What exactly is summary judgement?

Posted August 25th, 2015 by .

Categories: Legal Topics.

what is summary judgement? anthony carboneSome legal terms have made it into mainstream vocabulary. This does not mean that everyone understands the lingo.  For example, what exactly is summary judgment?  How could it apply to your personal injury case?

Summary Judgment Defined

In New Jersey, RULE 4:46 sets forth summary judgment requirements. Summary judgment means that the matter involves undisputed facts. The parties to the lawsuit may not necessarily agree that there are unquestionable issues.  They therefore motion the courts for a determination.  What are some examples where summary judgment has been granted?

  • Slip and Fall Accidents: You thought you fell at 517 Anywhere Street in Anytown, New Jersey.  You sued the premises owner at that location.  In reality, your accident occurred at 523 Anywhere Street in the same municipality.  The owners of 517 Anywhere Street is not liable for your injuries and will ask the court to ask the court to remove them from the case.  Most likely, their request will be granted.  Of course, this does not preclude your claim against the correct property owner.
  • Auto Accidents: In a very recent unpublished Appellate Division decision, Massaro v. Trovato, No. A-5971-13T4, 2015 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Aug. 13, 2015), the court granted a summary judgment motion on behalf of the injured driver.  The plaintiff was injured in an accident with a “phantom driver” and sought recovery from the uninsured motorist portion of his own insurance coverage.  The three car accident occurred when the vehicle in front of the injured victim stopped abruptly as a display of road rage.  The victim was subsequently hit from behind by another driver.  The courts found that it was reasonable that the driver behind the plaintiff’s car was not solely responsible for the personal injuries.  Obviously, the phantom driver shared some accountability.  The fact that the individual was uninsured made the matter an uninsured motorist claim.
  • Premises Liability: Not all premises liability claims involve slip and fall accidents. Take the case of Roe by M.J. v. New Jersey Transit Rail Operations, Inc., 317 N.J. Super. 72, 74-82, 721 A.2d 302, 303-07 (App. Div. 1998). In this matter, a matter, the plaintiff was pool when she walked from behind her sister’s house to a public swimming pool.  She used a recognized shortcut that should have been restricted by a gate and fence owned by NJ Transit Rail Operations.  NJ Transit was aware that the area was dimly lighted, isolated, and thus invited criminal activity.  Although the trial court did not access liability to NJ Transit, the Appellate Division remanded the case back for consideration.  It found that NJ Transit had a duty to protect others from a dangerous condition.

At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have a comprehensive focus on personal injury cases.  We recognize that summary judgment is a crucial part of the court process.  If someone has caused you harm, we want to help you.  Contact us to see how our decades of experience can further your claim.

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