Trenton pays $350K settlement for woman’s death in police lockup

Cliff Bidlingmaier along with co-counsel successfully resolved a prison suicide case. When dealing with injuries that take place in a jail or prison there are specific regulations that must be followed by the governmental agency. When suffering an injury as a result of being incarcerated contact Cliff Bidlingmaier for a consultation.

Click here: Trenton pays $350K settlement for woman’s death in police lockup.

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Cliff Bidlingmaier Secures Multi-Million Dollar Settlement

Cliff Bidlingmaier just was able to secure a multi-million dollar settlement for a client involved in a horrible motor vehicle accident. Cliff retained the services of 12 experts to assist in the prosecution of the claim. Most importantly, Cliff was able to successfully resolve the case in two years from the date of the accident.

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6 Million Dollars Secured in Personal Injury Settlements in 2016

Mel Kardos and Cliff and Keith Bidlingmaier were successful in securing nearly 6 Million Dollars in personal injury settlements in 2016. The cases included motor vehicle accidents, trucking accidents, products liability claims, dram shop actions (alcohol related accidents), dog bites, Civil Rights violations, wrongful death claims and other matters where people have suffered bodily injuries. These cases were advanced in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey and in State and Federal Courts.

If injured please call us to schedule your free consultation.

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How to Choose the Right Personal Injury Attorney for You

Let’s say you were injured in an accident and you have been unable to work while you are on the mend. Your loved one recommends that you hire a lawyer so that you can sue the driver of the car that caused the accident, but you don’t know where to begin. You will have a lot of questions on your mind.

We can answer some frequently asked questions to help you narrow your list of prospective attorneys:

How do I find a good attorney?

Attorneys advertise everywhere form the yellow pages to the back of the bus in front of you in traffic, but the best way to find a good attorney is to get a referral from someone who has worked with them and is satisfied with their work. Talk to your friends and ask them if they can recommend a good personal injury attorney. Given the fact that you are reading this online, you are aware that searching online is another good way to find attorneys in your area. Do some research — read their websites, read their bios and watch their videos, and then create a list of attorneys to contact.

Be aware that, like doctors, attorneys tend to focus on a specific area of the law. You would not ask a divorce attorney to represent you in a personal injury claim. What you are looking for is someone who focuses on representing people who have been seriously injured in accidents.

How much will it cost me to hire a personal injury attorney?

The good news is that personal injury attorneys often operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that if they take your case, you will not pay any attorney fees until they obtain a settlement for you. You will still have some costs, depending on the nature of your accident and many other factors, but the attorney’s fees will come out of the settlement for your accident.

How do I find out what an attorney’s reputation is?

You can search your attorney’s name online to find out if there are any lawsuits pending against them. You can look them up on websites that rate attorneys and where people leave reviews. Take these reviews with several grains of salt, but read through them to get an idea of what their past clients and peers have to say about them. Check also with your local chamber of commerce and bar association to find out if the attorney has complaints against them.

Is it important that I like my attorney?

You are not looking for your attorney to be your best friend. You actually want an attorney who will work aggressively on your behalf to get the compensation you deserve. As long as you can develop a good rapport with them, trust them and they have helpful, friendly staff, you should be fine. You want a lawyer who will return your calls, who will keep you informed as your case progresses, and who has the right kind of experience for your case.

Schedule an initial consultation

Most likely, the attorneys on your short list will offer free consultations. Sit down and discuss your case and get their advice about how to proceed. Ask for references from past clients and call those references.

In the end, you will rely on your instincts and references in selecting the right attorney to represent you. If you are in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, the law firm of Kardos, Rickles, Hand & Bidlingmaier handles all kinds of personal injury cases. We are responsive to client needs and are happy to sit down and discuss your case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

What are the Steps to Filing a Personal Injury Claim?

After you receive an injury in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another, you might be wondering what to do and who you should talk to about your injuries. Let’s take a look at the steps you would follow in order to file a personal injury claim. Although you could file a claim for many different kinds of accidents, for purposes of illustration we will use the example of a car accident.

An injury claim is a request for compensation from the insurance company for the at-fault party or your insurance company for your bodily injuries and damage to your vehicle.

Gather the evidence

At this point you will collect any evidence you have of the accident, such as:

  • Any photos that you or anyone else took at the scene
  • The police report
  • If you don’t have a police report, the date, time and location of the accident
  • Your insurance policy information
  • Contact information for witnesses
  • Driver’s license and license plate numbers for all vehicles involved
  • The names of other people involved in the accident and their contact information
  • Medical bills

If you took any notes about what happened while the events were fresh in your mind, those notes will also be helpful. You insurance company might require you to give a statement explaining your account of the accident.

Contact the insurance company

Contact the insurance company about the accident and your case will be assigned to a claims adjuster who will evaluate your claim, inspect your car and examine the evidence. If your claim is successful, the claims adjuster will propose a settlement amount. You then negotiate with the insurance company until both parties agree upon a settlement.

At what point do I need to hire an attorney for my personal injury claim?

If your bodily injuries are significant, you might consider hiring a personal injury attorney at the beginning of the injury claims process. Given the fact that you most likely have no idea what your claim is worth, you might not be the best person to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company. How do you know if they are being fair with you? How do you know if you are leaving money on the table? It does not cost you a thing to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney who will review your case and advise you on your legal options.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Kardos, Rickles, Hand & Bidlingmaier to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Texting Liability In New Jersey

A driver who is texting behind the wheel is 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash. Yet, nearly half of U.S. drivers admit to receiving or sending texts while driving, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. To crack down on this risky driving behavior, New Jersey has enacted strong distracted-driving laws regarding cellphone use while driving.

New Jersey imposes a texting ban for all drivers and also prohibits the use of handheld cell phones while driving. Both are primary offenses, which means that a police officer does not need another reason, such as speeding or erratic lane changes, to pull you over.

Drivers who cause accidents while texting can also be held accountable for their negligent driving behavior through a New Jersey personal injury lawsuit. Evidence of texting or cellphone use at the time of a crash is a strong indicator that the driver was negligent.

Under a recent court decision, liability may even extend to the sender of the text message. In Kubert v. Best, a New Jersey appeals court held that a person sending text messages has a duty not to text someone who is driving if the texter knows, or has special reason to know, the recipient will read the text while driving. However, the court was also clear to point out that texters are generally safe to assume that the recipient will view a text message only when it is safe and legal to do so.

Therefore, to prevail in a lawsuit against a “remote texter,” the plaintiff would have to show that the sender knew the driver would read the text while driving, thereby putting the driver at risk for a distracted driving accident. How difficult a hurdle this will be in practice remains to be seen.

If you suspect texting may be to blame for your car accident injuries, it is important to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer at Kardos, Rickles, Hand & Bidlingmaier. You may be entitled to compensation for your financial and emotional losses.

Pennsylvania Limited Tort Option and Its Ultimate Impact on a Driver’s Ability to Sue

LIMITED TORT THRESHOLD CAR INSURANCE OPTION IN PENNSYLVANIA:

In an effort to provide less expensive automobile insurance, the Pennsylvania Legislature created the Limited Tort or limitation on lawsuit option for policies issued to PA drivers.  In exchange for these lesser premiums, an insured who elected the limitation on tort threshold option and has been involved in a motor vehicle accident may only advance a personal injury claim if they suffer “serious bodily injury” as a result of the accident.  Pursuant to the law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, an individual who elects the Limited Tort option is precluded from pursuing an action for any non-economic loss except where serious injury occurred, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1705(d). “Non-economic loss” is defined as “pain and suffering and other nonmonetary detriment.” “Serious injury” is defined as a “personal injury resulting in death, serious impairment of body function or permanent serious disfigurement.”

In Pennsylvania, there are several exceptions that convert limited tort coverage to full tort coverage, relieving the injured person of the burden of having to satisfy the limited tort threshold. These include:

  1. The other driver is convicted of (a) driving under the influence of alcohol, or (2) a controlled substance, or (3) accepts A.R.D., a program generally applicable only to first-time offenders;
  2. The other driver committed an intentional act that caused the injuries;
  3. The other driver was operating a vehicle registered in a state other than Pennsylvania;
  4. The other driver had no insurance.

Accordingly, a Pennsylvania driver’s rights to advance a lawsuit for an automobile accident is severely limited when he or she elects the limited tort option for their auto coverage.

Cliff Bidlingmaier is a partner at Kardos, Rickles, Hand, & Bidlingmaier. He concentrates on Personal Injury matters, Civil Rights cases, Criminal Defense, Municipal & District Court Cases, and Domestic Matters.

If you have been injured in an automobile accident, or any other type of accident, contact Cliff at  215-970-2755 or 609-989-7995 and learn your rights and options. 

Article Written by Clifford D. Bidlingmaier, Esq.

Federal Judge Orders A.C. Police to Turn Over Full Reports from Internal Affairs in Ongoing Brutality Suit

As reported by the Press of Atlantic City, Atlantic City must turn over full Internal Affairs reports in an excessive-force lawsuit against two police officers who have previously faced nearly 80 complaints between them, a federal judge has ruled.

Summaries of the complaints against the officers were previously produced, but that is not enough to determine whether the plaintiff’s allegations that officers were improperly trained or that the city is “deliberately indifferent to the violent propensities of its police officers,” U.S. District Judge Joel Schneider ruled.

None of the complaints against the two Defendant-Officers were upheld when investigated by Internal Affairs. But, the judge pointed out in his ruling, “not one of the hundreds of excessive force complaints” against any city police has been sustained by these investigations.

The Plaintiff’s attorney filed the Motion to Compel the production of these records after learning of the hundreds of unfounded IA Complaints against the Defendants. The Plaintiff argued that it was relevant to inquire whether the IA investigations were a sham based on Plaintiff’s claim that the Department failed to adequately train, supervise, or discipline its officers. Further, the Plaintiff’s attorney contended the reports would answer questions surrounding the Defendant Officers’ ability to use excessive force with impunity.

The City and local law enforcement see it differently. “It is an unfair portrayal of these officers to judge them simply on the number of complaints received through the Internal Affairs Unit,” Atlantic City PBA President Paul Barbere said. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s become an occupational hazard for police officers who are proactive in their work ethic as criminals routinely make complaints against them in hopes it will help them with their court proceedings, both criminal and civil.”

In this case, the Plaintiff alleges that he and his girlfriend were at Dusk in Caesars Atlantic City on Aug. 7, 2010, when they approached the Officers, who were working a security detail there, for assistance.

The Plaintiff said that when the officers shined a light in the couples’ eyes, he asked why and then alleges he was thrown down the stairs, punched and repeatedly kneed by the officers. He alleges the attack was unprovoked, and that he then was charged with obstruction of justice, resisting arrest and aggravated assault.

Court records show the Plaintiff has no criminal record and that the 2010 charges were dismissed.

The city argued that the previous Internal Affairs complaints were irrelevant because they were not related to the case, and the Plaintiff never filed one himself.

The judge called the city’s position “disingenuous,” and noted the history of Internal Affairs not sustaining any of these allegations.

“In particular, the two officer defendants have had scores of complaints lodged against them, none of which resulted in any discipline,” Schneider wrote. “This is true even though the officers regularly appear in this court as defendants in … excessive force cases, several of which are remarkably similar to the instant matter.”

But Barbere said the current IA Unit now has “probably some of our best investigators.”

The summaries previously provided show that from Sept. 19, 2008, to April 26, 2012, one of the defendants had 26 complaints filed against him. One such complaint was marked “administratively closed,” while the others were either marked “exonerated” or “not sustained.” That does not include a videotaped apprehension the Defendant made of another individual this summer shortly after joining the K-9 Unit. A lawsuit by the family alleges the dog was put on him after he was already under control by several officers and that the Officer also punched the man.

The other Defendant Officer has 52 complaints in an 11-year period. There is no disposition listed for two of those cases, 49 were exonerated or not sustained. A charge of “unsworn falsification to authorities” on March 20, 2006, was sustained.

The Officers had more than 1,000 arrests in a 14-year career, including 42 apprehensions and 100 surrenders while a K-9 officer for nearly five years.

Every canine apprehension is automatically investigated by Internal Affairs, Barbere said, adding “it’s almost biased to then hold these complaint numbers against the officers.”

Barbere said that one of the Defendants has been recognized with dozens of awards, and worked on units that responds to the “highest priority calls in the highest crime areas of the city.”

The Judge ordered that the records be turned over subject to a protective order that requires names and personal information be redacted.