Javerbaum Wurgaft Welcomes Mitchell Rait as Partner and Executive Director

Springfield, NJ, October 2019 – Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, PC, is pleased to announce that Mitchell Rait has joined the Firm as Partner and Executive Director.

“Mitch brings to Javerbaum Wurgaft decades of law firm industry knowledge to help best serve our clients. In addition to administering and marketing our Firm, Mitch is a seasoned lawyer with well-rounded experience in employment law and other practice areas”, notes Eric G. Kahn, Managing Shareholder.

Rait, formerly Shareholder and Chief Operating Officer at Budd Larner, PC, will oversee business operations of the Firm and assist in its strategic growth.

He is a former Trustee of the New Jersey Association of Legal Administrators and a Past-President of the New York Legal Marketing Association. Martindale-Hubbell recognizes him as an AV® rated attorney, the highest such rating available to any individual lawyer.

Rait earned his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law and his B.S. from New York University Stern School of Business.

Founded in 1978, Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, P.C. handles personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and neglect, criminal defense, employment law, workers’ compensation and other litigation specialties. With numerous attorneys certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey in civil trial practice, criminal trial practice and workers’ compensation, the Firm boasts seven offices throughout New Jersey as well as offices in New York City and Atlanta. Visit www.javerbaumwurgaft.com

Self-Driving Uber Car Kills Arizona Pedestrian

With technology ever changing, many have predicted the days of the space aged cartoon of the 70’s, The Jetsons are finally here.  The world in 2018 is not a cartoon and having a car that drives itself carries inherent danger.  Rideshare vehicles with an actual driver are dangerous enough, particularly when a company such as Uber or Lyft fails to adequately screen or train its drivers.  Rideshare giants like Uber need to understand that while autonomous vehicles may the future, as today’s fatal accident demonstrates, they are not the present.


Uber has put in place self driving cars so they can eliminate their one key chief expense, drivers.  Profits over people is dangerous in any business, but experimenting with driverless cars on actual roads and highways used by motorists and pedestrians had deadly consequences.  Last night a woman simply walking across the road in the crosswalk was struck and killed by an self driving Uber car. Although Uber is allegedly cooperating with the Tempe, Arizona police, the question still exists why would a self driving car be on the road if such accidents can happen relatively early in their use? The only logical answer is Uber’s desire to maximize their profits at the expense of the public’s safety.  The public knows that GPS devices and mapping applications are not fully reliable.  Autonomous vehicles essentially rely on the same technology, and when you consider this fact,  the dangers of self driving vehicles are clear.


Ride-share companies and applications have been a wonderful concept that allows many travelers and people in need of rides to have a car at their fingertips. However accidents are bound to follow the use of a motor vehicle and initially Uber was not prepared for the insurance and the need that would follow. Early in it’s inception, class-action lawsuits were filed and many disputes erupted across the country as to what insurance coverage, if any, Uber would supply to their drivers and protect the innocent paying passengers. Although in many states, the laws have changed to mandate Uber produce certain insurance, it is essential that if anyone is injured in an accident, they immediately speak with an attorney who understands the complexities of ride-share vehicles and how the claims must be handled.

The Ride-Share Group of Javerbaum Wurgaft is dedicated to understand the complexities of ride share litigation and is on the cutting edge of handling Uber cases. Partners Lawrence Simon and Jeffrey Rizika handle these matters is New York and New Jersey respectively. Larry is not only the co chair of the ride share litigation group of the American Association for Justice, a national lawyers organization, (of which Jeff is also a group member), he is also a founding member of the Ride-Share Law Group, a collection of prominent personal injury attorneys throughout the country who have dedicated their profession to protecting those who are injured at the hands of others. Now, more than ever, the stakes are even higher due to self driving Uber cars as well as the tragic death of a pedestrian.


Now is the time to reach out to Javerbaum Wurgaft, so that you and your family are protected. When life begins to resemble a cartoon, it is time to get serious and get protection.

Who is to Blame When you are Injured by a Driverless Car?

Hit by a Driverless Vehicle? Who’s to Blame?

By JW Law

It’s the year 2025. You just bought a shiny new driverless car and decided to take a ride. You enter your destination using voice control and head out of the city. As your car cruises down the highway, you catch up on your emails, sip a cup of coffee and listen to your favorite music. On the road, your car scans its surroundings, using a combination of cameras, detailed maps, radar, and adjusts its speed accordingly. Just as you get comfortable on your new ride- crash! – Your car strikes the driverless vehicle in front of you.

In normal circumstances, you would assess the damage, exchange insurance information, gather witnesses, and prepare for a legal battle. But this isn’t your typical accident. You were not in control of your car. So who is responsible for the damages? You? Your car manufacturer? Or the software programmer?

The above scenario may be imaginary, but injuries and deaths by autopilot systems (in semi-autonomous cars) are already a reality. Just last year a driver of a semi autonomous Tesla Model S was tragically killed when his car – in autopilot mode- rammed into the side of a tractor-trailer.

Tesla released a statement admitting that the car’s sensors failed to distinguish the large white truck against a bright sky. However, the company placed the blame on the driver stating that “the drivers need to keep their hands on the wheel to stop accidents like this from happening.” Soon after the incident, the car manufacturer announced that the company would not accept any liability for car crashes while in autonomous mode.

While other car manufacturers like Volvo, Google, and Mercedes have proactively pledged to accept full liability, they have not explained what “full liability” means.

“Since this technology is relatively new and just now being utilized on public roads, federal and state law is relatively silent on the subject.” said Jeffrey A. Rizika, Esq., who is chair of the Auto Committee for the New Jersey Association for Justice (NJAJ), the largest trial lawyer organization in New Jersey and whose practice includes automobile, truck, and bus litigation. “However, at this stage, all parties will likely be sharing the fault to some extent for such crashes.”


Who is to Blame When you are Injured by a Driverless Car?

Driverless cars are touted to bring a lot of benefits. They can empower those who are unable to drive themselves, make commutes more productive, reduce traffic, and most importantly, dramatically reduce traffic fatalities by taking human errors and emotions out of the equation. The National Transportation Safety Board estimated that driverless cars could save many, if not most of the 32,000 lives lost every year. However, robot cars are not completely immune to accidents, and therefore the question of responsibility for accidents remains. So who exactly is responsible for accidents?

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in response to a letter from Google, wrote that “If no human occupant of the vehicle can actually drive the vehicle, it is more reasonable to identify the driver as whatever (as opposed to whoever) is doing the driving.”

Does this mean victims can sue the automaker for accidents? “Each incident will require a separate analysis of the factors that resulted in the crash, how much control each potential defendant had to avoid the crash and what the reasonable expectations were of the parties involved,” explains Rizika. However, some lawmakers, car companies, and auto industry advocates are already pushing for measures that will let car manufacturers off the hook. In a report released earlier this year, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) warned that some regulatory proposals to ensure safety and accountability would, in fact, give robot car manufacturers legal immunity. In the report, titled: “Driven to Safety: Robot Cars and the Future of Liability,” AAJ also outlined potential safety gaps that could place the public at risk and recommended policies that the civil justice system, rather than regulators, legislators or the industry itself, serves as the primary forum for determining safety requirements and liability for failing to protect the public.

The vision of bringing driverless cars to the marketplace is slowly becoming a reality. Although this technology potentially offers benefits to the public, it also poses a very dangerous potential problem due to flaws that have not yet been worked out and the confusion that surrounds the usage of such vehicles. The attorneys at Javerbaum Wurgaft are dedicated to protecting the public against wrongful acts perpetrated against them and seeing that justice is done. If you have been injured in an accident involving a vehicle utilizing this new technology, please contact Mr. Rizika and the rest of the motor vehicle negligence team at Javerbaum Wurgaft. We are here to help.


nursing home elder abuse

Wrongfully Discharged from a Nursing Home? Read This

By JW Law

Moving a loved one or even broaching the conversation about moving to a nursing home or assisted living is an emotionally challenging process. But when nursing homes abuse or improperly evict residents, it is devastating both for residents and their families.

A recent story from National Public Radio (NPR) sheds light on the growing practice of involuntary discharge of Medicaid residents to accommodate Medicare and private pay patients to maximize reimbursements.

“This story offers an exquisite example of how the nursing home industry puts profits over people while committing fraud along the way,” said Javerbaum Wurgaft Attorney Francisco Rodriguez.

According to the available figures, in 2014 about 1.4 million people occupied 15,600 nursing homes across the country, of which 45,185 were in New Jersey and a staggering 105,390 in New York State.

While both federal Medicare and Medicaid programs pay for most of the nation’s nursing home care, roughly $75 billion in 2014, Medicare reimburses at a much higher rate for rehabilitation services than Medicaid for long-term care.

“Medicare pays for short-term rehabilitation after hospitalizations, whereas Medicaid pays for long-term care when a resident does not have assets to pay for a nursing home themselves,” explained Rodriguez.

In the article, NPR reported how a particular nursing home chain in Maryland and Illinois discharged Medicaid residents without proper discharge planning and charged Medicaid for planning services that it never provided.

“Nursing homes are required to discuss plans of an eviction with a resident and/or their loved ones, as well as prepare detailed records for the resident to give to their next facility or care provider,” he added.

However in this case, Instead of discharging the resident into an appropriate facility they were sent to homeless shelters. Some were left unattended on the sidewalk in front of their family member’s homes, even though they had dementia.

Those residents, who did not “fit the mold” or complained about the services, were inappropriately transferred to hospitals or in psychiatric wards. “…and of course, the government ends up paying more taxpayer money to take care of that resident’s unnecessary hospitalization,” said Rodriguez about this disturbing trend. “More importantly, residents end up with their health and safety in jeopardy, and family members and hospitals, end up with having to clean up the mess.”

nursing home involuntary discharge
Sadly the issue of wrongful eviction goes far beyond Maryland and Illinois. In a race for Medicare dollars, most nursing homes across the country wrongfully evict their long-term care residents.

An Associated Press analysis of federal data from the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program finds complaints about discharges and evictions are up about 57 percent since 2000. It was the top-reported grievance in 2014, with 11,331 such issues logged by ombudsmen, who work to resolve problems faced by residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other adult care settings.

Know your rights:

The Federal Nursing Home Residents’ Rights Act protects occupants against unreasonable transfer or removal by specifying only six grounds for discharge:
-The facility cannot meet the resident’s needs
-The resident no longer needs nursing facility services
-The resident’s presence endangers the safety of others in the facility
-The resident’s presence endangers the health of others in the facility
-The resident has failed to pay
-The facility is closing

Even if one of the above conditions legitimizes the nursing home’s decision, there is a protocol that they must follow to ensure the patient’s safety. According to the federal law, the nursing home must fulfill proper discharge planning requirements. These include: providing a written notice 30 days before the removal/transfer unless there is emergency justification for removal on short notice. In addition to the notice, the discharge planning procedure requires the facility to prepare a report of the resident’s mental and physical health status and a post-discharge plan of care for the resident.

Sometimes these facilities toss out residents who are “undesirable” or complaint a lot. They often use the threat of discharge as a method of retaliation or obtain compliance from family and residents who may be complaining about dangerous conditions, inadequate care, or violations of state and federal regulations.

“Residents and their families need to understand that these threats of discharge and other forms of retaliation by facilities are just that, threats,” said Rodriguez. “In reality, it is the residents and family members who do not complain on behalf of their loved one to the authorities, like the state Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly, who end up putting residents at risk. If they do not complain to the state when the illegal and dangerous conduct occurs, those residents are at the greatest risk. They will be run over by the thirst for profits of the owners of these nursing homes.”

If you or your loved one resides in a nursing home, rest assured that you have protection under the law. If you know of anyone who is unfairly discharged or threatened with eviction, contact Javerbaum Wurgaft’s nursing home Lawyers. Our highly experienced lawyers will intercede to enforce the law and fight for their rights.

Read Related:


New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys | Find Personal Injury Lawyers in New Jersey


Yesterday morning a little boy, age 11, was needlessly killed on his way to school.  He was struck by a jitney bus at the intersection of JFK Blvd and Neptune Avenue in Jersey City while he was crossing the street in a crosswalk.  The area where this accident occurred is within a school zone.  According to witnesses, the bus was attempting to pass a delivery truck at a high rate of speed when the impact occurred.


Our congested roadways are littered with delivery trucks either improperly or double parked, buses and jitneys crisscrossing through busy intersections, while children attempt to navigate their way through the chaos to safely reach their schools.

“What happened to this little boy is a tragedy.   This accident could have been avoided had the driver of the bus been traveling cautiously through the busy intersection, knowing that children frequent the area and recognizing that the delivery truck may have been blocking his view.” According to Diane Cardoso, partner in the Javerbaum Wurgaft Jersey City office.


This is not a new phenomenon, rather a common occurrence.   At the law firm of Javerbaum Wurgaft we see cases like these all the time.  We help families that have been devastated and strive to be the voice of the victims and hold accountable those who are responsible. If you have a problem, we are here to help




Ted Romankow - Certified Civil Trial Attorney New Jersey

Attorney Theodore Romankow to speak at Military Law & Veterans Affair Symposium

Javerbaum Wurgaft attorney Ted Romankow will be presenting at the NJ Bar Association 15th Annual Military Law & Veterans Affair Symposium on Sept. 9 at the NJ Law Center as part of a panel which will discuss mental health initiatives  and specifically veterans mental health initiatives in the NJ criminal justice system.

Ted will be speaking on the origins of mental health initiatives in Union County and the expansion of the program to other Prosecutor’s offices through the State.  

For more information, please contact the Javerbaum Wurgaft Office.