All posts by David Kaplan

Title 59 Notice Requirements

Title 59, known as the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, is the controlling authority for how to proceed in an action for personal injury against a public entity. If you were injured on public property or by a public entity or public employee, you MUST file a Notice of Tort Claim against that entity.

A Notice of Tort Claim is simply a form that either the injured party or his representative can fill out. It asks for basic information that includes, but is not limited to: name, address, date, time and place of the accident, what public entity is responsible, how the accident occurred, the amount of property damage, where you’ve received medical treatment. Each public entity may have its own form, however, the information it requests is fairly uniform.  (Tort Claim Notice against the State of New Jersey)

The Notice of Tort Claim form must be filled out and served (by certified mail or hand delivery) to the public entity by the 90th day after the accident occurred. Please note, this is not the same as filing a lawsuit. Rather, the form alerts the public entity of the incident and gives them time to conduct an investigation and decide if it would like to settle the matter with the claimant before the claimant files a lawsuit. Per Title 59, a claimant must wait six months after the filing of the Notice of Tort Claim before being permitted to file a lawsuit against the public entity.

A late notice of claim must be filed within one year of the date of the accident. The state legislature amended the statute to its present day in an effort to raise the standard for allowing a late notice of claim filing. A key factor in determining whether extraordinary circumstances justifies a late notice filing is whether an injured party promptly seeks out legal counsel to investigate their case. Mendez v. Siazon, 208 N.J. 463 (2011).

Even if you are not sure about whether or not you have a case or want to pursue a case against the public entity, it is important to get the Notice of Tort Claim filed. If it is not filed within 90 days after the accident, you are forever barred from filing a lawsuit against the public entity unless a judge permits a late filing. There are exceptions for filing a late Notice of Claim, but a judge has to allow that to happen and they are very limited circumstances.

If you were injured due to the negligence of a public entity or public employee, or due to the dangerous condition of public property, contact a lawyer immediately for help in filing a Notice of Tort Claim. If you do not do so, you could be losing your right to a lawsuit and compensation for those injuries.

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Wawa Discriminates Against Muslim Employee

Getting to America under the immigration process can be long and arduous, but unfortunately, the difficulties migrants face don’t always stop with citizenship. In a newly filed federal court case, a Pemberton man has issued a lawsuit against his former employer, stating that while he worked at the Wawa, he was discriminated against for several years, and then fired and wrongfully arrested for stealing because he spoke up about the offensive actions of his superiors.

Initial Problems: Safet Hajra, originally from Kosovo and a practitioner of the Muslim faith, began working at the Wawa in 2010, and began to experience several discriminatory effects shortly thereafter. The following are some of the issues he encountered from the start:

• Moved to a gas station attendant without a title change
• Required to perform janitorial tasks that other gas station attendants did not do
• Given used uniforms rather than new ones
• Paid less than other gas station attendants

The Second Wave: Throughout the above, Hajra did not complain about the discrimination and continued to work at the Wawa. However, the issues came to a head when in 2012 a new manager took over, and repeatedly admonished Hajra in front of his co-workers and customers, telling him to “speak English”. According to the suit, Hajra did use English exclusively at work, and he had never had any issues with a customer not understanding his speech.

The Fallout: After bearing the brunt of the new manager’s repeated comments, Hajra reported the comments to a store manager. Days later, he was questioned, fired, and criminally charged with stealing money from the store. According to the Wawa branch, he took $353 in cash after voiding a customer’s charge using a manager’s social security number. Later in court proceedings, the charge of theft was dismissed, and overall he was able to plead down to a minor municipal ordinance violation.

The Suit: Hajra’s lawyer, Swati Kothari has insisted in the suit that the timing of the theft allegations make it clear that this was a direct retaliation for his speaking up about the discriminatory comments. Kothari states that he has suffered great emotional and financial distress following the police arrest for theft and that the actions by the store were “outrageous and malicious.” It claims that he was discriminated against on the basis of his religion and nationality. The suit is seeking damages for lost wages and emotional stress, punitive damages, court fees, as well as an injunction that would prevent Wawa from acting in this manner again with other employees.
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If you are seeking assistance with employment-based immigration, the Law Offices of David Kaplan can help. With over 20 years of experience, I will fight for your rights and give you expert counsel. We are located in Center City Philadelphia, and additionally provide Spanish-language services for our clients. For a free phone consultation, give me a call at (973) 426-0021 today to learn more about our practices and how they can be beneficial to you.

The Importance of Having a Specialized Attorney

Going through law school is similar to going to medical school; you learn the basics and the fundamentals of practice. Future attorneys, however, do not have to declare a specialty—even after graduation. Lawyers everywhere receive their Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from their law schools before spending months studying for the bar exam. Upon passing the bar, they become licensed to practice in a specific state, or multiple states if they sit for the bar in other locations.

Determining what area or areas of law they wish to practice is entirely up to them and their interests; rarely are attorneys mandated to specialize. Unfortunately, some attorneys decide to open a general practice and fail to specialize in a particular area. It opens them up to take on more cases and help a wider range of people. The problem with this, however, is that if an attorney takes on multiple types of cases, they rarely gain the experience necessary to have specialized knowledge in a specific area.

The legal system has a strict set of rules for both civil and criminal matters, and there are regulations specific to each state as well. There are certain nuisances that an attorney who specializes in a particular section of law would be aware of, while one who simply dabbles would not. For example, an attorney specializing in family matters would be familiar with the family court judges in the county and he or she would also be familiar with filing those specific motions. Ultimately, a specialized attorney will save time and potentially save you money as well, which are important when dealing with a legal matter. Attorney costs can get expensive, and a general attorney not familiar with subtle nuisances of a particular area may spend extra time researching which will ultimately increase your bill.

Attorney David H. Kaplan specializes in areas of Employment Discrimination, Workers’ Compensation, Personal Injury, Auto Accidents, and Mortgage Renegotiation. He is certified as a Civil Trial Attorney with the New Jersey Supreme Court, a title only given to one percent of attorneys in the state! David has the knowledge and experience you need to obtain the best results for your case. Call today for a free consultation at (973) 426-0021.

Discrimination in the Workplace

The workplace is where employees spend the majority of their day, often with the same people. Though employees may get along, there can still be issues regarding discrimination in the workplace, especially since everyone has their own thoughts and opinions about the world.  These differences can ultimately lead to conflict and might be expressed through the unfair treatment of someone based on their intrinsic characteristics.

There are several common discrimination categories:

  • Race and/or Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Pregnancy
  • Disability
  • Military
  • Religion

This list is not all-inclusive, and if you feel discriminated against for a reason not listed above, it does not automatically mean you don’t have grounds for a claim. Speaking with an experienced attorney who has extensive knowledge of the different types of workplace discrimination cases; he or she will be able to answer your specific questions and discuss your options with you.

Determining what type of discrimination you are facing at work is important—and so is speaking with a supervisor or your Human Resources representative to try to get the issue resolved. Specific discriminatory actions include but are not limited to verbal harassment, failure to promote, exclusion and isolation, compensation, and termination. Before seeking an attorney, be sure to go to a supervisor or a representative from Human Resources and let them know of the bias you are subjected to. While it may be difficult to divulge your frustration over the matter, bringing it to the attention of someone higher up may help eliminate the discrimination and see to it that the culprit is reprimanded. In fact, this is a crucial step—to have a chance at winning your case, you need to prove that you brought the matter to the attention of a supervisor or HR personnel and allow them the necessary time to address and correct the situation.

However, in some cases that may be more difficult if the discrimination is perpetuated from the top of the ladder. In this case, it may be very complicated for a representative or lower supervisor to do anything substantial. That is when you should think about calling an attorney.

Discrimination claims are civil matters, resulting in compensatory damages awarded to you if the claim is successful. Be forewarned, an employer will likely have a strong legal team on their side, so do not try to take on this claim solo. This is a sensitive, serious matter and you need someone with experience handling these types of issues. Mr. Kaplan is a Certified Civil Trial Attorney, a status only given to 1% of the lawyers in the state of New Jersey. His primary goal is to help you with your case. Call today for a free consultation at (973) 426-0021.

The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases

A personal injury can derive from many different accidents, including motor vehicles, slips and falls, medical malpractice, animal bites, as well as exposure to dangerous products. Any of those injuries all have one thing in common: negligence. There is a duty of reasonable care that all people driving, operating a store, performing a medical procedure, etc. are to have toward the people around them. For instance, a store owner has a duty of reasonable care to make sure that any spills or wet areas on the floor are cleaned promptly to ensure the safety of their customers. Failing to provide this care means they were negligent in their duty.

In the state of New Jersey, the statute of limitations (the length of time you have to file a personal injury claim with the court) is two years. This means, while you may be dealing with a serious injury that is impeding your life, you also have to decide whether you plan to file a claim with the court.

The short window you have to file your personal injury claim can cause great complexity as you are trying to recover from your injury. The effects of your injury can be long lasting, and it may keep you from going back to work, which could ultimately cause financial problems for you and those who depend on you. A personal injury claim has the potential to award you money damages for the injury suffered. A successful claim can come with compensatory damages that compensate for your losses, medical bills, and pain and suffering. This money helps offset the otherwise financial burdens you may be faced with if you are unable to work or if health insurance fails to cover much of your medical bills.

The legal process of filing a personal injury claim can be overwhelming, especially while you are dealing with the aftermath of the injury. To make the process as painless as possible, contact an experienced attorney today. They will help you fill out the paperwork and help fight for your rights.

Where safety fell short, we are here to protect your rights. The pain you experienced through your injury can be devastating, but we are here to help you get the justice you deserve. Call the Law Office of David H. Kaplan today for a free consultation at (973) 426-0021.

Discrimination Claims: Protection from Retaliation

Experiencing an injury on the job can be devastating. Losing the ability to work, even temporary can be difficult to handle, especially financially. Workers’ Compensation is an insurance that employers provide to their employees to ensure that they will not be sued for the injury. Depending on the injury, you could experience an inability to continue working in that type of position forever or you could be facing a minor injury that is just enough to affect your work in a minor way. Even though employers offer workers’ compensation to their employees for the on-the-job injuries, they may be very difficult to work with or continue working with after the injury and treatment. Having to dish out money to pay for your injury can make many employers angry solely because they lose money, not only the funds paid through the insurance, but also the money from no longer having you to do your job for that certain amount of time.

In New Jersey, the workers’ compensation law prohibits retaliation against someone for pursuing his or her rights under the insurance. If an employer retaliates against you for filing a claim of workers’ compensation, you are entitled to more compensation for the retaliation. Dealing with the injury is already traumatic, but facing reprisal for trying to look out for yourself and using the insurance your worker provides for you is completely unfair. Retaliation can include failing to promote, harassment, yelling, screaming, demotion, and termination.

Even worse, if you were injured because of an unsafe work practice that you complained about or trying to acknowledge being unsafe or unlawful, the employer may retaliate against you because you caused them even more problems. This is known as a whistleblower claim, meaning that you blew the whistle or reported the unsafe or unlawful conduct occurring. To qualify for this claim, it must be established that you objected to and mentioned to your supervisor that such conduct was reasonably believed to be unlawful or unsafe. Only after nothing is done about the unsafe or unlawful conduct should you go and report it to the relevant agency or department. Sometimes employers angrily deal with the consequences of their allowing unsafe or unlawful activity to continue, that they retaliate against you.

Retaliation either from being a whistleblower or from utilizing your company’s workers’ compensation insurance is not acceptable and you can file a claim against your employer. You should not be punished for protecting yourself and making sure your other employees are safe. If you are facing retaliation to discrimination claims, call an experienced attorney to help you fight back against the injustice. Call the Law Office of David H. Kaplan today for a free consultation at (973) 426-0021.