Personal Injury FAQs

Q: How do I know if I have a personal injury case?

A: Typically you must have suffered an injury to your person as a result of someone else's negligence, however, you can also have a nonphysical loss or harm, such as in the case of an assault or infliction of emotional distress or invasion of privacy. If you have a question about whether you have a case, please give us a call.

Q: What is "negligence"?

A: Negligence occurs when a person owed you, or the general public, a duty of care and you were injured as a result of the person's violation of that duty. Essentially, a person is negligent if he/she fails to act like an ordinary reasonable person would have acted in the same or similar situation.

Q: What if I cannot prove someone's negligence caused my injury? If there any other basis for personal injury liability?

A: Yes, there is the concept of "strict liability" for certain activities that harm others, even if not done negligently or with wrongful intent. For example companies who manufacture defective products or persons who own dangerous animals can be strictly liable for injuries to others. However, this is something we at Smith + Schwartzstein will help you determine, please give us a call to set up a time for a free consultation.

Q: What is medical malpractice?

A: Medical malpractice, or medical negligence, occurs when a hospital, doctor, nurse or another healthcare provider or medical technician fails to perform his/her duties to the standard of those with similar training or experience, resulting in harm to the patient. Some examples include misdiagnosis, surgical error, medication error or misread test result.

Q: How much could I recover in a personal injury action?

A: The potential financial recovery, or compensatory damages, of your personal injury action are dependent on a number of variables, including medical expenses as a result of the defendant's negligence, psychological damage, permanent injuries or long-term incapacities as a result of the injury, anticipated future medical care, lost wages or employment opportunities now and in the foreseeable future.

Q: If I was injured a long time ago, can I still sue?

A: No, according to New Jersey law you must bring your lawsuit within two (2) years of your injury, or upon learning of your injury.

Q: What if a person dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit?

A: If a person dies as a result of their injuries from an accident, then the person's heirs can bring a wrongful death action on behalf of the estate of the deceased.

Q: What is the difference between an injury claim and a personal injury lawsuit?

A: A legal claim is made with the responsible party's insurance company to recover compensation for your injuries. A personal injury lawsuit is a formal legal action where you can seek compensation for injuries before a court jury to decide the merits of your case and your request for compensation.

Q: Why should I hire a lawyer to handle my personal injury claim and/or lawsuit?

A: A lawyer will explain the legal process, help you maneuver the system, and be your advocate. The responsible party or company's opposing counsel or insurance company will try to settle your claim as quickly as possible, with as little payout as possible. A lawyer advocating for you will help even the playing field between parties and assist in getting you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Please give us a call to discuss all the ways that we can assist you.

Q: Will I have to pay you any money out of pocket or upfront fees?

A: No, we take all personal injury cases on a contingency basis. You don't pay any money until your case is settled or we obtain a verdict.

Q: How long will it take to resolve my personal injury case?

A: There is no clear-cut answer to this question. It can depend on the extent of your injuries, whether a settlement can be negotiated prior to filing a lawsuit with a court, or whether the case is fully litigated, including going to trial. It can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. We try to move things along as quickly and efficiently as possible, but there are court rules that prohibit infringing on either party's right to adequately prepare their side in a case.