Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. He was awarded the NJ State State Bar Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year. He lectures and handles criminal cases, Municipal Court, DWI, traffic and other litigation matters. He is Co Chair of the ABA Criminal Law Committee, GP and was a speaker at the ABA Annual Meeting. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us or New clients email us evenings and weekends go to www.njlaws.com/ContactKenV.htm

Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C,

2053 Woodbridge Avenue,

Edison, NJ 08817,

(732) 572-0500,

www.njlaws.com

Monday, September 15, 2008

30:4-123.51 Eligibility for parole

a. Each adult inmate sentenced to a term of incarceration in a county penal institution, or to a specific term of years at the State Prison or the correctional institution for women shall become primarily eligible for parole after having served any judicial or statutory mandatory minimum term, or one-third of the sentence imposed where no mandatory minimum term has been imposed less commutation time for good behavior pursuant to N.J.S.2A:164-24 or R.S.30:4-140 and credits for diligent application to work and other institutional assignments pursuant to P.L.1972, c.115 (C.30:8-28.1 et seq.) or R.S.30:4-92. Consistent with the provisions of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice (N.J.S.2C:11-3, 2C:14-6, 2C:43-6, 2C:43-7), commutation and work credits shall not in any way reduce any judicial or statutory mandatory minimum term and such credits accrued shall only be awarded subsequent to the expiration of the term.

b .Each adult inmate sentenced to a term of life imprisonment shall become primarily eligible for parole after having served any judicial or statutory mandatory minimum term, or 25 years where no mandatory minimum term has been imposed less commutation time for good behavior and credits for diligent application to work and other institutional assignments. If an inmate sentenced to a specific term or terms of years is eligible for parole on a date later than the date upon which he would be eligible if a life sentence had been imposed, then in such case the inmate shall be eligible for parole after having served 25 years, less commutation time for good behavior and credits for diligent application to work and other institutional assignments. Consistent with the provisions of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice (N.J.S.2C:11-3, 2C:14-6, 2C:43-6, 2C:43-7), commutation and work credits shall not in any way reduce any judicial or statutory mandatory minimum term and such credits accrued shall only be awarded subsequent to the expiration of the term.

c. Each inmate sentenced to a specific term of years pursuant to the "Controlled Dangerous Substances Act," P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-1 et al.) shall become primarily eligible for parole after having served one-third of the sentence imposed less commutation time for good behavior and credits for diligent application to work and other institutional assignments.

d. Each adult inmate sentenced to an indeterminate term of years as a young adult offender pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-5 shall become primarily eligible for parole consideration pursuant to a schedule of primary eligibility dates developed by the board, less adjustment for program participation. In no case shall the board schedule require that the primary parole eligibility date for a young adult offender be greater than the primary parole eligibility date required pursuant to this section for the presumptive term for the crime authorized pursuant to subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:44-1.

e. Each adult inmate sentenced for an offense specified in N.J.S.2C:47-1 shall become primarily eligible for parole as follows:

(1)If the court finds that the offender's conduct was not characterized by a pattern of repetitive, compulsive behavior or finds that the offender is not amenable to sex offender treatment, or if after sentencing the Department of Corrections in its most recent examination determines that the offender is not amenable to sex offender treatment, the offender shall become primarily eligible for parole after having served any judicial or statutory mandatory minimum term or one-third of the sentence imposed where no mandatory minimum term has been imposed. Neither such term shall be reduced by commutation time for good behavior pursuant to R.S.30:4-140 or credits for diligent application to work and other institutional assignments pursuant to R.S.30:4-92.

(2)All other offenders shall be eligible for parole pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.2C:47-5, except no offender shall become primarily eligible for parole prior to the expiration of any judicial or statutory mandatory minimum term.

f. Each juvenile inmate committed to an indeterminate term shall be immediately eligible for parole.

g. Each adult inmate of a county jail, workhouse or penitentiary shall become primarily eligible for parole upon service of 60 days of his aggregate sentence or as provided for in subsection a. of this section, whichever is greater. Whenever any such inmate's parole eligibility is within six months of the date of such sentence, the judge shall state such eligibility on the record which shall satisfy all public and inmate notice requirements. The chief executive officer of the institution in which county inmates are held shall generate all reports pursuant to subsection d. of section 10 of P.L.1979, c.441 (C.30:4-123.54). The parole board shall have the authority to promulgate time periods applicable to the parole processing of inmates of county penal institutions, except that no inmate may be released prior to the primary eligibility date established by this subsection, unless consented to by the sentencing judge. No inmate sentenced to a specific term of years at the State Prison or the correctional institution for women shall become primarily eligible for parole until service of a full nine months of his aggregate sentence.

h. When an inmate is sentenced to more than one term of imprisonment, the primary parole eligibility terms calculated pursuant to this section shall be aggregated by the board for the purpose of determining the primary parole eligibility date, except that no juvenile commitment shall be aggregated with any adult sentence. The board shall promulgate rules and regulations to govern aggregation under this subsection.

i. The primary eligibility date shall be computed by a designated representative of the board and made known to the inmate in writing not later than 90 days following the commencement of the sentence. In the case of an inmate sentenced to a county penal institution such notice shall be made pursuant to subsection g. of this section. Each inmate shall be given the opportunity to acknowledge in writing the receipt of such computation. Failure or refusal by the inmate to acknowledge the receipt of such computation shall be recorded by the board but shall not constitute a violation of this subsection.

j. Except as provided in this subsection, each inmate sentenced pursuant to N.J.S.2A:113-4 for a term of life imprisonment, N.J.S.2A:164-17 for a fixed minimum and maximum term or subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:1-1 shall not be primarily eligible for parole on a date computed pursuant to this section, but shall be primarily eligible on a date computed pursuant to P.L.1948, c.84 (C.30:4-123.1 et seq.), which is continued in effect for this purpose. Inmates classified as second, third or fourth offenders pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1948, c.84 (C.30:4-123.12) shall become primarily eligible for parole after serving one-third, one-half or two-thirds of the maximum sentence imposed, respectively, less in each instance commutation time for good behavior and credits for diligent application to work and other institutional assignments; provided, however, that if the prosecuting attorney or the sentencing court advises the board that the punitive aspects of the sentence imposed on such inmates will not have been fulfilled by the time of parole eligibility calculated pursuant to this subsection, then the inmate shall not become primarily eligible for parole until serving an additional period which shall be one-half of the difference between the primary parole eligibility date calculated pursuant to this subsection and the parole eligibility date calculated pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1948, c.84 (C.30:4-123.12). If the prosecuting attorney or the sentencing court advises the board that the punitive aspects of the sentence have not been fulfilled, such advice need not be supported by reasons and will be deemed conclusive and final. Any such decision shall not be subject to judicial review except to the extent mandated by the New Jersey and United States Constitutions. The board shall, reasonably prior to considering any such case, advise the prosecuting attorney and the sentencing court of all information relevant to such inmate's parole eligibility.

k. Notwithstanding any provisions of this section to the contrary, a person sentenced to imprisonment pursuant to paragraph (2), (3) or (4) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:11-3 shall not be eligible for parole.

l. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections a. through j. of this section, the appropriate board panel, as provided in section 1 of P.L.1997, c.214 (C.30:4-123.51c), may release an inmate serving a sentence of imprisonment on medical parole at any time. L.1979,c.441,s.7; amended 1982, c.71, s.2; 1997, c.60, s.3; 1997, c.214, s.2; 1998, c.73, s.2; 2007, c.204, s.6.

30:4-123.51a. Inmate of county penal institution; revocation of parole; denial of credits and ineligibility for parole? Pursuant to section 16 of P.L.1979, c. 441 (C. 30:4-123.60), any inmate sentenced to a term of incarceration in a county penal institution who is granted parole and whose parole is revoked, shall not be credited for any time served during that parole and shall not be eligible for parole during the remainder of that county sentence. L.1982, c. 71, s. 5, eff. July 16, 1982.

30:4-123.51b Released status under term of parole supervision; rules, regulations; conditions applicable to parole supervision for life.

3. a. A person who has been sentenced to a term of parole supervision and is on release status in the community pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1997, c.117 (C.2C:43-7.2) shall, during the term of parole supervision, remain on release status in the community, in the legal custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, and shall be supervised by the Division of Parole of the State Parole Board as if on parole, and shall be subject to the provisions and conditions set by the appropriate board panel. The appropriate board panel shall have the authority, in accordance with the procedures and standards set forth in sections 15 through 21 of P.L.1979, c.441 (C.30:4-123.59 through 30:4-123.65), to revoke the person's release status and return the person to custody for the remainder of the term or until it is determined, in accordance with regulations adopted by the board, that the person is again eligible for release consideration pursuant to section 9 of P.L.1979, c.441 (C.30:4-123.53).

b. The Parole Board shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary to carry out the purposes of this act pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).

c. A person who has been sentenced to a term of parole supervision for life pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1994, c.130 (C.2C:43-6.4) shall, during the term of parole supervision, remain in the legal custody of the Commissioner of Corrections, be supervised by the Division of Parole of the State Parole Board, and be subject to the provisions and conditions set by the appropriate board panel in accordance with the procedures and standards set forth in sections 15 through 19 and 21 of P.L.1979, c.441 (C.30:4-123.59 through 30:4-123.63 and 30:4-123.65). If the parolee violates a condition of a special sentence of parole supervision for life, the parolee shall be subject to the provisions of sections 16 through 19 and 21 of P.L.1979, c.441 (C.30:4-123.60 through 30:4-123.63 and 30:4-123.65), and may be returned to prison. If revocation and return to custody are desirable pursuant to the provisions of section 19 of P.L.1979, c.441 (C.30:4-123.63), the appropriate board panel shall revoke parole and return the parolee to prison for a specified length of time between 12 and 18 months, which shall not be reduced by commutation time for good behavior pursuant to R.S.30:4-140 or credits for diligent application of work and other institutional assignments pursuant to R.S.30:4-92; provided, however, that nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed or applied to reduce the time that must be served after revocation of parole by a parolee returned to prison for a violation of a condition of any other term of parole supervision. Upon the parolee's release from prison, the parolee shall continue to serve the special sentence of parole supervision for life until released by the Superior Court pursuant to subsection c. of section 2 of P.L.1994, c.130 (C.2C:43-6.4). For the purpose of calculating the limitation on time served pursuant to section 21 of P.L.1979, c.441 (C.30:4-123.65), the custodial term imposed upon the parolee related to the special sentence of parole supervision for life shall be deemed to be a term of life imprisonment. For the purpose of establishing a primary parole eligibility date pursuant to subsection h. of section 7 of P.L.1979, c. 441 (C.30:4-123.51), the specific period of incarceration required to be served pursuant to this subsection shall not be aggregated with a term of imprisonment imposed on the parolee for the commission of any other offense. Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude or limit the prosecution or conviction for any crime defined in any law of this State, or to limit in any manner the State's ability to pursue both a criminal action and a parole violation pursuant to the provisions of this section or any other law.??L.1997,c.117,s.3; amended 2001, c.79, s.6; 2003, c.267, s.2.

Wills for Unmarried Women

by Kenneth A. Vercammen, Esq.
There may come a time when a parent is unable, due to physical or mental incapacity, to take care of his/her minor children. If a parent dies, the minor children will need a guardian. In these circumstances, those caring for the children, as well as the courts will need direction. By writing and executing a Will, which includes instructions on guardianship one may select someone, either individually or jointly, with the legal authority to act for minor children and assume control over the assets of the children. Estate planning, which includes the execution of a Will, is just as important for young families with minor children as they are for senior citizens.

As average Americans, we work 80,000 hours in a lifetime, or 45 to 55 years. In spite of all our resources and the assets we earn during our lifetime, the vast majority of Americans do not take the time to create the legal instructions to guide the court or a guardian upon their death. National statistics indicate that more than 50% of Americans die without leaving a will. In the absence of a will or other legal arrangement to distribute property at death, the State must step in to administer the estate and decide who gets custody of your children and handles your money. This process is called the law of intestacy. The result can be lengthy delays in the distribution of your estate, court battles between relatives and your children being raised by someone you do not favor. Without a Will, your family will have to pay substantial costs for accountants, attorneys, bonding companies and probate fees.
In planning, make sure your assets go to your loved ones or favorite charity, not an "ex". Therefore, you may wish to do the following:

1) Have an Elder Law attorney prepare a Will to distribute your assets to the people you care about the most. If you already have a Will, prepare a new Will and have the old Will revoked. (Your estate planning attorney will explain this to you.)
2) Prepare a power of attorney to select someone to handle your finances if you become disabled. Have your old power of attorney revoked.
3) Select the correct beneficiary on assets you may own, such as stocks, bank accounts, IRA, and other financial assets.
4) Change your beneficiary under your own life insurance, whether whole life insurance or term insurance.
5) Contact your employer's human resources and change the beneficiary on life insurance, pension, stock options or other employee benefits. Note that if you are not yet divorced, your spouse may have to sign a written waiver permitting you to change beneficiaries.
6) If you are not yet divorced, keep your personal papers at a location where an ex-spouse or the child's parent can't destroy them.
7) If you have minor children, nominate someone under a Will to serve as guardian to the children. Although the surviving parent obviously has first right of custody of children, they may not even want custody.
8) Make sure the trustee for any funds designated for your children is the "right" trustee.
9) Have your attorney prepare a prenuptial agreement, if you decide to get married.
10) In New Jersey, if you are married and living with a spouse, under certain instances the surviving spouse has a right to "elect against the will". The disinherited spouse may like to elect against the Will and try to obtain one third of the estate. Your attorney can explain how you can protect yourself and your children.

ESTATE PLANNING TO PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN

IF YOU HAVE NO WILL (LEGALLY REFERRED TO AS "INTESTATE SECESSION"):

If you leave no Will or your Will is declared invalid, because it was improperly prepared or is not admissible to probate:
* State law determines who gets assets, not you
* Additional expenses will be incurred by your heirs and extra work will be required by the heirs of their attorney to qualify an administrator
* The Judge determines who gets custody of your children
* Possible additional State inheritance taxes and Federal estate taxes
* If you have no spouse or relatives, the State may take your property
* The procedure to distribute assets becomes more complicated, and the law makes no exceptions for persons in unusual need or for your own wishes.
* It may also cause fights and lawsuits within your family

When loved ones are grieving and dealing with death, they shouldn't be overwhelmed with financial concerns. Careful estate planning helps take care of that.

Guardians
Most individuals appoint their spouse to act as Guardian of the person and property of their minor children. It is suggested that your Will include a clause which provides that in the event your spouse predeceases you, or is unsuitable or ceases to act as Guardian of the person and property of your minor children, you appoint a trusted family member or close friend to act as successor Guardian of the person and property of your minor children.

Trustee
Select a trusted person, a close relative or friends, who will invest and hold your children's money. In your Will you can instruct the Trustee to apply amounts of income and principal as they, in their sole discretion, deem proper for the health, maintenance, education, welfare, or support of your children or other minors. Direct that the trustee shall accumulate any income not needed for the above purposes, paying and transferring the portion held in trust to the beneficiary upon his or her attaining the age of majority or whichever age you select.

Children born after you sign the Will
Many people direct that the provisions of their Will also applies to afterborn children. Accordingly, if you have any additional children subsequent to the execution of this Will, then wherever you have designated only your named children, you intend that all of your children shall share equally in the relevant provisions of your Will.
In addition to having a formal Last Will and Testament individuals are encouraged to have a Power of Attorney and also Living Will. Moreover, we also recommend they plan ahead and write messages to their family and anticipated executor detailing their specific desires regarding funeral and burial. Written instructions to your family and executor containing information and guidance will minimize uncertainty, confusion, and possible oversights following your death.

Conclusion
While the preceding article contains possible items to be discussed with your family, attorney and executor, the article is by no means exhaustive. A number of these items may not be applicable in your situation, and probably there are many others that are applicable. The essential element is to spend some time now considering what you should tell those most closely associated with you to facilitate their handling of your affairs upon your death.

Black Ice Fall Down

Compiled by Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. from various sources
Liability of Owner of Commercial Property for Defects, Snow and Ice Accumulation and Other Dangerous Conditions in Abutting Sidewalks The law imposes upon the owner of commercial or business property the duty to use reasonable care to see to it that the sidewalks abutting the property are reasonably safe for members of the public who are using them. In other words, the law says that the owner of commercial property must exercise reasonable care to see to it that the condition of the abutting sidewalk is reasonably safe and does not subject pedestrians to an unreasonable risk of harm. The concept of reasonable care requires the owner of commercial property to take action with regard to conditions within a reasonable period of time after the owner becomes aware of the dangerous condition or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have become aware of it. If there was a condition of this sidewalk that was dangerous in that it created an unreasonable risk of harm for pedestrians, and if the owner knew of that condition or should have known of it but failed to take such reasonable action to correct or remedy the situation within a reasonable period of time thereafter as a reasonably prudent commercial or business owner would have done under the circumstances, then the owner is negligent.

AT THE ACCIDENT SCENE

1. Stop . . . do not leave the scene of the accident. CALL THE AMBULANCE, tell them where the accident occurred and (ask for medical help if needed).

2. Notify the property manager or owner, if possible. Insist they observe where you fell. For example, if you fall on an icy sidewalk at the store/ business, notify the manager.

3. Get names and addresses of all witnesses Witnesses will be a tremendous help to you in any subsequent court action if there is any question of liability involved. Get the names and addresses of as many witnesses as possible. If they refuse to identify themselves, jot down the license plate numbers of their automobiles. Do not discuss the accident with the witnesses. Do not give the witnesses' names to anyone but the police, your attorney or your insurance company.

4. While waiting for ambulance, write down- Accident Information Date __ Time __ Location __ Weather __ Road conditions __ Damage __

5. Summary of accident __

6. Diagram of accident location

7. Call an ambulance. If you have any reason to suspect you were injured in the accident, go to a hospital immediately or see a physician promptly. You'll want it on record that you sought treatment right away, not in a week or so.

8. Write down name of Police Officers, Department and Badge Number, Ambulance crew, etc.

9. Do not assign or accept blame for the accident. - The scene of the accident is not the place to determine fault. Discuss the accident only with the ambulance and medical personnel, your attorney and with representatives of your insurance company. Give the other party only your name and address. - Be cooperative with the police.

10. Have immediate photos taken of accident site.

11. Call a personal injury attorney immediately, not a real estate attorney. Call Kenneth A. Vercammen- Trial Attorney Attorney At Law (732) 572-0500 When you need help the most, we will be ready to help you.

12. Never give a signed statement to the claims adjuster representing the property owner's insurance company. The same goes for a phone recording. They may be used against you in court to deny your claim. Speak with your personal injury attorney first.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED BY SLIPPING ON SNOW OR ICE

It is important that you --

1. DO NOT discuss your case with anyone except your doctors and attorney.

2. DO NOT make any statements or give out any information.

3. DO NOT sign any statements, reports, forms or papers of any kinds, .

4. DO NOT appear at police or other hearings without first consulting with your attorney. INFORM YOUR ATTORNEY PROMPTLY of any notice, request or summons to appear at any hearings.

5. Refer to your attorney anyone who asks you to sign anything or to make any statement or report or who seeks information concerning your case.

6. Direct your doctor and other treatment providers not to furnish or disclose any information concerning your case to any entity other than your insurance company without YOU AND YOUR ATTORNEY'S WRITTEN PERMISSION.

7. You may have insurance coverages such as Blue Cross, Blue Shield or Major Medical which require prompt attention. However, be sure to have your treatment providers send bills immediately to all of your insurance companies.

8. Notify your attorney promptly of any new developments. Small things may be important. Keep your attorney informed.

9. Maintain accurate records of all information and data pertaining to your case.

10. If you or any witnesses should move, be sure to notify your attorney of the new address.

Financial Recovery if injured while falling down

1. Kenneth Vercammen Helps Injured persons A person who is injured as a result of the negligence of another person is what we in the legal profession refer to as a personal injury claimant. In other words, they have been injured as a result of an accident, and now wish to prosecute a claim against a negligent property owner and its insurance company. As the attorney of record, I will be bringing this action for the injured person. Therefore, I request that all clients do as much as possible to cooperate and help in every way. The purpose of this article is to describe the procedure that we may follow and give you sufficient instructions to enable you to assist us in this undertaking. Needless to say, helping us is just another way of helping yourself.

2. Clients should provide my office with the following

1. Any bills

2. All Hospital or doctor records in your possession

3. Photos of scars, cuts, bruises

4. Photos of damage to your clothes and property

5. Photos of accident site

6. Major Med Card

7. Paystub if lost time from work

3. Attorney- Client Confidential Relationship First, I want to thank our clients for giving me the opportunity to assist them in their case. I am a legal professional and I have great pride and confidence in the legal services that I perform for clients during our relationship as attorney-client. If you have concerns about your case, please call my office. (732) 572-0500 We feel that this case is extremely important not only to you, but to this office as well. This is not simply a matter of obtaining just compensation for you, although that is very important; we take professional pride in guiding our clients carefully through difficult times to a satisfactory conclusion of their cases.

4. Submission of Bills to Major Medical Second

5. Diary We want you to keep a diary of your experiences since your accident. In addition to this daily record, we also ask you to start describing a single day in the course of your life. In other words, describe what you do when you get up in the morning, the first thing you do after you go to work, what type of work and effort you put into your employment, what activities you engage in after work, etc. In other words, we need you to describe the changes in your working life, your playing life, your life as a husband or wife or child or parent. In your written description of your day, we would appreciate your explanation in the greatest detail possible and in your own words how the accident and subsequent injuries have affected your life, your personality, and your outlook. Remember that suffering does not entail mere physical pain; suffering can be emotional and can be transmitted to your family, friends, and co-workers. Keep a diary of all matters concerning this accident-no matter how trivial you think it may be. You should include notes on the treatments you receive, therapy, casts, appliances, hospitalization, change of doctors, change of medication, symptoms, recurrence, setbacks, disabilities and inconveniences. If you have any doubt about the propriety of including some particular information, please call the office and let us assist you.

6. Record expenses You can also begin to set up a system for recording the expenses incurred in conjunction with your claim in minute detail. Medical and legal expenses are a strong part of the value of your lawsuit, so good records of these expenses must be kept at all times. From time to time, however, there will be expenses incurred that you must keep track of yourself. We ask you to make every effort to avoid any possible error or inaccuracy as jurors have a relentless reverence for the truth. Keep your canceled checks and your list of expenses together, for we will need them at a later date. Your attorney will keep track of your legal expenses, which may include costs of filing, service of complaint, investigation, reports, depositions, witness fees, hospital/ medical records, etc.

7. Investigation and Filing of Complaint Procedurally, the following events occur in most personal injury cases. First, your attorney must complete the investigation. This will involve the collection of information from your physician, your employer, and our investigator. We will need your doctors to provide us with copies of all bills, medical records and possibly a medical report. When we feel that we have sufficient information to form an opinion as to the financial extent of your damages, we will commence negotiations with the opposition for a settlement. If the insurance company will not make an adequate offer, then a Complaint and Case Information Statement is prepared by your attorney. It is filed in the Superior Court, Law Division. Your attorney then will prepare a summons and have the defendants personally served with the Summons and Complaint. The defendant, through their insurance company, must file an "Answer" within 35 days. Kenneth Vercammen's office generally does not file a Complaint until the treating doctor signs an affidavit of merit setting forth why the injury is permanent and the diagnostic tests upon which the permanent injury is based. You will need to speak with your doctor to ask if you have a permanent injury.

8. Interrogatory Questions and Discovery The Answer is followed by a request for written interrogatories. These are questions that must be answered by each party. The Superior Court has set up certain "Form A" Interrogatory Questions which are contained in the Rules of Court. Generally, written interrogatories are followed by the taking of depositions, which is recorded testimony given under oath by any person the opposition wishes to question. The deposition is just as important as the trial itself. In the event you are deposed during the course of this action, you will receive detailed instructions as to the procedure and will be required to watch a videotape. After taking depositions, the case will be set down for an Arbitration. If the parties do not settle after the Arbitration, the case will be given a trial call date. Altogether, these procedures may take from six months to several years, and your patience may be sorely tried during this time. However, it has been our experience that clients who are forewarned have a much higher tolerance level for the slowly turning wheels of justice.

9. Doctor/ Treatment It will help your case to tell us and your doctors about any injury or medical problems before or after your accident. Good cases can be lost by the injured person concealing or forgetting an earlier or later injury or medical problem. Insurance companies keep a record of any and all claims against any insurance company. The insurance company is sure to find out if you have ever made a previous claim. Tell your doctors all of your complaints. The doctor's records can only be as complete as what you have given. Keep track of all prescriptions and medicines taken and the bills. Also save all bottles or containers of medicine.

10. Bills Retain all bills which relate to your damages, including medical expenses, hospital expenses, drugs and medicines, therapy, appliances, and anything needed to assist in your recovery. If possible, pay these bills by check or money order, so that a complete record may be kept. If this is not possible, be certain to obtain a complete receipt with the bill heading on it, to indicate where the receipt came from and the party issuing it.

11. Evidence Be certain to keep anything that comes into your possession which might be used as evidence in your case, such as shoes, clothing, glasses, photographs, defective machinery, defective parts, foreign substances which may have been a factor in your accident, etc. Be sure to let the office know that you have these items in your possession.

12. Photographs Take photographs of all motor vehicles, accident site, etc., that may be connected--directly or indirectly--with your accident. Again, be sure to let the office know that you have such photographs.

13. Keep your attorney advised Keep this office advised at all times with respect to changes in address, important changes in medical treatment, termination of treatment, termination of employment, resumption of employment, or any other unusual change in your life.

14. Lost wages Keep a complete record of all lost wages. Obtain a statement from your company outlining the time you have lost, the rate of salary you are paid, the hours you work per week, your average weekly salary, and any losses suffered as a result of this accident. Where possible, also obtain other types of evidence such as ledger sheets, copies of time cards, canceled checks, check stubs, vouchers, pay slips, etc.

15. New information In the event that any new information concerning the evidence in this case comes to your attention, report this to the attorney immediately. This is particularly true in the case of witnesses who have heretofore been unavailable.

16. Do not discuss the case The insurance company may telephone you and record the conversation or send an adjuster (investigator) who may carry a concealed tape recorder. You should not discuss your case with anyone.

Obviously, we cannot stress too strongly that you DO NOT discuss this matter with anyone but your attorney or immediate, trusted family. You should sign no documents without the consent of this office. Remember that at all times you may be photographed and investigated by the opposition. If you follow the simple precautions which we have set out in your checklist, we feel that we will be able to obtain a fair and appropriate amount for your injuries. If you get any letters from anyone in connection with your case, mail or fax them to your attorney immediately.

17. Questioning If any person approaches you with respect to this accident without your attorney's permission, make complete notes regarding the incident. These notes should include the name and address of the party, a description of the person, and a narrative description of what was said or done. Under no circumstances should you answer any question(s). All questions should be referred to your attorney's office.

18. Investigation by Defendant Insurance Company Permit us to reiterate at this time that the opposition's insurance company will in all probability have a team of lawyers and investigators working diligently to counter your claim. During the course of their investigation, it is quite possible that they may attempt to contact you through various (and sometimes, devious) methods. Please do not make their jobs any easier for them by answering their questions.

We cannot emphasize too strongly that you should refrain at all times from discussing this matter with anyone--and that includes your employer, your relatives, your neighbors, and even your friends. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.

If there are friends or neighbors or relatives who know all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident and can be of assistance to you, then they should be referred to this office so that their natural sympathy can be channeled into an effective asset for you.

Insurance companies pay money to claimants when they are satisfied there are both liability and damages that support a recovery. They can be expected to thoroughly investigate the facts of the accident and any past injuries or claims. The insurance company will obtain copies of all of the claimant's past medical records.

The value of a case depends on the Permanent Injury, medical treatment and doctor's reports Undoubtedly, you have questions as to how much your case is worth. We are going to be frank: The fact of the matter is there can be no answer to this question until we have completed the investigation in your case. Once we complete our investigation, of course, we can make a determination as to the amount of the defendant's liability, if any, and even at that we will only be at a starting point. After that, we must obtain all necessary information concerning your lost wages, your disability, your partial disability, your life changes, and your prognosis. You may rest assured of one thing, however, and that is the fact that your case will not be settled below its true value, that is the fair compensation for the injuries you have received. You may also rest assured that no settlement agreement will be entered into without your consent.

Conclusion We appreciate that this is a great deal of information to absorb. We also appreciate that our requests for client's assistance have been numerous. However, we are certain that our clients appreciate having this information from the outset. Each request and bit of information given here represents an important part in recovering full value for your injury. Therefore, we respectfully request your full cooperation. If you have questions or concerns regarding these instructions, we encourage you to feel free to contact the office at any time.

Financial Recovery for Fall Down Victims

Sometimes, store customers are injured in fall downs caused by wet and slippery floors or failure by stores to clean up broken or fallen items. No one plans on being injured in an accident, whether it is a car accident, fall down or other situation. Speak with a personal injury attorney immediately to retain all your rights. The stores are responsible for the maintenance of their premises which are used by the public. It is the duty of the store to inspect and keep said premises in a safe condition and free from any and all pitfalls, obstacles or traps that would likely cause injury to persons lawfully thereon.

It is further the duty of the store to properly and adequately inspect, maintain and keep the library premises free from danger to life, limb and property of persons lawfully and rightfully using same and to warn of any such dangers or hazards thereon. You may be lawfully upon the premises as a business invitee in the exercise of due care on your part, and solely by reason of the omission, failure and default of the store, be caused to fall down If the store did not perform their duty to plaintiff to maintain the premises in a safe, suitable and proper condition, you may be entitled to make a claim. If severely injured, you can file a claim for damages, together with interest and costs of suit. Injured people can demand trial by jury.

The following information is taken from the old model jury charges dealing with fall downs by store customers:

INVITEE - DEFINED AND GENERAL DUTY OWED

An invitee is one who is permitted to enter or remain on land (or premises) for a purpose of the owner (or occupier). He/She enters by invitation, expressed or implied. The owner (or occupier) of the land (or premises) who by invitation, expressed or implied, induced persons to come upon his/her premises, is under a duty to exercise ordinary care to render the premises reasonably safe for the purposes embraced in the invitation. Thus, he/she must exercise reasonable care for the invitee's safety. He/She must take such steps as are reasonable and prudent to correct or give warning of hazardous conditions or defects actually known to him/her (or his/her employees), and of hazardous conditions or defects which he/she (or his/her employees) by the exercise of reasonable care, could discover.

BUSINESS INVITEE FALL DOWNS:

The basic duty of a proprietor of premises to which the public is invited for business purposes of the proprietor is to exercise reasonable care to see that one who enters his/her premises upon that invitation has a reasonably safe place to do that which is within the scope of the invitation.

Notes:

(1) Business Invitee: The duty owed to a "business invitee" is no different than the duty owed to other "invitees."

(2) Construction Defects, Intrinsic and Foreign Substances: The rules dealt with in this section and subsequent sections apply mainly to those cases where injury is caused by transitory conditions, such as falls due to foreign substances or defects resulting from wear and tear or other deterioration of premises which were originally constructed properly.

Where a hazardous condition is due to defective construction or construction not in accord with applicable standards it is not necessary to prove that the owner or occupier had actual knowledge of the defect or would have become aware of the defect had he/she personally made an inspection. In such cases the owner is liable for failing to provide a safe place for the use of the invitee.

Thus, in Brody v. Albert Lipson & Sons, 17 N.J. 383 (1955), the court distinguished between a risk due to the intrinsic quality of the material used (calling it an "intrinsic substance" case) and a risk due to a foreign substance or extra-normal condition of the premises. There the case was submitted to the jury on the theory that the terrazzo floor was peculiarly liable to become slipper when wet by water and that defendant should have taken precautions against said risk. The court appears to reject defendant's contention that there be notice, direct or mputed by proof of adequate opportunity to discover the defective condition. 17 N.J. at 389.

It may be possible to reconcile this position with the requirement of constructive notice of an unsafe condition by saying that an owner of premises is chargeable with knowledge of such hazards in construction as a reasonable inspection by an appropriate expert would reveal. See: Restatement to Torts 2d, §343, Comment f, pp. 217-218 (1965), saying that a proprietor is required to have superior knowledge of the dangers incident to facilities furnished to invitees.

Alternatively, one can view these cases as within the category of defective or hazardous conditions created by defendant or by an independent contractor for which defendant would be liable (see introductory note above).

Cases:

Bozza v. Vornado, Inc., 42 N.J. 355, 359 (1954) (slip and fall on sticky, slimy substance in self-service cafeteria which inferably fell to the floor as an incident of defendant's mode of operation).

Buchner v. Erie Railroad Co., 17 N.J. 283, 285-286 (1955) (trip over curbstone improperly illuminated).

Brody v. Albert Lifson & Sons, 17 N.J. 383, 389 (1955) (slip and fall on wet composition floor in store).

Bohn v. Hudson & Manhattan R. Co., 16 N.J. 180, 185 (1954) (slip on smooth stairway in railroad station).

Williams v. Morristown Memorial Hospital, 59 N.J. Super. 384, 389 (App. Div. 1960) (fall over low wire fence separating grass plot from sidewalk).

Nary v. Dover Parking Authority, 58 N.J. super. 222, 226-227 (App. Div.

1959) (fall over bumper block in parking lot).

Parmenter v. Jarvis Drug Store, Inc., 48 N.J. Super. 507, 510 (App. Div. 1957) (slip and fall on wet linoleum near entrance of store on rainy day).

Nelson v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., 48 N.J. Super. 300 (App. Div. 1958) (inadequate lighting of parking lot of supermarket, fall over unknown object).

Barnard v. Trenton-New Brunswick Theatre Co., 32 N.J. Super. 551, 557 (App. Div. 1954) (fall over ladder placed in theatre lobby by workmen of independent contractor).

Ratering v. Mele, 11 N.J. Super. 211, 213 (App. Div. 1951) (slip and fall on littered stairway at entrance to restaurant).

DUTY TO INSPECT OWED TO INVITEE The duty of an owner (or occupier) of land (or premises) to make the place reasonably safe for the proper use of an invitee requires the owner or occupier to make reasonable inspection of the land (or premises) to discover hazardous conditions.

Cases:

Handelman v. Cox, 39 N.J. 95, 111 (1963) (salesman showing merchandise to employees of defendant fell down cellar stairway partially obscured by carton)

NOTICE OF PARTICULAR DANGER AS CONDITION OF LIABILITY If the jury members find that the land (or premises) was not in a reasonably safe condition, then, in order to recover, plaintiff must show either that the owner (or occupier) knew of the unsafe condition for a period of time prior to plaintiff's injury sufficient to permit him/her in the exercise of reasonable care to have corrected it, or that the condition had existed for a sufficient length of time prior to plaintiff's injury that in the exercise of reasonable care the owner (or occupier) should have discovered its existence and corrected it.

Cases:

Tua v. Modern Homes, Inc., 64 N.J. Super. 211 (App. Div. 1960), affirmed, 33 N.J. 476 (1960) (slip and fall on small area of slipper waxlike substance in store); Parmenter v. Jarvis Drug Store, Inc., 48 N.J. Super. 507, 510 (App. Div. 1957) (slip and fall on wet linoleum near entrance of store on rainy day); Ratering v. Mele, 11 N.J. Super. 211, 213 (App. Div. 1951) (slip and fall on littered stairway at entrance to restaurant).

Notes:

(1) The above charge is applicable to those cases where the defendant is not at fault for the creation of the hazard of where the hazard is not to be reasonably anticipated as an incident of defendant's mode of operation. See: Maugeri v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, 357 F.2d 202 (3rd Cir. 1966) (dictum).

(2) An employee's knowledge of the danger is imputed to his/her employer, the owner of premises. Handelman v. Cox, 39 N.J. 95, 104 (1963).

NOTICE NOT REQUIRED WHEN CONDITION IS CAUSED BY DEFENDANT

If the jury members find that the land (or premises) was not in a reasonably safe condition and that the owner (or occupier) or his/her agent, servant or employee created that condition through his/her own act or omission, then, in order for plaintiff to recover, it is not necessary for the jury members also to find that the owner (or occupier) had actual or constructive notice of the particular unsafe condition.

Cases:

Smith v. First National Stores, 94 N.J. Super. 462 (App. Div. 1967)(slip and fall on greasy stairway caused by sawdust tracked onto the steps by defendant's employees); Plaga v. Foltis, 88 N.J. Super. 209 (App. Div. 1965) (slip and fall on fat in restaurant area traversed by bus boy); Torda v. Grand Union Co., 59 N.J. Super. 41 (App. Div. 1959) (slip and fall in self-service market on wet floor near vegetable bin). Also see: Thompson v. Giant Tiger Corp., 118 N.J.L. 10 (E. & A. 1937); Wollerman v. Grand Union Stores, Inc., 47 N.J. 426 (1956); Lewin v. Orbach's, Inc., 14 N.J. Super. 193 (App. Div. 1951); Maugeri v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, 357 F.2d 202 (3rd Cir. 1966).

BURDEN OF GOING FORWARD

In Wollerman v. Grand Union Stores, Inc., 47 N.J. 426, 429-430 (1966), the court held that where string beans are sold from bins on a self-service basis there is a probability that some will fall or be dropped on the floor either by defendant's employees or by customers. Since plaintiff would not be in a position to prove whether a particular string bean was dropped by an employee or another customer (or how long it was on the floor) a showing of this type of operation is sufficient to put the burden on the defendant to come forward with proof that defendant did what was reasonably necessary (made periodic inspections and clean-up) in order to protect a customer against the risk of injury likely to be generated by defendant's mode of operation. Presumably, however, the burden of proof remains on plaintiff to prove lack of reasonable care on defendant's part. If defendant fails to produce evidence of reasonable care, the jury may infer that the fault was probably his. See also: Bozza, supra, 42 N.J. at 359.

Whether or not defendant has furnished an invitee with a reasonably safe place for his/her use may depend upon the obviousness of the condition claimed to be hazardous and the likelihood that the invitee would realize the hazard and protect himself/herself against it. Even though an unsafe condition may be observable by an invitee the jury members may find that an owner (or occupier) of premises is negligent, nevertheless, in maintaining said condition when the condition presents an unreasonable hazard to invitees in the circumstances of a particular case. If the jury members find that defendant was negligent in maintaining an unsafe condition, even though the condition would be obvious to an invitee, the fact that the condition was obvious should be considered by the jury members in determining whether the invitee was contributorily negligent (a) in proceeding in the face of a known hazard or (b) in the manner in which the invitee proceeded in the face of a known hazard.

DISTRACTION OR FORGETFULNESS OF INVITEE

Even if the jury members find that plaintiff knew of the existence of the unsafe or defective condition, or that the unsafe or defective condition was so obvious that defendant had a reasonable basis to expect that an invitee would realize its existence, plaintiff may still recover if the circumstances or conditions are such that plaintiff's attention would be distracted so that he/she would not realize or would forget the location or existence of the hazard or would fail to protect himself/herself against it.

Thus, even where a hazardous condition is obvious the jury members must first determine whether in the circumstances the defendant was negligent in permitting the condition to exist. Even if defendant was negligent, however, if plaintiff knew that a hazardous condition existed, plaintiff could not recover if he/she was contributorily negligent, that is to say, plaintiff could not recover if he/she did not act as a reasonably prudent person either by proceeding in the face of a known danger or by not using reasonable care in the manner in which he/she proceeded in the face of the danger. In considering whether plaintiff was contributorily negligent the jury members may consider that even persons of reasonable prudence in certain circumstances may have their attention distracted so that they would not realize or remember the existence of a hazardous condition and would fail to protect themselves against it. Mere lapse of memory or inattention or mental abstraction at the critical moment is not an adequate excuse. One who is inattentive or forgetful of a known and obvious danger is contributorily negligent unless there is some condition or circumstance which would distract or divert the mind or attention of a reasonably prudent person.

Note:

In McGrath v. American Cyanamid Co., 41 N.J. 272 (1963), the employee of a subcontractor was killed when a plank comprising a catwalk over a deep trench up-ended causing him to fall. The court held that even if the decedent had appreciated the danger that fact by itself would not have barred recovery. The court said if the danger was one which due care would not have avoided, due care might, nevertheless, require notice of warning unless the danger was known or obvious. If the danger was created by a breach of defendant's duty of care, that negligence would not be dissipated merely because the decedent knew of the danger.Negligence would remain, but decedent's knowledge would affect the issue of contributory negligence. The issue would remain whether decedent acted as a reasonably prudent person in view of the known risk, either by incurring the known risk (by staying on the job), or by the manner in which he proceeded in the face of that risk.

In Zentz v. Toop, 92 N.J. Super. 105, 114-115 (App. Div. 1966), affirmed o.b., 50 N.J. 250 (1967), the employee of a roofing contractor, while carrying hot tar, tripped over a guide wire supporting an air conditioning tower on a roof. The court held that even if plaintiff had observed the wires or if they were so obvious that he/she should have observed them, the question remained whether, considering the hazard and the work of the employee, he/she was entitled to more than mere knowledge of the existence of the wires or whether he/she was entitled to a warning by having the wires flagged or painted in a contrasting color. This was a fact for the jury to determine. The jury must also determine whether defendant had reason to expect that the employee's attention would have been distracted as he/she worked or that he/she would forget the location of a known hazard or fail to protect himself against it. The court also held the plaintiff's knowledge of the danger would not alone bar his/her recovery, but this knowledge goes to the issue of contributory negligence.

In Ferrie v. D'Arc, 31 N.J. 92, 95 (1959), the court held that there was no reasonable excuse for plaintiff's forgetfulness or inattention to the fact that a railing was temporarily absent from her porch, as she undertook to throw bones to her dog, and fell to the ground because of the absence of a railing she customarily leaned upon. The court held: "When an injury results from forgetfulness or inattention to a known danger, the obvious contributory negligence is not excusable in the absence of some condition or circumstance which would divert the mind or attention of an ordinarily prudent man. Mere lapse of memory, or inattention or mental abstraction at the critical moment cannot be considered an adequate diversion. One who is inattentive to or forgetful of a known and obvious condition which contains a risk of injury is obvious condition which contains a risk of injury to guilty of contributory negligence as a matter of law, unless some diversion of the type referred to above is shown to have existed at the time."

The following discussion in 2 Harper & James, Torts, §27.13, pp. 1489 et seq., (1956), cited with approval in Zentz v. Toop, supra, 92 N.J. Super. at 112, may be helpful in understanding the principles involved in the above charges:

Once an occupier has learned of dangerous conditions on his/her premises, a serious question arises as to whether he/she may--as a matter of law under all circumstances--discharge all further duty to his/her invitees by simply giving them "a warning adequate to enable them to avoid the harm." A good many authorities, including the Restatement, take the position that he/she may. But this proposition is a highly doubtful one both on principle and authority. The alternative would be a requirement of due care to make the conditions reasonably safe--a requirement which might well be satisfied by warning or obviousness in any given case, but which would not be so satisfied invariably.

* * *

1. Defendant's duty. People can hurt themselves on almost any condition of the premises. That is certainly true of an ordinary flight of stairs. But it takes more than this to make a condition unreasonably dangerous. If people who are likely to encounter a condition may be expected to take perfectly good care themselves without further precautions, then the condition is not unreasonably dangerous because the likelihood of harm is slight. This is true of the flight of ordinary stairs in a usual place in the daylight. It is also true of ordinary curbing along a sidewalk, doors or windows in a house, counters in a store, stones and slopes in a New England field, and countless other things which are common in our everyday experience. It may also be true of less common and obvious conditions which lurk in a place where visitors would expect to find such dangers. The ordinary person can use or encounter all of these things safely if he/she is fully aware of their presence at the time. And if they have no unusual features and are in a place where he/she would naturally look for them, he/she may be expected to take care of himself if they are plainly visible. In such cases it is enough if the condition is obvious, or is made obvious (e.g., by illumination). * * *

On the other hand, the fact that a condition is obvious--i.e., it would be clearly visible to one whose attention was directed to it--does not always remove all unreasonable danger. It may fail to do so in two lines of cases. In one line of cases, people would not in fact expect to find the condition where it is, or they are likely to have their attention distracted as they approach it, or, for some other reason, they are in fact not likely to see it, though it could be readily and safely avoided if they did. There may be negligence in creating or maintaining such a condition even though it is physically obvious; slight obstructions to travel on a sidewalk an unexpected step in a store aisle or between a passenger elevator and the landing furnish examples. Under the circumstances of any particular case, an additional warning may, as a matter of fact, suffice to remove the danger, as where a customer, not hurried by crowds or some emergency, and in possession of his/her facilities, is told to "watch his/her step" or "step up" at the appropriate time. When this is the case, the warning satisfies the requirement of due care and is incompatible with defendant's negligence. Here again, plaintiff's recovery would be prevented by thatfact no matter how careful he/she was. But under ordinary negligence principles the question is properly one of fact for the jury except in the clearest situations.

In the second line of cases the condition of danger is suchthat it cannot be encountered with reasonable safety even if the danger is known and appreciated. An icy flight of stairs or sidewalk, a slippery floor, a defective crosswalk, or a walkway near an exposed high tension wire may furnish examples. So may the less dangerous kind of condition if surrounding circumstances are likely to force plaintiff upon it, or if, for any other reason, his/her knowledge is not likely to be a protection against danger. It is in these situations that the bit of the Restatement's "adequate warning" rule is felt. Here, if people are in fact likely to encounter the danger, the duty of reasonable care to make conditions reasonably safe is not satisfied by a simple warning; the probability of harm in spite of such precaution is still unreasonably great. And the books are full of cases in which defendants, owing such a duty, are held liable for creating or maintaining a perfectly obvious danger of which plaintiffs are fully aware. The Restatement, however, would deny liability here because the occupier need not invite visitors, and if he/she does, he/she may condition the invitation on any terms he/she chooses, so long as there is full disclosure of them. If the invitee wishes to come on those terms, he/she assumes the risk.

The Restatement view is wrong in policy. The law has never freed landownership or possession from all restrictions or obligations imposed in the social interest. The possessor's duty to use care towards those outside the land is of long standing. And many obligations are imposed for the benefit of people who voluntarily come upon the land. For the invitee, the occupier must make reasonable inspection and give warning of hidden perils. . . But this should not be conclusive. Reasonable expectations may raise duties, but they should not always limit them. The gist of the matter is unreasonable probability of harm in fact. And when that is great enough in spite of full disclosure, it is carrying the quasi-sovereignty of the landowner pretty far to let him ignore it to the risk of life and limb.

So far as authority goes, the orthodox theory is getting to be a pretty feeble reed for defendants to lean on. It is still frequently stated, though often by way of dictum. On the other hand, some cases have simply--though unostentatiously--broken with tradition and held defendant liable to an invitee in spite of his/her knowledge of the danger, when the danger was great enough and could have been feasibly remedied. Other cases stress either the reasonable assumption of safety which the invitee may make or the likelihood that his/her attention will be distracted, in order to cut down the notion of what is obvious or the adequacy of warning. And the latter is often a jury question even under the Restatement rule. It is not surprising, then, that relatively few decisions have depended on the Restatement rule alone for denying liability.

2. Contributory Negligence. . . But there are several situations in which a plaintiff will not be barred by contributory negligence although he/she encountered a known danger. . . For another, it is not necessarily negligent for a plaintiff knowingly and deliberately to encounter a danger which it is negligent for defendant to maintain. Thus a traveler may knowingly use a defective sidewalk, or a tenant a defective common stairway, without being negligent if the use was reasonable under all the circumstances.

CONCLUSION These situations show that the invitee will not always be barred by his/her self-exposure to known dangers on the premises.

Sprains

Persons who are in car accidents or fall down often do not feel pain in their neck until the next day. Testing for Sprains could include: muscle conduction tests, MRI, CT scan, and X-ray. A person concerned about a neck injury should probably consult an orthopedic doctor, or chiropractor who can order and read most of the above tests.

Even in a low impact accident, there can be neck injury.

According to medical journal excerpts:

1) "The truth is that all driving can be dangerous. More than 80 percent of all car crashes occur at speeds less than 40 mph. Fatalities involving non-belted occupants of cars have been recorded at as low as 12 mph. That's about the speed you'd be driving in a parking lot."

Seat belt safety pamphlet, number D)T HS 802 152, distributed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

2) "The amount of damage to the automobile bears little relation to the force applied to the cervical spine of the occupants. The acceleration of the occupant's head depends on the force imparted, the moment of inertia of the struck vehicle, and the amount of collapse of force dissemination by the crumpling of the vehicle. The inertia of the struck vehicle is related to the weight and the relative ease with which the vehicle rolls or moves forward."

Charles Caroll, M.D., Paul McAfee, M.D., Lee Riley, Jr., M.D.: Objective findings for diagnosis of "whiplash". Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine, March, 1986, pp. 57-74.

3) "The accident does not need to be severe in order to generate cervical trauma. Using the brakes when the light suddenly turns red and when the neck is too relaxed is enough to cause trauma. The neck may projected backwards even though not violently. The head, which weighs five kilograms and is balanced over the cervical spine, being supported by only two small articular surfaces no greater than a thumbnail, is also thrown backwards pulling the cervical spine with it. In addition, a sudden reflex contraction of the flexors on the neck occurs with a certain delay. We shall not describe all the details of the mechanism of the production of these whiplash injuries..."

It is easy to imagine that the joint injuries are not the same if during a collision, or any other accident, the head is directed along the axis of the impact or if the head is rotated or if the impact is directed laterally. In the final analysis, it is the result of the injury which is important." Robert Maigne, M.D., Orthopedic Medicine - A New Approach to Vertebral Manipulations, CC. Thomas, 1972, p. 196.4) "The position of the head at the moment of collision influences the type of injury. This is particularly true of the degree of rotation in relationship to the direction of the impact...the foramen are open equally when the head faces forward but are narrowed on the side toward which the head is laterally flexed or to which the head is turned. Not only will the already narrowed foramen be compressed ligaments will be far more damaging. Rotating the head at the time of collision increases the possibility of more serious injury."

Rene Cailliet, M.D., Neck and Arm Pain, 1972, Davis Company, p. 69.

Although no specific studies are available for analysis, some medical authors have suggested the possibility that perhaps collisions that produce little physical damage place the occupants at GREATER risk of injury. The crumpling of metal during a collision is believed to absorb some of the force generated by the impact. Where little damage is produced, it may suggest that none of the force was absorbed by the metal, leaving it to pass through the automobile, thereby exposing the occupants to the full force of the impact.

In early 1989, Dr. Francis Navin, a professor of Civil Engineering at the University of British Columbia and a scientific team of investigators conducted simulated low-speed rear impact studies at the UBC Accident Research Facility in Vancouver to assess vehicle damage and occupant injury from this type of collision. The investigators set up a simulated experiment in which a heavy pendulum was swung at speeds lower than 20 km/h to strike the rear bumper of a Volkswagen Rabbit carrying bolted crash dummies. Later that year, Dr. Navin published his findings at an international conference on experimental safety vehicles in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The results of their studies showed that the test occupants were flung forward and rotated at higher speeds than impact "in an attempt to catch up with the car."

According to Dr. Navin, "It was observed that the resulting deflection of the seat-back, with subsequent rebound tends to pitch the occupant forward during impact with the shoulder displacement leading the head. The relative head to shoulder motion is the likely source of Sprains." The investigators also noticed an absence of structural damage to the rear bumper of the Rabbits when struck by the pendulum at speeds of up to 15 km/h. This led Dr. Navin to the same conclusion of earlier American studies which demonstrated that rear-end collisions, unlike most other types of collisions, frequently result in "minor car damage with major bodily harm."

Dr. Navin's findings are fully explained in the proceedings of the 12th International Conference of Experimental Safety Vehicles, May 29 - June 1, 1989, Gothburg, Sweden, in the article "Low Speed Rear Impacts and the Elastic Properties of Automobiles", as well as in the Proceedings of the Multi-disciplinary Road Safety Conference VI, June 5-7, 1989, Fredricton, New Brunswick, in the article "An Investigation Into Vehicle and Occupant Response Subjected to Low-Speed Rear Impacts."

1) "Long-term studies show that aches and pains with no evident physical cause persist in 20% to 45% of patients with significant whiplash injuries." "Roentgenographic studies show that degenerative problems develop after injury in 39% of patients. By comparison only 6% of the general population over age 30 develops degenerative changes over a comparable time. Thus, it would seem that whiplash injuries predispose patients to cervical degenerative osteoarthritis."

Charles Caroll, M.D., Paul McAfee, M.D., Lee Riley, Jr., M.D.: Objective findings for diagnosis of "whiplash". Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine, March, 1986, pp. 57-74.

2) "From the discussion of the natural history of the degenerative process, it will be appreciated that this process is often a continuing one and therefore we cannot expect a permanent cure from manipulation or from any modality, including operation."

W.H. Kirkaldy-Willis, M.D., Managing Low Back Pain, 1983, Churchill Livingstone, pp. 183.3) "In addition there are long term effects of injuries [automobile accidents] which do not become evident until years after the insult, for example with osteoarthrosis of joints and epileptic seizures."

Aldman B., Mellander H., Mackay M., The Structure of European Research into the Bio-mechanics of Impacts, in the quarterly journal of the American Association For Automotive Medicine, April, 1986, p. 26.

4) "If the displacement (post-traumatic disc protrusion) is left where it is to get larger or smaller as fortune dictates, it will sometimes take the latter course. Even so, the longer the protrusion lasts, the more time it has to stretch the posterior longitudinal ligament, perhaps irretrievably, thus enhancing the likelihood of further attacks. The prevention of eventual pressure on a root or the spinal cord is clearly the reduction of the displacement (manipulation) when it first appears. James Cyriax, M.D., Textbook of Orthopaedic Medicine, Tindall, 8th edition, 1982, p.103.

5) "Disk disruption in milder cervical trauma may be the cause of acute as well as chronic pain syndrome...This type of pain pattern can become chronic over many years without resolving. The areas affected by pain include the neck, inner part of the scapula, shoulder, and arm. This pain is relieved by rest, immobilization, and traction. The pain recurs when the patient becomes active again."

Bohlman HH: Musculoskeletal Disorders, ed. by Robert D. D'Ambrosia, M.D., 1977, J.B. Lippencott Company, pp. 220-222.

This points out that the fear that symptoms associated with traumatic soft-tissue injury will return in the future is an opinion shared by many respected medical authorities, and reported in numerous medical texts, journals and professional papers. The sequela of post-traumatic injury, especially as it relates to joint function, are well established in the medical literature, and carry a significant predisposition for further dysfunction and painful syndromes. Financial Recovery for persons suffering back, Sprains and seriously injured in accidents, both car accidents and fall downs:

1. Kenneth Vercammen helps injured persons. A person who is injured as a result of the negligence of another person is what we in the legal profession refer to as a personal injury claimant. In other words, they have been injured as a result of an accident, and you now wish to prosecute a claim against an opposing party. As the attorney of record, I can bring an action for the injured person. Therefore, I request that all clients do as much as possible to cooperate and help in every way. The purpose of this article is to describe the procedure that we may follow and give you sufficient instructions to enable you to assist us in this undertaking. Needless to say, helping us is just another way of helping yourself.

2. Clients should provide my office with the following 1. Any bills 2. All hospital or doctor records in your possession 3. Car Insurance Declaration Sheet if you were in a car accident 4. Car Insurance Policy if car accident 5. Photos of damage to any property 6. Photos of accident site 7. Major Medical Insurance Card 8. Paystub if lost time from work

3. Attorney- Client Confidential Relationship. First, I want to thank our clients for giving me the opportunity to assist them in their case. I am a legal professional and have great pride and confidence in the legal services that I perform for clients during our relationship as attorney-client. If you have concerns about your case, please call my office at (732) 572-0500. We feel that this case is extremely important-not only to you, but to this office as well. This is not simply a matter of obtaining just compensation for you, although that is very important. We take professional pride in guiding our clients carefully through difficult times to a satisfactory conclusion of their cases.

4. Submission of Bills to Car Insurance and Major Medical If you are in a car accident, you should submit your medical bills to your own car insurance company first. Your car insurance is required by New Jersey law to provide PIP (Personal Injury Protection) benefits under the No Fault Law. This means your car insurance company, not the careless driver, pay the majority of medical bills. If you do not own a car, but live with someone who owns a car, we can try to help you submit medical bills to their car insurance company.

If this is not a car accident, submit all bills immediately to your major medical. Please provide car and major medical insurance information to each doctor, MRI facility and treatment provider. Please request they submit bills and attending physician reports to car insurance and major medical. There is now minimum deductibles under the PIP Law. There is an initial $250.00 deductible, and thereafter your car insurance company pays 80% of medical bills under a medical fee schedule established by the State Dept. of Insurance. Your primary treating doctor must also follow "Care Path". Submit portions of bills the car insurance does not pay to your major medical carrier (ex- Blue Cross, Connecticut General). The Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen can provide a more detailed brochure explaining how car insurance works.

Never give a signed statement to the claims adjuster representing the other driver's insurance company. The same goes for a phone recording. They may be used against you in court to deny your claim. Speak with your personal injury attorney first.

WHILE YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE IS PENDING:

It is important that you -- 1. DO NOT discuss your case with anyone except your doctors and attorney. 2. DO NOT make any statements or give out any information. 3. DO NOT sign any statements, reports, forms or papers of any kind. 4. DO NOT appear at police or other hearings without first consulting with your attorney. INFORM YOUR ATTORNEY PROMPTLY of any notice, request or summons to appear at any such hearings. 5. Refer to your attorney, anyone who asks you to sign anything or to make any statement or report or who seeks information concerning your case. 6. Direct your doctor and other treatment providers not to furnish or disclose any information concerning your case to any entity other than your insurance company without YOU AND YOUR ATTORNEY'S WRITTEN PERMISSION. 7. You may have insurance coverages such as liability, collision, accident, Blue Cross, Blue Shield or Major Medical which require prompt attention. However, be sure to have your treatment providers send bills immediately to all of your insurance companies. 8. Notify your attorney promptly of any new developments. Small things may be important. Keep your attorney informed. 9. Maintain accurate records of all information and data pertaining to your case. 10. If you or any witnesses should move, be sure to notify your attorney of the new address.

5. Diary We want you to keep a diary of your experiences since your accident. In addition to this daily record, we also ask you to start describing a single day in the course of your life. In other words, describe what you do when you get up in the morning, the first thing you do after you go to work, what type of work and effort you put into your employment, what activities you engage in after work, etc. In other words, we need you to describe the changes in your working life, your playing life, your life as a husband, wife, child or parent. In your written description of your day, we would appreciate your explanation in the greatest detail possible and in your own words how the accident and subsequent injuries have affected your life, your personality, and your outlook. And remember that suffering does not entail mere physical pain; suffering can be emotional and can be transmitted to your family, friends, and co-workers. When you have completed this description, please return it to this office in the enclosed envelope. Keep a diary of all matters concerning this accident, no matter how trivial you think it may be. You should include notes on the treatments you receive, therapy, casts, appliances, hospitalization, change of doctors, change of medication, symptoms, recurrence, setbacks, disabilities and inconveniences. If you have any doubt about the propriety of including some particular information, please call the office and let us assist you.

6. Record expenses You can also begin to set up a system for recording the expenses incurred in conjunction with your claim in minute detail. Medical and legal expenses are a strong part of the value of your lawsuit, so good records of these expenses must be kept at all times. From time to time, however, there will be expenses incurred that you must keep track of yourself. We ask you to make every effort to avoid any possible error or inaccuracy as jurors have a relentless reverence for the truth. Keep your canceled checks and your list of expenses together, for we will need them at a later date. Your attorney will keep track of your legal expenses, which may include costs of filing, service of process, investigation, reports, depositions, witness fees, jury fees, etc.

7. Investigation and Filing of Civil Complaint in Superior Court Procedurally, the following events occur in most personal injury cases. First, your attorney must complete our investigation and file. This will involve the collection of information from your physician, your employer, and our investigator. We will need your doctors to provide us with copies of all bills, medical records and possibly a medical report. When we feel that we have sufficient information to form an opinion as to the financial extent of your damages, we will commence negotiations with the opposition for a settlement. If the insurance company will not make an adequate offer, then a Complaint and Case Information Statement is prepared by your attorney. It is filed in the Superior Court, Law Division. Your attorney then will prepare a summons and have the defendants personally served with the Summons and Complaint. The defendant, through their insurance company, must file an "Answer" within 35 days.

8. Interrogatory Questions and Discovery The Answer is followed by a request for written interrogatories. These are questions that must be answered by each party. The Superior Court has set up certain "Form" Interrogatories which are contained in the Rules of Court. Generally, written interrogatories are followed by the taking of depositions, which is recorded testimony given under oath by any person the opposition wishes to question. The deposition is just as important as the trial itself. In the event you are deposed during the course of this action, you will receive detailed instructions as to the procedure and will be requested to watch a videotape. After taking depositions, the case will be set down for an Arbitration. If the parties do not settle after the Arbitration, the case will be given a trial call date. Altogether, these procedures may take from six months to several years, and your patience may be sorely tried during this time. However, it has been our experience that clients who are forewarned have a much higher tolerance level for the slowly turning wheels of justice.

9. Doctor/Treatment It will help your case to tell us and your doctors about any injury or medical problems before or after your accident. Good cases can be lost by the injured person's concealing or forgetting an earlier or later injury or medical problem. Insurance companies keep a record of any and all claims against any insurance company. The insurance company is sure to find out if you have ever made a previous claim. Tell your doctors all of your complaints. The doctor's records can only be as complete as what you have given. Keep track of all prescriptions and medicines taken accompanied by the bills. Also save all bottles or containers of medicine. 10. Bills Retain all bills which relate to your damages, including medical expenses, hospital expenses, drugs, medicines, therapy, appliances, and anything needed to assist you in your recovery. If possible, pay these bills by check or money order, so that a complete record may be kept. If this is not possible, be certain to obtain a complete receipt with the bill heading on it, to indicate where the receipt came from and the party issuing it. 11. Evidence Be certain to keep anything that comes into your possession which might be used as evidence in your case, such as shoes, clothing, glasses, photographs, defective machinery, defective parts, foreign substances which may have been a factor in your accident, etc. Be sure to let the office know that you have these items in your possession. 12. Photographs Take photographs of all motor vehicles, accident site, etc., that may be connected directly or indirectly with your accident. Again, be sure to let the office know that you have such photographs.

13. Keep your attorney advised Keep this office advised at all times with respect to changes in address, important changes in medical treatment, termination of treatment, termination of employment, resumption of employment, or any other unusual change in your life. 14. Lost wages Keep a complete record of all lost wages. Obtain a statement from your company outlining the time you have lost, the rate of salary you are paid, the hours you work per week, your average weekly salary, and any losses suffered as a result of this accident. Where possible, also obtain other types of evidence such as ledger sheets, copies of time cards, canceled checks, check stubs, vouchers, pay slips, etc. 15. New information In the event that any new information concerning the evidence in this case comes to your attention, report this to the Attorney immediately. This is particularly true in the case of witnesses who have heretofore been unavailable.

16. Do not discuss the case The insurance company may telephone you and record the conversation or send an adjuster (investigator) who may carry a concealed tape recorder. You should not discuss your case with anyone.

Obviously, we cannot stress too strongly that you DO NOT discuss this matter with anyone, but your attorney or immediate trusted family. You should sign no documents without the consent of this office. Remember that at all times you may be photographed and investigated by the opposition. If you follow the simple precautions which we have set out in your checklist, we feel that we will be able to obtain a fair and appropriate amount for your injuries. If you get any letters from anyone in connection with your case, mail or fax them to your attorney immediately.

17. Questioning If any person approaches you with respect to this accident without your attorney's permission, make complete notes regarding the incident. These notes should include the name and address of the party, a description of the person, and a narrative description of what was said or done. Under no circumstances should you answer any question(s). All questions should be referred to your attorney's office.

18. Investigation by Defendant Insurance Company Permit us to reiterate at this time that the opposition's insurance company will in all probability have a team of lawyers and investigators working diligently to counter your claim. During the course of their investigation, it is quite possible that they may attempt to contact you through various (and sometimes, devious) methods. Please do not make their jobs any easier for them by answering their questions.

We cannot emphasize too strongly that you should refrain at all times from discussing this matter with anyone, and that includes your employer, your relatives, your neighbors, and even your friends. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.

If there are friends, neighbors or relatives who know all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident and can be of assistance to you, then they should be referred to this office so that their natural sympathy can be channeled into an effective asset for you.

Insurance companies pay money to claimants when they are satisfied there are both liability and damages that support a recovery. They can be expected to thoroughly investigate the facts of the accident and any past injuries or claims. The insurance company will obtain copies of all of the claimant's past medical records.

19. The value of a case depends on the permanent injury, medical treatment and doctor's reports Undoubtedly, you have questions as to how much your case is worth. We are going to be frank: The fact of the matter is there can be no answer to this question until we have completed the investigation in your case. Once we complete our investigation, of course, we can make a determination as to the amount of the defendant's liability, if any, and even at that we will only be at a starting point. After that, we must obtain all necessary information concerning your lost wages, your disability, your partial disability, your life changes, and your prognosis. You may rest assured of one thing, however, and that is the fact that your case will not be settled below its true value, that is the fair compensation for the injuries you have received. You may also rest assured that no settlement agreement will be entered into without your consent.

Conclusion We appreciate that this is a great deal of information to absorb. We also appreciate that our requests for client's assistance have been numerous. However, we are certain that our clients appreciate having this information from the outset. Each request and bit of information given here represents an important part in recovering full value for your injury. Therefore, we respectfully request your full cooperation. If you have questions or concerns regarding these instructions, we encourage you to feel free to contact the office at any time.

Strains

Persons who are in car accidents or fall down often do not feel pain in their neck until the next day. Testing for Strains could include: muscle conduction tests, MRI, CT scan, and X-ray. A person concerned about a neck injury should probably consult an orthopedic doctor, or chiropractor who can order and read most of the above tests.

Kenneth Vercammen & Associates Law Office helps people injured due to the negligence of others. We provide representation throughout New Jersey. The insurance companies often will not help. Don't give up! Our Law Office can provide experienced attorney representation if you are injured in an accident and suffer a neck injury.

Even in a low impact accident, there can be neck injury.

According to medical journal excerpts:

1) "The truth is that all driving can be dangerous. More than 80 percent of all car crashes occur at speeds less than 40 mph. Fatalities involving non-belted occupants of cars have been recorded at as low as 12 mph. That's about the speed you'd be driving in a parking lot."

Seat belt safety pamphlet, number D)T HS 802 152, distributed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

2) "The amount of damage to the automobile bears little relation to the force applied to the cervical spine of the occupants. The acceleration of the occupant's head depends on the force imparted, the moment of inertia of the struck vehicle, and the amount of collapse of force dissemination by the crumpling of the vehicle. The inertia of the struck vehicle is related to the weight and the relative ease with which the vehicle rolls or moves forward."

Charles Caroll, M.D., Paul McAfee, M.D., Lee Riley, Jr., M.D.: Objective findings for diagnosis of "whiplash". Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine, March, 1986, pp. 57-74.

3) "The accident does not need to be severe in order to generate cervical trauma. Using the brakes when the light suddenly turns red and when the neck is too relaxed is enough to cause trauma. The neck may projected backwards even though not violently. The head, which weighs five kilograms and is balanced over the cervical spine, being supported by only two small articular surfaces no greater than a thumbnail, is also thrown backwards pulling the cervical spine with it. In addition, a sudden reflex contraction of the flexors on the neck occurs with a certain delay. We shall not describe all the details of the mechanism of the production of these whiplash injuries..."

It is easy to imagine that the joint injuries are not the same if during a collision, or any other accident, the head is directed along the axis of the impact or if the head is rotated or if the impact is directed laterally. In the final analysis, it is the result of the injury which is important." Robert Maigne, M.D., Orthopedic Medicine - A New Approach to Vertebral Manipulations, CC. Thomas, 1972, p. 196.4) "The position of the head at the moment of collision influences the type of injury. This is particularly true of the degree of rotation in relationship to the direction of the impact...the foramen are open equally when the head faces forward but are narrowed on the side toward which the head is laterally flexed or to which the head is turned. Not only will the already narrowed foramen be compressed ligaments will be far more damaging. Rotating the head at the time of collision increases the possibility of more serious injury."

Rene Cailliet, M.D., Neck and Arm Pain, 1972, Davis Company, p. 69.

Although no specific studies are available for analysis, some medical authors have suggested the possibility that perhaps collisions that produce little physical damage place the occupants at GREATER risk of injury. The crumpling of metal during a collision is believed to absorb some of the force generated by the impact. Where little damage is produced, it may suggest that none of the force was absorbed by the metal, leaving it to pass through the automobile, thereby exposing the occupants to the full force of the impact.

In early 1989, Dr. Francis Navin, a professor of Civil Engineering at the University of British Columbia and a scientific team of investigators conducted simulated low-speed rear impact studies at the UBC Accident Research Facility in Vancouver to assess vehicle damage and occupant injury from this type of collision. The investigators set up a simulated experiment in which a heavy pendulum was swung at speeds lower than 20 km/h to strike the rear bumper of a Volkswagen Rabbit carrying bolted crash dummies. Later that year, Dr. Navin published his findings at an international conference on experimental safety vehicles in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The results of their studies showed that the test occupants were flung forward and rotated at higher speeds than impact "in an attempt to catch up with the car."

According to Dr. Navin, "It was observed that the resulting deflection of the seat-back, with subsequent rebound tends to pitch the occupant forward during impact with the shoulder displacement leading the head. The relative head to shoulder motion is the likely source of Strains." The investigators also noticed an absence of structural damage to the rear bumper of the Rabbits when struck by the pendulum at speeds of up to 15 km/h. This led Dr. Navin to the same conclusion of earlier American studies which demonstrated that rear-end collisions, unlike most other types of collisions, frequently result in "minor car damage with major bodily harm."

Dr. Navin's findings are fully explained in the proceedings of the 12th International Conference of Experimental Safety Vehicles, May 29 - June 1, 1989, Gothburg, Sweden, in the article "Low Speed Rear Impacts and the Elastic Properties of Automobiles", as well as in the Proceedings of the Multi-disciplinary Road Safety Conference VI, June 5-7, 1989, Fredricton, New Brunswick, in the article "An Investigation Into Vehicle and Occupant Response Subjected to Low-Speed Rear Impacts."

1) "Long-term studies show that aches and pains with no evident physical cause persist in 20% to 45% of patients with significant whiplash injuries." "Roentgenographic studies show that degenerative problems develop after injury in 39% of patients. By comparison only 6% of the general population over age 30 develops degenerative changes over a comparable time. Thus, it would seem that whiplash injuries predispose patients to cervical degenerative osteoarthritis."

Charles Caroll, M.D., Paul McAfee, M.D., Lee Riley, Jr., M.D.: Objective findings for diagnosis of "whiplash". Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine, March, 1986, pp. 57-74.

2) "From the discussion of the natural history of the degenerative process, it will be appreciated that this process is often a continuing one and therefore we cannot expect a permanent cure from manipulation or from any modality, including operation."

W.H. Kirkaldy-Willis, M.D., Managing Low Back Pain, 1983, Churchill Livingstone, pp. 183.3) "In addition there are long term effects of injuries [automobile accidents] which do not become evident until years after the insult, for example with osteoarthrosis of joints and epileptic seizures."

Aldman B., Mellander H., Mackay M., The Structure of European Research into the Bio-mechanics of Impacts, in the quarterly journal of the American Association For Automotive Medicine, April, 1986, p. 26.

4) "If the displacement (post-traumatic disc protrusion) is left where it is to get larger or smaller as fortune dictates, it will sometimes take the latter course. Even so, the longer the protrusion lasts, the more time it has to stretch the posterior longitudinal ligament, perhaps irretrievably, thus enhancing the likelihood of further attacks. The prevention of eventual pressure on a root or the spinal cord is clearly the reduction of the displacement (manipulation) when it first appears. James Cyriax, M.D., Textbook of Orthopaedic Medicine, Tindall, 8th edition, 1982, p.103.

5) "Disk disruption in milder cervical trauma may be the cause of acute as well as chronic pain syndrome...This type of pain pattern can become chronic over many years without resolving. The areas affected by pain include the neck, inner part of the scapula, shoulder, and arm. This pain is relieved by rest, immobilization, and traction. The pain recurs when the patient becomes active again."

Bohlman HH: Musculoskeletal Disorders, ed. by Robert D. D'Ambrosia, M.D., 1977, J.B. Lippencott Company, pp. 220-222.

This points out that the fear that symptoms associated with traumatic soft-tissue injury will return in the future is an opinion shared by many respected medical authorities, and reported in numerous medical texts, journals and professional papers. The sequela of post-traumatic injury, especially as it relates to joint function, are well established in the medical literature, and carry a significant predisposition for further dysfunction and painful syndromes. Financial Recovery for persons suffering back, Strains and seriously injured in accidents, both car accidents and fall downs:

1. Kenneth Vercammen helps injured persons. A person who is injured as a result of the negligence of another person is what we in the legal profession refer to as a personal injury claimant. In other words, they have been injured as a result of an accident, and you now wish to prosecute a claim against an opposing party. As the attorney of record, I can bring an action for the injured person. Therefore, I request that all clients do as much as possible to cooperate and help in every way. The purpose of this article is to describe the procedure that we may follow and give you sufficient instructions to enable you to assist us in this undertaking. Needless to say, helping us is just another way of helping yourself.

2. Clients should provide my office with the following 1. Any bills 2. All hospital or doctor records in your possession 3. Car Insurance Declaration Sheet if you were in a car accident 4. Car Insurance Policy if car accident 5. Photos of damage to any property 6. Photos of accident site 7. Major Medical Insurance Card 8. Paystub if lost time from work

3. Attorney- Client Confidential Relationship. First, I want to thank our clients for giving me the opportunity to assist them in their case. I am a legal professional and have great pride and confidence in the legal services that I perform for clients during our relationship as attorney-client. If you have concerns about your case, please call my office at (732) 572-0500. We feel that this case is extremely important-not only to you, but to this office as well. This is not simply a matter of obtaining just compensation for you, although that is very important. We take professional pride in guiding our clients carefully through difficult times to a satisfactory conclusion of their cases.

4. Submission of Bills to Car Insurance and Major Medical If you are in a car accident, you should submit your medical bills to your own car insurance company first. Your car insurance is required by New Jersey law to provide PIP (Personal Injury Protection) benefits under the No Fault Law. This means your car insurance company, not the careless driver, pay the majority of medical bills. If you do not own a car, but live with someone who owns a car, we can try to help you submit medical bills to their car insurance company.

If this is not a car accident, submit all bills immediately to your major medical. Please provide car and major medical insurance information to each doctor, MRI facility and treatment provider. Please request they submit bills and attending physician reports to car insurance and major medical. There is now minimum deductibles under the PIP Law. There is an initial $250.00 deductible, and thereafter your car insurance company pays 80% of medical bills under a medical fee schedule established by the State Dept. of Insurance. Your primary treating doctor must also follow "Care Path". Submit portions of bills the car insurance does not pay to your major medical carrier (ex- Blue Cross, Connecticut General). The Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen can provide a more detailed brochure explaining how car insurance works.

Never give a signed statement to the claims adjuster representing the other driver's insurance company. The same goes for a phone recording. They may be used against you in court to deny your claim. Speak with your personal injury attorney first.

WHILE YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE IS PENDING:

It is important that you -- 1. DO NOT discuss your case with anyone except your doctors and attorney. 2. DO NOT make any statements or give out any information. 3. DO NOT sign any statements, reports, forms or papers of any kind. 4. DO NOT appear at police or other hearings without first consulting with your attorney. INFORM YOUR ATTORNEY PROMPTLY of any notice, request or summons to appear at any such hearings. 5. Refer to your attorney, anyone who asks you to sign anything or to make any statement or report or who seeks information concerning your case. 6. Direct your doctor and other treatment providers not to furnish or disclose any information concerning your case to any entity other than your insurance company without YOU AND YOUR ATTORNEY'S WRITTEN PERMISSION. 7. You may have insurance coverages such as liability, collision, accident, Blue Cross, Blue Shield or Major Medical which require prompt attention. However, be sure to have your treatment providers send bills immediately to all of your insurance companies. 8. Notify your attorney promptly of any new developments. Small things may be important. Keep your attorney informed. 9. Maintain accurate records of all information and data pertaining to your case. 10. If you or any witnesses should move, be sure to notify your attorney of the new address.

5. Diary We want you to keep a diary of your experiences since your accident. In addition to this daily record, we also ask you to start describing a single day in the course of your life. In other words, describe what you do when you get up in the morning, the first thing you do after you go to work, what type of work and effort you put into your employment, what activities you engage in after work, etc. In other words, we need you to describe the changes in your working life, your playing life, your life as a husband, wife, child or parent. In your written description of your day, we would appreciate your explanation in the greatest detail possible and in your own words how the accident and subsequent injuries have affected your life, your personality, and your outlook. And remember that suffering does not entail mere physical pain; suffering can be emotional and can be transmitted to your family, friends, and co-workers. When you have completed this description, please return it to this office in the enclosed envelope. Keep a diary of all matters concerning this accident, no matter how trivial you think it may be. You should include notes on the treatments you receive, therapy, casts, appliances, hospitalization, change of doctors, change of medication, symptoms, recurrence, setbacks, disabilities and inconveniences. If you have any doubt about the propriety of including some particular information, please call the office and let us assist you.

6. Record expenses You can also begin to set up a system for recording the expenses incurred in conjunction with your claim in minute detail. Medical and legal expenses are a strong part of the value of your lawsuit, so good records of these expenses must be kept at all times. From time to time, however, there will be expenses incurred that you must keep track of yourself. We ask you to make every effort to avoid any possible error or inaccuracy as jurors have a relentless reverence for the truth. Keep your canceled checks and your list of expenses together, for we will need them at a later date. Your attorney will keep track of your legal expenses, which may include costs of filing, service of process, investigation, reports, depositions, witness fees, jury fees, etc.

7. Investigation and Filing of Civil Complaint in Superior Court Procedurally, the following events occur in most personal injury cases. First, your attorney must complete our investigation and file. This will involve the collection of information from your physician, your employer, and our investigator. We will need your doctors to provide us with copies of all bills, medical records and possibly a medical report. When we feel that we have sufficient information to form an opinion as to the financial extent of your damages, we will commence negotiations with the opposition for a settlement. If the insurance company will not make an adequate offer, then a Complaint and Case Information Statement is prepared by your attorney. It is filed in the Superior Court, Law Division. Your attorney then will prepare a summons and have the defendants personally served with the Summons and Complaint. The defendant, through their insurance company, must file an "Answer" within 35 days.

8. Interrogatory Questions and Discovery The Answer is followed by a request for written interrogatories. These are questions that must be answered by each party. The Superior Court has set up certain "Form" Interrogatories which are contained in the Rules of Court. Generally, written interrogatories are followed by the taking of depositions, which is recorded testimony given under oath by any person the opposition wishes to question. The deposition is just as important as the trial itself. In the event you are deposed during the course of this action, you will receive detailed instructions as to the procedure and will be requested to watch a videotape. After taking depositions, the case will be set down for an Arbitration. If the parties do not settle after the Arbitration, the case will be given a trial call date. Altogether, these procedures may take from six months to several years, and your patience may be sorely tried during this time. However, it has been our experience that clients who are forewarned have a much higher tolerance level for the slowly turning wheels of justice.

9. Doctor/Treatment It will help your case to tell us and your doctors about any injury or medical problems before or after your accident. Good cases can be lost by the injured person's concealing or forgetting an earlier or later injury or medical problem. Insurance companies keep a record of any and all claims against any insurance company. The insurance company is sure to find out if you have ever made a previous claim. Tell your doctors all of your complaints. The doctor's records can only be as complete as what you have given. Keep track of all prescriptions and medicines taken accompanied by the bills. Also save all bottles or containers of medicine. 10. Bills Retain all bills which relate to your damages, including medical expenses, hospital expenses, drugs, medicines, therapy, appliances, and anything needed to assist you in your recovery. If possible, pay these bills by check or money order, so that a complete record may be kept. If this is not possible, be certain to obtain a complete receipt with the bill heading on it, to indicate where the receipt came from and the party issuing it. 11. Evidence Be certain to keep anything that comes into your possession which might be used as evidence in your case, such as shoes, clothing, glasses, photographs, defective machinery, defective parts, foreign substances which may have been a factor in your accident, etc. Be sure to let the office know that you have these items in your possession. 12. Photographs Take photographs of all motor vehicles, accident site, etc., that may be connected directly or indirectly with your accident. Again, be sure to let the office know that you have such photographs.

13. Keep your attorney advised Keep this office advised at all times with respect to changes in address, important changes in medical treatment, termination of treatment, termination of employment, resumption of employment, or any other unusual change in your life. 14. Lost wages Keep a complete record of all lost wages. Obtain a statement from your company outlining the time you have lost, the rate of salary you are paid, the hours you work per week, your average weekly salary, and any losses suffered as a result of this accident. Where possible, also obtain other types of evidence such as ledger sheets, copies of time cards, canceled checks, check stubs, vouchers, pay slips, etc. 15. New information In the event that any new information concerning the evidence in this case comes to your attention, report this to the Attorney immediately. This is particularly true in the case of witnesses who have heretofore been unavailable.

16. Do not discuss the case The insurance company may telephone you and record the conversation or send an adjuster (investigator) who may carry a concealed tape recorder. You should not discuss your case with anyone.

Obviously, we cannot stress too strongly that you DO NOT discuss this matter with anyone, but your attorney or immediate trusted family. You should sign no documents without the consent of this office. Remember that at all times you may be photographed and investigated by the opposition. If you follow the simple precautions which we have set out in your checklist, we feel that we will be able to obtain a fair and appropriate amount for your injuries. If you get any letters from anyone in connection with your case, mail or fax them to your attorney immediately.

17. Questioning If any person approaches you with respect to this accident without your attorney's permission, make complete notes regarding the incident. These notes should include the name and address of the party, a description of the person, and a narrative description of what was said or done. Under no circumstances should you answer any question(s). All questions should be referred to your attorney's office.

18. Investigation by Defendant Insurance Company Permit us to reiterate at this time that the opposition's insurance company will in all probability have a team of lawyers and investigators working diligently to counter your claim. During the course of their investigation, it is quite possible that they may attempt to contact you through various (and sometimes, devious) methods. Please do not make their jobs any easier for them by answering their questions.

We cannot emphasize too strongly that you should refrain at all times from discussing this matter with anyone, and that includes your employer, your relatives, your neighbors, and even your friends. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.

If there are friends, neighbors or relatives who know all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident and can be of assistance to you, then they should be referred to this office so that their natural sympathy can be channeled into an effective asset for you.

Insurance companies pay money to claimants when they are satisfied there are both liability and damages that support a recovery. They can be expected to thoroughly investigate the facts of the accident and any past injuries or claims. The insurance company will obtain copies of all of the claimant's past medical records.

19. The value of a case depends on the permanent injury, medical treatment and doctor's reports Undoubtedly, you have questions as to how much your case is worth. We are going to be frank: The fact of the matter is there can be no answer to this question until we have completed the investigation in your case. Once we complete our investigation, of course, we can make a determination as to the amount of the defendant's liability, if any, and even at that we will only be at a starting point. After that, we must obtain all necessary information concerning your lost wages, your disability, your partial disability, your life changes, and your prognosis. You may rest assured of one thing, however, and that is the fact that your case will not be settled below its true value, that is the fair compensation for the injuries you have received. You may also rest assured that no settlement agreement will be entered into without your consent.

Conclusion We appreciate that this is a great deal of information to absorb. We also appreciate that our requests for client's assistance have been numerous. However, we are certain that our clients appreciate having this information from the outset. Each request and bit of information given here represents an important part in recovering full value for your injury. Therefore, we respectfully request your full cooperation. If you have questions or concerns regarding these instructions, we encourage you to feel free to contact the office at any time.