Car Insurance? Don’t Expect the Other Guy to Have Enough. Insure Yourself!

We budget everything from rent to mortgage, gas, groceries-you name it.  Given the fact that our taxes and insurance are so high people in New Jersey need to be better at budgeting than do citizens elsewhere.  Unfortunately,  when it comes to car insurance too many people are “penny wise & pound foolish”.  So many clients, family and friends by the cheapest car insurance that, in actuality, provides them with no real protection.  They want to satisfy the requirement of having insurance without considering the protection that they are buying.  Low premiums do not equal good coverage.

Car insurance has roughly 3 basic components.  LIABILITY coverage is when you cause the accident and someone is making a claim against you.  PIP coverage is your coverage for medical bills that you incur under the NJ “no fault” scheme.  UM/UIM (uninsured/underinsured) coverage is what you rely upon if you are injured and the other guy doesn’t have coverage or enough coverage.  All too often people cheat themselves by selecting car insurance coverage that doesn’t provide them with enough insurance for MEDICAL BILLS and UM/UIM coverage.

Two weeks ago the NJ Supreme Court ruled in a case known as HAINES v. TAFT an injured motorist could NOT purse unpaid medical bills from the person who caused the accident if the injured person didn’t have enough PIP coverage (no fault medical bills coverage).  For example, if you had a policy with only $15,000 in PIP (medical  bill) coverage, which is one of the cheapest, and you incurred $40,000 in medical bills, the injured person was stuck with the other $25,000 in bills!  You must, in this day and age have sufficient PIP (medical bill) coverage.  Choose the $250,000 PIP coverage.

UM/UIM coverage works the same.  If the other guy who caused the accident that injures you only has a policy limit with $50,000 that may be all you can get.  What if your injuries are 5x that amount?  Where will it come from?  Nowhere, unless you have sufficient UM/UIM coverage.  For example, if you have UM/UIM coverage of $50,000 and the other guy as the same-yours is worthless because you are not uninsured.  If you have $100,000 and the other guy has $50,000 you could qualify for $100,000 ($50,000 from his policy and $50,000 from your own UM/UIM).


The moral of the story is that in matters of car insurance-you have to protect yourself.  Do not look to the other guy.  In my firm we get every visitor a pamphlet that describes these important legal issues.  We are so strong on this point that ANYONE can receive a FREE appointment to see  how important these features really are and to take one of our brochures.  Protect yourself!

Don’t Assume BPH Laser Surgery is Routine. Know the Facts!

Imagine the discomfort of not being able to void all of your urine.  Despite your best effort to urinate nothing more comes out and yet you still feel like your bladder is full.  That’s because it is.  This is what happens to many men that are suffering from BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia).  This is generally described as a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland.  The enlarged prostate may compress the urinary tract preventing or impeding the flow of urine from the bladder.  When medications don’t work urologists often turn to other procedures and surgeries to reduce the size of the prostate gland thereby relieving the compression and restoring full flow.  One such procedure  is a laser PVP (photoselective vaporization of the prostate) with the use of a Green light laser.

What happens when all does not go as planned, however, and the urologist commits medical negligence?  SLAVIN & MORSE successfully handled such a personal injury medical malpractice case which resulted in a significant confidential settlement.  The injured plaintiff came through the surgery, but instead of having full flow restored, the gentlemen was left with a condition known as urinary stress incontinence.  Essentially, he could not predict or control the frequency or volume of his full flow urination.  The condition was devastating for this fine man.

The case was carefully investigated, researched and prepared for trial out of our Woodbridge, NJ location.  It was alleged that the urologist made a surgical error and too aggressively lased the prostate causing unintended damage to the internal sphincter muscle that helps the starting and stopping of the urination process.  The lawsuit also alleged that the patient was not adequately screened for the procedure with adequate pre-surgical testing and was not fully informed of the potential outcomes prior to the surgery.  Fortunately for all parties the lawsuit was resolved with a significant confidential settlement prior to trial.  Don’t let anyone tell you that procedures and surgery are routine.  Ask the right questions and get all the facts.  Sometimes the cure can be worse than the cause.

An LLC Member Can Not Sue a Check Cashing Business or its Banks for a Member’s Embezzlement

While SLAVIN & MORSE is pleased to be a premier personal injury & injured workers trial law firm we are often called upon to do other things that involve trial.  We are pleased to announce the successful handling of a case at the trial level and subsequently in the NJ Appellate court involving corporate commercial transactions and our client; a well known check cashing company of our Woodbridge office.

In the case of KUHN v. TUMMINELLI, 361 N.J. Super. 431 (App. Div. 2004),  a check cashing business cashed checks made payable to a two-member limited liability company which was endorsed by one member of the limited liability company.  The individual member was authorized to cash the checks but was not authorized to embezzle and convert the funds for his own use.  The other member of the LLC could not successfully sue the checking cashing business or the banks involved.

While prudence and common sense are important in all business transactions the court was not willing to make a check cashing business a “guarantor” of the business relationships involving two members of a limited liability company.

NJ Estate Tax Law- a New Era for 2017

Generally speaking, a New Jersey resident who passed away prior to December 31, 2016 is subject to NJ estate tax if their estate exceeds $675,000.

As of January 1, 2017 the threshold for NJ estate tax goes up to $2M for those estates where the decedent passed away in 2017. Effective January 1, 2018 the NJ estate tax will be eliminated in its entirety.

While this does not eliminate NJ’s Transfer Inheritance Tax requirement or federal estate tax obligations this change in the law does signal welcome relief for those individuals with modest estates ($5.45M or less) who want to plan for their families future.

Like all things important please consult your accountant, certified financial planner and attorney for the proper direction.

Limited Liability Companies- Important Changes

On March 1st 2014 the New Jersey Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act was enacted. RULLCA became an important new guidepost for NJ LLCs.

Many of the rules change or clarify issues of duty, voting, resignation & information access by members of the LLC. One of the most important changes is for non-single memeber LLCs and the necessity for a viable shareholder’s agreement.

In the past it was common for LLCs with 2 or more members to form an LLC, in name only, without giving proper consideration to the rights and responsibilities of the members themselves. Often one of the members was not even recognized as a managing member. This was true despite good advice to the contrary from counsel.

Since the adoption of RULLCA in NJ it is recommended, in the strongest possible terms, that any LLC that is not a single member LLC, formally adopt a shareholder’s agreement that specifies respective member interests, investments, duties, other obligations & membership rights. RULLCA seems to default to certain findings absent a specifically prepared shareholders agreement.

Commercial Litigation: On Time & On Budget

As a business owner it is inevitable.  At some point in your corporate existence you will either be sued or need to sue.  Sometimes there are simply no other ways to resolve contractual disagreements.  Make sure that when this unfortuante occurance arises you educate yourself fully as to your rights and responsibilites.

First, sit with trusted counsel and review the agreements that the parties have signed.  This will be a great opportunity to understand  the expectations that the parties had for each other.  You will learn what your rights are and what remedies are available to you.  This is also the chance to insure that you have performed adequately under the contract.

Second, educate yourself as to what the parties contend that each has done wrong.  This will help you focus clearly on what is really at stake between the parties.

Third, find out what your alternatives are.  Trial is not always the best answer.  It may be worth while to pursue binding arbitration, non-binding mediation or even a multi-party negotiation with counsel.  These are excellent opportunites to stream line the disputes.  The process is cheaper, evidence and court rules are more liberally construed and the parties have more control over the process.

Lastly, make sure your counsel knows what’s really important to your business…bringing the litigation to a proper conclusion “on time” and “on budget”.  Establish with your attorney a meaningful measurement of proper time constraints to resolve the dispute and create a budget that meets your expectations.  For some reason lawyers are reluctat to commit themselves to the anticipated costs and fees that will be incurred at each stage of the process.  After 25 years of practicing law I can predict costs and fess on almost every case I’m involved with.  Your attorney should also.  Make sure that your counsel knows what’s important to your business and to you.





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