Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County Trial Attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law, Probate, Estate 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.

To schedule a confidential consultation, call us or New clients email us evenings and weekends via contact box

Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C,

2053 Woodbridge Avenue,

Edison, NJ 08817,

(732) 572-0500

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Fall Law Clerks 2020

Left to Right: Michael DePinto, Christie Johnson, Lexi with Kenneth Vercammen, Ishan Desai, Andreii Pilipetskii, Haily Kylonen, Gabrielle Montanez


Saturday, November 7, 2020

President Elect Biden selects Ken Vercammen for next Attorney General

 President Elect Biden selects Ken Vercammen for next Attorney General

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Plea Bargaining Criminal, Municipal Court and Traffic Cases to Reduce Penalties and Charges

Plea Bargaining Criminal, Municipal Court and Traffic Cases to Reduce Penalties and Charges

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 provides information on criminal offenses we can be retained to represent people.

Under the New Jersey Court Rules, a New Jersey Attorney can negotiate with the Prosecutor to attempt to reduce penalties.

We can appear in court for you on most Central New Jersey criminal traffic violations. The following is the law in New Jersey on Plea Bargains:

Rule: 7:6-2. Pleas, Plea Agreements (Municipal Court, Traffic)

(a) Pleas Allowed, Guilty Plea. (1) Generally. A defendant may plead not guilty or guilty, but the court may, in its discretion, refuse to accept a guilty plea. The court shall not, however, accept a guilty plea without first addressing the defendant personally and determining by inquiry of the defendant and, in the court's discretion, of others, that the plea is made voluntarily with understanding of the nature of the charge and the consequences of the plea and that there is a factual basis for the plea. Upon the request of the defendant, the court may, at the time of the acceptance of a guilty plea, order that the plea shall not be evidential in any civil proceeding. If a defendant refuses to plead or stands mute or if the court refuses to accept a guilty plea, the court shall enter a plea of not guilty. If a guilty plea is entered, the court may hear the witnesses in support of the complaint prior to judgment and sentence and after such hearing may, in its discretion, refuse to accept the plea. (2) Corporate Defendants. A defendant that is a corporation, partnership or unincorporated association may enter a plea by an authorized officer or agent and may appear by an officer or agent provided the appearance is consented to by the named party defendant and the court finds that the interest of justice does not require the appearance of counsel. If a defendant that is a corporation, partnership, or unincorporated association fails to appear or answer, the court, if satisfied that service was duly made, shall enter an appearance and a plea of not guilty for the defendant and thereupon proceed to hear the complaint. (b) Withdrawal of Plea. A motion to withdraw a plea of guilty shall be made before sentencing, but the court may permit it to be made thereafter to correct a manifest injustice. (c) Conditional Pleas. With the approval of the court and the consent of the prosecuting attorney, a defendant may enter a conditional plea of guilty, reserving on the record the right to appeal from the adverse determination of any specified pretrial motion. A defendant who prevails on appeal shall be afforded the opportunity to withdraw the guilty plea. Nothing in this rule shall be construed as limiting the right to appeal provided by R. 7:5-2(c)(2). (d) Plea Agreements. Plea agreements may be entered into only pursuant to the Guidelines and accompanying Comment issued by the Supreme Court, both of which are annexed as an Appendix to Part VII, provided, however, that: (1) the complaint is prosecuted by the municipal prosecutor, the county prosecutor, or the Attorney General; and (2) the defendant is either represented by counsel or knowingly waives the right to counsel on the record; and (3) the prosecuting attorney represents to the court that the complaining witness and the victim, if the victim is present at the hearing, have been consulted about the agreement; and (4) the plea agreement involves a matter within the jurisdiction of the municipal court and does not result in the downgrade or disposition of indictable offenses without the consent of the county prosecutor, which consent shall be noted on the record; and (5) the sentence recommendations, if any, do not circumvent minimum sentences required by law for the offense. When a plea agreement is reached, its terms and the factual basis that supports the charge(s) shall be fully set forth on the record pursuant to section (a)(1) of this rule. If the judge determines that the interest of justice would not be served by accepting the agreement, the judge shall so state, and the defendant shall be informed of the right to withdraw the plea if already entered.


The purpose of these Guidelines is to allow for flexibility in the definitions and exclusions relating to the plea agreement process as that process evolves and certain offenses come to demand lesser or greater scrutiny.


For the purpose of these Guidelines, a plea agreement occurs in a Municipal Court matter whenever the prosecutor and the defense agree as to the offense or offenses to which a defendant will plead guilty on condition that any or all of the following occur: (a) the prosecutor will recommend to the court that another offense or offenses be dismissed, (b) the prosecutor will recommend to the court that it accept a plea to a lesser or other offense (whether included or not) than that originally charged, (c) the prosecutor will recommend a sentence(s), not to exceed the maximum permitted, to the court or remain silent at sentencing,


Nothing in these Guidelines should be construed to affect in any way the prosecutor's discretion in any case to move unilaterally for an amendment to the original charge or a dismissal of the charges pending against a defendant if the prosecutor determines and represents on the record the reasons in support of the motion.


No plea agreements whatsoever will be allowed in drunken driving or certain drug offenses. Those offenses are: A. Driving while under the influence of liquor or drugs (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50) and, B. Possession of marijuana or hashish (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(4)); being under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance or its analog (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10b); and use, possession or intent to use or possess drug paraphernalia, etc. (N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2). If a defendant is charged with driving while under the influence of liquor or drugs (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50) and refusal to provide a breath sample (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2) arising out of the same factual transaction, and the defendant pleads guilty to the N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 offense, the judge, on recommendation of the prosecutor, may dismiss the refusal charge. Nothing contained in these limitations shall prohibit the judge from considering a plea agreement as to the collateral charges arising out of the same factual transaction connected with any of the above enumerated offenses in sections A and B of this Guideline. The judge may, for certain other offenses subject to minimum mandatory penalties, refuse to accept a plea agreement unless the prosecuting attorney represents that the possibility of conviction is so remote that the interests of justice requires the acceptance of a plea to a lesser offense.


Over the years, various unique practices and procedures have evolved in connection with the disposition of Municipal Court cases. Thus, it is the intent of these Guidelines to define regulated plea agreements as including every common practice that has evolved as a subterfuge for plea agreements. Therefore, for the purpose of these Guidelines, a plea agreement shall include all of those traditional practices, utilized by prosecutors and defense counsel, including "merger", "dismissal", "downgrade" or "amendment." Generally, "mergers" involve the dismissal of lesser-included or related offenses when a defendant pleads to the most serious offense. "Dismissals" involve motions to dismiss a pending charge or plea agreement when the municipal prosecutor determines, for cause (usually for insufficient evidence), that the charge should be dismissed. "Downgrades" or "amendments" involve the taking of a plea to a lesser or included offense to that originally charged. Plea agreements are to be distinguished from the discretion of a prosecutor to charge or unilaterally move to dismiss, amend or otherwise dispose of a matter. It is recognized that it is not the municipal prosecutor's function merely to seek convictions in all cases. The prosecutor is not an ordinary advocate. Rather, the prosecutor has an obligation to defendants, the State and the public to see that justice is done and truth is revealed in each individual case. The goal should be to achieve individual justice in individual cases. In discharging the diverse responsibilities of that office, a prosecutor must have some latitude to exercise the prosecutorial discretion demanded of that position. It is well established, for example, that a prosecutor should not prosecute when the evidence does not support the State's charges. Further, the prosecutor should have the ability to amend the charges to conform to the proofs.


Plea Bargaining in Superior Court: (Indictable; Felony Type Cases)

RULE 3:9. PRETRIAL PROCEDURE 3:9-1. Pre arraignment Conference; Plea Offer; Arraignment/Status Conference; Pretrial Hearings; Pretrial Conference

(a) Pre arraignment Conference. After an indictment has been returned, or an indictment sealed pursuant to R. 3:6-8 has been unsealed, a copy of the indictment, together with the discovery for each defendant named therein, shall be either delivered to the criminal division manager's office, or be available at the prosecutor's office, within 14 days of the return or unsealing of the indictment. After the return or unsealing of the indictment the defendant shall be notified in writing by the criminal division manager's office to appear for a pre arraignment conference which shall occur within 21 days of indictment. At the pre arraignment conference the defendant shall be: informed of the charges; notified in writing of the date, place and time for the arraignment/status conference; and, if the defendant so requests, be allowed to apply for pretrial intervention. The criminal division manager's office shall not otherwise advise the defendant regarding the case. The criminal division manager's office, shall ascertain whether the defendant is represented by counsel and, if not, whether the defendant can afford counsel. If indicated that the defendant cannot afford counsel, the defendant shall be required to fill out the Uniform Defendant Intake Report. If a defendant does not appear for a pre arraignment conference, the criminal division manager shall notify the criminal presiding judge who may issue a bench warrant. A defendant's attorney seeking discovery shall obtain a copy of the indictment and discovery from either the criminal division manager's office, or the prosecutor's office, no later than 28 days after the return or unsealing of the indictment. No pre arraignment conference shall be required where the defendant has counsel and the criminal division manager's office has established to its satisfaction: (1) that an appearance has been filed under Rule 3:8-1; (2) that discovery, if requested, has been obtained; and (3) that defendant and counsel have obtained a date, place and time for the arraignment/status conference. (b) Plea Offer. Prior to the arraignment/status conference the prosecutor and the defense attorney shall discuss the case, including any plea offer, and any outstanding or anticipated motions and discovery issues and report thereon at the arraignment/status conference. Any plea offer to be made by the prosecutor shall be in writing and forwarded to the defendant's attorney. (c) Arraignment/Status Conference; In Open Court. The arraignment/status conference shall be conducted in open court no later than 50 days after indictment. The judge shall advise the defendant of the substance of the charge and confirm that the defendant has reviewed with counsel the indictment and the discovery. The defendant shall enter a plea to the charges. If the plea is not guilty counsel shall report on the results of plea negotiations, and such other matters, discussed pursuant to R. 3:9-1(b), which shall promote a fair and expeditious disposition of the case. At that time, the dates for hearing of motions and a further status conference, if necessary shall be scheduled according to the differentiated needs of each case. Each status conference shall be held in open court with the defendant present. (d) Pretrial Hearings. Hearings to resolve issues relating to the admissibility of statements by defendant, pretrial identifications of defendant, sound recordings, and motions to suppress shall, unless otherwise ordered by the court, be held prior to the pretrial conference and, upon a showing of good cause, hearings as to admissibility of other evidence may also be held pretrial. (e) Pretrial Conference. If the court determines that discovery is complete; that all motions have been decided or scheduled in accordance with paragraph (d); and that all reasonable efforts to dispose of the case without trial have been made and it appears that further negotiations or an additional status conference will not result in disposition of the case, or progress toward disposition of the case, the judge shall conduct a pretrial conference. The conference shall be conducted in open court with the prosecutor, defense counsel and the defendant present. Unless objected to by a party, the court shall ask the prosecutor to describe, without prejudice, the case including the salient facts and anticipated proofs and shall address the defendant to determine that the defendant understands: (1) the State's final plea offer, if one exists; (2) the sentencing exposure for the offenses charged, if convicted; (3) that ordinarily a negotiated plea will not be accepted after the pretrial conference and a trial date has been set; (4) the nature, meaning and consequences of the fact that a negotiated plea will not be accepted after the pretrial conference has been conducted and a trial date has been set; and (5) that the defendant has a right to reject the plea offer and go to trial and that if the defendant goes to trial the State must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. If the case is not otherwise disposed of, a pretrial memorandum shall be prepared in a form prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts. The pretrial memorandum shall be reviewed on the record with counsel and the defendant present and shall be signed by the judge who, in consultation with counsel, shall fix the trial date. No admissions made by the defendant or defendant's attorney at the conference shall be used against the defendant unless the admissions are reduced to writing and signed by the defendant and defendant's attorney. The court shall also inform the defendant of the right to be present at trial, the trial date set, and the consequences of a failure to appear for trial, including the possibility that the trial will take place in defendant's absence.

3:9-2. Pleas

A defendant may plead only guilty or not guilty to an offense. The court, in its discretion, may refuse to accept a plea of guilty and shall not accept such plea without first addressing the defendant personally and determining by inquiry of the defendant and others, in the court's discretion, that there is a factual basis for the plea and that the plea is made voluntarily, not as a result of any threats or of any promises or inducements not disclosed on the record, and with an understanding of the nature of the charge and the consequences of the plea. When the defendant is charged with a crime punishable by death, no factual basis shall be required from the defendant before entry of a plea of guilty to a capital offense or to a lesser included offense, provided the court is satisfied from the proofs presented that there is a factual basis for the plea. For good cause shown the court may, in accepting a plea of guilty, order that such plea not be evidential in any civil proceeding. If a plea of guilty is refused, no admission made by the defendant shall be admissible in evidence against the defendant at trial. If a defendant refuses to plead or stands mute, or if the court refuses to accept a plea of guilty, a plea of not guilty shall be entered. Before accepting a plea of guilty, the court shall require the defendant to complete, insofar as applicable, and sign the appropriate form prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts, which shall then be filed with the criminal division manager's office.

3:9-3. Plea Discussions; Agreements; Withdrawals

(a) Plea Discussions Generally. The prosecutor and defense attorney may engage in discussions relating to pleas and sentences and shall engage in discussions about such matters as will promote a fair and expeditious disposition of the case, but except as hereinafter authorized the judge shall take no part in such discussions. (b) Entry of Plea. When the prosecutor and defense counsel reach an agreement concerning the offense or offenses to which a defendant will plead on condition that other charges pending against the defendant will be dismissed or an agreement concerning the sentence that the prosecutor will recommend, or when pursuant to paragraph (c) the defendant pleads guilty based on indications by the court of the maximum sentence to be imposed, such agreement and such indications shall be placed on the record in open court at the time the plea is entered. (c) Disclosure to Court. On request of the prosecutor and defense counsel, the court in the presence of both counsel may permit the disclosure to it of the tentative agreement and the reasons therefor in advance of the time for tender of the plea or, if no tentative agreement has been reached, the status of negotiations toward a plea agreement. The court may then indicate to the prosecutor and defense counsel whether it will concur in the tentative agreement or, if no tentative agreement has been reached and with the consent of both counsel, the maximum sentence it would impose in the event the defendant enters a plea of guilty, assuming, however, in both cases that the information in the presentence report at the time of sentence is as has been represented to the court at the time of the disclosure and supports its determination that the interests of justice would be served thereby. If the agreement is reached without such disclosure or if the court agrees conditionally to accept the plea agreement as set forth above, or if the plea is to be based on the court's conditional indication about the sentence, all the terms of the plea, including the court's concurrence or its indication concerning sentence, shall be placed on the record in open court at the time the plea is entered. Nothing in this Rule shall be construed to authorize the court to dismiss or downgrade any charge without the consent of the prosecutor. (d) Agreements Involving the Right to Appeal. Whenever a plea agreement includes a provision that defendant will not appeal, the court shall advise the defendant that notwithstanding the inclusion of this provision, the defendant has the right to take a timely appeal if the plea agreement is accepted, but that if the defendant does so, the plea agreement may be annulled at the option of the prosecutor, in which event all charges shall be restored to the same status as immediately before the entry of the plea. In the event the defendant files an appeal in a case in which the plea agreement included a provision that the defendant will not appeal, the State must exercise its right to annul the plea agreement no later than seven days prior to the date scheduled for oral argument or submission without argument. (e) Withdrawal of Plea. If at the time of sentencing the court determines that the interests of justice would not be served by effectuating the agreement reached by the prosecutor and defense counsel or by imposing sentence in accordance with the court's previous indications of sentence, the court may vacate the plea or the defendant shall be permitted to withdraw the plea. (f) Conditional Pleas. With the approval of the court and the consent of the prosecuting attorney, a defendant may enter a conditional plea of guilty reserving on the record the right to appeal from the adverse determination of any specified pretrial motion. If the defendant prevails on appeal, the defendant shall be afforded the opportunity to withdraw his or her plea. Nothing in this rule shall be construed as limiting the right of appeal provided for in R. 3:5-7(d). (g) Plea Cut Off. After the pretrial conference has been conducted and a trial date set, the court shall not accept negotiated pleas absent the approval of the Criminal Presiding Judge based on a material change of circumstance, or the need to avoid a protracted trial or a manifest injustice.

Supreme Court Commentary

A "material change of circumstance" means a change occurring after the pretrial conference that strengthens or weakens the case of either the prosecution or the defense sufficiently to warrant a change in their plea-bargaining position. It may be either a change in fact or in the knowledge of counsel. Some typical examples that may constitute material change of circumstance are when new charges are filed after the plea cut-off has been imposed, a justifiable change of attorney has occurred, a witness becomes no longer available, a mistrial or hung jury occurs, or some evidence is newly discovered. However, a change that would ordinarily have been anticipated by a reasonably competent prosecutor or defense attorney, including some of the foregoing examples, is not material, nor is a change that results from counsel's lack of ordinary diligence. A "protracted trial" is one that will probably last two weeks or more. One example of manifest injustice is a sexual assault case in which the victim is a child: if the trial is likely to have a substantial adverse impact on the child, the court may grant waiver. "Manifest injustice" does not exist simply because the parties are able and willing to enter into a plea bargain on or before the date of trial. A plea cut-off rule was recommended by twelve members of the Supreme Court Criminal Practice Committee in a dissent filed with the 1992-94 Criminal Practice Committee Recommendations on Rules Necessary to Implement the Criminal Division Operating Standards. See 137 N.J.L.J. 54, 76-77. That recommendation was adopted and further modified by the Supreme Court as set forth above.

PLEA FORM in Criminal Indictable matters You need to read, discuss with Your Attorney, then sign and initial each line

DEFENDANT'S NAME before Judge __________ 1. List the charges to which you are pleading guilty: Statutory Maximum Ind./Acc./Comp. # Count Nature of Offense Degree Time Fine VCCB Assmt

Your total exposure as the result of this plea is: TOTAL __________

APPROPRIATE ANSWER 2 a. Did you commit the offense(s) to which you are pleading guilty? ___

2.b. Do you understand that before the judge can find you guilty, you will have to tell the judge what you did that makes you guilty of the particular offense(s) ___ 3. Do you understand what the charges mean? ___

Do you understand that by pleading guilty you are giving up certain rights. Among them are: a. The right to a jury trial in which the State must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?

b. The right to remain silent?

4. c. The right to confront the witnesses against you?

Do you understand that if you plead guilty: a. You will have a criminal record?

b. Unless the plea agreement provides otherwise, you could be sentenced to serve the maximum time in confinement, to pay the maximum fine and to pay the maximum Violent Crimes Compensation Board Assessment?

c. You must pay a minimum Violent Crimes Compensation Board assessment of $50 ($100 minimum if you are convicted of a crime of violence) for each count to which you plead guilty. (Penalty is $30 if offense occurred between January 9, 1986 and December 22, 1991 inclusive. $25 if offense occurred before January 1, 1986.)

5. d. If the offense occurred on or after February 1, 1993 but was before March 13, 1995, and you are being sentenced to probation or a State correctional facility, you must pay a transaction fee of up to $1.00 for each occasion when a payment or installment payment is made. If the offense occurred on or after March 13, 1995 and the sentence is to probation, or the sentence otherwise requires payments of financial obligations to the probation division, you must pay a transaction fee of up to $2.00 for each occasion when a payment or installment payment is made?


e. If the offense occurred on or after August 2, 1993 you must pay a $75 Safe Neighborhood Services Fund assessment for each conviction?

f. If the offense occurred on or after January 5, 1994 and you agreeing sentenced to probation, you must pay a fee of up to $25 per month for the term of probation?

g. If the crime occurred on or after January 9, 1997 you must pay a Law Enforcement Officers Training and Equipment Fund penalty of $30?

5. h. You will be required to provide a DNA sample, which could be used by law enforcement for the investigation of criminal activity, and pay for the cost of testing?

6. Do you understand that the court could, in its discretion, impose a minimum time in confinement to be served before you become eligible for parole, which period could be as long as one half of the period of the custodial sentenced imposed?

Did you enter a plea of guilty to any charges that require a mandatory period of parole ineligibility or a mandatory extended term?

7. a. If you are pleading guilty to such a charge, the minimum mandatory period of parole ineligibility is years and months (fill in the number of years/months) and the maximum period of parole ineligibility can be years and months (fill in the number of years/months) and this period cannot be reduced by good time, work, or minimum custody credits. 8. Are you pleading guilty to a crime that contains a presumption of imprisonment which means that it is almost certain that you will go to state prison?

Are you presently on probation or parole?

9. a. Do you realize that a guilty plea may result in a violation of your probation or parole? [N/A] Are you presently serving a custodial sentence on another charge? 10. a. Do you understand that a guilty plea may affect your parole eligibility? [N/A] 11. Do you understand that if you have plead guilty to, or have been found guilty on other charges, or are presently serving a custodial term and the plea agreement is silent on the issue, the court may require that all sentences be made to run consecutively?

[N/A] List any charges the prosecutor has agreed to recommend for dismissal: Ind./Acc./Compl. # Count Nature of Offense and Degree 12. 13. Specify any sentence the prosecutor has agreed to recommend:

Has the prosecutor promised that he or she will NOT:

a. Speak at sentencing?

b. Seek an extended term of confinement?

14. c. Seek a stipulation of parole ineligibility?

15. Are you aware that you must pay restitution if the court finds there is a victim who has suffered a loss and if the court finds that you are able or will be able in the future to pay restitution?

16. Do you understand that if you are a public office holder or employee, you can be required to forfeit your office or job by virtue of your plea of guilty?

17. Do you understand that if you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty?

18. Have you discussed with your attorney the legal doctrine of merger?

19. Are you giving up your right at sentence to argue that there are charges you pleaded guilty to for which you cannot be given a separate sentence?

20. List any other promises or representations that have been made by you, the prosecutor, your defense attorney, or anyone else as a part of this plea of guilty:

21. Have any promises other than those mentioned on this form, or any threats, been made in order to cause you to plead guilty?

22. a. Do you understand that the judge is not bound by any promises or recommendations of the prosecutor and that the judge has the right to reject the plea before sentencing you and the right to impose a more severe sentence?

b. Do you understand that if the judge decides to impose a more severe sentence than recommended by the prosecutor, that you may take back your plea?

c. Do you understand that if you are permitted to take back your plea of guilty because of the judge's sentence, that anything you say in furtherance of the guilty plea cannot be used against you at trial?

23. Are you satisfied with the advice you have received from your lawyer?

24. Do you have any questions concerning this plea?

Providing for Care of Pets in Last Will and Testament

Providing for Care of Pets in Last Will and Testament

Pets in Wills

A. Preparing for the Unexpected

In the confusion that accompanies a persons unexpected illness, accident, or death, pets may be overlooked. In some cases, pets are discovered in the persons home days after the tragedy. To prevent this from happening to your pet, take these simple precautions:

* Find at least two responsible friends or relatives who agree to serve as temporary emergency caregivers in the event that something unexpected happens to you. Provide them with keys to your home; feeding and care instructions; the name of your veterinarian; and information about the permanent care provisions you have made for your pet.
* Make sure your neighbors, friends, and relatives know how many pets you have and the names and contact numbers of the individuals who have agreed to serve as emergency caregivers. Emergency caregivers should also know how to contact each other.
* Carry a wallet "alert card" that lists the names and phone numbers of your emergency pet caregivers.
* Post removable "in case of emergency" notices on your doors or windows specifying how many and what types of pets you have. These notices will alert emergency-response personnel during a fire or other home emergency. Dont use stickers; hard-to-remove stickers are often left behind by former residents, so firefighters may assume that the sticker is outdated or, worse, they may risk their lives trying to find a pet no longer in the house.
* Affix to the inside of your front and back doors a removable notice listing emergency contact names and phone numbers. Because pets need care daily and will need immediate attention should you die or become incapacitated, the importance of making these informal arrangements for temporary care giving cannot be overemphasized.

A bequest in your will or living trust is an uncomplicated way to help protect animals.

A bequest may take several forms. It can be specific sum, a percentage of your estate, or the remainder of your estate after expenses and gifts to loved ones. Bequests can include cash, securities, real estate, houses, and personal property such as valuable collections, art, or jewelry.

Living trusts are a popular choice because the terms of a living trust, unlike a will, can be put into effect immediately upon your death, bypassing probate and keeping the terms private.

Here is some sample language that you can use in your will to provide your executor with guidance in arranging for your pets care:

{Article Number} A. As a matter of high priority and importance, I direct my Personal Representative to place any and all animals I may own at the time of my death with another individual or family (that is, in a private, non institutionalized setting) where such animals will be cared for in a manner that any responsible, devoted pet owner would afford to his or her pets. Prior to initiating such efforts to place my animals, I direct my Personal Representative to consult ______________________, D.V.M. (currently at the _______________________ Hospital), or, in the event of Dr. _____________s unavailability, a veterinarian chosen by my Personal Representative, to ensure that each animal is in generally good health and is not suffering physically. In addition, I direct my Personal Representative to provide any needed, reasonable veterinary care that my animal(s) may need at that time to restore the animal(s) to generally good health and to alleviate suffering, if possible. Any animal(s) not in generally good health or who is so sufferingÑand whose care is beyond the capabilities of veterinary medicine, reasonably employed, to restore to generally good health or to alleviate sufferingÑshall be euthanized, cremated, and the ashes disposed of at the discretion of my Personal Representative. Any expenses incurred for the care (including the costs of veterinary services), placement, or transportation of my animals, or to otherwise effect the purposes of this Article ___________ up to the time of placement, shall be charged against the principal of my residuary estate. Decisions my Personal Representative makes under this Article ____________

Personal Legal Checkup

Personal Legal Checkup

1. Do you have a will which has been revised within the past 3 years? (Y, N)

2. Are there any estate planning changes which should be considered? (Y, N)

3. Have the liability policy limits of your insurance increased within the past three years? (Y, N)

4. Are there any potential claims which could be asserted against you? (Y, N)

5. Do you presently have a written and current listing of all important future dates, such as expiration, option, maturity and due dates? (Y, N)

6. Are you aware of, and do you have a current valuation of, all potential government benefits to which you are or will become entitled? (Y, N)

7. Do you have a file, stored in a secure and fireproof location, containing all important documents (wills, titles, securities, contracts, marriage/divorce papers, deeds, pension/profit sharing plans, ect.) (Y, N)

8. Have you within the past 3 years reviewed the beneficiary designation on all documents which require such information? (Y, N)

9. Do you have a complete and current personal financial statement which list in detail all of your personal assets and liabilities? (Y, N)

10. Do you have a complete and current inventory of all of your physical possessions, sufficient to support a claim in the event of a loss? (Y, N)

11. To the extent the foregoing question are relevant to your spouse (if any) and minor children (if any), are there any matters or issues which should be updated, reconsidered, or changed? (Y, N)

12. To the extent there are persons other than spouse or children for whom you may have some responsibilities ( e.g., aging parents ), are there items or issues which should be updated or changed? (Y, N)

13. Have any of these questions caused you to consider taking some action or making some further review? (Y, N)

Personal Injury Book and Audiotapes Co-Written by Kenneth Vercammen

Personal Injury Book and Audiotapes Co-Written by Kenneth Vercammen

Kenneth Vercammen has been a lecturer and speaker for the NJ Institute For Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) and NJ State Bar Association on Personal Injury Municipal Court/Criminal and Probate/Estate Administration and Elder Law.

For Books co-written by Kenneth Vercammen go to New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education and NJ State Bar Association,

The Personal Injury Seminar was held on May 9, 2001.

Speakers Kenneth A. Vercammen, Esq. Kenneth A. Vercammen & Associates, P.C. (Metuchen, Cranbury)

Honorable Douglas T. Hague, J.S.C. (Middlesex County)

Heidi Willis Currier, Esq. Connell Foley, L.L.P. (Roseland)

Robert J. Haws, Esq. Law Offices of Robert J. Haws (East Brunswick)

Gary M. Price, Esq. Buttafuoco Arce & Price, L.L.C. (South Plainfield, Fort Lee; New York City) PERSONAL INJURY: WINNING STRATEGIES View Table of Contents KENNETH A. VERCAMMEN, ESQ.; HON. DOUGLAS T. HAGUE, JSC; HEIDI WILLIS CURRIER, ESQ.; ROBERT J. HAWS, ESQ.; GARY M. PRICE, ESQ. Features fact sheets; sample forms; selected articles; practice tips; the judicial perspective; and more. M55701 Handbook, 388 pages $59 $47* CP55701 Audio Cassettes Tapes/Materials (5/01) $89 $71*

Cassette credits: 3.75 CT; 4.5 NYP *NJSBA Member Price To qualify for this reduced price, you must provide your NJSBA Member # at the time you place your order. If you place your order without providing your NJSBA Member #, you will be charged the regular price To order, contact New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education ® One Constitution Square, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901-1520 Phone: (732)214-8500 Fax: (732)249-0383 Email:

Audiotapes contains: 6- Introduction of speakers- ICLE rep initial interview - KENNETH A. VERCAMMEN follow up after interview, investigation- medical records, Affidavit of Merit by Chiro

6:45- Judicial perspective- JUDGE HAGUE 1. Whats new or upcoming 2. How to avoid Judicial Wrath/ common mistakes 3. Proper filing of motions 4. what not to except from law clerks 5. What Judges look at in Verbal Motions under the new law 6. Professionalism/ lack of professionalism 7. Settlement conferences 8. common mistakes

7:15- Tort Claims Act BOB HAWS Filing of Complaint & plaintiffs tasks- service, Rogs, deps New Car insurance regs that could cause problems to plaintiffs Liens- Chiro, Medicaid, child support, health care Protecting yourself from the ungrateful client Contested liability cases

8:00 pm- Answer by Defense counsel- HEIDI CURRIER Defendants tasks following Answer- What investigators look for, other Investigation, deps Tricks by certain defense counsel in discovery The Worst of Best Practices [comments by panel]

8:40- Fall Down Special tasks- Gary Price Motions defense will make New Arbitration form for Defense New Arb form for Plaintiff - Bob Haws

9:10- Pre-trial- case has not been settled- Heidi Currier Pre-Trial forms Best practices

9:30 QUESTIONS from the Audience

388 Page book: Table of Contents Page Personal Injury: Tips for a Better Practice Gary M. Price, Esq. 1 Defense Issues 1 Initial Handling 1 Discovery 1 Pre-Trial Exchanges R. 4:25-7 2 Title 59: Tort Claims Act 2 Releases 3 Deposition Notes 4 Jane Doe v. James Richards Pre-Trial Information Exchange Pursuant to Rule 4:25-7(b) 13 Ponte v. Overeem, et al. 17 Rocco v. NJ Transit Rail Operations, Inc., et al. 27 Sollazzo v. Tassoro, et al. 37 Sample Settlement Agreement and General Release 45 Perreira v. Rediger, et al. 51 Werner v. Latham, et al. 65 Personal Injury: Summary, Letters, Articles,

Kenneth A. Vercammen, Esq. 71 Personal Injury Fact Sheet 71 Guide to Completing Personal Injury Fact Sheets 79 List of Personal Injury Form Letters on Computer 85 List of Non-Personal Injury Letters on Computer Letter of Explanation to New Client 93 Client's Duties and Responsibilities 99 No Representation Letter 101 Claim Letter to Defendant 102 Letter to Witness 103 Request for PIP File 104 Cover Letter to Copy of Summons and Complaint 105 Letter to Postmaster Re Request for Change of Address Information 107 Letter to Court Administrator Requesting Disposition of Defendant's Summons in Municipal Court 109 Letter to Defendant's Attorney Re: X-rays 110 Letter to Adversary Re: Serving Interrogatories 111 Letter to Client Re: Signing Interrogatories 112 Letter to Client Re: Court Rule Interrogatory Question Forms A 1-25 113 Letter to Physician Advising Limited Cost 114 Letter to Client Re: Hearing Notice Location 115 Complaint and Jury Demand 117 PIP Subpoena 121 When Carriers Delay, Ask for Counsel Fees (Reprint) 123 Accident Victim's Rights Requiring Insurance to Pay for Medical/ Chiropractic Treatment 127 Mission Possible: The Uninsured Motorist Case (Reprint) 139 Winning Lawsuit/Verbal Threshold Cases (Reprint) 143 Using Statutory Sunshine to Obtain Public Records (Reprint) 147 How to Handle a Personal Injury Case (Reprint) 151 Helping New Staff and Law Clerks Get Started (Reprint) 157 Six Ideas for Greater Efficiency (Reprint) 159 Book Review: Flying Solo, A Survival Guide for the Solo Lawyer Edition (Reprint) 160 Deposition Questions in a Personal Injury Case (Reprint) 161 How Self-Defense Works in New Jersey (Reprint) 163 Get a Life: Reducing Stress for the Trial Attorney Through Tae Kwon Do (Reprint) 165 Testifying in a Civil Case (Reprint) 167 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Spring 1995 169 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Fall 1995 173 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, January/February 1996 177 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Spring 1996 179 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Summer 1996 183 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Fall 1996 187 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Winter 1997 191 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Spring 1997 195 N.J. Chiropractic/Personal Injury Law Review, Spring 1997 199 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Summer 1997 203 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Fall 1997 207 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Winter 1998 209 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Spring 1998 213 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Summer 1998 215 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Fall 1998 219 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Winter 1999 223 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Spring 1999 227 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Summer 1999 231 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Fall 1999 235 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Winter 2000 239 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Spring 2000 241 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Summer 2000 245 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Fall 2000 249 N.J. Municipal Court Law Review, Winter 2001 253 20 Tips on Handling the Soft Tissue Case (Reprint) 257 Additional Suggestions on Handling the Soft Tissue Case 259 Summary: Selected Major Cases Affecting Personal Injury Cases and Chiropractors 263 Book Review: How to Build and Manage a Personal Injury Practice 269 Treatment of Accidental Injury to the Spine and Back Care Path Overview 281 Care Path 1 Cervical Spine Soft Tissue Injury 283 Care Path 2 Cervical Spine (Neck Injury) 285 Care Path 3 Thoracic Spine Soft Tissue Injury 287 Care Path 4 Thoracic Spine (Upper Back Injury) 289 Care Path 5 Lumbar-Sacral Spine Soft Tissue Injury 291 Care Path 6 Lumbar-Sacral Spine (Low Back Injury) 294 Treatment of Accidental Injury to the Spine and Back Care Paths Glossary of Terms 297 Letter to Medical Provider Requesting Copy of Bills 299 Letter to Medical Provider Re: Medical Bill Status 301 Important Cases Affecting Personal Injury and Tort Claims 303 Sample Letter Notifying Client of Arbitration Date 307 Sample Letter Re: Slip and Fall Claim 309 Sample Motion to Dismiss for Failure to Answer Interrogatories 311 Certification in Support of Motion 315 Order to Dismiss for Failure to Answer Interrogatories 319 Workers' Compensation Injuries on the Job: Basic Rights and Obligations, Julius J. Feinson, Esq. Kenneth A. Vercammen, Esq. 321 Practical Personal Injury Tips from a Defense Perspective,

Christopher J. Killmurray, Esq. 325 Outline 325 Rule 4:19. Physical and Mental Examination of Persons 327 Admissibility of a Disability Determination in a Civil Case 329 Rule 803 (c) (8) Public Records, Reports and Findings 331 Rule 803 (c) (6) Records of Regularly Conducted Activity 337 Rule 201 (7) Judicial Notice of Law and Adjudicative Facts 349 Rule 807 Discretion of Judge to Exclude Evidence Under Certain Exceptions 361 Allen v. Exxon Shipping Company 363 Nodzak v. Brinson 369 About the PanelistsS. 373

Personal Injury Fact Sheet/Personal Injury Interview Form If Injured in an Accident

Personal Injury Fact Sheet/Personal Injury Interview Form If Injured in an Accident

Todays date: _________________________________

Plaintiff name: _________________________________

Address: _____________________________________



Phone Number: _______________________________

Email: ________________________________________

d/o/b: ________________________________________

Soc.. security: __________________________________

Spouse _______________________________________

2a. Date of Accident: _____________________________

town, county, state: _______________________________

day of week _____________________________________

time: _________________________________

weather _________________________________

Road conditions _______________________________________________________________________

Description of Accident: _________________________________________________________________





2b. Operator of Plaintiffs car: _____________________________________________________________

Owner of Plaintiffs car: __________________________________________________________________

2c Other occupants of Plaintiffs car. ________________________________________________________

2d Street Plaintiff was traveling on: __________________________________________________________

Direction of travel (ex- North, south, etc.): ____________________________________________________

Nearest approaching road: ________________________________________________________________

2e Street Defendant was traveling on: ________________________________________________________

Defendant Direction of travel (ex- North, south, etc.): ____________________________________________

Nearest approaching road: ________________________________________________________________

2f Traffic lights or stop signs in area: _________________________________________________________













6- X-RAYS, TAKEN BY: _________________________________

ADDRESS: ____________________________________________________________________________

DIAGNOSTIC TESTS: ___________________________________________________________________

X-ray, MRI DATE _________________________________

RESULTS _________________________________

7 DOCTOR-NAME _________________________________

ADDRESS PHONE DATES OF TREATMENT: _________________________________

DATE OF REPORTS: _________________________________

7B. MEDICAL PROVIDER-NAME __________________________

ADDRESS PHONE DATES OF TREATMENT: _________________________________

DATE OF REPORTS: _________________________________


DATE OF REPORTS: _________________________________



10. Employer Name: __________________________________ Address: ____________________________________________

Job/Position Gross/week Net/week Time Lost Total Wages Lost: _____________________________________________________

11. IF RETURN TO WORK: _________________________________ Current Employer Name: _________________________________

Address: _________________________________ Job: _________________________________ ______________ Gross/week Net/week


13. Medical bills, Doctor Amount unpaid Paid hospital bills, medicine, etc. Total medicals (As of ________): _________________________________


15. Relevant Documents: __________________________________________________________________
Identify all documents that may relate to this action, and attach copies of each such document, such as police report, hospital bills, etc.

Police Report: _____________________________________________________________________________

Declaration Sheet: __________________________________________________________________________

Hospital Bills: ______________________________________________________________________________

Hospital Records: ___________________________________________________________________________

Medical Bills and Records: ____________________________________________________________________

Photographs of Accident Site: __________________________________________________________________

Photographs of Damage to Plaintiffs car: __________________________________________________________

Photographs of Damage to Defendants car: ________________________________________________________

Photographs of Injuries, scars, cuts: _______________________________________________________________

Repair damage estimate: _______________________________________________________________________

Other: _____________________________________________________________________________________

16a defendant name: _________________________________ _________________________________ address: _______________________________

_________________________________ Owner of Def car: _________________________________ address: _________________________________

Type of car: _________________________________ ___________________________ make, year Other occupants of def car

16b Eye witness name: _________________________________ address & phone: _________________________________

17 Names and addresses of People with Relevant Knowledge

Officers of Investigating Police Department: _________________________________

18. Photographs: _________________________________ _________________________________ If any photographs, videotapes, audio tapes or other forms of electronic recordings, sketches, reproductions, charts or maps were made with respect to anything that is relevant to the subject matter of the complaint, describe: _________________________________ _________________________________ (a) the number of each; (b) what each shows or contains; (c) the date taken or made; (d) the names and addresses of the persons who made them; (e) in whose possession they are at present; and (f) if in your possession, attach a copy, or if not subject to convenient copying, state the location where inspection and copying may take place. ___________

19. If you claim that the defendant made any admissions as to the subject matter of this lawsuit, state: _________________________________ _________________________________ (a) the date made; (b) the name of the person by whom made; (c) the name and address of the person to whom made; (d) where made; (e) the name and address of each person present at the time the admission was made; (f) the contents of the admission; and (g) if in writing, attach a copy.

20. If you or your representative and the defendant have had any oral communication concerning the subject matter of this lawsuit, state: _________________________________ _________________________________ (a) the date of the communication; (b) the name and address of each participant; (c) the name and address of each person present at the time of such communication; (d) where such communication took place; and (e) a summary of what was said by each party participating in the communication.

21. If you have obtained a statement from any person not a party to this action, state: _________________________________ _________________________________ (a) the name and present address of the person who gave the statement; (b) whether the statement was oral or in writing and if in writing, attach a copy; (c) the date statement was obtained; (d) if such statement was oral, whether a recording was made, and if so, the nature of the recording and the name and present address of the person who has custody of it; (e) if the statement was written, whether it was signed by the person making it; (f) the name and address of the person who obtained the statement; and (g) if the statement was oral, a detailed summary of its contents. _____________________________

22: _________________________________ ___________________________ Violation by Defendant of Motor Vehicle law (i.e. Careless driving or other statute

23. Expert witnesses: _________________________________ 24. Have you every been indicted and convicted of a crime? ______ (This question required by Rules of Court)

25a Plaintiff car ins company: _________________________________ THRESHOLD address: _________________________________ phone: _________________________________ policy # claim # year, make, model collision coverage Who Notified? UM/ UIM coverage

25b Named Insured: _________________________________ _________________________________ _____________________________________

25c Copy of Dec Sheet: _________________________________

25d. Plaintiffs private major- medical ex- Blue Cross address: _________________________________ phone: _________________________________ Policy number

26a: Distance between Plaintiff and point of impact when first observed other vehicle and Plaintiffs speed: _________________________________

26b: distance between Plaintiff and the Defendants vehicle when first observed other vehicle: _________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

26c: Where Plaintiffs vehicle came to rest and where Defendants vehicle came to rest: _____________________________ ___________________________________________________________

27: Part of Plaintiffs car hit by Defendants car: _________________________________ ________________________________________________________

Damage to Plaintiffs car: _________________________________ _________________________________ _______________________________________

Property damage estimate: _________________ ___________________________________________________________

28: Where Plaintiff was coming from and where Plaintiff was going to: _________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

29. Parts of body hitting car: _________________________________ _________________________________ _____________________

30. Unconsciousness? _____________________

31. Skid marks by any car: _________________________________ _________________________________ _____________________

32. Defendants Ins carrier 33. address: _________________________________ phone: _________________________________ 34. adjuster: _________________________________ 35. Policy limits: _________________________________ claim #: _________________________________

36. When did you apply your brakes?: ___________________________ _________________________________ _____________________

37. How fast were you going?: _________________________________ _________________________________ _____________________

38. How fast was the Defendant going?: _________________________________ _________________________________ _____________________

39. Describe the position of each car at the point of impact, giving distance from curb, lines, streets or other landmarks?: _________________________________ _________________________________ _____________________

40. Alcoholic beverages or medication within 12 hours before accident? _______

41. Prior accidents involving injury in which you received an insurance settlement or suit was started? (Including workers compensation)? Prior car accidents with only property damage? _____________________

42. Negligent actions by Defendant: _________________________________ _________________________________

43. What else did you tell police? _____________________

44. Set forth the names of insurance agents and other individuals you discussed the case with an what did you say? _____________________

45. Please prepare a Diagram of the accident site _____________________

46. Are you receiving Medicare/ Medicaid? ___________ Are you receiving SSI? ___________

Is there anything else important? ___________________________

___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

Documents to be supplied to attorney & in his possession: Police Report: _________________________________ Declaration Sheet: _________________________________ Medical/ Hospital Bills and Records: _________________________________ Photographs of Accident Site: _________________________________ Photographs of Damage to Plaintiffs car: ___________________________ Photographs of Damage to Defendants car: _________________________________ Photographs of Injuries, scars, cuts: _________________________________ Repair damage estimate: _________________________________

Superior Court Civil Arbitration in Personal Injury Cases

Superior Court Civil Arbitration in Personal Injury Cases

Kenneth Vercammen represents persons seriously injured in accidents.

All Personal Injury car accident suits and fall down lawsuits are required to participate in a Civil Arbitration at the County Courthouse. In Middlesex County cases, these are held at the Middlesex County Courthouse Building, 1st Floor, 1 John F. Kennedy Square at Bayard Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The Arbitration is held before an attorney selected by the Assignment Judge who will read medical reports and statements submitted by the parties, then listen to testimony from the parties for approximately 15 minutes. The Arbitrator will make a decision as to who is responsible and whether damages should be awarded. Most Personal Injury attorney mail a draft of the Arbitration Statement to their clients ahead of time. We recommend clients notify our office immediately in writing with any changes in the Arbitration Statement. We suggest you visit the accident site during the week prior to Arbitration, and call all of your doctors to confirm all bills are paid.

We previously provided a copy of your Answers to Interrogatories to our clients. Personal injury clients should carefully review the answers to interrogatories before the Arbitration. You should be fully familiar with the information which was supplied by way of answers to interrogatories because many of the Arbitration questions will involve the same information. If you cannot locate your copy of the Answers to the Interrogatories, please call your attorney's office and they should forward to you another copy of the Answers to the Interrogatories.

You must be present in court and prepared to proceed at that time. You should bring all of your papers in connection with your case to Court. Please call your attorney's secretary approximately 24 hours before this hearing to confirm that the court has not adjourned your hearing.


Under NJ Law, you personally will be liable for unpaid medical and treatment bills. Many MRI facilities and physical therapy centers fail to provide notice of unpaid bills to clients. They sometimes fail to properly submit to insurance, major medical or other available insurance's. We highly recommend you call all doctors, hospitals and any other medical providers to determine the unpaid bills and confirm when they sent their bill to the insurance companies. If there is an unpaid bill, have the medical provider send a copy to you, and fax a copy to my office. Under the New Jersey Collateral Source Law, a defendant is not liable for any bills unless the bill is first submitted to the insurance companies.


Either party if unhappy must pay $200.00 to appeal and have a trial. Usually insurance companies appeal to delay payment. If you are unsatisfied with the decision by the arbitrator, you must obtain a money order or prepare a check for $200.00 payable to Treasurer, State of New Jersey. A trial week is scheduled three to four months after the Arbitration. Your doctors will usually require you to pay them up front for their testimony. They will often charge you up front between $2,500.00 and $4,000.00 for testimony. On the trial week, you will have to sit around at the courthouse for several days until a Judge becomes available.


4:21A-1. Actions Subject to Arbitration; Notice and Scheduling of Arbitration

(a) Mandatory Arbitration. Arbitration pursuant to this rule is mandatory for applicable cases on Tracks I, II, and III, and only as required by the managing judge for cases on Track IV.

(1) Automobile Negligence Actions. All tort actions arising out of the operation, ownership, maintenance or use of an automobile shall be submitted to arbitration in accordance with these rules.

(2) Other Personal Injury Actions. Except for professional malpractice actions, all actions for personal injury not arising out of the operation, ownership, maintenance or use of an automobile shall be submitted to arbitration in accordance with these rules.

(3) Other Non-Personal Injury Actions. All actions on a book account or instrument of obligation, all personal injury protection claims against plaintiff's insurer, and all other contract and commercial actions that have been screened and identified as appropriate for arbitration shall be submitted to arbitration in accordance with these rules.

(b) Voluntary Arbitration. Any action not subject to mandatory arbitration pursuant to subsections (1), (2), or (3) of paragraph (a) of this rule may be submitted to arbitration on written stipulation of all parties filed with the civil division manager.

(c) Removal From Arbitration. An action assigned to arbitration may be removed therefrom as follows:

(1) Prior to the notice of the scheduling of the case for arbitration or within 15 days thereafter, the case may be removed from arbitration upon submission to the arbitration administrator of a certification stating with specificity that the controversy involves novel legal or unusually complex factual issues or is otherwise ineligible for arbitration pursuant to paragraph (a). A copy of this certification must be provided to all other parties. A party who objects to removal shall so notify the arbitration administrator within ten days after the receipt of the certification, and the matter will then be referred to a judge for determination. The arbitration administrator shall, however, remove the case from arbitration if no objection is made and the reasons for removal certified to are sufficient. The failure of a prior court-ordered mediation may be considered a sufficient reason for removal.

(2) If either party seeks to remove a case from arbitration subsequent to 15 days after the notice of hearing, a formal motion must be made to the Civil Presiding Judge or designee.

(d) Notice of Arbitration; Scheduling; Adjournment. The notice to the parties that the action has been assigned to arbitration shall also specify the time and place of the arbitration hearing and its date, which shall not be earlier than 45 days following the date of the notice. Unless the parties otherwise consent in writing, the hearing shall not be scheduled for a date prior to the end of the applicable discovery period, including any extension thereof. The hearing shall take place, however, no later than 60 days following the expiration of that period, including any extension. Adjournments of the scheduled date shall be permitted only as provided by R. 4:36-3(b).

(e) Pretrial Discovery. The assignment of an action for arbitration shall not affect a party's opportunity to engage in pretrial discovery nor an attorney's professional obligation to do so.

4:21A-3. Settlements; Offer of Judgment

If an action is settled prior to the arbitration hearing, the attorneys shall so report to the civil division manager and an order dismissing the action shall be entered. The provisions of R. 4:58 shall apply to arbitration proceedings except that the references in R. 4:58 to judgment and verdict shall be construed to mean arbitration award or decision, the reference to trial date shall be construed to mean arbitration hearing date, and the reference to cost of suit shall be construed to mean cost of arbitration.

4:21A-4. Conduct of Hearing

(a) Prehearing Submissions. At least 10 days prior to the scheduled hearing each party shall exchange a concise statement of the factual and legal issues, in the form set forth in Appendix XXII-A or XXII-B to these rules, and may exchange relevant documentary evidence. A copy of all documents exchanged shall be submitted to the arbitrator for review on the day of the hearing.

(b) Powers of Arbitrator. The arbitrator shall have the power to issue subpoenas to compel the appearance of witnesses before the panel, to compel production of relevant documentary evidence, to administer oaths and affirmations, to determine the law and facts of the case, and generally to exercise the powers of a court in the management and conduct of the hearing.

(c) Evidence. The arbitrator shall admit all relevant evidence and shall not be bound by the rules of evidence. In lieu of oral testimony, the arbitrator may accept affidavits of witnesses; interrogatories or deposition transcripts; and bills and reports of hospitals, treating medical personnel and other experts provided the party offering the documents shall have made them available to all other parties at least one week prior to the hearing. In the discretion of the arbitrator, police reports, weather reports, wage loss certifications and other documents of generally accepted reliability may be accepted without formal proof.

(d) General Provisions for Hearing. Arbitration hearings shall be conducted in court facilities and no verbatim record shall be made thereof. Witness fees shall be paid as provided for trials in the Superior Court.

(e) Subsequent Use of Proceedings. The arbitrator's findings of fact and conclusions of law shall not be evidential in any subsequent trial de novo, nor shall any testimony given at the arbitration hearing be used for any purpose at such subsequent trial. Nor may the arbitrator be called as a witness in any such subsequent trial.

(f) Failure to Appear. An appearance on behalf of each party is required at the arbitration hearing. If the party claiming damages does not appear, that party's pleading shall be dismissed. If a party defending against a claim of damages does not appear, that party's pleading shall be stricken, the arbitration shall proceed and the non-appearing party shall be deemed to have waived the right to demand a trial de novo. Relief from any order entered pursuant to this rule shall be granted only on motion showing good cause and on such terms as the court may deem appropriate, including litigation expenses and counsel fees incurred for services directly related to the non-appearance.

4:21A-5. Arbitration Award

No later than ten days after the completion of the arbitration hearing, the arbitrator shall file the written award with the civil division manager. The court shall provide a copy thereof to each of the parties. The award shall include a notice of the right to request a trial de novo and the consequences of such a request as provided by R. 4:21A-6.

4:21A-6. Entry of Judgment; Trial De Novo

(a) Appealability. The decision and award of the arbitrator shall not be subject to appeal.

(b) Dismissal. An order shall be entered dismissing the action following the filing of the arbitrator's award unless:

(1) within 30 days after filing of the arbitration award, a party thereto files with the civil division manager and serves on all other parties a notice of rejection of the award and demand for a trial de novo and pays a trial de novo fee as set forth in paragraph (c) of this rule; or

(2) within 50 days after the filing of the arbitration award, the parties submit a consent order to the court detailing the terms of settlement and providing for dismissal of the action or for entry of judgment; or

(3) within 50 days after the filing of the arbitration award, any party moves for confirmation of the arbitration award and entry of judgment thereon. The judgment of confirmation shall include prejudgment interest pursuant to R. 4:42-11(b).

(c) Trial De Novo. An action in which a timely trial de novo has been demanded by any party shall be returned, as to all parties, to the trial calendar for disposition. A trial de novo shall be held within 90 days after the filing and service of the request therefor. A party demanding a trial de novo must tender with the trial de novo request a check payable to the "Treasurer, State of New Jersey" in the amount of $200 towards the arbitrator's fee and may be liable to pay the reasonable costs, including attorney's fees, incurred after rejection of the award by those parties not demanding a trial de novo. Reasonable costs shall be awarded on motion supported by detailed certifications subject to the following limitations:

(1) If a monetary award has been rejected, no costs shall be awarded if the party demanding the trial de novo has obtained a verdict at least 20 percent more favorable than the award.

(2) If the rejected arbitration award denied money damages, no costs shall be awarded if the party demanding the trial de novo has obtained a verdict of at least $250.

(3) The award of attorney's fees shall not exceed $750 in total nor $250 per day.

(4) Compensation for witness costs, including expert witnesses, shall not exceed $500.

(5) If the court in its discretion is satisfied that an award of reasonable costs will result in substantial economic hardship, it may deny an application for costs or award reduced costs.

Personal Injury


Personal Injury

     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 in an accident and suffer a Serious Injury.

What to Expect in a Personal Injury Case.

Procedurally, the following events occur in most personal injury cases. First, we must complete our investigation and file. This will involve the collection of data from your physician, your employer, and our investigator. 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 that avenue is not productive, then a complaint is filed, and the parties served with notice that a claim has been made. The opposition then is given a fixed time to file what is known as an Answer. The Answer if usually followed by a request for written interrogatories. These are questions that must be answered by the claimant with the aid of counsel. 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, and in the event you are deposed during the course of this action, you will receive detailed instructions as to procedure. After taking depositions, the case will be set down for trial. Following the setting of the case for trial, there will be preliminary conferences commonly known as pretrial hearings.

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.

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 and the bills therefor. Also save all bottles or containers of medicine.

You should 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 and friends, at work and at play. When you have completed this description, please return it to this office in the enclosed envelope.

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. 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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Questioning: If any person approaches you with respect to this accident without your attorney's permission, make complete notes regarding the incident. These notes should include the name and address of the party, a description of the person, and a narrative description of what was said or done. Under no circumstances should you answer any question(s). All questions should be referred to your attorney's office. * Bills: Retain all bills which relate to your damages, including medical expenses, hospital expenses, drugs and medicines, therapy, appliances, and anything needed to assist in your recovery. If possible, pay these bills by check or money order, so that a complete record may be kept. If this is not possible, be certain to obtain a complete receipt with the bill heading on it, to indicate where the receipt came from and the party issuing it. * 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. * Photographs: Take photographs of all motor vehicles, machinery, appliances, etc., that may be connected--directly or indirectly--with your accident. Again, be sure to let the office know that you have such photographs. * Diary: 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. * 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. * Insurance reports: Before making any report to your insurance company, consult with this office on the advisability of the type of reports to be made concerning liability, medical payment coverage, property damage, or other claims under your policy, or claims against your own policy by a third party. * Lost wages: Keep a complete record of all lost wages. Obtain a statement from your company outlining the time you have lost, the rate of salary you are paid, the hours you work per week, your average weekly salary, and any losses suffered as a result of this accident. Where possible, also obtain other types of evidence such as ledger sheets, copies of time cards, canceled checks, check stubs, vouchers, pay slips, etc. * 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. * Surveillance: Remember at all times that you may be under surveillance and, therefore, subject to being photographed or filmed by the adverse party. Be advised that there are cases where photographs and films have been introduced in court showing claimants who were allegedly in serious condition participating in activities which they alleged they were unable to do. You do not have to live in fear of being photographed, of course, if your cause is a just one.

However, when carrying on your usual activities, keep in mind at all times that you are subject to investigation. If you have been seriously injured, do not do anything that will jeopardize your case during the course of your daily life. You should always follow your doctor's advice. If you have to do things which cause you pain, this can usually be explained to the full satisfaction of any court or jury.

There are cases where the insurance agent has attempted to discredit a personal injury plaintiff by taking movies of the claimant engaged in various physical activities. In one case, large rocks weighing over one hundred pounds were placed at the door of the garage during the night so that claimant would have to be forced to remove the rocks in order to drive to work. This, of course, was filmed and used to discredit the plaintiff's claim in court.

Drivers License Increased Penalties for Driving in School Zone While Intoxicated or Suspended

Drivers License Increased Penalties for Driving in School Zone While Intoxicated or Suspended

Kenneth Vercammen's Law office represents individuals charged with criminal and serious traffic violations throughout New Jersey.

N.J.S. 39:3-40

(f) Increases penalties for persons driving while suspended under certain circumstances:

(a) on or within 1000 feet of school property (May use 2C:39-7 drugs); or (b) driving through a school crossing as designated by the municipality by ordinance or resolution; or (c) driving through an undesignated school crossing knowing that children are present.

It shall be no defense to a prosecution under (a) or (b) that the defendant was unaware of the existence of the school zone/crossing or that no juveniles were present at the time or that school was not in session.

The new penalties are as follows: License suspension 1-2 years commencing, upon completion of any prison sentence, $500 fine and; 1st offense: imprisonment 60-90 days 2nd offense: imprisonment 120-150 days 3rd and subsequent offense: imprisonment 180 days