FAQs/Knowledgebase

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Below are answers to commonly asked legal questions. You can also visit our Law Guru page to see our responses to various questions in the areas of business, traffic law, medical malpractice and more.

OUR PRACTICE

Do you charge for initial consultations?

Our initial consultation or appraisal of your case is free with a few rare exceptions. At Brown, we will always tell you in advance if you are going to be charged for our time. You will always know up front how much something will cost and how it will be paid before you incur charges.

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How can I know if I can afford your firm?

We are very up front with our clients about costs. In almost all cases we’re able to offer free initial consultations. In addition, in many cases we are paid out of your settlement. We work with our clients to ensure that our services are affordable and that you know about charges before you incur them.

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Where can I find commonly used forms?

Commonly used forms can be found on our Resources Page.

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REAL ESTATE

I entered a contract to buy a piece of property. I've changed my mind. How do I get out of this contract?

Generally, your contract will contain an attorney review clause. This clause will give you three business days after the contract is signed to review it with your attorney. If your attorney disapproves of any part of the contract, the contract is broken until the other party agrees to the changes or a compromise is negotiated. After that three day period there may be other ways to get out of the contract, but this will depend on the terms of your contract. You should speak with an attorney who can review the contract and advise you on your options.

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What is the deadline for filing a property tax appeal in New Jersey?

In the State of New Jersey, property tax appeals should be filed with your county Board of Taxation by April 1st. For general information on New Jersey local property taxes, including the necessary tax forms, click here. You can also find specific information from the Ocean County Board of Taxation here and Monmouth County Board of Taxation here.

Learn More About NJ Local Property Taxes

PERSONAL INJURY

I was injured in a car accident, and now I am unable to work. How should I go about seeking compensation?

Every case is unique and for this reason you should consult with an attorney to assess your personal damages. Losses from medical bills, decreased earning potential and many other problems can pile up. An attorney with experience representing personal injury victims and negotiating with insurance companies can analyze your case and determine fair compensation for your losses. Fortunately, most attorneys, such as those in our office, accept personal injury cases on a contingency basis. This means, we don’t get paid* unless you get paid.

* You are responsible for out-of-pocket expenses.

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If an injury occurs on someone else’s property, am I able to sue for damages?

If you have been injured due to an unsafe or dangerous condition that existed on someone’s private property, you may have a claim based on premise liability laws. Our attorneys will gather the necessary information to assess your claim and work hard to obtain the best possible settlement or verdict or you.

Learn More on our Personal Injury Page

I have been the victim of medical malpractice, and I have no idea how to proceed with a claim. Is there help available?

If you have been injured due to the malpractice of a medical professional you will want an attorney who is familiar with medical malpractice claims to advise you of your rights. Medical malpractice is a serious issue in our hospitals and is a leading cause of wrongful death. More than 225,000 people die from medical malpractice related injuries each year. Medical malpractice can also leave you with serious injuries, and may require further medical treatment. Our attorneys are experienced in handling medical malpractice cases and will work hard to obtain the best possible settlement or verdict for you.

Find Out More on our Personal Injury Page

What should I do in the case of an injury involving a defective product?

If you have been hurt due to a defective product, you will want an attorney who has had experience representing clients in defective product cases, who has the experience and expertise to protect your rights. Every year thousands of consumers are injured or killed as a result of using products that have been defectively designed or manufactured or because the products have inadequate warnings of the dangers they pose to the consumer. Our attorneys are experienced in these matters, and will work hard to obtain the best possible settlement or verdict for money damages for those catastrophic injuries as permitted under the law.

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GENERAL LAW

Someone owes me money. How do I sue them?

In any jurisdiction the answer to this question will depend on the amount that is owed to you.

In New Jersey, if your claim is for less than $3,000 a complaint would need to be filed in the Superior Court Small Claims Part. If your claim falls between $3,000 and $15,000 a complaint can be filed in the Superior Court Special Civil Part. Finally, if your claim exceeds $15,000 a complaint should be filed in the Superior Court Law Division.

In New York, if your claim is for less than $5,000 you can sue in Small Claims Court. If your claim is for less than $3,000 you have the additional option of filing in a City, Town or Village Court. If your claim falls between $5,000 and $15,000 you will need to file a complaint in City Court or District Court. If your claim falls between $15,000 and $25,000 and you live in New York City, you will need to file in Civil Court, if you are outside NYC, you will need to file in County Court. Finally, if your claim exceeds $25,000 you must file in the Supreme Court.

In Pennsylvania, if your claim is less than $8,000 a complaint can be filed in District Court. If it is over $8,000 and less than $50,000 you can file a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas in your county. In Philadelphia, if the claim is up to $10,000 it can be filed in Municipal Court. Any claim over $10,000, but less than $50,000 should be filed in the Court of Common Pleas.

It is always advisable that you contact an attorney to assist you when filing a complaint. Our attorneys are familiar with the potential claims you may be have and what rights you may be unaware that you have. We can review your claim, assess damages owed to you and will know what information should be included in a complaint.

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Am I eligible for a no-point traffic ticket in New Jersey?

If you receive a ticket for certain traffic violations in New Jersey, you may be able to enter into a plea arrangement for a lesser charge carrying no points. This is dependent upon the violation and your driver history. If you are interested in the no-point ticket, give us a call to see if you qualify.

View the NJ points Schedule

Do New Jersey MVA points transfer to Pennsylvania or New York licenses?

New Jersey points do not transfer to Pennsylvania or New York licenses. However, both Pennsylvania and New York points will transfer to a New Jersey license. For more information on Pennsylvania points, click here.

For more information on New York points, click here.

For more information on New Jersey points, click here.

For information regarding the transfer of motor vehicle points from other states to your New Jersey license, click here.

For information on the point systems in other states, click here.

View the NJ points Schedule

FAMILY LAW

I’m considering divorce. Can you recommend a book or article that would give me more insight into the process?

Our website offers an assortment of articles on almost every legal topic out there. Click here to find a number of helpful resources on family law.

However, while an article may lay out the basic information, no article can substitute the advice of an attorney. Each divorce, like any case, is unique to the parties involved. We offer free consultations and during that initial meeting we can discuss the process with you and any issues or considerations that are particular to your situation.

I am seeking a divorce from my spouse and need interim support while the complaint is pending. How do I request this from the Court?

Any relief sought while your divorce is pending must be requested in the form of a Motion for Pendente Lite Relief. This is for any matters involving custody, support, property related issues, fees and discovery. When you file this motion, it must be accompanied by a completed Case Information Statement (CIS), a proposed form of Order, a Certification (your statement) and a Notice of Motion. You should refer to Civil Rule 5:7-2 for further information.

However, some of these documents, such as the CIS, may be overly cumbersome and will only add frustration to your already difficult situation. If your spouse has failed to pay child or spousal support during this time, you may be entitled to attorney’s fees. You should consult with an attorney to learn more about your rights. Please feel free to contact our office for a FREE consultation.

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TRUSTS AND ESTATES

What is probate and can it be avoided?

Upon your death, your Will is admitted to the Surrogates Court.   Your property is gathered and inventoried, your debts are paid and everything left over is divided among your heirs. While your personal representative is responsible for “probating” your Will, the process is generally controlled by the court and probate attorneys.  This can be avoided by careful planning.

Our attorneys are experienced in both estate planning and estate administration and have knowledge of federal and state tax laws.  If you are at the planning stage, you may want to meet with one of our attorneys to discuss techniques available to avoid probate, as well as, some of the taxes implicated at your death.  If you are at the administration stage, you may want to contact us to assist you with probating the estate as well as filing any state or federal tax forms that are required to be filed.

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BUSINESS LAW

I’m interested in starting a new business. I heard that there are a number of options available other than incorporating. How do I know which will work best for my business?

There are a number of options. You can decide to form as a corporation, a partnership or a limited liability company. Deciding which is right for your business requires analysis of the liability protections and tax treatment you want, the employee benefits you will offer, the types of owners you’ll have, your business practices and a host of other considerations. The following table can provide some guidance on these considerations. Click here to view table.

However, it is advisable that you consult with an attorney when making this decision. Our attorneys can advise you on liability, tax and other considerations to keep in mind and guide you to choose the right entity for your business. Our attorneys are further equipped to not only advise you on entity selection, but to assist you through the process of forming your new business, obtaining financing, drafting employment and vendor contracts and reviewing leases.

My business involves trade secrets and private client lists. Is there any way I can protect this confidential information?

You can protect your business with a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). The NDA, also known as a confidentiality agreement, must be drafted correctly to make it enforceable, which requires a thorough understanding of contract law and precedent. The NDA must also contain effective enforcement provisions; otherwise, you could end up spending a year in court and running your business into the ground before you get to a judgment. Our lawyers are experts at creating confidentiality agreements, and other business contracts, that provide real protection for your business.