Silvi, Fedele & Honschke Attorneys at Law, L.L.C.
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Ocean County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

What is pseudobulbar affect?

A traumatic brain injury in New Jersey can have long-lasting and unexpected effects. For example, if you experience a TBI, you may develop a condition called pseudobulbar affect, which results in uncontrollable emotional outbursts, such as laughing or crying, that do not match what you are actually feeling. According to the Mayo Clinic, pseudobulbar affect is treatable with medication. However, due to a lack of understanding, many people may not report the symptoms, and doctors may misdiagnose it. 

It is common for people with pseudobulbar affect to also have depression. However, the two are not the same thing. The characteristics of depression, such as loss of appetite, sleep disturbances and persistent sadness, may not be present in patients with PBA. Because PBA results in sudden emotional expressions inappropriate to what is happening, doctors and laypeople alike may also misinterpret the symptoms as indicative of bipolar or a similar mood disorder. 

Remember the estate plan when getting remarried

If you are one of the many divorced or widowed residents in New Jersey who has found love again, you may well be excited to move forward and plan your future with a new partner. However, before you jump into a new marriage too quickly, it is important that you carefully evaluate some of the practicalities involved in intermingling your life with another person. This is especially relevant if one or both of you have children from prior relationships. 

As explained by Forbes, estate planning can be slightly more complicated for blended families because of the need to find the right tools to properly assign ownership or successorship of assets to the right parties. Without a will or a trust, a surviving spouse might end up with some things that the deceased person wanted to go to their biological children. A solid estate plan is the only way to ensure these wishes are followed.

Hepatitis A outbreak in Mendham leads to wrongful death lawsuit

Most in Ocean County might believe that wrongful death claims are limited to cases where an accident resulted in one's death. Yet there are other instances where negligence might have contributed to a person's premature end that do not involve an accident or incident. Exposure to dangerous elements, for example, might lead to outbreaks of infectious diseases that could prove to be fatal to some. Many might think that it is near impossible to attribute a person's disease to negligence (due to the fact that people get sick all the time), yet if evidence exists that shows that one was not protected from exposure to an infected person, legal action may indeed be warranted. 

Take the case of Mendham woman who recently died due to complications from hepatitis A. Her disease developed after she ate at a local country club. The club was subsequently identified as the source of a hepatitis A outbreak stemming from an infected employee who worked there as a food handler. The deceased woman's son (who is the executor of her estate) has since filed a lawsuit naming the country club as one of several defendants in the case. He alleges that the club knew of the situation at the time his mother was served there yet did not warn patrons of the potential danger. 

Margate collision kills elderly woman

As much as many in Ocean County may hate to admit it, advancing age brings with it certain physical limitations. One's reaction times may slow, and their vision may deteriorate, making things that they were able to do with relative ease in the past (such as driving a vehicle) difficult. It may be tough to tell one who ie entering their elder years that they need to cut back (or even stop doing) the daily activities that once seemed routine to them. Yet their physical limitations may ensure that allowing them to continue to do them puts others at risk. 

A recent car accident that occurred in Margate may serve as an example of this. A 90-year old Cherry Hill woman was traveling as a passenger in a vehicle driven by an elderly man (himself 80 years old) when their vehicle was struck by another car. An investigation into the accident is still ongoing, yet preliminary reports say that the driver was attempting to make a left turn when the car was hit by the other vehicle (which was coming from the opposite direction). No word has yet been released on whether the elderly driver suddenly turned in front of the ongoing vehicle or not. Sadly, the woman in the vehicle was killed in the collision. 

The civil consequences for killing a benefactor

Like most in Ocean County, you have probably heard someone joke about their beneficiaries wanting to “do them in” so that they can inherit their money faster. While such a notion might typically be dismissed as only being humorous musings, there have been enough real-world examples of people trying to hasten the deaths of those from who they stand to inherit assets to warrant statutory considerations. We here at Silvi, Fedele & Honschke Attorney’s at Law LLC have been asked in the past by concerned clients what would be the result of one being proven to have killed their benefactor, as concerns that this might actually happen are indeed very real.

If you fear that a beneficiary or other interested party to an estate that you are tied to may have had a role in the death of the settlor, you should know that the consequences of such an action extend beyond the penalties mandated by criminal law. Indeed, according to Section 3B.7-1-1 of New Jersey’s state statutes, one who is proven to have any involvement in the intentional killing of a settlor revokes any provisions pertaining to themselves of the said settlor’s estate, including: 

  • The disposition or appointment of any property made to them by any of the estate’s governing instruments
  • Any general or specials powers of appointment conferred upon them that are related to the estate
  • Nominations endorsing them for roles in the administration of the estate

Cognitive impairments explained

You may certainly feel as though you dodged the proverbial bullet if you (or a loved one) are able to emerge from having suffered a traumatic brain injury in Ocean County without having experienced any serious physical impairments. Yet it is important to remember that you (or your loved one) may not be out of the woods just yet. Many of those who have come to us here at Silvi, Fedele & Honschke Attorney's at Law, LLC after having sustained TBIs tell us that the most difficult aspect of dealing with said injuries are the cognitive impairments that often result from them. 

If you (or your loved one) are struggling to resume the same activities that you were engaged in prior to suffering your TBI, then you may be experiencing the same difficulties. According to the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center, cognition is understanding, thinking and acting upon the information associated with the tasks of daily living. Many TBI victims often find managing these tasks difficult either temporarily or indefinitely. Some common problems that those suffering from cognitive impairments include: 

  • Difficulty focusing on and completing tasks
  • Being unable to grasp the information others are trying to share with them
  • Troubles communicating clearly (or finding the right words for the right situation)
  • Difficulty retaining information
  • Trouble maintaining self-discipline and control
  • Struggling with making sound decisions

Faulty tires and their role in crashes

Some of the dangers that New Jersey drivers face while on the road aren’t discussed often enough. For example, people don’t usually talk about what should be done if faulty tires bursts or comes off of the rim while the driver is in motion. This can lead to a crash regardless of how fast a driver is going.

FindLaw has an article discussing what people should know about bursting tires. They can burst for many reasons, which often relate to tire manufacturing defects. These defects can lead to weaknesses that increase a tire's chance of exploding under pressure. As an example, if the sidewall is not properly made, it can tear. There is also the risk of tread separation in some tires, as rubber has difficulty adhering to steel. 

Doctors accused of carelessness in lawsuit

The receipt of healthcare in Ocean County does not come with a satisfaction guarantee. This is due to the fact that, despite the improvements made in diagnostics medicine in recent years, there may still be a margin of error when attempting to determine exactly what is wrong with a patient. Most may know and understand this, yet still the expectation is that a clinician will exhaust all available resources in attempting to correctly diagnose a patient, and that their full and undivided attention will be devoted that task. It is when that expectation is not met that patients may feel justified in seeking legal action

Such action was recently initiated on behalf of a deceased California woman and her unborn child. According to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by her family, the woman presented to a local hospital for treatment for swelling and high blood pressure. The doctor who saw her prescribed her a medication and discharged her to home with instructions to follow up with another physician. That doctor agreed with the referring provider’s diagnosis and advised the woman to follow his recommended course of treatment. A few days later, she was found unresponsive and rushed to the hospital (where she and her unborn baby later died). 

The reasons for remaining at the scene of an accident

Most in Ocean County are likely well aware of the duty one has to remain at the scene of a car accident that they have been involved in. Yet despite this being fairly common knowledge, hit-and-run accidents continue to occur. Indeed, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that 737,100 such incidents happened in 2015 in the U.S. alone. The main reason why most believe it is required that one stay at the scene of an accident is to provide law enforcement officials with the details of the collision. Yet while such information is important, state law actually gives two other reasons as to why one cannot flee the scene of a car accident. 

Per Section 39.4-129 of New Jersey’s state statutes, one who has been involved in a collision must remain in order to provide the following information to all other parties who were also caught up in the collision: 

  • Name
  • Home address
  • Drivers’ license
  • Vehicle registration certificate

What are frontotemporal disorders?

When the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are damaged, dementia-like symptoms usually occur. This is known as a frontotemporal disorders, which can have a drastic impact on a person's life and abilities. If you or someone you love experienced a brain injury in these areas of the brain, understanding the subsequent effects is crucial to get the proper medical assistance. 

While Alzheimer's and other dementia disorders are most common in the elderly, frontotemporal disorders most often impact people between the ages of 45 and 64. Symptoms include problems communicating, difficulty managing emotions, problems with movement, strange behavior, and an inability to hold gainful employment. As a result, a person with this disorder may no longer be able to drive or care for himself properly. In this case, the individual might require in-home care or need to be placed in a nursing facility so that his needs are sufficiently met.

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