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Category Archives: personal injury

Legal Duty to Render First Aid

Hosting a Super Bowl Party? You may have a Legal Duty to Render First Aid

What is your legal duty to render first aid? When you invite your friends for a social gathering, you may be inviting more than just camaraderie – you may have invited an unwelcomed tag-along known as a legal duty. Unless you are well-versed in law, you have likely overlooked this legal duty when entertaining friends and family.

Imagine this scenario, while hosting this year’s Super Bowl Party, your neighbor chokes on a chicken wing and collapses to the floor. What is your duty to render first aid?

The answer is that you, as the party host, may be required by law, to render first aid to your choking neighbor.

As we will explain in the following paragraphs, this is not a bright-line rule and not necessarily determinative of how a court would hold, given the unique circumstances inherent in every case. This is a merely an instructive and general guideline.

The Laws Regarding Your Legal Duty to Render First Aid

Generally, the law imposes no duty to render aid to another who is in peril, even when it is easy to provide assistance. Meaning, you can walk by a drowning stranger in the lake and the law cannot impose any liability on you for your decision to continue walking.

However, there can be exceptions when a “special relationship” exists between the parties. For instance, the law determines that the owner or tenant of real property is deemed to have a “special relationship” with certain persons on his or her property, i.e., social guests.

The general scope of duty owed to social guests is quite limited, as stated in the Restatement (Second) of Torts, Section 314A:

The defendant is not required to take any action until he knows or has reason to know that the plaintiff is endangered, or is ill or injured. He is not required to take any action beyond that which is reasonable under the circumstances. In the case of an ill or injured person, he will seldom be required to do more than give such first aid as he reasonably can, and take reasonable steps to turn the sick man over to a physician, or to those who will look after him and see that medical assistance is obtained…

You Have I Legal Duty to Render First Aid but What Type of Aid?

Courts outside of New Jersey have determined that first aid requires no more assistance than that which can be provided by an untrained person. Accordingly, if you are hosting a party or event, first aid treatments, include, but are not limited to, (a) calling for help; (b) positioning an injured person; (c) controlling an injured person’s bleeding by applying pressure; (d) applying cold packs to an injury; (e) warming a victim of hypothermia; and (f) removing a drowning person from water.

To reiterate, a social guest may have a legal duty to render first aid, as many courts across our country have held. At the very least, we should all be cognizant of our legal duties and while we believe you would act out of human compassion and morality, it is important to understand the legal duties that may impose liability upon us, our friends and family.

As always, if you have any legal questions or would like to speak with an attorney, please feel free to contact the attorneys at Puff & Cockerill. Puff & Cockerill is a full-service law firm, with offices in Gloucester County and Camden County.

Insurance Policy Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

Your Auto Insurance Policy Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

Let’s look at how your auto insurance policy can affect your personal injury claim. If you have been injured in a car accident, your ability to recover monetary compensation for the injuries caused by this accident can depend on your automobile insurance policy.

If you live in New Jersey or are a non-resident injured in a car accident that occurred in New Jersey, you are subject to one of two thresholds: (1) “Zero/No Threshold,” or (2) “Limited Right to Sue/Verbal Threshold/Lawsuit Threshold.”

The first policy, the “Zero/No Threshold” policy, allows any person who is injured in a car accident to make a personal injury claim, no matter the extent of the injury. As the policy title implies, there is no threshold, meaning there is no minimum injury requirement in order to receive compensation for your injury. The only dispute will concern the value of your injury. Thus, the dispute with the insurance carrier will concern how much your injury is worth. In these cases, the defending insurance company will take the position, regardless of how injured you may be, that the injury has “little or no value.” Thereafter, the insurance company will make a monetary offer of settlement reflecting their devalued settlement price in hopes that you accept their offer. The attorneys at Puff & Cockerill will defend your injury and fight against the insurance company’s tactics to reach a fair and equitable settlement on your behalf.

The second policy, the “Limited Right to Sue/Verbal Threshold/Lawsuit Threshold” policy, acts as a potential bar to certain types of injuries. In other words, this threshold policy can prevent you (the injured party) from bringing a lawsuit in a personal injury claim, unless the car accident results in the following injuries:

  • Death;
  • Dismemberment;
  • Significant disfigurement or significant scarring;
  • Displaced fractures;
  • Loss of a fetus; or
  • Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.

As a result, the defending insurance company will use the “thresholds” as a defense to your personal injury claim. The insurance company may take a “no-pay” position on the claims it believes do not surpass the above mentioned thresholds, which to no surprise is a vast majority of the claims for injuries. Consequently, the insurance company will not offer any compensation for those personal injury claims. Even when your injuries surpass the threshold, the insurance company will still argue that your injuries have little or no value and it will make a small monetary settlement offer reflecting its position in hope that you accept the offer.

During the past thirty plus years of handling automobile accidents, our attorney’s have observed that most residents in New Jersey are subject to the “Limited Right to Sue/Verbal Threshold/Lawsuit Threshold” policy, largely because the policy is cheaper. Unfortunately, this cheaper threshold policy may (and often does) affect your ability to recover for your injuries. Additionally, this policy may affect your ability to find an attorney willing to take your case.

South Jersey personal injury claim representation

Puff & Cockerill LLC is devoted to aggressively representing people in a personal injury claim, no matter what automobile insurance policy section you selected. We represent people who have been injured in car accidents, regardless of the choice of policy, so long as your case warrants moving forward.
If you have been injured in a car accident or would like to speak with an attorney regarding your car accident, please contact the experienced attorneys at Puff & Cockerill LLC. The attorneys at Puff & Cockerill LLC have handled hundreds of car accident cases and have obtained favorable results on behalf of our clients for their injuries through aggressive representation of our clients no matter what the policy selection is.

Injured on the Job in New Jersey

Injured on the Job in New Jersey?

If you are an employee and injured on the job in New Jersey, you have rights under the laws of the State of New Jersey. Your rights include compensation from your employer for past and future medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. In order to promptly and properly receive compensation for your injury from your employer, there are several important initial steps that every injured employee should understand.

The important laws for work related injuries are found in the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act, N.J.S.A. 34:15-1 et seq. This Act provides the exclusive remedy available to an employee injured on the job. The Act is also, by operation of law, written into every employment contract in New Jersey.

As a starting point, the following is a quick summary of basic rights and information that you should be immediately aware of following any work related injury.

Injured on the Job in New Jersey? You are Entitled to Compensation from Employer
When personal injury is caused to an employee by accident arising out of and in the course of the employee’s employment, the employee is entitled to receive compensation from his employer. N.J.S.A. 34:15-1. In New Jersey, an injured employee may be compensated for that injury regardless of his or her fault. Intentional injuries by the employee, however, fall outside the scope of the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Your employer (not you) is required to provide the injured employee such medical, surgical and other treatment and hospital service as is necessary to cure and relieve the worker of the effects of the work related injury. N.J.S.A. 34:15-15.

Injured on the Job in New Jersey? You may be entitled to Temporary Disability Benefits
When an injured employee is unable to work for more than 7 days, he or she is eligible to receive temporary disability benefits. N.J.S.A. 34:15-14. Temporary disability benefits, in layman’s terms, are monetary payments made to the injured employee while that employee is unable to work due to the work related injury.
After all of the medical treatment has been provided to the injured employee and the injured employee has been discharged from medical care, the injured employee may be entitled to a monetary award for the injury that he or she sustained.

Injured on the Job in New Jersey? You may be entitled to Permanent Disability Benefits
When the workplace injury results in a permanent disability to the injured employee, benefits are payable to the employee based on a percentage of the employee’s permanent disability. The percentage of disability can range from 1% to 100%.

Injured on the Job in New Jersey? Your Homeowners’ Insurance Policy and Workers’ Compensation Claims
Unknown to most of the public is the fact that your homeowners’ insurance policy may under certain circumstances provide coverage should someone working at your home have such a workplace injury. For further information, please contact the attorneys at Puff & Cockerill.

Injured on the Job in New Jersey? You Deserve Legal Advice to Pursue Your Recovery
If you are injured on the job in New Jersey, you deserve to know your rights and receive proper medical attention. There are many different sections of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Statute. Some sections may apply to your case, while others may not.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to an attorney regarding an injury sustained on the job, please contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Puff & Cockerill LLC. The attorneys at Puff & Cockerill LLC have handled hundreds of workers’ compensation cases and obtained compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering, in addition to receiving favorable settlements on behalf of our clients.

Message to Our Clients Amid Coronavirus OutbreakWe are open for business

Given the current circumstances associated with the coronavirus outbreak, we are providing an update of our operations. We are open for business.  To ensure the safety of our employees and clients, we have a skeleton crew of essential staff at our Woodbury Office, with the remaining attorneys and staff available for remote operations.

We remain available by phone and email as normal.  Our attorneys and staff working remotely have full access to our computer systems.  While we cannot, at this time, field personal meetings, we are available to discuss by phone and email.  Fortunately, Puff & Cockerill has a full access system to allow our attorneys and staff to work remotely to continue to assist our clients.

We stand ready to assist all of our clients and welcome any new clients to contact our office at 856-845-0011 or at  Our staff will field your call and direct you accordingly.

We will continue to address any changes to our state and local mandates amid the coronavirus outbreak.  Our thoughts are with everyone impacted and wish everyone health and safety.