August 2015 Archives

NEW JERSEY SUPREME COURT ISSUES RULING LIMITING EXPUNGEMENTS

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on two expungement requests relating to multiple offenses in a decision that will likely make expunging a person's criminal record more difficult and exacerbate the potential consequences of a criminal conviction on multiple offenses during a single trial. The court ruled that a person may only successfully seek expungement where the conviction was a result of criminal offenses that "occurred as part of a single, uninterrupted criminal event." 

I MIGHT HAVE SUFFERED MEDICAL MALPRACTICE--NOW WHAT?

Perhaps you recently underwent surgery, but you've only felt worse, rather than better, since your operation. Perhaps, despite receiving treatment, you've failed to recover as you and your doctors had predicted you would. There are many forms of medical malpractice, with some easier to identify and prove than others. If you think you've been harmed by an error committed by a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, there are certain steps you should consider in order to make a successful medical malpractice claim. 

THE FOUR BEST FORMS OF EVIDENCE TO GATHER AFTER AN ACCIDENT

Car accidents are disorienting and scary. However, the moment immediately following a crash is the best time to collect evidence of what occurred during the crash and who might have been at fault. Once you've confirmed that everyone is ok, begin to gather evidence of what occurred that led to the crash. 

SLIP AND FALL ON ICY SCHOOL PATHWAY RESULTS IN $4 MILLION JURY AWARD

A woman who is expected to suffer years of physical consequences from slipping on an icy pathway was awarded $4 million in a jury trial. While the defendant tried to have this decision overturned by the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court, a three-judge panel recently ruled that the award is valid and should be upheld. 

SHOULD YOU CONSIDER A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT BEFORE YOUR NEW JERSEY MARRIAGE?

If you're in the process of planning a wedding, discussing a prenuptial agreement probably isn't something you're eager to do. It's hard enough to sustain a relationship without planning in detail what you'll do if that relationship fails. With that said, it can be helpful to think of a prenuptial agreement as a way to ensure that you won't be caught blindsided in the event of a divorce, and that you can rely on a contract you reached at a time when you and your spouse were in agreement which will dictate how your assets will be allocated. Prenuptial agreements can be a way of providing security to both parties that a divorce will not be a drawn-out, acrimonious, expensive battle, but will instead simply involve implementing the agreement you reached years before. 

TOLL TAKEN BY TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY VICTIMS IS HIGH

The recent settlement of the lawsuit filed by former NFL players for brain injuries incurred by the players is illustrative of the challenges faced by victims of traumatic brain injury (TBI). The lawsuit was filed on a class basis by players for the NFL who, after years of experiencing hits to the head, incurred brain diseases associated with TBI, including Alzheimer's and dementia. As litigation of the case progressed, however, the players began to realize that the settlement gave short shrift to the true costs of caring for and treating those with TBI-related diseases. Hundreds of participants in the class action lawsuit withdrew without taking a part of the ultimate settlement fund, so that they could file their own individual lawsuit with the hope that their recovery would more adequately cover their expenses. 

CHANGES IN FEDERAL REGULATIONS BRING A MIX OF CHANGES TO RULES GOVERNING COMMERCIAL TRUCKING

In an addendum to a bill that funds the Department of Transportation for the year, the US Senate committee in charge of transportation issues has approved of a change to existing federal regulations governing large trucks, which would allow semis to pull two 33-foot trailers on any highway governed by the National Highway System. 

HOW TO EXPUNGE A CRIMINAL RECORD IN NEW JERSEY

Perhaps you made some mistakes when you were young, but have since realized the error of your ways and are trying to live a reputable life. Having a criminal record can hold you back from major life steps, such as getting a good job or qualifying for credit or a lease. In an earlier post, we explained who is eligible for a criminal expungement. Now, here's a rundown of how the expungement process works and the steps you'll need to take. 

KEEP KIDS SAFE AROUND THE POOL

Sending your kids over to a friend's house to play in the pool is a great way to help them get some exercise (and to get them out of the house). However, injuries and drownings in and around swimming pools are common. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has determined drowning to be the number one cause of unintentional death among children who are between one and four years old. Having a pool at your home in New Jersey comes with certain legal requirements, and a responsibility to make sure that children playing in and around the pool stay safe. While hopefully it's an issue you'll never have to face, if your child is injured or worse at a swimming pool, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover for your expenses and losses. 

WOMAN RESPONSIBLE FOR HIT-AND-RUN DEATH IS FOUND

After completing a hunt for the driver and investigation, a woman has been arrested for causing the death of a Middletown teen after a July 7 accident. Toni Ann Marletta, 49, of the Leonardo neighborhood of Middletown, is believed to be responsible for striking and killing a 15-year-old girl from Atlantic Highlands. At about 8:30 p.m. on the evening of July 7, Marletta is believed to have been driving a light gray compact car on Route 36, traveling west, near Avenue D. The girl was attempting to cross Route 36 when Marletta is alleged to have hit her. The girl was hospitalized at the Jersey Shore Medical Center, but ultimately succumbed to her injuries the following day, according to Monmouth County Police. Using witness reports of the type of car involved in the accident, Middletown police searched the city for the light gray compact, ultimately finding one with damage consistent with the accident, in front of the home of Marletta. While Marletta was immediately taken in for questioning, she was released until a further investigation could be completed. Marletta was arrested several days later in Hazlet for the crash. The current charges she faces include leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, failing to have auto insurance, failing to report a motor vehicle accident, having unsafe tires, and leaving the scene of a fatal accident, which could alone result in five to ten years in prison. Marletta is being held in Monmouth County Jail, Freehold Township, on $150,000 bail. 

HELPING ELDERLY PARENTS MANAGE THEIR FINANCES

If you have the good fortune to have parents living long into old age, you may also have certain responsibilities to care for them as they get older. Tasks such as managing their investments or even paying bills can become overwhelming should their health or mental acuity diminish. Below are some guidelines on managing financial matters for your aging parents. 

NEW JERSEY STATE SENATE PASSES BILL CHANGING CHILD SUPPORT LAW

The law on child support payments may soon become a bit less supportive to New Jersey children. On July 23, the New Jersey Senate passed a change to the law to make the default rule that child support terminates when the child receiving support turns 19. There would, however, be a number of ways to avoid this termination. The parties can agree in advance that child support payments won't terminate at 19 by specifying a different date for such payments to end in a court order. The parents could also go to the judge and agree that support would continue until a different date. In addition, one parent or the child could petition the judge to extend the payments. Finally, if the recipient of the support lives in an out-of-home placement via the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, the payments would continue. Additionally, the bill includes a section that would permit children to sue their parents to receive continued support after the child reaches 23 years old, a provision which has garnered some negative attention. The bill has not yet been approved by the New Jersey Assembly, nor by Governor Christie. 

TRENTON ROADS DEEMED SOME OF THE WORST IN THE NATION

A recent report has found Trenton to possess some of the worst roads in the nation. A report from Washington DC-area transportation research group TRIP has determined that fully 48% of Trenton's roads are rated as being in poor condition, and only 18% as being in good condition, with the remainder considered to be in mediocre or fair condition. This conclusion was based on an analysis of data on the condition of pavement, compiled by the Federal Highway Administration, used to determine funding for repairs of major roads and highways. This gives New Jersey's capital city the dubious distinction of having the fourth-highest percentage of roads in poor condition among cities with 250,000-500,000 residents. The survey found that 28% of the nation's major urban roads were in substandard condition. 

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