Do Not Let a Pre-Existing Condition Stop You From Filing a Claim!

When you are hired for a new job, the employer hired you as you are, meaning your new boss hired you despite the fact you have a pre-existing condition. What pre-existing condition do you ask? Are you a diabetic? Have a bad back? High blood pressure run in your family?

We all have a pre-existing condition; some are just more evident than others. It is up to you to disclose if you have a pre-existing condition, but the smart choice is to let your new employer know about it, especially if your position changes.

For example, you can be promoted to warehouse foreman, and it requires you to lift boxes to inspect them, and you had thrown out your back a few years ago. Or, you assume more job responsibilities because a co-worker is out for an extended period of time.

You could be doing work-related activities that might re-break a broken your tibia from an old workplace injury. If you do file a claim and fail to disclose the pre-existing injury, your claim can be denied. But you shouldn’t be afraid to file a workers’ compensation claim because of the pre-existing condition.

Many workers are afraid to file a claim because of their past medical history. These medical records can contain a number of pre-existing injuries that wouldn’t cross our minds, such as broken bones, obesity (or being overweight) or COPD. There is always the chance that a new work-related injury could aggravate or exacerbate the pre-existing condition.

For example, if you have COPD and you inhaled fuel vapors from a liquid-fuel tool. This can cause a flare up of the COPD. The key is determining if the pre-existing injury is connected to the new work-related injury. The worker would need to ascertain that the current pain for the new injury is not residual pain from a pre-existing injury.

It is important that workers know that they cannot be barred from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, the claim can be reduced, and the worker could receive only compensation for the increase in the permanent impairment. A pension can also be affected by the claim. It is vital that you get a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to retain all of your benefits.

In the current debate on health care and pre-existing conditions, the plan that is to replace Obamacare will have fewer protections, but it won’t allow insurers to deny coverage to those with a pre-existing condition. That’s the good news. The bad news is insurers could charge higher premiums for those without continuous coverage, but only for a year. This could mean that workers who work construction in areas of the United States where projects only happen two or three out of the four seasons. They might only have health insurance from employer to employer, from project to project.

What’s an IME and How Does it Affect a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

An independent medical examination (IME) can be arranged during a workers’ compensation claim and is done by a third-party doctor. This is when the worker’s doctor and the insurer’s doctor do not agree with the medical report.

In New Jersey, an IME can be done at any location within the state. Although a worker cannot have his or her attorney present at the IME, he or she can have their physician present. A worker can have more than one IME; however, the worker cannot miss one. Also, an IME is not binding in court, but it can sway the outcome in your favor.

If you have a pre-existing injury that has been made worse by a new injury, it is vital that you seek a work injury lawyer immediately. It is also beneficial to your case if you have witnesses, took notes of the accident and reported the accident to your employer as soon as it happened.

Hurt at work? Don't know what to do? Contact Goldberg & Wolf

Contact Us!

At Goldberg & Wolf, we have helped thousands of workers in New Jersey get the compensation they deserve because we specialize in workers’ compensation law and walk you through each step of the case. Contact us today or call at (856) 651-1600 if you have questions and need to file a claim.

Getting Hurt at Work: Do I File Workers’ Comp or Personal Injury Claim?

Most people do not realize that what workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers do in a courtroom are very similar actions from a legal standpoint.

Workers’ compensation was created in the 1920s to protect workers who were hurt on the job. Workers’ compensation health insurance was a program designed to protect employers and pay the worker’s medical bills, recover lost wages and secure the worker’s job. Like worker’s compensation, personal injury also helps an injured individual pay for medical bills and lost wages, but it also pays for pain and suffering.

The major difference between the two is that a workers’ compensation claim can arise regardless of fault, whereas personal injury requires the fault of a third party. There may be times when it seems difficult for a worker to decide when to sue for personal injury or when to file a worker’s compensation claim.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

A worker can decide to sue a manufacturer instead of filing a workers’ compensation claim when the accident is caused by a defective product or piece of equipment on the job. For example, a worker was working underneath a generator in a power plant.

The worker was wearing a harness, but the harness got caught in the shaft. The injury occurred because there was no safety collar around the flange. The worker can sue the manufacturer of the shaft for product liability (in addition to workers’ comp).

Another example is when if a worker is working on the floor of the waste treatment plant and he stepped on a trap door that sprung open due to a faulty latch, causing the worker to fall through the opening 30 feet to the floor below.

The worker can sue the company that supplied the springs. The company had the wrong springs there, and the construction manager did not take the correct steps to fix the opening of the trap door when he first found out about it. The construction company was found liable.

When you are going to file a personal injury claim, you should find an attorney who specializes in this practice area. The lawyer should be well-versed in torts and have the experience of going up against large corporations.

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

There are times when an employee should file a workers’ compensation claim. When on a job site, a worker can fall from a ladder or slip on the floor. There is usually no property damage when this occurs.

For example, a mechanic is walking across a service bay and slips on oil left on the floor from a car that had just driven through it. The mechanic fell and hurt his back. Another example is when a worker is diagnosed with a job-related illness such as mesothelioma and black lung.

When you are going to file a workers’ compensation claim, you will need to find a work injury lawyer, especially one who is local to your area. The lawyer will have an intimate knowledge of workers’ compensation benefits as well as have a thorough understanding of your job responsibilities, company, and workplace safety regulations.

The attorney will also know what to do if your claim is denied or disputed.

Remember, there are time limitations when you are filing a workers’ compensation claim. You should report the accident to your employer as soon as possible and then file the claim. It is crucial to keep in contact with your insurance company for any changes and to ensure the proper steps have been taken. The last thing you want to do is start the process over again due to an error that could have been avoided.

Hurt at work? Don't know what to do? Contact Goldberg & Wolf

Contact Us!

At Goldberg & Wolf, we have helped thousands of workers in New Jersey get the compensation they deserve because we specialize in workers’ compensation law and walk you through each step of the case. Contact us today at (856) 651-1600 if you have questions and need to file a claim.

Injured While Commuting – Will Workers’ Compensation Cover my Injury?

Generally, if one is injured while commuting to or from work, they are not covered by Workers’ Compensation. However, several exceptions do exist.

Some of the exceptions include:

  • Employees who have no fixed place of work. An example of this is if a salesperson or service person works in the field.
  • Employees who are on-call. Any injuries that have occurred while commuting to or from the job may be compensable.
  • Employees who are injured while driving a company car. Depending on the circumstances concerning the incident, workers’ compensation may apply.
  • Employees who are traveling for business. Any injuries that have occurred while traveling on business will likely be covered.

If you are injured while commuting to or from work or driving between designated appointments, it is advised to contact a qualified work injury lawyer to ensure the most favorable outcome.

Does Workers’ Compensation Apply to a Lunch Break Injury?

An injury that occurred while away from the work location is usually not covered. However, if a worker’s job description includes food delivery, an injury may be compensable.

If the injury is sustained at an employer-sponsored social event, such as a birthday celebration at a restaurant or the workplace, workers’ compensation may apply. If an employee’s attendance was expected by the employer than workers’ compensation can apply regardless of whether the employee is on or off the clock.

When Workers’ Compensation Doesn’t Cover the Damages

Many people will believe that the case is closed if injuries occur off the clock or offsite. That is not necessarily true.

An injured worker has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit outside of the workers’ compensation system. Workers’ compensation doesn’t include punitive damages for lax safety or dangerous conditions, nor does workers’ compensation cover pain and suffering.

If the responsibility for the injury lies with a third party or the employer, a personal injury lawsuit may be in order.  If the injury is a result of a defective product or a toxic substance, the manufacturer may be liable.

Additionally, social security disability benefits may apply if an injury results in a partial or total disability.

Note:  If the employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, the injured worker can sue in civil court. There may also be a state fund from which to collect.

Does Workers’ Compensation Apply in Cases of Employee Misconduct or Illegal Acts on Job?

Workers’ Compensation laws were developed to protect employers from liability while ensuring workers’ injuries would be covered. This is regardless of most circumstances but also with the exception of many self-inflicted injuries.

Although an employer may state that misconduct may be a factor in the determination process, even the criminal activity does not automatically disqualify a worker from workers’ compensation benefits.

Hurt at work? Don't know what to do? Contact Goldberg & Wolf

Contact Us Today

Email or call Goldberg & Wolf Law today at (856) 652-1600 to schedule a free consultation. One of our highly experienced workers’ compensation attorneys will help you to understand the complicated claims process so that you fully understand your rights and responsibilities.

Things You Need to Know if You Suffered a Work-Related Injury

Dealing with a workers’ compensation claim can get very complex and time-consuming, especially if you are not familiar with workers’ compensation law. It doesn’t take much to get overwhelmed with all the moving pieces involved. You should know, however, that the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act exists to protect injured workers, and make sure that they are treated fairly.

What should I do first?

After suffering a work-related injury thoughts of concern flood your mind, “What do I do now?”

It is important to know that you are protected, here some simple steps and tips to follow when dealing with a work injury:

  • Notify your employer
  • Seek immediate, appropriate medical treatment
  • File your claim as soon as possible
  • Keep in touch with the insurance company
  • And think about your responses

The first thing you should do is notify your employer and seek immediate medical treatment. Notifying your employer is very important because you have a limited period of time in which you have to notify your employer and file a claim. In New Jersey, you must notify your employer within 14 days, and your employer should notify their insurance carrier within 24 hours, but if you want to file a claim against your employer you have 2 years.

One of the first things you need to do is get treatment for the injury. Depending on the severity of the injury this may be the first step you take. Any injury left untreated can get worse and can also make it seem you are not that hurt. Here is an earlier blog going into the do’s and don’ts.

Next, make sure that the proper paperwork gets filed. Your employer should file paperwork with the insurance carrier, but if they do not, you should file a claim. Even though you have 2 years to file a claim against your employer; you should get this done as soon as possible. Why wait? The faster you start receiving benefits, the better off you’ll be.

You also need to keep in touch with the insurance carrier and be on the same page with them. It would not be fun finding out that the insurance carrier terminated your benefits before you are ready.

This last one is also very important, consider your responses when communicating with the insurance carrier, their goal is to stop paying you benefits as soon as they can. Anything you say will be used against you.

It is always advised that you contact a workers’ compensation attorney, just in case. The attorney will help guide you through the process and help make sure you are being treated fairly. And, if need be also step in and fight for the benefits you deserve.

A little more on the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act?

The Workers’ Compensation Act protects employees in ensuring that they receive the benefits they deserve and also protects employers from direct lawsuits. Under the act, employees give up their right to sue the employer in exchange for workers’ compensation benefits.

All employers are required to have some form of workers’ compensation insurance. If the employer does not have coverage that meets state requirements or no insurance at all, they will be fined.

Can I Lose my Job if I am Injured?

The answer is no. Nearly every state has made it illegal for employers to fire employees who were injured on the job and filed for workers’ compensation.

If an employer were fire an injured worker, it could be considered retaliation, which would result in a whole mess of legal trouble. However, once the worker is healthy enough to work the employer can provide the employee with an appropriate job, that is within the scope of the employee can perform.

So, if you were injured and made a full recovery then the employer would offer you your old job back, but if you suffered a permanent impairment, then the employer would offer you a job that fits within the scope of what you can with your condition.

What Types of Damages are Recoverable?

Serious work injuries can and will have major effects on you and your family’s life. Such injuries can hurt your income, have permanent physical effects, and leave you with tons of debt and medical bills. Here are the more common types of damages you can recover, they include:

  • Medical benefits
  • Temporary disability benefits
  • Permanent partial benefits
  • Permanent total benefits
  • Death benefits

All these benefits are designed to help you and your family, in your time of need and while you recover from your injury. And in a much more serious instance, they allow your family to receive benefits, in the unfortunate instance, you were to die as the result of injuries suffered at work.

Know you are protected and are entitled to these benefits.

Hurt at work? Don't know what to do? Contact Goldberg & Wolf

Need Help?

Here are Goldberg & Wolf, we understand that workers’ compensation law is complicated and hard to deal with alone. If you or someone you know has been injured at work and need help or simply have questions about what to do next, do not hesitate to contact us or call 856-651-1600.

It is also important to note that workers’ compensation law is not the same in every state. If you need help with workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania, reach out to our good friends at Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo.