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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Disfigurement or Permanent Injury Required in Car Accident Cases Where the Lawsuit Threshold Applies

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

In order to recover damages in most in a car Personal Injury case, the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he/she sustained injuries which fit into one or more of the following categories:
1. Death;
2. Dismemberment;
3. Significant disfigurement or significant scarring;
4. Displaced fracture;
5. Loss of a fetus;
6. A permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.

At the trial, the Judge will read the "formal instructions" to the Jury. They are called Request to Charge. The Request to Charge in an accident case was revised recently.

CHARGE 5.42
LIMITATION ON LAWSUIT OPTION

5.42 LIMITATION ON LAWSUIT OPTION 1 (Revised 4/06)
A. Introduction
In order to recover damages in this case, plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that [he] [she] sustained injuries which fit into one or more of the following categories:
1. Death;
2. Dismemberment;
3. Significant disfigurement or significant scarring;
4. Displaced fracture;
5. Loss of a fetus;
6. A permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.

1 See N.J.S.A. 39:6A-8a. Though not numbered in the statute, the Limitation on Lawsuit Option within the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act of 1998 (L.1998, c. 21 and c. 22) (“AICRA”), the categories are: (1) death; (2) dismemberment; (3) significant disfigurement or significant scarring; (4) displaced fractures; (5) loss of a fetus; (6) a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement. The effective date of this provision of AICRA is March 22, 1999.

Therefore, the Limitation on Lawsuit Option shall apply to individuals who, at the time of the accident, were insured under automobile liability insurance policies issued after March 22, 1999. By way of example, if an individual was involved in a motor vehicle collision on March 23, 1999, but was still covered under a policy issued before the effective date of the statute (March 22, 1999), he or she will be subject to the verbal threshold charge applicable to L.1988, c.119 effective January 1, 1989.

CHARGE 5.42

If you find the injuries caused by the accident do not come within one of these categories, your verdict must be for the defendant. If you find the injuries caused by the accident do come within one of these categories, your verdict must be for the plaintiff.

B. Permanent Injury (Type 6)
In this case, the plaintiff alleges that [he] [she] suffered a permanent injury as a result of the motor vehicle accident. An injury shall be considered permanent when the body part or organ, or both, has not healed to function normally and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment. 2 Plaintiff must prove this claim through objective, credible medical evidence. Objective proof means the injury must be verified by physical examination or medical testing and cannot be based solely upon the plaintiff’s subjective complaints. Credible evidence is evidence you find to be believable. 2 This definition of “permanent injury” is taken directly from the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act of 1998 (“AICRA”), N.J.S.A. 39:6A-8. In DiProspero v. Penn, 183 N.J. 477 (2005), the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the Legislature did not intend to require a plaintiff with a Type 6 injury to prove a “serious or substantial impact” on his or her life in order to pierce the verbal threshold. Therefore, a plaintiff need only prove a permanent injury, as defined in the statute, to recover for non-economic damages.

• CHARGE 5.42

C. Sample Interrogatories (Limitation on Lawsuit Option)
(Category 1) Has the plaintiff proven by a preponderance of the credible evidence that the decedent [insert name] died as a proximate result of the accident?
_____ Yes _____ No _____ Vote

(Category 2) Has the plaintiff proven by a preponderance of the credible evidence that [he] [she] sustained a dismemberment that was proximately caused by the accident?
_____ Yes _____ No _____ Vote

(Category 3) Has the plaintiff proven by a preponderance of the credible evidence that [he] [she] sustained a significant disfigurement or significant scarring that was proximately caused by the accident?
_____ Yes _____ No _____ Vote

(Category 4) Has the plaintiff proven by a preponderance of the credible evidence that [he] [she] sustained a displaced fracture that was proximately caused by the accident?
_____ Yes _____ No _____ Vote

(Category 5) Has the plaintiff proven by a preponderance of the credible evidence that she lost a fetus as a proximate result of the accident?
_____ Yes _____ No _____ Vote


• CHARGE 5.42

(Category 6) Has the plaintiff proven by a preponderance of the credible evidence that [he] [she] sustained a permanent injury that was proximately caused by the accident?
_____ Yes _____ No _____ Vote

(Damages) What amount of money will fairly and reasonably compensate the plaintiff for all injuries that were proximately caused by the accident?
$______________________ _____ Vote

more info at http://www.kennethvercammen.com/disfigurement_caraccident.html?id=258&a=

Discovery and Obtaining Police Reports in Criminal Cases


Kenneth Vercammen's Law office represents people charged with criminal offenses and disorderly offenses. We provide representation throughout New Jersey. Criminal charges can cost you. If convicted, you can face high fines, jail, probation and other penalties. Don't give up! Our Law Office can provide experienced attorney representation for criminal violations. Our website kennethvercammen.com provides information on criminal offenses. We can be retained to represent people.

Under the New Jersey Court Rules, a New Jersey Attorney can obtain discovery and police reports from the Prosecutor.

We can appear in court for you on most Central New Jersey criminal and traffic violations.

The law entitles criminal and drunk driving defendants to pre trial discovery. R.3:13 3; R.7:4 2(h); State v. Young, 242 N.J. Super. 467, 470 (App. Div. 1990); State v. Ford, 240 N.J. Super. 44, 48 (App. Div. 1990); State v. Utsch, 184 N.J. Super. 575, 579 (App. Div. 1982). Due process requires the State disclose evidence that is material to either guilt or punishment; indeed, the prosecution has a constitutional duty to turn over exculpatory evidence that would raise reasonable doubt about a defendant's guilt. See Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963), United States v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97, 98 S.Ct. 2392, 49 L.Ed. 2d 342 (1976). A wide variety of materials in the State's possession could constitute exculpatory information to which a defendant is entitled. Ford, supra at 52 A demand for discovery has been served upon the prosecutor who has the responsibility to answer. State v. Tull, 234 N.J. Super. 486, 494 (Law Div. 1989). A defendant's right to discovery is not dependent upon an appraisal of the beneficial value of the material sought to be discovered. State v. Polito, 116 N.J. Super. 552 (App. Div. 1977), Ford, supra at 51). Thus, a prosecutor is expected to act reasonably when responding to a discovery demand. Tull, supra at 496. The prosecutor may not refuse a discovery demand simply because the information or materials sought are not in the municipal offices or within easy reach. Id. at 495. The municipal prosecutor cannot refuse production on the ground that the requested information is not known by the prosecutor personally to be in existence when its existence is either common knowledge of the police department or when the knowledge could be obtained by reasonable inquiry. Id. at 500.

The municipal prosecutor must either object to what the prosecutor perceives to be irrelevant discovery requests, or respond within 10 days of the receipt of the defendant's request for discovery. Ford supra at 51; see Tull, supra at 500.

The municipal prosecutor may be sanctioned for failing to provide discovery. R.3:13 ; see State v. Audette, 201 N.J. Super. 410 (App. Div. 1985) State v. Polasky, 216 N.J. Super. 549 (Law Div. 1986). A defendant who believes the State has not supplied relevant materials reasonably required for the defense may give notice to the State and the court prior to the date set for commencement of trial where possible. Ford, supra at 52. Information relating to prerequisite conditions establishing reliability is highly relevant, Ford, supra at 52 and extremely material. Id. at 51. Thus , information concerning conditions under which tests were held, the machine operator's competence, the particular machine's state of repair and identification, and documentation of the ampoule used for defendant's breath tests are all relevant inquiries. Id.

Discovery in the Municipal Court Court Rule 7:7-7. Discovery and Inspection

(a) Scope. If the government is represented by the municipal or a private prosecutor, discovery shall be available to the parties only as provided by this rule, unless the court otherwise orders. In the absence of a municipal or private prosecutor, discovery shall be available to the parties in the manner directed by the court. All discovery requests by defendant shall be served on the municipal prosecutor, who shall be responsible for making government discovery available to the defendant. If the matter is, however, not being prosecuted by the municipal prosecutor, the municipal prosecutor shall transmit defendant's discovery requests to the prosecutor, or, if there is no prosecutor, the municipal prosecutor shall transmit defendant's court ordered discovery requests to the complaining witness.

(b) Discovery by Defendant. In all cases involving a consequence of magnitude or when ordered by the court, the defendant, on written notice to the municipal prosecutor or private prosecutor, shall be allowed to inspect, copy, and photograph or to be provided with copies of any relevant:

(1) books, tangible objects, papers or documents obtained from or belonging to the defendant;

(2) records of statements or confessions, signed or unsigned, by the defendant or copies thereof, and a summary of any admissions or declarations against penal interest made by the defendant that are known to the prosecution but not recorded;

(3) grand jury proceedings recorded pursuant to R. 3:6-6;

(4) results or reports of physical or mental examinations and of scientific tests or experiments made in connection with the matter or copies of these results or reports, that are within the possession, custody or control of the prosecuting attorney;

(5) reports or records of defendant's prior convictions;

(6) books, originals or copies of papers and documents, or tangible objects, buildings or places that are within the possession, custody or control of the government;

(7) names and addresses of any persons whom the prosecuting attorney knows to have relevant evidence or information, including a designation by the prosecuting attorney as to which of those persons the prosecuting attorney may call as witnesses;

(8) record of statements, signed or unsigned, by the persons described by subsection (7) of this rule or by co-defendants within the possession, custody or control of the prosecuting attorney, and any relevant record of prior conviction of those persons;

(9) police reports that are within the possession, custody or control of the prosecuting attorney;

(10) warrants, that have been completely executed, and any papers accompanying them, as described by R. 7:5-1(a);

(11) the names and addresses of each person whom the prosecuting attorney expects to call to trial as an expert witness, the expert's qualifications, the subject matter on which the expert is expected to testify, a copy of the report, if any, of the expert witness, or if no report was prepared, a statement of the facts and opinions to which the expert is expected to testify and a summary of the grounds for each opinion. If this information is requested and not furnished, the expert witness may, upon application by the defendant, be barred from testifying at trial.

more info at http://www.kennethvercammen.com/discovery_and_obtaining_police_reports_in_criminal_cases.html?id=257&a=

Disclaimer by a Beneficiary of an Interest in a Will or Trust


The Probate law in New Jersey was revised effective 2005. Sometimes a beneficiary may want to disclaim an inheritance for personal or tax reasons. The following is the revised law or disclaimer, sometimes called Renunciation.

3B:9-2 Disclaimer of an interested party.

3B:9-2. a. Any person who is an heir, or a devisee or beneficiary under a will or testamentary trust, or appointee under a power of appointment exercised by a will or testamentary trust, including a person succeeding to a disclaimed interest, may disclaim in whole or in part any property or interest therein, including a future interest, by delivering and filing a disclaimer under this chapter.

b. Any person who is a grantee, donee, surviving joint tenant, surviving party to a P.O.D. account or a trust deposit account, person succeeding to a disclaimed interest, beneficiary under a nontestamentary instrument or contract, appointee under a power of appointment exercised by a nontestamentary instrument, or a beneficiary under an insurance policy, may disclaim in whole or in part any such property or interest therein by delivering, and if required by N.J.S. 3B:9-7, by filing, a written disclaimer under this chapter.

c. A surviving joint tenant may disclaim as a separate interest any property or interest therein devolving to him by right of survivorship without regard to the extent, if any, the surviving joint tenant contributed to the creation of the joint property interest.

d. A disclaimer may be of a pecuniary or a fractional share, expressed as either a percentage or dollar amount, specific property or any limited interest or estate.

3B:9-3 Requirements of a disclaimer.

3B:9-3. a. A disclaimer shall be in writing, signed and acknowledged by the person disclaiming, and shall:

(1)Describe the property, interest, power or discretion disclaimed;

(2)If the property interest disclaimed is real property, identify the municipality and county in which the real property is situated; and

(3) Declare the disclaimer and the extent thereof.

b. The disclaimer shall be made within the time prescribed by section 68 of P.L. 2004, c.132 (C. 3B:9-4.2).

3B:9-4.2 Time for disclaiming.

68. a. The disclaimer of an interest in property may be delivered, and if required by this chapter filed, at any time after the effective date of the governing instrument, or in the case of an intestacy, at any time after the death of the intestate decedent, and must be delivered, and if required by this chapter filed, before the right to disclaim is barred by N.J.S. 3B:9-10. With respect to joint property, the barring of the right to disclaim the present interest does not bar the right to disclaim the future interest.

b. The disclaimer of a power or discretion by a fiduciary, including an agent acting on behalf of a principal within the implied or general authority of a power of attorney, in a fiduciary capacity may be made at any time, before or after exercise.

3B:9-6 Delivering and filing disclaimer.

3B:9-6. a. The disclaimer of an interest by an intestate heir, or a person who is a devisee or beneficiary under a will or a testamentary trust or who is an appointee under a power of appointment exercised by a will or testamentary trust, including a person succeeding to a disclaimed interest, shall be filed in the office of the surrogate or clerk of the Superior Court in which proceedings have been commenced or will be commenced for the administration of the estate of the decedent or deceased donee of the power of appointment. A copy of the disclaimer shall also be delivered to any personal representative, or other fiduciary of the decedent or to the donee of the power or to the holder of the legal title to which the interest relates. The fiduciary shall promptly notify the person or persons who take the disclaimed interest, although any such failure to provide the notice required herein shall not affect the validity of the disclaimer.

b.The disclaimer of an interest in property, other than property passing under or pursuant to a will or testamentary trust shall be delivered to the fiduciary, payor or other person having legal title to or possession of the property or interest disclaimed or who is entitled thereto in the event of disclaimer. Any fiduciary, payor or other person having title to or possession of the property or interest who receives such disclaimer shall promptly notify the person or persons who take the disclaimed interest, although any such failure to provide the notice required herein shall not affect the validity of the disclaimer.

c.In the case of a disclaimer by a fiduciary of a power or discretion:

(1)If such disclaimer is made after court authorization, the fiduciary shall deliver a copy to such person or persons and in such manner as shall be directed by the court; or

(2)If such disclaimer is made without court authorization pursuant to N.J.S.3B:9-4(a), the fiduciary shall deliver a copy to all co-fiduciaries, but if there are none, then to all persons whose property interests are affected by the disclaimer.

d.In the case of a will or testamentary trust or power of appointment under a will or testamentary trust, if real property or any interest therein is disclaimed, the surrogate or clerk of the Superior Court, as the case may be, shall forthwith forward a copy of the disclaimer for filing

Monday, March 28, 2011

Disc Injuries


Kenneth Vercammen & Associates Law Office helps people injured due to the negligence of others. We provide representation throughout New Jersey. The insurance companies will not help. Don't give up! Our Law Office can provide experienced attorney representation if you are injured. Our website kennethvercammen.com provides information on civil cases we can be retained to represent people.

What's a herniated disc, pinched nerve, bulging discS?

According to www.spine-health.com, there are many different terms to describe spinal disc pathology, and all are used differently by different healthcare practitioners. Some examples of terms used to describe spinal disc abnormalities include:

* Pinched nerve * Sciatica * Herniated disc (or herniated disk) * Bulging disc, ruptured disc, or slipped disc * Disc protrusion * Disc degeneration (or degenerative disc disease) * Disc disease

There is no agreement in the medical field as to the precise definition of any of these terms. Often the patient hears his or her diagnosis referred to in different terms by different practitioners and is left wondering if there is any consensus on what is wrong. see http://www.spine-health.com/topics/cd/d_difference/diff01.html

Rather than focus on the terminology referring to spinal anatomy, it's most helpful for patients to focus on understanding the clinical diagnosis. It should be kept in mind that all the terms herniated disc, pinched nerve, bulging disc, slipped disc, ruptured disc, etc. refer to radiographic findings seen on a CT scan or MRI scan (x-rays can indicate disc degeneration but cannot actually image the disc itself). While radiographic findings are important, they are not as meaningful in determining the source of the pain (the clinical diagnosis) as the patient's specific symptoms and the spine specialist's findings on physical exam.

Clinical diagnosis The key factor in the clinical diagnosis is to determine if the patient has pinched nerve or if the disc space itself is generating the pain.

1. Pinched nerve. A pinched nerve will generate radicular pain (nerve root pain or sciatica). 2. Disc pain. If the disc itself is painful, then this will generate either referred pain or axial pain.

The follow happens in accident cases, both car accidents and fall downs.

Financial Recovery for persons seriously injured in accidents

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 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 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 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 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 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 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. 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 and 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.

more info at http://www.kennethvercammen.com/disc_injuries.html?id=254&a=

Disability


Edited by Kenneth A. Vercammen, Esq.

No one plans on being injured in an accident, whether it is a fall down or other situation. Speak with a personal injury attorney immediately to retain all your rights. The businesses are responsible for the maintenance of their premises. It is the duty of the site manager to inspect and keep the construction site in a safe condition and free from any and all pitfalls, obstacles or traps that would likely cause injury to workers and persons lawfully thereon.

When the Workers Compensation Act was passed many years ago it was probably the first true no fault law in this State. With some very narrow exceptions, the question of negligence (fault) is not an issue if a worker is hurt on the job. Whether or not the employer is at fault has no impact on the worth of a case. In workers comp, employees can bring a claim against their employers worker comp carrier. However, employees cannot file a formal lawsuit against their employer. Financial recovery is limited by state law in workers comp cases. If their injury at the construction site was caused by negligence of someone who is not your employer or another employee, a civil lawsuit in Superior Court. In lawsuits, negligence must be proved against someone other than the employer.

It is the duty of the owner to properly and adequately inspect, maintain and keep the 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 an employee or business invitee in the exercise of due care on your part. If severely injured, and the negligence was of someone other than your employer, you can retain an attorney to file a lawsuit for damages, together with costs of suit. Injured people in lawsuits can demand trial by jury. Jury trials are not permitted in workers compensation cases. The Appellate Division court in RAIMO v. FISCHERA __ NJ Super. __ docket 2201-03T5A held contractors duty of care for persons who come onto a construction site is governed by general negligence principles, which require a contractor to exercise reasonable care to maintain the site in a safe condition for any persons who the contractor may reasonably expect to come onto the site, rather than by the common law doctrine of premises liability, under which the landowners tort liability is determined by the injured persons classification as a business invitee, licensee, or trespasser.

WHAT TO TRY TO DO AT THE ACCIDENT SCENE IF INJURED

1. Stop . . . do not leave the scene of the accident. CALL 911, 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 were injured. 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 identifying features or 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 __ area conditions __

5. Summary of accident __

6. Diagram of accident location

7. Seek medical care. If you have any reason to suspect you were injured in the accident, go to a hospital immediately or see a physician promptly. Youll want it on record that you sought treatment right away, not in a week or so.

8. Write down name of Security Personnel, 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 owners 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 IN A CONSTRUCTION SITE

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 ATTORNEYS WRITTEN PERMISSION. 7. You may have insurance coverages such as Workers Comp, 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 due to negligence of someone other than the employer

1. Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. 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, we 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. Details on workers compensation cases are at the end of this article.

1. 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

2. 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.

3. 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.

more info at http://www.kennethvercammen.com/disability.html?id=3860&a=

Diary and Record Keeping in a Personal Injury Case


By Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.

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 do 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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

more info at http://www.kennethvercammen.com/diary_and_record_keeping.html?id=248&a=

Designation of Agent


I, ________________________, designate my partner, _________________________, to be my agent empowered with the following authority.

1. VISITATION AUTHORITY: To give notice that, if I am admitted to a medical facility of any type, a nursing home, hospice, or similar health care, skilled nursing, or custodial facility, my agent, _____________________________, shall be designated as “family” as that term is defined by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. JCAHO defines “family” as “The person(s) who plays a significant role in the individual’s [patient’s] life. This may include a person(s) not legally related to the individual.” (Joint Commission Resources, JCR, 2001 Hospital Accreditation Standards, p. 322).
My agent shall have priority in being admitted to visit me in such facility. My partner, as my agent, is designated as the person to be consulted by medical or health care personnel concerning my care and treatment. This is in keeping with the Health Care Power of Attorney I executed. My agent shall also have the authority to determine who will be permitted to visit me while in the facility and during any recovery at home.

This authorization supersedes any preference given to parties related to me by blood or by law or other parties desiring to visit me. These instructions shall remain in full force and effect unless and until I freely give contrary written instructions to competent medical personnel on the premises involved. My subsequent disability or incapacity shall not affect these instructions.

2. RECEIPT OF PERSONAL PROPERTY: My agent shall also have the right to receive any and all items of personal property and effects that may be recovered from or about my person by any hospital, nursing home, other health care facility, police agency, or any other person or public/private entity at the time of my illness, disability, or death. This specifically includes cash or other liquid asset(s).

3. DISPOSITION OF REMAINS/AUTOPSY AUTHORIZATION/FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS: My agent shall have the authority to authorize an autopsy if it is deemed necessary or is required by law. In matters concerning the disposition of my remains and funeral arrangements, I provide that my agent/partner, or any other person directed to dispose my remains, shall follow my instructions for any funeral services. Any limitations on this authority are specified in this document.
My agent is to direct the disposition of my remains by the following method:
burial ______ cremation ______ . The specific instructions are found in ______________________________________________________________________________________________ .
In this regard, my agent has the authority to make all decisions necessary for my obituary notice, funeral, any mortician’s role therein, burial services, interment or cremation of my body, including, but not limited to the selection of a casket or urn, selection, care and tending of a grave site, and selection of a gravestone including the inscription thereon.

4. SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS CONCERNING MY AGENT’S AUTHORITY OR LIMITATIONS THEREON: My agent shall have access to all medical records and information pertaining to me and concerning treatments, procedures, treatment plans, etc. This includes the right to disclose this information to other people. I explicitly authorize any medical or health care provider to release information requested by my agent to him/her and consider my agent an authorized person to receive such information under the Health Information Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA).
My agent has the authority to admit or discharge me from any hospital, nursing home, residential care, assisted living or similar facility, or service entity. My agent also has the authority to hire and fire medical, social service, and other support personnel. My agent is primarily responsible for my medical and health care.

_________________ ___________________________________________
Date Principal

State of _____________
County of ___________

Before me, a Notary Public in and for said County and State, personally appeared the above named, ___________________________, who acknowledged that he/she did sign the foregoing two-page instrument, and that the same is his/her free act and deed.

In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and official seal at __________, __________________, this _______ day of _________, 20___.

___________________________________________
Notary Public

more info at http://www.kennethvercammen.com/designation_of_agent.html?id=1497&a=

Delayed Diagnosis


Misdiagnosis cases are complicated matters. If your have been seriously and permanently injured as a result of negligence, consult a personal injury attorney. If an injury case is not the type we can handle, we will try to refer you to another competent trial attorney. The following legal information is used in Medical malpractice trials in New Jersey:

Duty and Negligence

Negligence is conduct which deviates from a standard of care required by law for the protection of persons from harm. Negligence may result from the performance of an act or the failure to act. The determination of whether a defendant was negligent requires a comparison of the defendants conduct against a standard of care. If the defendants conduct is found to have fallen below an accepted standard of care, then he or she was negligent.

Common Knowledge May Furnish Standard of Care

Negligence is the failure to comply with the standard of care to protect a person from harm. Negligence in a doctors medical practice, which is called malpractice, is the doctors failure to comply with the standard of care in the care and treatment of his/her patient. Usually it is necessary to establish the standard of care by expert testimony, that is, by testimony of persons who are qualified by their training, study and experience to give their opinions on subjects not generally understood by persons, such as jurors, who lack such special training or experience. In the usual case the standard of care by which to judge the defendants conduct cannot be determined by the jury without the assistance of expert medical testimony.

However, in some cases, such as the case at hand, the jury may determine from its common knowledge and experience the standard of care by which to judge the defendants conduct. In this case plaintiff contends that the defendant violated the duty of care he/she owed to the plaintiff by doing ____________________________ [ or by failing to do the following ____________________]. In this case, therefore, it is for you, as jurors, to determine, based upon common knowledge and experience, what skill and care the average physician practicing in the defendants field would have exercised in the same or similar circumstances. It is for you as jurors to say from your common knowledge and experience whether the defendant deviated from the standard of care in the circumstances of this case.

Where there has been expert medical testimony as to the standard of care, but the standard is one which can also be determined by the jury from its common knowledge and experience, the jury should determine the standard of care after considering all the evidence in the case, including the expert medical testimony, as well as its own common knowledge and experience.

After determining the standard of care required in the circumstances of this case, you should then consider the evidence to determine whether the defendant has complied with or departed from that standard of care. If you find that defendant has complied with that standard of care he/she is not liable to the plaintiff, regardless of the result. If you find that defendant has not complied with that standard of care, resulting in injury or damage to the plaintiff, then you should find defendant negligent and return a verdict for plaintiff.

Cases and Notes:

a) Common Knowledge

The common knowledge doctrine was applied in Martin v. Perth Amboy General Hospital, 104 N.J. Super. 335 (App. Div. 1969), where a laparotomy pad was left in plaintiffs body during an operation, Tramutola v. Bortone, 63 N.J. 9 (1973), where plaintiff discovered that a needle had been left in her chest during surgery; Steinke v. Bell, 32 N.J. Super. 67 (App. Div. 1954), where a dentist removed the wrong tooth; Becker v. Eisenstodt, 60 N.J. Super. 240 (App. Div. 1960), where the defendant used a caustic substance instead of an anesthetic; and Terhune v. Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital, 63 N.J. Super. 106 (App. Div. 1960), where plaintiff was burned as a result of the improper administration of an anesthetic during childbirth, Nowacki v. Community Medical Center , 279 N.J. Super. 276 (App. Div. 1995), where plaintiff alleged that she fell while attempting to lift herself onto a treatment table, Tierney v. St. Michaels, 214 N.J. Super. 27 (App. Div. 1986), certif. den. 107 N.J. 114 (1987), where plaintiffs infant crawled out of a crib while hospitalized at the defendant hospital, Winters v. Jersey City Medical Center , 120 N.J. Super. 129 (App. Div. 1972), where the court held that one does not need an expert witness to testify that the bed rails should have been in the up position for an elderly person who fell out of bed. The common knowledge doctrine was applied to a failure to communicate an abnormal finding and the signing of an incorrect discharge summary in Jenoff v. Gleason, 215 N.J. Super. 349 (App. Div. 1987). In Rosenberg by Rosenberg v. Cahill, 99 N.J. 318 (1985), the common knowledge doctrine was not applied to the failure to observe a tumor in an x-ray.

The court rejected the plaintiffs reliance on the common knowledge doctrine in Posta v. Chueng-Loy, 306 N.J. Super. 182 (App. Div. 1997), involving hernia surgery.

See also, Sanzari v. Rosenfeld, 34 N.J. 128 (1961), Jones v. Stess, 111 N.J. Super. 283 (App. Div. 1970), Klimko v. Rose, 84 N.J. 496 (1980).

b) Res ispa loquitur

There are three requirements which must be demonstrated in order to apply the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur:

(1) The occurrence must be one which ordinarily bespeaks negligence;

(2) The instrumentality causing the injury must have been within defendants exclusive control; and

(3) There must be no indication that the plaintiffs injury was in any way the result of his own voluntary act or neglect.

A detailed analysis of the doctrine of res ipsa is found in Gould v. Winokur, 98 N.J. Super. 554 (Law Div. 1968), affd., 104 N.J. Super. 329 (App. Div. 1969), certif. den . 53 N.J. 582 (1969). See also, Buckelew v. Grossbard, 87 N.J. 512 (1981).

The difference between the res ipsa doctrine and the common knowledge doctrine is that the res ipsa doctrine requires expert testimony to prove the first element of proof, i.e., that the occurrence does not usually happen in the absence of negligence. Smallwood v. Mitchell, 264 N.J. Super. 295 (App. Div. 1993), certif. den. 134 N.J. 481 (1993).

The logical extension of the res ipsa and common knowledge doctrines is the conclusion that there are cases where the facts are such that at least one defendant must be liable as a matter of law. The genesis of this concept in New Jersey is found in Anderson v. Somberg, 67 N.J. 291 (1975), cert. den. 423 U.S. 929 (1975). See also, Chin v. St. Barnabas Medical Center, 160 N.J. 454 (1999).

The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur was deemed applicable in Yerzy v. Levine, 108 N.J. Super. 222 (App. Div. 1970), affd. 57 N.J. 234 (1970), where the common bile duct had been completely severed during gall bladder surgery; Pearson v. St. Paul, 220 N.J. Super. 110 (App. Div. 1987), where plaintiffs sixteen year old daughter died after arthroscopic knee surgery.

The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur was deemed inapplicable in Toy v. Rickert, 53 N.J. Super. 27 (App. Div. 1958), where plaintiff alleged that the defendant negligently administered a shot of penicillin into plaintiffs right buttock causing nerve damage; in Renrick v. Newark, 74 N.J. Super. 200 (App. Div. 1962), where plaintiff alleged that the defendant negligently injected a drug resulting in severe burning of both forearms and widespread scarring; Posta v. Chueng-Loy, 306 N.J. Super. 182 (App. Div. 1997), involving hernia surgery.

c) Common knowledge can be employed in some cases although expert medical testimony is also offered as to the standard of care and defendants alleged departure therefrom. See Sanzari v. Rosenfeld, supra, 34 N.J. at 138 and 143.

The Trial Judge will read the following instructions to the jury prior to the jury deciding damages and negligence:

[Option A: Specialist. ] The defendant(s) in this case is (are) a medical specialist(s) in the field of [insert appropriate specialty description]. Specialists in a field of medicine represent that they will have and employ not merely the knowledge and skill of a general practitioner, but that they have and will employ the knowledge and skill normally possessed and used by the average specialist in the field. Thus, when a physician holds himself/herself out as a specialist and undertakes to diagnose and treat the medical needs of a patient, the law imposes a duty upon that physician to have and to use that degree of knowledge and skill which is normally possessed and used by the average specialist in that field, having regard to the state of scientific knowledge at the time that he/she or she attended the plaintiff.

[Option B: General Practitioner.] The defendant(s) in this case is (are) a general practitioner(s). A person who is engaged in the general practice of medicine represents that he/she or she will have and employ knowledge and skill normally possessed and used by the average physician practicing his/her profession as a general practitioner.

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Delay to Diagnose Cancer


Misdiagnosis cases are complicated matters. If your have been seriously and permanently injured as a result of negligence, consult a personal injury attorney. If an injury case is not the type we can handle, we will try to refer you to another competent trial attorney. The following legal information is used in Medical malpractice trials in New Jersey:

Duty and Negligence

Negligence is conduct which deviates from a standard of care required by law for the protection of persons from harm. Negligence may result from the performance of an act or the failure to act. The determination of whether a defendant was negligent requires a comparison of the defendants conduct against a standard of care. If the defendants conduct is found to have fallen below an accepted standard of care, then he or she was negligent.

Common Knowledge May Furnish Standard of Care

Negligence is the failure to comply with the standard of care to protect a person from harm. Negligence in a doctors medical practice, which is called malpractice, is the doctors failure to comply with the standard of care in the care and treatment of his/her patient. Usually it is necessary to establish the standard of care by expert testimony, that is, by testimony of persons who are qualified by their training, study and experience to give their opinions on subjects not generally understood by persons, such as jurors, who lack such special training or experience. In the usual case the standard of care by which to judge the defendants conduct cannot be determined by the jury without the assistance of expert medical testimony.

However, in some cases, such as the case at hand, the jury may determine from its common knowledge and experience the standard of care by which to judge the defendants conduct. In this case plaintiff contends that the defendant violated the duty of care he/she owed to the plaintiff by doing ____________________________ [ or by failing to do the following ____________________]. In this case, therefore, it is for you, as jurors, to determine, based upon common knowledge and experience, what skill and care the average physician practicing in the defendants field would have exercised in the same or similar circumstances. It is for you as jurors to say from your common knowledge and experience whether the defendant deviated from the standard of care in the circumstances of this case.

Where there has been expert medical testimony as to the standard of care, but the standard is one which can also be determined by the jury from its common knowledge and experience, the jury should determine the standard of care after considering all the evidence in the case, including the expert medical testimony, as well as its own common knowledge and experience.

After determining the standard of care required in the circumstances of this case, you should then consider the evidence to determine whether the defendant has complied with or departed from that standard of care. If you find that defendant has complied with that standard of care he/she is not liable to the plaintiff, regardless of the result. If you find that defendant has not complied with that standard of care, resulting in injury or damage to the plaintiff, then you should find defendant negligent and return a verdict for plaintiff.

Cases and Notes:

a) Common Knowledge

The common knowledge doctrine was applied in Martin v. Perth Amboy General Hospital, 104 N.J. Super. 335 (App. Div. 1969), where a laparotomy pad was left in plaintiffs body during an operation, Tramutola v. Bortone, 63 N.J. 9 (1973), where plaintiff discovered that a needle had been left in her chest during surgery; Steinke v. Bell, 32 N.J. Super. 67 (App. Div. 1954), where a dentist removed the wrong tooth; Becker v. Eisenstodt, 60 N.J. Super. 240 (App. Div. 1960), where the defendant used a caustic substance instead of an anesthetic; and Terhune v. Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital, 63 N.J. Super. 106 (App. Div. 1960), where plaintiff was burned as a result of the improper administration of an anesthetic during childbirth, Nowacki v. Community Medical Center , 279 N.J. Super. 276 (App. Div. 1995), where plaintiff alleged that she fell while attempting to lift herself onto a treatment table, Tierney v. St. Michaels, 214 N.J. Super. 27 (App. Div. 1986), certif. den. 107 N.J. 114 (1987), where plaintiffs infant crawled out of a crib while hospitalized at the defendant hospital, Winters v. Jersey City Medical Center , 120 N.J. Super. 129 (App. Div. 1972), where the court held that one does not need an expert witness to testify that the bed rails should have been in the up position for an elderly person who fell out of bed. The common knowledge doctrine was applied to a failure to communicate an abnormal finding and the signing of an incorrect discharge summary in Jenoff v. Gleason, 215 N.J. Super. 349 (App. Div. 1987). In Rosenberg by Rosenberg v. Cahill, 99 N.J. 318 (1985), the common knowledge doctrine was not applied to the failure to observe a tumor in an x-ray.

more info at http://www.kennethvercammen.com/Delay_to_Diagnose_Cancer.html?id=3810&a=

Defenses to Possession of Hashish Charges


By Kenneth A. Vercammen, Past Chair NJ State Bar Municipal Court and DWI Section

Our office represents people charged with criminal and disorderly persons offenses. We provide representation throughout New Jersey. Criminal charges can cost you. If convicted of possession of drugs, you can face jail, high fines, Probation over 18 months and other penalties. Don't give up! Our Law Office can provide experienced attorney representation for hashish and other criminal matters. Our website kennethvercammen.com provides information on criminal offenses we can be retained to represent people. The defense of a person charged with possession of hashish is not impossible. There are a number of viable defenses and arguments which can be pursued to achieve a successful result. Advocacy, commitment, and persistence are essential to defending a client accused of involvement with hashish. The Superior Court handles possession of larger amounts of hashish, possession with intent to distribute hashish or other drugs, and distribution of hashish.

The Municipal Court has jurisdiction to hear the following drug related offenses: NJSA 2C:5 10(a)(4), possession of 50g or less of marijuana or 5g or less of hashish; NJSA 2C:35 10(b), using or being under the influence of CDS; NJSA 2C:35 10(c), failure to deliver cocaine, hashish or other CDS to police [County Prosecutors often downgrade possession of small amounts of cocaine to this offense;] NJSA 2C:36 2, possession of drug paraphernalia. All other drug offenses are heard in the Superior Court. At the initial interview the defense attorney must determine what happened, what was told to police and the possible defense witnesses to be interviewed. Defense counsel should completely understand the facts and circumstances of the stop and arrest. Defense counsel should explain to the client the possible penalties which can be imposed.

If convicted, the court must impose a minimum $500.00 Drug Enforcement Reduction penalty and a $50.00 lab fee for each CDS charge. Moreover, the court must suspend the defendant's driver's license for between six months and two years. In addition, probation for up to two years, drug counseling, periodic urine testing, alcohol and/or psychiatric counseling and community service may be imposed. Fines and jail vary depending on the amount of hashish and whether the case is heard in Superior Court or Municipal Court. Jail time and fines is explained in greater details in other articles on kennethvercammen.com. The retainer fee must be discussed at the initial interview. I require the full retainer to be paid prior to my entering an appearance. Depending on the case, County and prior offenses, fees range between $1,000-$7,000. My standard procedure, once we are retained, is to immediately send a discovery letter/letter of representation to both the Prosecutor and the Court Clerk. I try to stay in close contact with the client. I also can provide the client with a brochure setting forth phone numbers and addresses for substance abuse treatment programs with a recommendation they seek help for any problem. Proof of attendance of such a program is of benefit at sentencing or an application for PTI or conditional discharge. A timely Motion to Suppress Evidence must be made pursuant to Rule 3:5 7. Do it immediately; do not wait to receive discovery.

Conditional Discharge or Pre-trial Intervention/ PTI for 1st time offenders If the Suppression Motion is unsuccessful or not a viable option, counsel should discuss the possibility of obtaining Pre-trial Intervention. For small amounts of marijuana and hashish, heard in Municipal Court, N.J.S.A. 2C:36A I provides that a person not previously convicted of a drug offense either under Title 2C or Title 24 and who has not previously been granted "supervisory treatment" under 24:21 27, 2C:43 12 or 2C:36A 1 may apply for a Conditional Discharge. The court upon notice to the prosecutor and subject to 2C:36A 1(c) may on the motion of the defendant or the court, suspend further proceedings and place the defendant on supervisory treatment (i.e., probation, supervised or unsupervised attendance at Narcotics Anonymous, etc.). Since the granting of a Conditional Discharge is optional with the court, defense counsel should be prepared to prove through letters, documents, or even witnesses, that the defendant's continued presence in the community or in a civil treatment program will not pose a danger to the community. Defense counsel should be prepared to convince the court that the terms and conditions of supervisory treatment will be adequate to protect the public and will benefit the defendant by serving to correct any dependence on or use of controlled substances. For applicable caselaw on Conditional Discharges, see State v Sanders N.J. Super 515 (App. Div. 1979), State v Banks 157 N.J. Super. 442 (Law Div. 1978), State v Grochulski 133 NJ Super 586 (Law Div. 1975), State v Teitelbaum. 160 NJ Super 450 (Law Div. 1978), State v Bush L34 NJ Super 346 (Cty Ct 1975), State v DiLuzio 130 NJ Super 220 (Law Div. 1974). The defendant must be required to pay a $45.00 application fee, plus the mandatory $500.00 DEDR penalty. The court further has the option to suspend a defendant's driver's license for between six months and two years. The Conditional Discharge period is also between one year and two years. If the defendant is convicted of a drug offense during the CD period or violates the conditions set by the court, the prosecution resumes. The defendant may even apply for a conditional discharge after he/she is found guilty, but before sentence is imposed. If the CD is granted at this point in the proceeding, the 6 to 24 month license suspension is mandatory. Pre-trial Intervention may be available for first time offenders charged with possession with intent to distribute hashish charges heard in Superior Court. More details on PTI is available on website kennethvercammen.com.

TRIAL PREPARATION The prosecutor is responsible for providing full discovery. Rules 3:13 3, 7:7-7, State v Polasky, N.J. Super. 549 (Law Div. 1986); State v Tull, 234 N.J. Super. 486 (Law Div. 1989); State v Ford, 240 N.J. Super. 44 (App. Div. 1990).

THE TRIAL The burden of primary possession/constructive possession remains on the State. Plea bargaining is not permitted in Municipal Court CDS cases (while it is available in such varied charges as murder, careless driving, or the burning of old tires). Plea bargaining is permitted in Superior Court indictable cases. Defense counsel must subpoena its necessary witnesses and prepare for trial The State must prove knowledge or purpose on the part of the defendant. Knowledge means that the defendant was aware of the existence of the object and was aware of its character. Purpose means it was defendant's conscious object to obtain or possess the item while being aware of its character. Knowledge of the character of the substance may be inferred from the circumstances. 33 N.J. Practice Criminal Law & Procedure (Miller) Sec. 378 p. 563 (2nd Ed 1990). If actual possession cannot be demonstrated, defendant's constructive possession may sometimes be shown by proof that the narcotics were subject to dominion and control. If two or more persons share actual or constructive possession, then their possession is joint. Mere presence in a premises with other persons where CDS is found is not sufficient, in itself, to justify an inference that a particular defendant was in sole or joint possession of the substance. State v McMenamin 133 N.J. Super. 521,S24 (App. Div. 1975). In State v. Shipp, 216 N.J. Super. 662,666 (App. Div. 1987), it was held there was insufficient evidence that the defendant, a passenger in the front seat, had constructive possession of CDS contained in envelopes secreted in a vinyl bag resting on the back seat next to another passenger in the car. In addition to establishing the item seized is CDS through either a lab report or the State Police chemist, the State must establish the chain of custody. The prosecutor's witness will call witnesses to prove the location of the seized hashish from the moment of initial seizure to the time of testing of the hashish. If the state will be attempting to introduce a confession or other incriminating statements, defense counsel may request on evidence rule 8 hearing to determine if the requirements of Miranda v. Arizona 384 US. 436 (1966) have been violated. If the defendant elects to take the stand, defense counsel must be certain that he testifies with complete candor and does not try to embellish his protestations of innocence. The following ideas are sometimes used by defense attorneys to provide defend the charge of possession of hashish.

1. No discovery Send a discovery letter/letter of representation to both the District Attorney/Municipal Prosecutor, Police Records Bureau of the law enforcement agency which issued the complaint and the Court Clerk. Failure of the state to provide discovery may be grounds to dismiss the charges.

2. Suppression A timely Motion to Suppress Evidence must be made. Do it immediately; do not wait to receive discovery.

3. Subpoena witnesses defense Counsel should subpoena witnesses; sometimes even serving a subpoena duces tecum on the arresting officer to compel him to bring to court the object allegedly observed in plain view. Credibility will be tested when the object that was claimed to be in plain view inside a car is actually only one half inch long. Cross examination is pivotal in determining credibility. Failure to subpoena a witness may be malpractice if your necessary witness is not present.

4. First Offender programs Many states provide that a person not previously convicted of a hashish offense and who has not previously been granted "supervisory treatment" may apply for a conditional discharge/dismissal of charges. The court, upon notice to the prosecutor, may suspend further proceedings and place the defendant on supervisory treatment (i.e., probation, supervised or unsupervised attendance at Narcotics Anonymous, etc.).

5. No lab tests The State must prove the substance seized was a controlled dangerous substance (CDS). To prove the substance is CDS, either the lab technician who examined the substance must be called testify, or the State will have to admit the lab certificate. If the State intends to proffer the lab certificate at the trial, a notice of an intent to proffer that certificate, and all reports relating to the analysis of the CDS, should be served by the state on defense counsel. This includes an actual copy of the lab certificate. Defense counsel must notify the prosecutor in writing of defendant's objection to the admission into evidence of the certificate, plus set forth the grounds for objection. Failure by defense counsel to timely object shall constitute a waiver of any objection to the certificate, thus, the certificate will be submitted into evidence. If the state can't introduce lab results, the state can't use.

6. Chain of Custody The State must then establish a chain of custody. The prosecutor's witness will call additional witnesses to prove the locations of the seized drugs from the moment of initial seizure to the time of the testing of the illegal drug. Defense counsel can contest the chain of custody.

7. Confession excluded If the state will be attempting to introduce a confession or other incriminating statements, defense counsel may request an Evidence Rule Hearing to determine if the requirements of Miranda v. Arizona 384 US. 436 (1966) have been violated.

8. Constructive possession not proven The burden of primary possession/constructive possession remains on the State. The State must prove it was defendant's conscious intention to obtain or possess the item while being aware it was hashish. Defendant's constructive possession may sometimes be shown by proof that the narcotics were subject to dominion and control. If two or more persons share actual or constructive possession, then their possession is joint. However, mere presence on premises where CDS is found is not sufficient, in itself, to justify an inference that a particular defendant was in sole or joint possession of the substance.

Conclusion

It is well established that the prosecution of a defendant for hashish is a criminal proceeding. In such a proceeding the burden of proof is upon the state to establish all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, plea bargaining is not permitted in Municipal Court drug cases (while it is available in such varied charges as murder, careless driving, or the burning of old tires). Defense counsel must subpoena its necessary witnesses and prepare for trial. Never attempt to represent yourself if you are facing serious charges. Hashish offenses carry substantial penalties which will effect your client for the rest of his life. The space limits of this article do not allow detailed explanation of the extensive caselaw on controlled dangerous substances. Drug law and other defenses are explained in greater details in other articles on kennethvercammen.com.

more info at http://www.kennethvercammen.com/defenses_to_possession_of_hashish_charges.html?id=238&a=

Defenses to Possession of Cannabis and Other Drug Charges


By Kenneth A. Vercammen, Past Chair NJ State Bar Municipal Court and DWI Section

Our office represents people charged with criminal and disorderly persons offenses. We provide representation throughout New Jersey. Criminal charges can cost you. If convicted of possession of drugs, you can face jail, high fines, Probation over 18 months and other penalties. Dont give up! Our Law Office can provide experienced attorney representation for marijuana, hashish or other illegal cannabis derivatives and other criminal matters. Our website www.kennethvercammen.com provides information on criminal offenses we can be retained to represent people. Hemp and Marijuana are both derived from the Cannabis plant. Hemp is cannabis grown for industrial use while marijuana is cannabis grown for recreational or medical use. Source: http://www.cannabis.com/ The defense of a person charged with possession of marijuana, hashish or other illegal cannabis derivatives is not impossible. There are a number of viable defenses and arguments which can be pursued to achieve a successful result. Advocacy, commitment, and persistence are essential to defending a client accused of involvement with marijuana, hashish or other illegal cannabis derivatives. The Superior Court handles possession of larger amounts of marijuana, hashish or other illegal cannabis derivatives, possession with intent to distribute drugs The Municipal Court has jurisdiction to hear the following drug related offenses: NJSA 2C:5 10(a)(4), possession of 50g or less of marijuana or 5g or less of hashish; NJSA 2C:35 10(b), using or being under the influence of CDS; NJSA 2C:35 10(c), failure to deliver cocaine, hashish or other CDS to police [County Prosecutors often downgrade possession of small amounts of cocaine to this offense;] NJSA 2C:36 2, possession of drug paraphernalia. All other drug offenses are heard in the Superior Court.

2C:35-2. "Hashish" means the resin extracted from any part of the plant Genus Cannabis L. and any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such resin. "Marijuana" means all parts of the plant Genus Cannabis L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant or its seeds, except those containing resin extracted from such plant; but shall not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks, fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.

At the initial interview the defense attorney must determine what happened, what was told to police and the possible defense witnesses to be interviewed. Defense counsel should completely understand the facts and circumstances of the stop and arrest. Defense counsel should explain to the client the possible penalties which can be imposed. If convicted, the court must impose a minimum $500.00 Drug Enforcement Reduction penalty and a $50.00 lab fee for each CDS charge. Moreover, the court must suspend the defendants drivers license for between six months and two years. In addition, probation for up to two years, drug counseling, periodic urine testing, alcohol and/or psychiatric counseling and community service may be imposed. Fines and jail vary depending on the amount of marijuana, hashish or other illegal cannabis derivatives and whether the case is heard in Superior Court or Municipal Court. Jail time and fines is explained in greater details in other articles on www.kennethvercammen.com. The retainer fee must be discussed at the initial interview. I require the full retainer to be paid prior to my entering an appearance. Depending on the case, County and prior offenses, fees range between $1,000-$7,000. My standard procedure, once we are retained, is to immediately send a discovery letter/letter of representation to both the Prosecutor and the Court Clerk. I try to stay in close contact with the client. I also can provide the client with a brochure setting forth phone numbers and addresses for substance abuse treatment programs with a recommendation they seek help for any problem. Proof of attendance of such a program is of benefit at sentencing or an application for PTI or conditional discharge. A timely Motion to Suppress Evidence must be made pursuant to Rule 3:5 7. Do it immediately; do not wait to receive discovery.

Conditional Discharge or Pre-trial Intervention/ PTI for 1st time offenders If the Suppression Motion is unsuccessful or not a viable option, counsel should discuss the possibility of obtaining Pre-trial Intervention. For small amounts of marijuana and hashish, heard in Municipal Court, N.J.S.A. 2C: 36A I provides that a person not previously convicted of a drug offense either under Title 2C or Title 24 and who has not previously been granted "supervisory treatment" under 24:21 27, 2C:43 12 or 2C: 36A 1 may apply for a Conditional Discharge. The court upon notice to the prosecutor and subject to 2C: 36A 1(c) may on the motion of the defendant or the court, suspend further proceedings and place the defendant on supervisory treatment (i.e., probation, supervised or unsupervised attendance at Narcotics Anonymous, etc.). Since the granting of a Conditional Discharge is optional with the court, defense counsel should be prepared to prove through letters, documents, or even witnesses, that the defendants continued presence in the community or in a civil treatment program will not pose a danger to the community. Defense counsel should be prepared to convince the court that the terms and conditions of supervisory treatment will be adequate to protect the public and will benefit the defendant by serving to correct any dependence on or use of controlled substances. For applicable caselaw on Conditional Discharges, see State v Sanders N.J. Super 515 (App. Div. 1979), State v Banks 157 N.J. Super. 442 (Law Div. 1978), State v Grochulski 133 NJ Super 586 (Law Div. 1975), State v Teitelbaum. 160 NJ Super 450 (Law Div. 1978), State v Bush L34 NJ Super 346 (Cty Ct 1975), State v DiLuzio 130 NJ Super 220 (Law Div. 1974). The defendant must be required to pay a $45.00 application fee, plus the mandatory $500.00 DEDR penalty. The court further has the option to suspend a defendants drivers license for between six months and two years. The Conditional Discharge period is also between one year and two years. If the defendant is convicted of a drug offense during the CD period or violates the conditions set by the court, the prosecution resumes. The defendant may even apply for a conditional discharge after he/she is found guilty, but before sentence is imposed. If the CD is granted at this point in the proceeding, the 6 to 24 month license suspension is mandatory. Pre-trial Intervention may be available for first time offenders charged with possession with intent to distribute hashish charges heard in Superior Court. More details on PTI is available on website www.kennethvercammen.com.

TRIAL PREPARATION The prosecutor is responsible for providing full discovery. Rules 3:13 3, 7:7-7, State v Polasky, N.J. Super. 549 (Law Div. 1986); State v Tull, 234 N.J. Super. 486 (Law Div. 1989); State v Ford, 240 N.J. Super. 44 (App. Div. 1990).

THE TRIAL The burden of primary possession/constructive possession remains on the State. Plea bargaining is not permitted in Municipal Court CDS cases (while it is available in such varied charges as murder, careless driving, or the burning of old tires). Plea bargaining is permitted in Superior Court indictable cases. Defense counsel must subpoena its necessary witnesses and prepare for trial The State must prove knowledge or purpose on the part of the defendant. Knowledge means that the defendant was aware of the existence of the object and was aware of its character. Purpose means it was defendants conscious object to obtain or possess the item while being aware of its character. Knowledge of the character of the substance may be inferred from the circumstances. 33 N.J. Practice Criminal Law & Procedure (Miller) Sec. 378 p. 563 (2nd Ed 1990). If actual possession cannot be demonstrated, defendants constructive possession may sometimes be shown by proof that the narcotics were subject to dominion and control. If two or more persons share actual or constructive possession, then their possession is joint. Mere presence in a premises with other persons where CDS is found is not sufficient, in itself, to justify an inference that a particular defendant was in sole or joint possession of the substance. State v McMenamin 133 N.J. Super. 521,S24 (App. Div. 1975). In State v. Shipp, 216 N.J. Super. 662,666 (App. Div. 1987), it was held there was insufficient evidence that the defendant, a passenger in the front seat, had constructive possession of CDS contained in envelopes secreted in a vinyl bag resting on the back seat next to another passenger in the car. In addition to establishing the item seized is CDS through either a lab report or the State Police chemist, the State must establish the chain of custody. The prosecutors witness will call witnesses to prove the location of the seized drugs from the moment of initial seizure to the time of testing of the drugs. If the state will be attempting to introduce a confession or other incriminating statements, defense counsel may request on evidence rule 8 hearing to determine if the requirements of Miranda v. Arizona 384 US. 436 (1966) have been violated. If the defendant elects to take the stand, defense counsel must be certain that he testifies with complete candor and does not try to embellish his protestations of innocence. The following ideas are sometimes used by defense attorneys to provide defend the charge of possession of marijuana, hashish or other illegal cannabis derivatives.

1. No discovery Send a discovery letter/letter of representation to both the District Attorney/Municipal Prosecutor, Police Records Bureau of the law enforcement agency which issued the complaint and the Court Clerk. Failure of the state to provide discovery may be grounds to dismiss the charges.

2. Suppression A timely Motion to Suppress Evidence must be made. Do it immediately; do not wait to receive discovery.

3. Subpoena witnesses defense Counsel should subpoena witnesses; sometimes even serving a subpoena duces tecum on the arresting officer to compel him to bring to court the object allegedly observed in plain view. Credibility will be tested when the object that was claimed to be in plain view inside a car is actually only one-half inch long. Cross-examination is pivotal in determining credibility. Failure to subpoena a witness may be malpractice if your necessary witness is not present.

4. First Offender programs Many states provide that a person not previously convicted of a drug offense and who has not previously been granted "supervisory treatment" may apply for a conditional discharge/dismissal of charges. The court, upon notice to the prosecutor, may suspend further proceedings and place the defendant on supervisory treatment (i.e., probation, supervised or unsupervised attendance at Narcotics Anonymous, etc.).

5. No lab tests The State must prove the substance seized was a controlled dangerous substance (CDS). To prove the substance is CDS, either the lab technician who examined the substance must be called testify, or the State will have to admit the lab certificate. If the State intends to proffer the lab certificate at the trial, a notice of an intent to proffer that certificate, and all reports relating to the analysis of the CDS, should be served by the state on defense counsel. This includes an actual copy of the lab certificate. Defense counsel must notify the prosecutor in writing of defendants objection to the admission into evidence of the certificate, plus set forth the grounds for objection. Failure by defense counsel to timely object shall constitute a waiver of any objection to the certificate, thus, the certificate will be submitted into evidence. If the state cant introduce lab results, the state cant use.

6. Chain of Custody The State must then establish a chain of custody. The prosecutors witness will call additional witnesses to prove the locations of the seized drugs from the moment of initial seizure to the time of the testing of the illegal drug. Defense counsel can contest the chain of custody.

7. Confession excluded If the state will be attempting to introduce a confession or other incriminating statements, defense counsel may request an Evidence Rule Hearing to determine if the requirements of Miranda v. Arizona 384 US. 436 (1966) have been violated. 8. Constructive possession not proven The burden of primary possession/constructive possession remains on the State. The State must prove it was defendants conscious intention to obtain or possess the item while being aware it was drugs. Defendants constructive possession may sometimes be shown by proof that the narcotics were subject to dominion and control. If two or more persons share actual or constructive possession, then their possession is joint. However, mere presence on premises where CDS is found is not sufficient, in itself, to justify an inference that a particular defendant was in sole or joint possession of the substance.

Conclusion

It is well established that the prosecution of a defendant for possession of marijuana, hashish or other illegal cannabis derivatives is a criminal proceeding. In such a proceeding the burden of proof is upon the state to establish all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, plea bargaining is not permitted in Municipal Court drug cases (while it is available in such varied charges as murder, careless driving, or the burning of old tires). Defense counsel must subpoena its necessary witnesses and prepare for trial. Never attempt to represent yourself if you are facing serious charges. Marijuana, hashish or other illegal cannabis derivatives offenses carry substantial penalties which will effect your client for the rest of his life. The space limits of this article do not allow detailed explanation of the extensive caselaw on controlled dangerous substances. Drug law and other defenses are explained in greater details in other articles on www.kennethvercammen.com.

more info at http://www.kennethvercammen.com/defenses_to_possession_of_cannabis_and_other_drug_charges.html?id=1492&a=