BASICS OF NJ CIVIL SUITS
Modern life is stressful enough, without having to worry about being taken advantage of by unscrupulous individuals. Yet, the fact remains that the busier and more complex our society becomes, the greater one's chances are for being taken advantage of and harmed by negligent, reckless and unscrupulous individuals or companies. If you, your business or loved ones have been financially harmed, due to the illegal, unethical and fraudulent behavior of another, then stop delaying and contact my law office immediately. I take great pride in giving my clients the utmost in personal care and attention, ensuring affordable justice to middle-class, working families and small businesses throughout Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties.
SUMMARY OF NEW JERSEY CIVIL SUITS
There are 5 basic civil wrongs that small businesses and individuals suffer in our society, and upon which they can assert valid legal claims in a court of law. These are:
1. Intentional Harm. This is the sort of harm that a person or a business suffers when somebody intentionally, willingly and knowingly perpetrates against them. Many of these intentional acts also have criminal consequences, such as assault and battery. Other intentional harms, such as fraud, libel, slander and intentional interference with business relations, are purely civil. The key with most intentional harms (or torts, as lawyers call them), is that the bad-guy has to intentionally engage in certain behavior, knowing that certain and intended bad results will happen. His motives are usually based on uncontrollable passion/emotion, or a desire for personal gain.
2. Negligence. Negligence is a special type of civil harm that a person or small business suffers when somebody breaches their duty toward you. Negligence has 4 basic components, all of which a Plaintiff has to prove in order for them to proceed with their case.
a. Duty. Did the Defendant owe you a certain duty? Did he promise to do something for you? Did he promise to behave or act in a certain way or manner? Was he bound by certain standards or codes of conduct unique to his profession or industry?
b. Breach. Did the Defendant breach these duties, such that he was not acting in conformance with his promises or codes of conduct?
c. Cause. Was the Defendant's breach the cause of any harm that you suffered? Causation is a key component in negligence lawsuits, because there often needs to be a clear link between the "bad behavior" of the Defendant, and the actual harm that was suffered by the Plaintiff. Generally speaking, mere bad acts that do not cause any harm or damage, are not actionable in a court of law.
d. Harm. What sort of damage did you suffer as a result of the Defendant's actions? Were you physically, emotionally or financially hurt? Did you or your business lose money as a result?
3. Recklessness. Recklessness refers to conduct whereby the actor does not desire harmful consequence but...foresees the possibility and consciously takes the risk, not caring about the consequences or results of their actions. A person who drives 130 mph down the NJ Turnpike may not have the intent to people, and may not even desire to do this. But, since its reasonably foreseeable that speeding like this poses a grave risk of personal injury and death for others, he could be found liable to recklessness if he caused physical injuries, death or property damage as a result of his excessive speeding.
4. Breach of Contract. In addition to their actual, specific terms, each variety of contract is generally governed by a unique set of rules and case-law. One of the most common contracts in the small business sphere is the contract for the sale of goods, which is governed by the Uniform Commercial Code. These rules often lay out the course of conduct parties must engage in, the types of warranties and disclaimers that are permitted, and the types of recourse parties have when another party fails to perform as promised.
Residents of the State of New Jersey have three basic forums in which they can assert civil claims against other parties. The first forum is small-claims court. Here, parties are limited to cases where the amount in dispute is no more than $5,000. Jury trials are not permitted here, rather, one is afforded a bench trial before a judge.
The second forum is the "special civil" division, and they hear all cases where the amount in dispute is between $5,000 and $15,000. Although you can have a jury trial in the "special civil" division, they are frowned upon and most courts actively discourage them. Generally, you will be strongly encouraged to have a bench trial in these courts. And finally, the "Law Division" is where all other cases, from $15,000 up into the millions of dollars are heard.
One of the great tragedies today is that too few people have access to the courts on basic civil and commercial matters, due to a prevalent fear that they cannot afford attorneys or understand the complexities of modern legal practice. My law office takes great pride in providing affordable legal representation to small businesses and working, middle-class families who find themselves harmed through no fault of their own. I have handled countless civil cases and lawsuits, as well as jury trials, and understand the complexities and nuances of modern civil and trial practice.
If you are a South Jersey individual or small business owner that's been harmed, due to the negligence, recklessness, intentional acts or contractual breach of another, then contact my office for a free consultation. I treat every client with extra-special care and go over the evidence and facts of their case, in-depth, so that no stone is unturned in their legal case.
Call us for quality, compassionate, and individualized representation: 856-873-3730