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NJ Personal Injury: No Expert Needed in Elevator Accident

Posted by Carmine R. Villani | Jan 08, 2015 | 0 Comments

Personal injury cases in New Jersey can take strange turns at times. Yet even if you hit a roadblock while pursuing compensation for an injury, there are always options available to you. An experienced NJ personal injury lawyer can walk you through the process and help you get what you deserve even if you do not immediately get the right results.

Port Authority Elevator Personal Injury Claim

A recent decision in appeals court has given a NJ personal injury claim new life. The suit was initially dismissed in court. The judge stated that without expert testimony a jury could not find negligence.

The Claim

The accident allegedly took place at the Pavonia-Newport PATH station in Jersey City, NJ. The defendant claims that she was badly injured while entering an elevator at the station when the elevator abruptly jolted upwards without warning. The defendant says that she was thrown forward, which resulted in a fractured kneecap.
The negligence suit filed by the defendant named the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Schindler Elevator Corp., a New Jersey-based elevator company.
The initial decision in Lazarus v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PATH) was based on the lack of expert testimony. The plaintiff argued that an expert was needed to determine whether the machinery was not properly maintained and who exactly was to blame, if anyone.

The Appeal

After the initial decision, a two-judge panel agreed that expert testimony was not necessary to prove negligence based on the legal doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.
“We reject defendants' argument that the cause of the malfunction was so complex or specialized that the fact-finder would be unable to understand it without an expert witness,” wrote the two-judge panel on Dec. 29, 2014. “On the contrary, plaintiff can rely on the common knowledge and experience of the fact-finder to deduce what happened without an expert's opinion.”

Res Ipsa Loquitur

The legal term res ipsa loquitur literally means, “the thing speaks for itself” in Latin. In legal terms, it means that a person or group of people is presumed negligent if they have exclusive control of whatever causes an injury, even without specific evidence. This doctrine of law is frequently used in personal injury suits.

What This Means for You

Even after a ruling that does not go in your favor, you still have a chance with the assistance of a NJ personal injury lawyer. If you were recently injured because of a mechanical malfunction, make sure you seek compensation from the negligent party. Even without specific evidence, you may have a case based on the legal doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.
If you are facing medical bills or having difficulty leading a normal life because of an injury caused by the negligence of another party, do not give up hope. You may be entitled to compensation in the form of a settlement or otherwise.

Contact NJ Personal Injury Lawyers Villani & DeLuca

Were you injured recently because of someone else's negligent behavior? Contact the NJ personal injury lawyers at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. today. You can contact one of our representatives to schedule a free consultation by calling (732) 709-7757, 24 hours a day.

About the Author

Carmine R. Villani

Founding partner, Carmine Villani, Esq. is a former municipal prosecutor with over three decades of experience in Criminal and DWI Defense.


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