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Newton NJ Personal Injury and Family Law Blog

First responders may discourage reporting of domestic violence

A recent study focused on emergency medical personnel indicates that a large percentage of first responders believe victims are at least partially responsible for incidents of domestic violence. Reporting published in the Journal of Legal and Forensic Medicine confirms that medical workers are not immune to widely believed myths concerning domestic violence. Since emergency personnel are often the first contact for victims, their skepticism could have a chilling effect on the reporting of crimes.

The findings are the result of a joint project between researchers specializing in mental health and social work from Florida State University and Canada's University of Windsor. Immediately after a domestic violence training session, 403 emergency medical professionals anonymously responded to a series of questions regarding domestic violence and assault. One-third of respondents were either neutral or agreed with a statement indicating that domestic violence is a normal reaction to stress.

Airbag death prompts Ford to recall 2006 Rangers

Ford Motor Company has issued a recall for an estimated 2,900 Ranger pickup trucks in the U.S. and Canada after hearing reports that a defective Takata airbag inflator killed a Ranger driver in West Virginia. New Jersey motorists may remember that Takata was previously the subject of the largest auto recall in U.S. history.

In the inflator is a chemical compound called ammonium nitrate, which is used as a propellant. In defective inflators, it explodes and blows up a metal canister inside the inflator, causing metal shards to spray out and hit the car's occupants. More than 180 injuries have been recorded. The resulting stream of liability claims forced Takata into bankruptcy.

Divorce and selling the family home

Going through a divorce is often stressful, but New Jersey couples who have to sell their home as well may find it particularly unsettling. One website reports that the family home is sold in 61 percent of all divorces. In some instances, one spouse is able to buy out the other spouse, but this is not possible in many cases.

Selling a home because of a divorce can be a very emotional experience, which is why it is important that both parties use a real estate professional whom they both trust and whose advice they will heed. The selling process will be more efficient if the agent and both spouses are able to work together to create an effective sales plan.

How teens can stay safe on motorcycles

Whether a motorcyclist is riding in New Jersey or elsewhere in the U.S., the risks remain the same. Motorcycle riders are more likely to face traumatic brain injuries and fatalities than car drivers. The risks are even higher for teens. Teenage motorcyclists file 5.7 more accident claims than motorcyclists between the ages of 35 and 50.

Even after getting a license, teens may neglect to take any safety classes. This is why the first thing any teenage motorcyclist should do before heading out on the road is to take a DMV-approved training course. The DMV can supply a list of class options. In addition, teens should ensure that their motorcycles are safe and cost-efficient, not just cool. More than 50 percent of teens choose sports bikes, which are involved in more accidents than any other model.

After child support dispute, company sues Mel Gibson's ex

New Jersey fans of actor Mel Gibson might also have followed his disputes with his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. Grigorieva hired a forensic accounting firm to help her get more child support for the daughter she and Gibson share. As a result, Gibson pays $22,500 per month in child support.

Because she hired it after filing for bankruptcy in 2015, the company says she must pay the full amount of the fees that were charged. She has 18 months to pay the debts acquired before her bankruptcy. Gibson has already paid most of the bill, but there is more than $108,000 still outstanding. The company is suing Grigorieva.

OSHA and NAWIC work to protect female construction workers

More women are choosing to work in the New Jersey construction industry, and they face unique safety concerns as compared to their male coworkers. Because of these unique risks, it is important for companies to have programs in place that are focused on minimizing the potential harms that are faced by women.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced that it has renewed its partnership with the National Association of Women in Construction for another five years. The NAWIC was formed in 1955 to represent the interests of female construction workers, and today the organization represents more than 4,000 women.

Push for mandated equal parenting time

Family law matters involving children may change in New Jersey if two bills become law that alter child custody determinations. Under these new proposed rules, a presumption would exist in child custody cases that a child would live with each parent for approximately equal time periods. Agreeing on child custody arrangements is difficult for many couples going through a divorce, and these new rules seek to eliminate the uncertainty and pitfalls surrounding this topic.

In essence, this could mean that joint physical custody would be expected in most custody matters. To prevent equal time with both parents, one parent would have to show that this custody arrangement would harm the child. Courts currently make decisions based on the best interests of the children in custody matters. This analysis might involve several factors like who is the child's primary caregiver, who can provide the most stable environment, the child's preferences and other considerations.

Seasonal safety campaign highlights dangers of drunk driving

As residents of New Jersey and other states relax in front of their televisions during the holiday season, their attention might be drawn to the issue of drunk driving. A sign of the season, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has commenced its Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. As part of the annual NHTSA safety program, a TV commercial designed to remind motorists about the risks and consequences of drunk driving is running nationwide.

Showing a man in the back of a police vehicle at the scene of a crash, the advertisement warns of the risks and consequences of driving under the influence. It is paired with an app that allows users to explore the scene of a crash and interact with both victims and responders. The SaferRide app, a 360-degree virtual reality web experience, is available for download on both Apple and Android devices.

Many accidents caused by drivers that fall asleep or lose control

Approximately 6 million motor vehicle accidents take place each year in New Jersey and around the country, and government data suggests that the vast majority of these crashes involve human error of one type or another. Even more alarming are the figures revealing that fatal accidents surged in the United States in 2015 and 2016 despite significant advances in automobile safety systems and improvements to the nation's roads.

Many crashes are blamed on excessive speed and impatience, but several studies, including an analysis of 6,950 car accidents by researchers from the University of Michigan, found that more than 1 in 5 fatal accidents are caused by drivers who fell asleep behind the wheel. This problem has become more pronounced in recent years due to the increasingly busy schedules of many Americans and automobiles that have been engineered to cosset motorists and isolate them from the road.

Child support for same-sex couples

Same-sex couples in New Jersey who share children might want to pay attention to a case that is pending in Hawaii. The case involves a woman who divorced her spouse. The woman's spouse became pregnant before the divorce by using a sperm donor, and the military spouse filed for divorce after her wife became pregnant.

The military ex-spouse is arguing that her parental rights should be terminated because she did not give consent to her wife to get pregnant or to have a child. She argues that she was not there for the birth and has never established a relationship with the child. Her ex-spouse argues that the couple had discussed having a baby together multiple times during their marriage and that the court should not order the termination of parental rights.

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