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Cherry Hill New Jersey Personal Injury Law Blog

The Court System: New Jersey

In New Jersey, the court system is divided into two types of courts, state courts and federal courts. Each state has the authority to create the different courts under its own system. New Jersey Courts are made up of three levels of courts: the Superior Court (Law & Chancery), the Superior Court Appellate Division, and the Supreme Court. The Superior Court hears trials and the Superior Court Appellate Division is the first level of appeal. The final level of appeal is the New Jersey Supreme Court. There are 7 Justices who sit on the New Jersey Supreme Court.

What Is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

In order to sustain a claim alleging outrage, or the intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff must first prove that the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly. Buckley v. Trenton Saving Fund Soc'y, 111 N.J. 355, 366, 544 A.2d 857 (1988). A defendant acts recklessly when he or she acts in deliberate disregard of a high degree of probability that emotional distress will follow. Ibid. Second, the defendant's conduct must be extreme or outrageous, meaning it must "go beyond all possible bounds of decency[.]" Ibid. Third, the defendant's actions must have been the proximate cause of the plaintiff's emotional distress. Ibid. Fourth, the emotional distress suffered must be "so severe that no reasonable man could be expected to endure it." Ibid. Physical injury need not be proven; it is sufficient if the plaintiff suffers severe emotional distress. Id. at 367, 544 A.2d 857.

Can a passenger be at fault

In considering the usual rules of negligence of a passenger we need only address those that relate to Lombardo since as to Green there was no objection to the charge, her actions are not challenged in this appeal, and she was not a person asserting a claim, at least in this appeal. A passenger has a duty not to interfere with the operations of the driver. See 61 C.J.S. Motor Vehicle § 486(5) (1970) (A passenger will be held contributorily negligent for interfering with a driver's operation and control of the motor vehicle.); Lind v. Slowinski, supra (450 N.W.2d at 357) (A passenger who interferes with a driver's operation of the motor vehicle may be liable to others.).

A passenger also has a duty to protect himself or herself. See Ambrose v. Cyphers, 29 N.J. 138, 150, 148 A.2d 465 (1959) (Weintraub, C.J.) ("[A] passenger is bound to exercise for his own safety the care of a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances."); Melone v. Jersey Central Power & Light Co., 18 N.J. 163, 176, 113 A.2d 13 (1955) (General rule is that passenger is "bound to exercise such care for his own safety as the exigencies of the situation require."); Tabor v. O'Grady, 59 N.J.Super. 330, 337, 157 A.2d 701 (App.Div.1960), modified in part on reh'g, 61 N.J.Super. 446, 161 A.2d 267 (App.Div.1960) ("A passenger in an automobile must exercise such reasonable [**560] care and caution as an ordinarily prudent person would exercise under like circumstances.").

Guide to Testifying in Court

So you're going to court . . .

Some in cashmere and some in chains, millions of Americans testify (give a sworn statement) in court every year. Some of those millions will be parties to civil cases ("lawsuits"); others will be defendants in criminal cases ("prosecutions"); still others will be "fact" or "expert" witnesses with knowledge or information about a case.

You may be in court to explain a creative left turn, to describe what you saw while looking out a window, or to clarify for a jury some matter requiring your particular expertise. You may be in court to ask for a divorce or a name change or a restraining order, or to fight for your liberty when accused of a crime. You may spend less than two minutes standing behind a podium, or two weeks seated at counsel table. Whether you come to court as a party or as a "fact witness," in a civil case or criminal, with counsel or without, this guide will help you to optimize your effectiveness when you testify.

What follows is not legal advice, but some suggestions from a trial lawyer as to how to do your best when testifying in court. They are based on experience, observation and common sense. If you have a lawyer, and her advice differs from that given here, listen to your lawyer. She should know best. Each case is unique; each judge is individual; and legal customs and practices vary widely. In view of this, the advice that follows, while universal, is also general. Be guided accordingly.

Motorcycle Accidents

Unfortunately, the nature of the road leaves motorcycles more vulnerable to the carelessness of other drivers. A mere bump and scrape, which on a regular car would only cause minor damages, can be catastrophic for the rider. Perhaps with no fault of their own, with another's simple lane-change or failure to properly observe mirrors, a motorcycle rider is an easy target to miss. But, that doesn't alleviate driver's of their responsibility to maintain full attention on the road, no matter what vehicles may be travelling on it.

The law states that motorcycles have as much a right to be on highways and interstate expressways as any other vehicle, commercial or domestic, and those rights deserve to be protected. There is no excuse for negligence when you are behind the wheel, which most riders are well aware of as operators of a unique piece of machinery, statistics have shown that they are amongst the most attentive on the road.

Truck Accidents

When the National Highway system was proposed by President Eisenhower, the roads were initially envisioned solely for civilian use. They did not intend for them to be used as a major throughway for commercial transportation, instead figuring that the forthcoming cargo-jet airplanes, supplemented by rail freight, could easily handle the nation's shipping needs. Well, as anyone who has driven on a highway recently would tell you, that is not how things have shaped up to be.

Highways are frequently clogged with larger and larger vehicles, carrying as much as weight as physically possible on the same roads that are meant to ferry mainly passengers. Because of this, the potential for injuries has heightened, as truck drivers' haul over-night trips with regularity across the country. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of overall motor vehicle accidents where commercial trucks are involved.

Car Accident Statistics in New Jersey

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nearly 600 car accident fatalities occur every year in New Jersey. Many of these fatalities result from driving under the influence, drowsy driving, and distracted driving. Distracted driving can mean anything from talking on a cell phone to texting or simply not paying attention. Cell phone usage has made the problem worse in New Jersey. In addition to this high number of fatalities, NJ sees more than 250,000 accidents per year, according to the NJ Department of Transportation.

The Court System: New Jersey

In New Jersey, the court system is divided into two types of courts, state courts and federal courts. Each state has the authority to create the different courts under its own system. New Jersey Courts are made up of three levels of courts: the Superior Court (Law & Chancery), the Superior Court Appellate Division, and the Supreme Court. The Superior Court hears trials and the Superior Court Appellate Division is the first level of appeal. The final level of appeal is the New Jersey Supreme Court. There are 7 Justices who sit on the New Jersey Supreme Court.

The Court System: Federal

The federal system also has three levels, the district courts, the court of appeals and the United States Supreme Court. On the federal level, states are broken down into several geographic district courts. The federal courts of appeal hear cases from all the district courts in their area. Currently, there are 11 federal courts of appeals. Many hear cases coming out of district courts from several states which comprise each circuit. The United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. is the highest court in the land. Appeals to the Supreme Court are not automatic, but based upon petitions, which allow the Supreme Court justices to pick and choose what cases they will hear.

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