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The purpose of this section of the Web site is to discuss injury. Injury is an extremely broad term legally, and it can apply to a lot of different areas. We are just going to discuss the areas that are called torts.

A tort involves an injury to a person’s body or property. Accidents that cause injury, including car accidents and slip-and-fall accidents, are torts. Medical malpractice, when your doctor does something wrong, is also a tort. An injury to a person’s reputation may be a tort in certain circumstances. Finally, injury to property, real or personal, may also be a tort. There are other torts, but for the purposes of this section of the Web site, we are only going to discuss the ones that are mentioned above.

A personal injury suit is when one person sues another person for injury to the person’s body—for example, a car accident or a slip-and-fall accident. For the most part, if you have a personal injury claim, you can contact an attorney who will represent you on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will not have to pay the attorney any money up front, and he or she will take the fees out of the money that you are awarded. Some attorneys may ask you for some money up front and take the remainder of their fees from the money that you are awarded. If you think that you have a claim, you should contact a personal injury attorney.

Medical malpractice is when a person sues a doctor or other medical provider for services that were not performed properly. For example, if your doctor should have given you medication but did not, you may be able to sue if it caused you injury. If a doctor gave you medication that caused you injury, you may be able to sue. There are attorneys who specialize in medical malpractice claims. If you think that you have a claim against your doctor, a health care professional, or a medical facility you should contact one of these attorneys.

In both of the above types of cases, generally, a lawyer will take the case on a contingency fee basis. There are other types of cases that involve injury where an attorney will probably not take the case on a contingency fee basis.

One of these types of cases is a case for slander or libel, when someone is suing because of an injury to his or her reputation. Slander is when someone states something publicly that causes injury, and libel is when someone states something about another in writing that causes injury to the person’s reputation. In order to prove either slander or libel, you would have to prove that the information that was given was false, that it was communicated to a third person, and that it injured your reputation in the community. If you believe that you have a claim for slander or libel, contact an attorney.

Finally, torts also include injury to your property. For example, if someone runs into your car or your neighbor’s tree drops on your property, these are injuries to property. If your property has been damaged, contact an attorney.

If you would like to contact an attorney in your area, you can call your local lawyer referral service. You can get the telephone number for the lawyer referral service in your area by contacting your county bar association. (See List of Lawyer Referral Services.) Remember to specify the type of attorney that you would like to be referred to.

If you have a low income and would like to speak to an attorney about your case, you can call LSNJ-LAW, Legal Services of New Jersey’s statewide, toll-free legal hotline, at 1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-888-576-5529).The hotline provides information, advice, and referral to low-income residents of New Jersey with civil legal problems.

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  • List of Lawyer Referral Services (from the N.J. State Bar Association) - Lawyer referral services with phone numbers and addresses for each county in New Jersey. You can call the number for your county to find a lawyer near you who has experience with your legal issues.

This information last reviewed 10/26/11


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Low-income New Jerseyans can get free legal help by phone: call our toll-free hotline at 1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-888-576-5529), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Outside of New Jersey, please call 732-572-9100 and ask to be transferred to the hotline.