Seeking Compensation under the New Jersey Tort Claims Act
When you’re driving defensively, it’s not just other drivers that can pose a risk. Roadway hazards, such as potholes, loose gravel, uneven pavement or poor drainage, can lead to loss of control and cause an accident. A roadway may be poorly designed, with a blind corner or a tight curve without proper banking.
Typically, when you suffer an injury because of the negligence or carelessness of another person, it’s a pretty straightforward process to bring a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. However, when the at-fault party is a state or municipal employee or agency, the process is much more complicated. In those instances, you will have to follow the process established by the New Jersey Tort Claims Act.
Poorly Maintained Roads
Inadequate road maintenance is a fairly common cause of motor vehicle accidents. Some examples of the failure to keep roads in proper condition include:
- Gravel or oil on the road
- Construction debris or equipment on the road, including cones, dirt piles and machines
- Branches, trees or other foliage on the road
- Malfunctioning or defective street signs or lights
Filing a Claim under the New Jersey Tort Claims Act
The New Jersey Tort Claims Act preserves a legal concept known as “sovereign immunity.” Under that legal principle, a governmental body is generally exempt from legal action. There are, however, some exceptions, which give private citizens the right to file a claim against the government. Public entities are responsible for injuries caused by a municipal employee if “within the scope of his employment in the same manner and to the same extent as a private individual under like circumstances.” That allows a private citizen to file a claim for losses suffered:
- In a motor vehicle accident caused by a government employee who was on the job at the time of the crash
- As a result of a dangerous property condition on state or municipal property, provided that appropriate government official were notified of the condition and did not remedy it
Contact Gregg A. Wisotsky, Partner at Javerbaum, Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, PC
I offer a free phone consultation to every prospective client. For a complimentary evaluation of your case, contact my office online or call me at 973-241-7468. I will come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary. All major credit cards are accepted.