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Kenneth Vercammen & Associates
A Law Office with Experienced Attorneys for Your New Jersey Legal Needs

2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison NJ 08817
732-572-0500
1-800-655-2977

Personal Injury and Criminal
on Weekends 732-261-4005

Princeton Area
68 South Main St.
Cranbury, NJ 08512
By Appointment Only
Toll Free 800-655-2977


Evidence Rule 517

Rule 517.Victim Counselor Privilege

(a)N.J.S.A. 2A:84A-22.13provides:

The Legislature finds and declares that:

a. The emotional and psychological injuries that are inflicted on victims of violence are often more serious than the physical injuries suffered;

b. Counseling is often a successful treatment to ease the real and profound psychological trauma experienced by these victims and their families;

c. In the counseling process, victims of violence openly discuss their emotional reactions to the crime. These reactions are often highly intertwined with their personal histories and psychological profile;

d. Counseling of violence and victims is most successful when the victims are assured their thoughts and feelings will remain confidential and will not be disclosed without their permission; and

e. Confidentiality should be accorded all victims of violence who require counseling whether or not they are able to afford the services of private psychiatrists or psychologists.

Therefore, it is the public policy of this State to extend a testimonial privilege encompassing the contents of communications with a victim counselor and to render immune from discovery or legal process the records of these communications maintained by the counselor.

(b)N.J.S.A. 2A:84A-22.14provides:

As used in this act:

a. Act of violence means the commission or attempt to commit any of the offenses set forth in subsection b. of section 11 of P.L.1971, c.317 (C.52:4B-11).

b. Confidential communication means any information exchanged between a victim and a victim counselor in private or in the presence of a third party who is necessary to facilitate communication or further the counseling process and which is disclosed in the course of the counselors treatment of the victim for any emotional or psychological condition resulting from an act of violence. It includes any advice, report or working paper given or made in the course of the consultation and all information received by the victim counselor in the course of that relationship.

c. Victim means a person who consults a counselor for the purpose of securing advice, counseling or assistance concerning a mental, physical or emotional condition caused by an act of violence.

d. Victim counseling center means any office, institution, or center offering assistance to victims and their families through crisis intervention, medical and legal accompaniment and follow-up counseling.

e. Victim counselor means a person engaged in any office, institution or center defined as a victim counseling center by this act, who has undergone 40 hours of training and is under the control of a direct services supervisor of the center and who has a primary function of rendering advice, counseling or assisting victims of acts of violence. Victim counselor includes a rape care advocate as defined in Section 4 of P.L.2001, c.81 (C.52:4B-52).

(c)N.J.S.A. 2A:84A-22.15provides:

Subject to Rule 37 [Rule 530] of the Rules of Evidence, a victim counselor has a privilege not to be examined as a witness in any civil or criminal proceeding with regard to any confidential communication. The privilege shall be claimed by the counselor unless otherwise instructed by prior written consent of the victim. When a victim is incompetent or deceased consent to disclosure may be given by the guardian, executor or administrator except when the guardian, executor or administrator is the defendant or has a relationship with the victim such that he has an interest in the outcome of the proceeding. The privilege may be knowingly waived by a juvenile. In any instance where the juvenile is, in the opinion of the judge, incapable of knowing consent, the parent or guardian of the juvenile may waive the privilege on behalf of the juvenile, provided that the parent or guardian is not the defendant and does not have a relationship with the defendant such that he has an interest in the outcome of the proceeding. A victim counselor or a victim cannot be compelled to provide testimony in any civil or criminal proceeding that would identify the name, address, location, or telephone number of a domestic violence shelter or any other facility that provided temporary emergency shelter to the victim of the offense or transaction that is the subject of the proceeding unless the facility is a party to the proceeding.

(d)N.J.S.A. 2A:84A-22.16provides:

Nothing in this act shall be deemed to prevent the disclosure to a defendant in a criminal action of statements or information given by a victim to a county victim-witness coordinator, where the disclosure of the statements or information is required by the constitution of this State or of the United States.

HISTORY:Adopted September 15, 1992 to be effective July 1, 1993; section 2A:84A-22.14 amended by the Legislature, L. 2001, c. 81, 1, eff. May 4, 2001.

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Kenneth Vercammen was the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year

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Since 1985, KENNETH VERCAMMEN has worked as a personal injury attorney, working for injury victims and their families. By taking a hard-hitting, aggressive approach toward the insurance companies, KENNETH VERCAMMEN and our co-counsel have consistently obtained outstanding results for many injured clients over the years I am proud to have worked on cases in various capacities, small and large. While obviously prior results cannot guarantee the outcome of future cases, I can guarantee that you case will receive the same degree of dedication and hard work that went into each of these prior cases.

In direct contrast to the hard-hitting approach we take toward the insurance companies is the soft approach we take toward our clients. I am proud of my compassionate staff as I am of the outstanding financial results they have achieved. For many years, I have watched them treat our clients with patience, dignity and respect. I would have it no other way.

Many years ago, I attended a seminar sponsored by the American Bar Association on Law Practice Management. This was to help insure that each of our clients is always treated like a person -- not a file! We recognize that you are innocent victims and that you have placed your trust in us. Please understand that we understand what you are going through. Feel comforted that we are here to help you.

If you retain KENNETH VERCAMMEN to represent you, we will give you the same advice we give each of our clients -- concentrate on your life, you family and your health. We will take care of everything else. Leave all of the work and worry about your legal rights to us. Trust us. Believe in us. Have faith in us as your attorneys. Understand that we will always to do what we believe is best for you and your case. Helping you is our job. In fact, it is our only job -- guiding injury victims like you through one of the most difficult times of your lives, with care and concern -- while fighting aggressively to the limits of the law to obtain compensation and justice for each of you!

Print our Personal Injury Questionnaire on our Website, Fill it out and Fax back, so we can determine if we can help you obtain an injury settlement. We would welcome an opportunity to prove to you what we have proven to thousands of injured clients -- that you can feel comfortable and secure in the fact that KENNETH VERCAMMEN - Trial Attorney We Fight To Win.

When you have been injured in an accident or collision, you are worried about who is going to pay your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. The last thing you want is to be taken advantage of by an insurance company. If you dont protect your rights, you may not be able to make a claim.

Insurance companies have attorneys and adjusters whose goal is to pay you as little as they can. You need a New Jersey personal injury lawyer to fight for you. I am dedicated to helping your recover as much money as possible under the law.

You need an attorney who will work hard to protect your rights, maximize your insurance settlement and minimize the hassles of dealing with the insurance companies. You need an experienced and aggressive New Jersey trial lawyer with PROVEN RESULTS who will fight for you. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer can make the difference between getting what you deserve and getting nothing.

Without the threat of a lawyer who is willing to go to trial and seek a big jury verdict, why would an insurance company pay you what your claim is really worth? Lawsuits can be expensive, and many people do not have the money to pursue their claim. In every case, I advance all costs associated with pursuing your case and I do not ask you for a penny until we recover from the other side.

I am an experienced aggressive trial lawyer and a 3rd degree Black Belt. I am not afraid to take your case to trial if that is what it takes to maximize the amount of money your recover for your personal injury. I offer one-on-one service, and I will not hand your case off to an inexperienced lawyer or a paralegal.

Reduce the stress of making a claim.

Personal injury accidents can turn your life upside down. Making a personal injury claim can be difficult and time consuming. Once I take your case, you can stop worrying about dealing with the insurance companies and focus on recovering from your injuries. I take care of all of the paperwork, phone calls, and negotiations, so you can get on with your life.

p.s. For those clients who are afraid or reluctant to go to Court, KENNETH VERCAMMEN also offers a special -- For Settlement Only -- program. This means that if we are unable to settle with the insurance company, we will not go any further -- unless you want us to. You have my personal assurance that there will be absolutely no pressure and no obligation.

We handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.

This means:
YOU DONT OWE ME A LEGAL FEE UNLESS I RECOVER MONEY FOR YOU.

Call our office to schedule a "confidential" appointment 732-572-0500

Kenneth A. Vercammen is the Managing Attorney at Kenneth Vercammen & Associates in Edison, NJ. He is a New Jersey trial attorney has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He has appeared in Courts throughout New Jersey each week on personal injury matters, Criminal /Municipal Court trials, and contested Probate hearings.

Mr. Vercammen has published over 125 legal articles in national and New Jersey publications on criminal, elder law, probate and litigation topics. He is a highly regarded lecturer on litigation issues for the American Bar Association, NJ ICLE, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published in noted publications included New Jersey Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, and New Jersey Lawyer. He is the Editor in Chief of the American Bar Association Tort and Insurance Committee Newsletter.

Admitted In NJ, US Supreme Court and Federal District Court.

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Ken Vercammen articles.

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