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Joseph M. Ghabour & Associates LLC

What can we help you find? Check out our FAQs.

As a personal injury firm, we get asked a lot of interesting questions. Check out our FAQs and see what people are asking! If you have trouble finding what you're looking for, please let us know and we'll be sure to help!

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  • What is the statute of limitations for my case?

    The statue of limitation varies depending on the nature of a case, but the minimum time that the statue of limitation may apply is one year.

  • Can I handle the dispute without a lawyer?

    There are cases that you may be able to handle without the expertise of a lawyer. One of these cases would involve arbitration, which requires an arbitrator to mediate your case. It may still be wise to consult a lawyer regarding your case in a situation that involves arbitration anyways.

  • When do I need a civil litigation lawyer?

    You may want to consult a civil litigation lawyer as soon as you’re involved in a legal dispute of any sort that it not easily resolved amongst you and the other involved individual(s). You should certainly seek the legal expertise of a civil litigation lawyer if you want to file a lawsuit or settle a claim, in court or outside of it.

  • What is Bad Faith by an Insurance Company? I Have Superstorm Sandy Damage, was Insured - But now They Won't Pay.

    For home owners and business owners who suffered damage to their homes, offices and properties, the process of dealing with a Superstorm Sandy insurance claim is often  another stressful situation. Insurance companies may deny Sandy losses or find reasons to under-compensate or unreasonably delay paying out a claim — known as "bad faith insurance" in the industry. In addition, if the aftermath of Sandy is anything like Hurricane Katrina, some policyholders may find themselves considering a Superstorm Sandy insurance lawsuit to force their insurer to pay their claim.

    This means insurers should not use tactics to unreasonably delay paying out your claim. Tactics some insurance companies are accused of using include requesting paperwork that has already been sent, claiming paperwork has gone missing or been filled out improperly, or claiming that damage was caused by factors not covered in the policy.

    Some of the responsibility for insurance claims falls with policyholders. For example, insurance policies will have deadlines for filing claims, and policyholders must meet those deadlines where practical. Property damage claims that could be made following Hurricane Sandy — depending on the claimant's policy — include personal property losses, exterior property damage, structural damage, wind damage, fire damage, and roof damage.

    Business owners may file claims for property damage and, where it is covered in their policy, loss of business. Business owners may still have to wait to have their claim assessed, however, which could further delay reopening their business. Many insurance adjusters are not propertly trained to assess damage. With 72,000 damaged homes, having enough trained assessors on-hand is nearly impossible.

    If an insurance company refuses to pay a legitimate claim or unreasonably delays payment of that claim, policyholders still have legal recourse. This might not be ideal, but if your insurance company fails to honor your policy, it may be the only way to obtain the coverage you paid for. Good luck in your recovery, and your dealings with your insurance. Most insurance companies are fair and honest business people. Unfortunately, there are enough who are not, to make you be careful when dealing with your insurance company.

  • My Neighbor's Tree Fell on My House During Superstorm Sandy. Can I sue my neighbor?

    If your neighbor’s tree is blown over by storm lands on your property, is the resultanting damage covered by your neighbor’s insurance policy or your own insurance policy?

    Most people would assume that the damage is covered by their own insurance policy because the event was an act of God. However, while many policies cover an "act of god", some do not. Some policies even have hurricane damage exclusion clauses and/or deductables burried in the fine print. If you believe that you should have been covered, but were not, it is most certaily time to speak with attorney.

    That, said, can you sue the neighbor for damages?

    Certainly, hurricanes and other meteorological conditions which result in strong winds are forces of nature qualifying as acts of God. However, simply because a force of nature, or act of God, was a cause of the damage does not automatically mean that the act of God defense applies. With an "act of god" you can't sue, as the neighbor was not responsible for the tree falling.

    The biggest issue is whether they knew in advance that the tree or large branches could easily be blown down by wind. If they knew that the tree is dead, for example, or knew that it was diseased or rotting, that could be used as evidence that they are liable for damages caused by the tree.

    This is why it is important to communicate with neighbors regarding potential hazards to your property, posed by their property (a dying tree, a rotten shed leaning towards your fence, etc.) in writing or email. So long as you don’t trespass, you can even trim branches that are over your property, and have a neighbor’s tree visually inspected.

    Good luck in your recovery!




  • Is Buying A Used Car After Superstorm Sandy an Issue?

    flooded car

    In short - watch out for flooded cars!

    While we've heard of all the amazing stories of the numerous heroes and volunteers after Superstorm Sandy, a small segment of the population wants to profit off of misery. After Sandy, no pun intended, the unscrupulous people will be flooding the market with flood damaged cars. These cars will have been fixed enough to run ­­– but will leave you holding the bag for costly repairs.

    Always, conduct a pre-purchase inspection and title search on any and all pre-owned cars you may purchase. It doesn’t matter if the car comes from a new-car dealer selling the car as used, a used-car lot, local mechanic shop that sells cars or a private seller.

    A car that was even slightly submerged in water, particular the  salt water of Sandy, will have been permanently damaged. A private, third party, car inspector should be hired – and made alert to look for water damage.

    Over 16,000 brand-new cars alone were destroyed by Sandy's flooding at the Port of Newark. Such cars, if ever put back on the road, must have a "salvage" title. However, by moving a car from one state's registration to another, it is possible to illegally obtain a non-salvage title. A title search, even if such a change is not recorded, will record the history of the car. If the car was moved from state to state, particularly if only short periods of time, that is a fairly clear indication of a fraudulent title.

    We all know that getting the best price is key in any autobmobile purchase. Therefore, it may seen a waste of money to hire a professional, third party, automobile inspector. You can google and find out what to look for, such as looking at the seat mounting bolts where the seat fastens to the floorboards to see if they rusty. But it isn't always that easy.

    A formerly flooded car isn't a bargin, it's a pile of future car repair bills. Hire a third party auto inspector, or simply take the car to local mechanic that is reputible and has no relationship with the seller, for an inspection.


  • I'm Evacuating for a Hurricane. What do I do?

    Aside from clothing, medicine, and other household items evacuation means being ready for the worst. 

    If you have to evacuate, you'll want to take necessary and hard-to-replace documents. Here's a list of what should be in a waterproof, lockable container you can easily grab. If you might evacuate, that is you're where a storm could hit, it's wise to gather up these items:

    • Banking information checkbook, savings account passbook, safe deposit box key
    • Birth, death and marriage certificates, divorce decree
    • Will and power of attorney
    • Social Security card and records
    • Military records
    • Medical records (living will, health care surrogacy, etc.)
    • Insurance policies
    • Health insurance cards
    • Retirement account records
    • Recent pay stubs, in case you have to document employment to collect benefits
    • Tax returns
    • Car titles and registrations
    • Mortgage deeds or rental agreements
    • All of your credit cards
    • Passports and/or green cards
    • Hard copy list of important phone numbers (relatives, bank and insurance company)
    • DVD or flash drive on which you back up computer files just before you shut down the computer and evacuate
    • If possible Home inventory (on paper, disc, flash drive or video; you should keep another copy in a safe place, maybe at work or at the home of a relative out of state)

    Don't forget any family photographs that you could never replace. And good luck! May you return to find your home safe and sound.

  • Did you recently fall on a sidewalk? Are you wondering if you can file a lawsuit for damages?

    New Jersey law provides that “absent negligent construction or repair, a landowner does not owe a duty of care to a pedestrian injured as a result of the condition of the sidewalk abutting the landowner’s property.”

    However, an exception to this rule applies to commercial landowners.  That is, commercial landowners owe a duty to reasonably maintain the sidewalk abutting their property.  If they fail to do so, the property owner can be held liable for injuries that occur on the sidewalk.  The New Jersey Supreme Court has held that when a property owner is truly nonprofit, this standard of care does not apply. 

    However, in determining if the property owner is nonprofit, the court must look to the nature of the use of the property, not the nature of the ownership. If the non-profit is acting as business, for example by charging for parking or running a school, then they can be held liable.


  • Hit by a Car While Bicycling or Walking? And You're Uninsured? You're Covered!

    In New Jersey, uninsured pedestrians or cyclists injured in an accident with a private passenger automobile, or commercial motor vehicle may be entitled to coverage pursuant to the Unsatisfied Claim and Judgment Fund Law. You must file the claim within 180 days of the injury with the accident.

    Having worked with such cases, I understand how important it is to have coverage for your medical bills, after being hit by an automobile. Visit ghabourlaw.com for more free information.

  • Am I liable when I hit a car that cut me off?

    New Jersey State law presumes that a driver who strikes to another driver from the rear bears 100 percent liability for an accident. Therefore, the onus falls on the driver who strikes from the rear to prove that he or she is not liable, which is difficult. The only firm exception to this rule is a "chain reaction", where a driver hits a car, and pushes into another.

    However, if the driver in front cuts off the driver who is behind them, then the courts may shift liability. Proving this in court requires a skilled accident attorney, as the burden of the proof is on you, and not the driver of the car you hit. Drive safely, drive defensively, and feel free to contact us for our free book on what to do if you're ever in an accident at njaccidentbook.com

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