causally related to the work accident.  In addition to successfully completing the trial, Justin also handled the appellate briefing and oral argument.  The entire appellate decision can be found here.

At the Law Offices of Adam M. Kotlar, the attorneys and staff are prepared to take every step to ensure that our clients receive all of the benefits to which they are entitled.  This includes pretrial negotiations, trials and appellate work; whatever is necessary to obtain the best possible result.  Contact our office at 856-751-7676 for a free consultation.

Governor Christie Vetoes Workers’ Compensation Attorney Fee Increase

In early January, Governor Chris Christie vetoed a proposed statute that would have increased fees for workers’ compensation attorneys, even though it had support from both parties. The bill would have allowed workers’ compensation attorneys to collect fees on any payments made to injured workers before a final workers’ compensation judgment was issued. The governor said he believed the law would be have a negative impact on immediate relief for injured workers.

Under existing New Jersey law, an employer can voluntarily offer to pay permanent benefits within 26 weeks of maximum medical improvement or return to work, and neither the employer nor the employee has to pay any attorney fees. Proponents say this law, which has been in place for decades, encourages employers to offer permanent benefits early in the process, rather than dragging out the payment of benefits to an injured worker. The proposed law, they argued, would hurt workers and employers alike, to the benefit of workers’ compensation lawyers.

Under the proposed law, workers’ compensation attorneys would have been entitled to fees for any voluntary offers of permanent benefits. Critics say this would deter employers from making early offers of permanent benefits. They also note that the bill did not specify who would pay the additional attorney fees, had the law been signed. Under the existing laws, any fees paid in a workers’ compensation proceeding are split between the parties, with workers paying 40% and employers paying 60%.

Contact Us Today – Our Clients Are Our Priority

We have the experience and knowledge you want to help you get the outcome you need. Our New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers understand the law and the benefits to which you are entitled. We can assist you with your workers’ compensation injury claim. Contact our office online or call us at 856-751-7676 for a free initial consultation. We have office locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Welcome to the Firm – Howard Batt, Esq.!

The Law Offices of Adam M. Kotlar, LLC is pleased to announce the addition of attorney Howard Batt to the firm.  A graduate of Temple University and Rutgers School of Law, Howard brings with him over 35 years of experience representing and trying matters on behalf injured workers in New Jersey.

Howard will continue to concentrate his practice in worker’s compensation matters.  The Law Offices of Adam M. Kotlar looks forward to the addition of his client-driven focus to help the firm continue to aggressively represent injured workers in New Jersey.

If you have been injured while working, please contact Howard Batt, Esquire and the other trusted and experienced trial attorneys at the Law Offices of Adam M. Kotlar to seek just compensation for your workplace injuries.

Distracted Driving: Preventable Injuries Adding Up

By: Victoria A. Schall, Esq.

We all have them: cell phones.  While most of us understand that using a cell phone while driving is dangerous, many continue to engage in daily distracted driving, endangering everyone on our busy roadways.

Distracted driving includes any activity diverting a person’s attention from driving their car, including texting, using a hand-held cell/smart phone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading, using navigation systems, and adjusting the music.  However, as text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most complex distraction.

As stated by the state’s Acting Attorney General, John J. Hoffman, out of some 3 million motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey between 2004 and 2013, nearly half – 1.4 million – involved driver inattention. And during that same period, more than 1,600 people were killed in car crashes where driver inattention was a major contributing factor.[1]

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident as the result of distracted driving, please contact the Law Offices of Adam M. Kotlar for help from our experienced and dedicated civil trial attorneys.

[1] http://www.nj.gov/oag/hts/distracted-driving.html

Seasons Greetings & a Happy New Year from Adam M. Kotlar

Seasons Greetings & a Happy New Year from the Offices of Adam M. Kotlar

Nursing Home Caregivers Speak Up Against Short Staffing Crisis

1199 SEIU Caregivers Fight for Minimum CNA Staffing Ratios

Last week, New Jersey 1199SEIU (Service Employees International Union) caregivers raised a voice on behalf of the nursing home residents they care for in support of Senate Bill S2878.  The bill, voted on last week, would establish minimum resident-staff ratios for certified nursing assistants (CNA’s) in nursing homes.  Currently, there are no minimum staffing ratios in New Jersey, which ultimately affects the care given to our loved ones on a daily basis.

CNA’s are the direct caregivers providing residents with their activities of daily living, including washing, changing, feeding, turning and repositioning, hygiene, etc.  They have one of the most difficult jobs today, providing direct care to those who are unable to care for themselves.  When there are not enough CNA’s on each shift, the caregiving team, including registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, must fill in to make sure residents receive daily essential care.  However, as Miriam Douglas, an LPN from Irvington testified, “[when there is a shortage of CNA’s] [i]t can be hard to balance priorities and ultimately it’s the residents who suffer.”

Further, as the Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU so eloquently stated, “It’s imperative that we take heed of their concerns and listen to their stories about how insufficient staffing is impacting the well-being of nursing home residents.  This staffing bill is essential to improving the quality of life for our loved ones in nursing homes.”

Legislation on Senate Bill S2878 was heard last week and the Assembly hearing is scheduled for today.  For the quality of life and care of our loved ones, let your legislators know of your support for the bill.  And if you believe your loved one has been abused or neglected at the hands of short-staffing, please call our office today.

For more information on the testimony and hearings, click on the following link:

http://politickernj.com/2015/12/nj-caregivers-raise-alarm-on-nursing-home-staffing-crisis/

 

Welcome to the Firm – Victoria A. Schall, Esq.!

The Law Office of Adam M. Kotlar, LLC is pleased to announce the addition of attorney Victoria A. Schall to the firm.  Victoria brings with her an extensive background, knowledge, and practice in Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect litigation.  She will continue to concentrate her practice in nursing home abuse and other personal injury matters throughout the federal and state courts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Victoria is currently the Co-chair of the New Jersey Association for Justice’s (NJAJ) Young Lawyer’s Committee and a Young Lawyer Trustee of the Burlington County Bar Association (BCBA).  She has been named “Top 40 Under 40” by The National Trial Lawyers from 2012 – 2015 and an Awesome Attorney for Nursing Home Law by South Jersey Magazine.

Victoria is a former public policy employee of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, an Elder Law Staff Attorney of Legal Services of Northern Virginia, and a Nursing Home Abuse Trial attorney at two preeminent Nursing Home Abuse law firms in New Jersey.

Victoria is admitted to practice law in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and District of Columbia.

Watch Your Use of Social Media after a Personal Injury

Social Media Increasingly Used as Evidence in Personal Injury Trials

If you regularly post pictures, articles or updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media sites, you may want to give serious consideration to the potential consequences if you have recently suffered a personal injury because of someone else’s negligence. Though it’s typically associated with criminal trials, the maxim that “anything you say (and do) can be used against you in a court of law” may prove true, as studies show that more and more attorneys, particularly defense lawyers, are using social media posts as evidence in personal injury cases.

Here’s how it works. In the civil justice system, we have what is known as “open discovery.” This means that both sides are entitled to access to all relevant evidence before a trial starts, so that there will be no surprises at trial. The surprise evidence is a great dramatic gimmick for a television show, but it’s not the way things actually work.

Most states have pretty liberal discovery rules, allowing parties to gather a lot of information that may or may not be admissible at trial, based on its relevance to the matter in dispute. So if you have filed a personal injury lawsuit, and you claim that your injury prevents you from working or engaging in certain activities, a judge may consider it relevant if defense attorneys are able to locate social media pictures showing you doing things you claim that your injury won’t allow you to do.

But wait, you say. I have set up my Facebook account with certain levels of privacy. I don’t make it available to the world as a whole. Don’t I have a right to privacy that prevents a defense attorney from obtaining access to my Facebook account?

The answer to that question is less than clear at present. Some jurisdictions, such as New York, look at a social media post as they would a diary. If there is relevant information in the post, it’s likely that opposing counsel will have the right to review posts and seek to admit evidence from your social medial account. Typically, though, your social media activity won’t be an open book. The judge will most likely review all proposed evidentiary submissions privately and make rulings regarding which are appropriate for a jury to see.

Of course, it’s easy in today’s world to appear on someone else’s social media page, often without even knowing it. Because the software exists to tag you without your knowledge, the best advice is to follow doctor’s orders. Don’t do anything that your physician would consider inappropriate based on your medical condition.

Contact Us Today

We have the experience and knowledge you want to help you get the outcome you need. Contact our office online or call us at Local # :(856) 751-7676 for a free initial consultation. We have office locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The Difference Between a Living Will and a Medical Power of Attorney

Understanding the Differences between a Living Will and a Medical Power of Attorney

As a part of the estate planning process, you want to take steps to protect yourself and ensure that your wishes are followed with respect to the medical care you receive, should you be unable to make your own decisions. There are two types of documents that address this contingency—a living will and a medical power of attorney. Each serves a somewhat different function and both can be implemented in the same estate plan.

The Medical Power of Attorney

The medical power of attorney, also known as a designation of patient advocate, actually transfers authority to make medical decisions to another person. Though it may specify some of the limits of the decision-making, it typically does not go into detail about the types of procedures that will or will not be acceptable. As a general rule, persons executing a medical power of attorney will meet with the designee in advance and carefully explain what type of care will be acceptable.

Because the medical power of attorney actually delegates or transfers decision-making authority, it generally has no effect unless triggered by specific events (which are usually described in the document itself). For example, a medical power of attorney may state that it only goes into effect if a licensed physician or mental health professional states in writing that the person named in the document lacks capacity to make his or her own decisions.

The Living Will

A living will, on the other hand, does not convey any authority or responsibility to anyone, but provides specific instructions to medical professionals regarding the types of treatment a person want. As a practical matter, living wills generally address life-saving measure and typically advise doctors and medical personnel that certain technologies are (or are not) to be used to sustain life. For example, a living will may state that the patient is not to be kept alive by artificial means, and may include a DNR (do not resuscitate) order, which precludes the use of certain technologies to bring a person back to life.

Contact Us Today

We have the experience and knowledge you want to help you prepare an effective estate plan. Contact our office online or call us at Local # :(856) 751-7676 for a free initial consultation. We have office locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

What to Do If You Have Been Hurt in a Motor Vehicle Accident

Protecting Your Rights after a Motor Vehicle Accident

In the aftermath of a car, truck or motorcycle accident, you want to take the right steps to ensure that you can seek full and fair compensation for all your losses. Here is a checklist to help you and to help your attorney.

Step One: Get the Medical Care You Need

Getting the medical care you need is about more than ensuring you have the best chance for a full physical recovery. It also maximizes your potential financial recovery.

If you are unable to move under your own power, or if you feel pain or discomfort when you try to do so, it’s always advisable to stay immobile and wait for emergency medical technicians to arrive. When they do, make certain that you tell them exactly what you remember having happened, as well as anything that seems out of the ordinary. Don’t ignore even seemingly minor injuries—often, the broken leg heals long before the neck, back or spinal problem.

If you are taken to a hospital, repeat the process. Tell attending physicians or nurses of everything that seems wrong, and ask them to document it in writing.

If you don’t require an ambulance and an immediate trip to the hospital, you should nonetheless take yourself to an urgent care facility or schedule to see your doctor as soon as possible. The longer you wait to get medical care, the greater the risk that defense attorneys may try to argue that your injury was caused by something else.

Step Two: Gather as Much Information as You Can

You want to do as much as you can to help your attorney prepare your case. Start by gathering contact information from any other parties involved in the accident, as well as any potential witnesses. This includes name, address, phone number, e-mail address and insurance carrier (for anyone involved in the accident. In addition, you can also get visual evidence by taking pictures of everything, from the damage to the various vehicles to the injuries you suffered, from any skid marks to the weather or traffic conditions at the time of the accident. The camera on your phone should be adequate.

Step Three: Hire an Attorney

The sooner you retain legal counsel, the sooner you will have someone else working to gather and retain evidence. Your lawyer will know all the types of evidence to obtain, and will have certain tools to simplify the collection of evidence.

Contact Us Today

We have the experience and knowledge you want to help you get the outcome you need. Contact our office online or call us at Local # :(856) 751-7676 for a free initial consultation. We have office locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.