Statute Of Limitations in a NJ Workers’ Comp “Occupational Disease”

Statute Of Limitations in a NJ Workers’ Comp “Occupational Disease” Claim

Occupational injuries may not always be apparent immediately. If your job is physically demanding or requires you to be in extreme environmental conditions or involves long hours of repetitive work, your chances of contracting an occupational injury is higher.

 

According to data from NJ Department of Health, in the period from 1990 till 2013 there were 2,470 cases of fatal occupational injuries recorded. The highest numbers of casualties were the highest in the Construction, Transportation and Warehousing and Administrative & Support and Waste Management & Remediation Services Sectors.

 

The time limit for filing petitions to claim workers’ compensation for an occupational injury is two years. It differs from an accident which occurred on a specific date because it is difficult to prove the exact date of the onset of an occupational injury.

 

The statute begins from the date the claimant knew or was made aware of the disease and that it was related or caused by his/her employment. Therefore it is important to prove the claimant’s knowledge of occupational condition for defending the claim.

 

Many occupational claims are never filed because it’s difficult to know or conclusively prove a relationship between the job and the disease. Also, many people aren’t fully aware of their rights. As the two year period doesn’t start unless the person is aware, these claims can be filed long after you have stopped working. There are cases when claims have been filed after the death of a spouse.

 

What Constitutes an Occupational Disease?

Injuries that occur due to repetitive motions, heavy lifting, excessive noise, vibrations or due to exposure to extreme environmental condition are considered as occupational diseases. Diseases caused due to exposure to chemicals, dust, and radiations are considered occupational diseases and are eligible for workers’ compensation. Many diseases are not recognized yet. The following are examples of occupational diseases:

  • Asthma caused by a baker inhaling flour or a woodworker inhaling wood dust.
  • Liver cancer and bladder cancer in workers who have worked in a plastic manufacturing unit.
  • Prison workers and healthcare officials getting blood-borne diseases.
  • Polyneuropathy caused due to exposure to spraying pesticides.

 

There are many more unknown occupational diseases that are waiting to be discovered because medical technology has not yet caught up with it.

 

Most workers confuse workplace injuries with occupational ones. A sudden trauma constitutes an injury while a minute repetitive strain due to a job might add up and become a serious condition would qualify as an occupational disease. Examples of occupational injuries would be work-related asthma, silicosis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. You could qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in an occupational disease claim if you meet specific criteria.

 

Here are the three conditions that need to be met in order for you to qualify for such a case:

  • You as an employee were harmed due to some form of exposure that was related to your job.
  • The exposure directly resulted in your injury or illness.
  • Your duties as a worker or the environment that you were working in made you susceptible and put you at greater risk of developing the illness or sustain an injury than normal.

 

There may be some cases where proving that there’s a link between your occupation and the condition you’re suffering from very straightforward. Instances like working in a hazardous environment that involves heat and smoke exposes a firefighter to a higher risk of a cardiovascular or respiratory infection. But, establishing a similar connection in other occupations might be an uphill task.

 

Should You Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?

Although you do not require legal representation to file your workers’ compensation, seeking advice is the right way to go. If you fail to file a claim within the time frame mandated, you can lose your right to the benefits you deserve. In addition, consider this:

 

The Workers’ Compensation statute also states “Deterioration of a tissue, organ or part of the body in which the function of such tissue, organ or part of the body is diminished due to the natural aging process thereof is not compensable.”

 

So if a doctor is not able to determine if an injury was caused by repetitive work or due to aging, your legal adviser will have to find expert witnesses to corroborate your claim.

 

Goldberg & Wolf can help if you’ve been a victim of a work injury. Your case will require a team of seasoned lawyers by your side to guide and navigate you through the legal process. Contact us at (856) 651-1600 for a free consultation or to talk to a member of our legal team regarding your case.

Workers’ Compensation for the Most Common Workplace Injuries

 

Most Common Workplace Injuries

Serious work injuries or getting hurt at work have become very common nowadays. There are numerous accidents that keep occurring more often these days across all professions. Even though the type of injury may vary from industry to industry but the resulting effects are almost the same.

 

According to HSE, 137 workers in the UK were killed at work due to fatal injuries in 2016/17. According to BLS, a total of 4,836 workers died in the U.S. from work-related injuries in 2015. Approximately, 20% of workers who died of work injuries were employed in the construction industry owned privately.

 

A workplace can be extremely hazardous and it is important that the employers and employees take proper caution to keep it safe. Here is the list of most common workplace injuries shared by prominent Insurance Companies across the country leading to workers’ compensation:

 

Overexertion Injuries– You may get hurt at work if you are involved in lifting, pulling, pushing, carrying, holding or throwing activities resulting in overexertion. Repetitive work can cause wrist injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome, which are one of the most common workplace injuries today.  

 

Slipping/Tripping – The worker may fall due to wet and slippery floors or may trip over some object lying on the floor. The workplace must have safety guidelines and proper signage mentioning ‘danger’/ “caution”/”wet floor etc. to warn employees. Floors must be cleaned of grease, debris that might otherwise result in slips, to ensure workplace safety.

 

Falling from Heights – You may get injured if you accidentally fall from a ladder, the roof, or the stairway.  This may occur due to a slippery surface, or because of a faulty equipment. The Employer must provide periodic training and personal protection gear to the employees. Pieces of equipment must be checked regularly and faulty ones must be repaired on time or replaced.

 

Reaction Injuries – Slipping and tripping are the main cause of reaction injuries resulting in wrist or muscle injuries, body trauma, and other medical issues. Being alert and heeding the cautionary signs could help prevent these kinds of injuries.

 

Falling Object Injuries – This type of injury may occur due to some objects falling off of shelves or accidentally dropped by another worker resulting in head injuries. Employees must be alert and cautious while handling objects. Proper personal protection gear like hard hats must be provided to the workers while working and should be made mandatory to wear. The employer must also inspect the workplace regularly and keep it free from hazards.

 

Walking Into Injuries – A worker may accidentally run into a chair, table, glass windows, cabinets, doors, walls, etc. resulting in head, foot, neck or knee injuries. Employees must be cautious while moving and the employer must provide hazard-free workplace for preventing such accidents.

 

Vehicle Accidents – Drivers driving company vehicles may get injured in accidents. The employer must implement safe driving policies and drivers must also be mindful while driving in order to prevent such accidents.

 

Repetitive Motion Injuries – Though less obvious, this type of workplace injury is extremely harmful in the long run. Continuous typing and using the computer most of the time may strain your muscles and tendons resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome, insomnia, depression, vision problems and back pain. Use of ergonomic seating and maintaining a work-life balance can significantly lower occurrence of such injuries.

 

On the Job violent Acts – A quarrel sparked off by office politics or other arguments may lead to serious work injuries. Proper training on Implementation of a code of conduct can help regulate such injuries.

 

Workplace injuries are not only hazardous and life-threatening for the workers but it is also a blemish for the organization. Thus, the employer must ensure that the work environment is safe for the employees; and employees must also use caution at the workplace for avoiding workplace accident. In the event of a workplace, consulting with a trusted work injury attorney tends to be beneficial.

 

If you or someone you know has been hurt at work, The Law Offices of Goldberg & Wolf can help you get the compensation you need and deserve. To receive a free case evaluation, contact a member of our legal team at (856)-651-1600.

The Importance of Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim Quickly

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim Quickly

If you are a worker who was hurt on the job, then it can be traumatic for you as well as your co-workers and the employer. Giving the injury proper medical attention takes first priority, of course. But, post that, it is important that the second step of filing a claim for workers’ compensation is not forgotten.

Employee Morale

When you report a workers’ compensation claim at the earliest, post an employee’s injury, it shows all your employees that your employer cares about their employee’s well-being and that they want them to be compensated for the injury. It also shows that the employer is making an effort on their behalf to follow the law in the right spirit.This will definitely impact the morale of the employees positively.

Swift and responsive handling of the entire process means that the employee can return back to the workforce that much quicker. This also reaffirms faith in the process for everyone and shows that the employer leads by example.

Investigation and Evidence

The sooner the claim is filed, the quicker it is for the insurance carrier or work injury lawyer to investigate and get all the necessary evidence for the claim. Same in case of a dispute.

Considerations such as the cause of injury and the extent of the injury are best determined at times closest to the incident.

This can also help prevent fraudulent claims. It can help identify; if say the claimant was under the influence of drugs or other substances which impaired his or her ability to work. Waiting too long would mean processes like blood work to identify such conditions or gathering reliable information from eyewitnesses with a reliable recall of the incident will get all the more difficult.

Cost of the Claim

The more the delay in filing the claim for workers’ compensation the more the claim will cost. According to this study, delays in claim filing by 2 weeks to a month caused an increase in the cost of the claim by as much as 30%.

If the time to register a claim was beyond 4 weeks, the cost went up to over 50% higher than the lowest median cost; which was when the claim was filed within the first week.

Hence earlier reporting is important not only to ensure timely medical attention but also avoid higher claim costs.

Litigation

With reference to the same study, claims that have faced delays are the ones more likely to have attorney involvement. For example, while claims reported immediately had only 13% attorney involvement, for claims delayed by 4 weeks, the attorney involvement was higher at 32%.

While there is nothing wrong with getting a legal opinion, in most cases a swift resolution is best for all parties involved.

Legal Requirements

Employers are required to let the state’s department of labor know about workers’ compensation claims filed by their employee. Each state has time limits, which must be adhered to. Also, there are certain injuries like the loss of a limb that must be reported to the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) within a certain period of time. Some states can also penalize the employer for not meeting timely reporting requirements.

Insurance Requirements

Employer’s insurance may have a time limit on the claims that are made to be considered. If this deadline is not met, then the claim may not go through. This may also cause more severe repercussions such as higher premiums or canceled policies.

For all of the above reasons, it is important that work-related injuries or occupational illnesses are reported promptly.

If the employer is made aware of any safety issues, then they can proactively work towards implementing measures to prevent recurrence of the incident. This will also help keep the costs related to workers’ compensation down.

Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

The Law Offices of Goldberg & Wolf can help. If you or someone you know was injured at work or has a workers’ compensation case, contact the experienced attorneys at Goldberg & Wolf. Call us at (856) 651-1600 to speak with a dedicated member of our legal team.

When You Should Represent Yourself or Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer

Represent Yourself or Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer

If you’ve suffered a work injury or developed an occupational disease, it may be tempting to bypass the seemingly intimidating legal system and attempt to represent yourself in your workers’ compensation case. You may be motivated to save money by not paying legal fees, or by lack of free time to meet up with lawyers or attend court dates. You may feel overwhelmed by medical bills and so focused on your path to recovery that you want your compensation case settled and out of mind as soon as you are able to go back to work.

 

When to Represent Yourself

There are only a handful of situations where you can get away with representing yourself in your work injury case without missing out on the maximum amount of benefits to which you’re entitled, or digging yourself deeper into problems with your employer down the road. You can represent yourself in court if you suffered a small, non-debilitating injury on the job, such as a cut that requires stitches, a twisted ankle, or a muscle sprain. You can also represent yourself if you don’t currently have a pre-existing condition, your employer immediately admits fault for your injury or illness, and you missed less than seven days of work due to your injury.

 

However, for larger issues or potentially illegal situations, such as employer retaliation for filing a workers’ comp claim, it’s best if you consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before proceeding with your case. Situations involving major injuries or illnesses, or any concurrent payouts from Social Security or Medicare, are better handled by someone intimately familiar with workers’ comp law. Although it’s easy to think you’re saving money or headaches by representing yourself, you shouldn’t risk losing benefits you may be eligible for or having your claim denied due to improper filing or representation.

 

When to Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney

It’s a fairly common occurrence for employees filing workers’ comp claims to settle with their employers if their claim is denied, or if they receive less money than what they should be receiving. Unfortunately, once a workers’ comp claim is closed or settled, it cannot be reopened, and the claimant is stuck with whatever was granted to them, even if it’s not a sufficient amount to cover all of their medical expenses.

 

Hiring an attorney is the only failsafe way to guarantee you’re maximizing your benefits, correctly representing your case, filing the proper paperwork by the proper deadlines, and thoroughly documenting the severity of your workplace injury and your need for employer compensation. Most workers’ comp lawyers will also offer a free initial consultation to consider your situation, so you won’t even have to worry about paying legal fees until compensation is awarded, and even then, a 15-20% fee is worth the satisfaction of knowing you tapped into all of your possible compensation streams.

 

You should hire a qualified work injury lawyer to represent you in the following situations:

 

If you’re reduced to permanent partial or total disability resulting from a work accident, repeated motions or exposure to harmful chemicals that eventually led to the diagnosis of an occupational disease. You may be entitled to lifetime weekly payments or a lump sum settlement for your permanent partial or total disability if your disability is so severe that you can no longer perform the functions of your job, or return to work at all.

 

Since these perpetual payouts are huge expenses for insurance carriers, they will go to any length to ensure they don’t have to pay you what you deserve. Only an expert attorney can help argue your case, so you earn your fair share of compensation.

 

If your employer denies your claim or is late paying your benefits when they’re most needed. People with denied claims are more than likely to simply accept the fact that their claim has been denied when they are actually in a strong position to appeal their claim denial. A dedicated work injury lawyer can guide you through the process of appealing and ensure you receive your fair share of compensation.

 

If you’re also receiving medical benefits or assistance from Social Security or Medicare. The majority of your medical bill assistance will come from workers’ comp, but these payments can offset or interfere with your Social Security and Medicare payments. To avoid losing potential future medical payments or relinquishing a portion of your payout to the Social Security Administration, you should hire a workers’ comp lawyer.

 

If your claim settlement amount isn’t sufficient enough to cover all of your medical expenses or lost wages. Not understanding what wages you deserve in the first place can make this situation much more challenging. Instead of trusting a judge to decide what you deserve, rest easy knowing you have a knowledgeable lawyer on your side. Your initial consultation with nearly all workers’ comp lawyers will be free, and they will know how to argue your case to win you the highest possible settlement.

 

If your employer fired or demoted you, cut your hours or pay, or retaliated against you in any other way for filing your workers’ comp claim. These activities are examples of illegal workplace discrimination and warrant the hiring of a workers’ comp attorney right away.

 

Decide Which Option is Best for You

Deciding to represent yourself in your workers’ comp case can seem like the most convenient option, but it can end up costing you much more than you realize. Consulting with a work injury attorney about your case can give them insight into your situation and help you determine whether or not you can handle the case on your own—all for free.

 

In addition to presenting the facts about your case to the courts in a clear, organized fashion, only a workers’ comp attorney is fully qualified to evaluate and document the severity of your injury or illness and properly estimate how much compensation your case is worth. Your attorney can also help you fill out and submit the required forms for your claim and meet all submission deadlines.

 

The workers’ compensation law system is designed largely to benefit employers and insurance carriers. They are looking out for their own interests and profits above all else, and aren’t afraid to twist your story or discard the facts about your case to ensure you don’t receive your entitled compensation. Don’t wait until your benefits have stopped or your claim has been denied to consult with a work injury lawyer who’s ready to take up your case.

 

If you’re not sure whether to represent yourself in your workers’ comp case, it’s always a sound idea to consult with an experienced workers’ comp attorney. Goldberg & Wolf has been helping clients win the workers’ comp benefits they deserve since 1992. Serving Cherry Hill and the surrounding areas, we are just one call or visit away from learning more about your work injury or occupational disease.

 

We are here to prepare your medical documentation and present your case, so the law is on your side. Contact our dedicated legal team today at (856)-651-1600 today for a free consultation.

Be Careful What You Post Online After Sustaining A Work Injury

Be Careful What You Post Online After a Work Injury

 

Apart from being connected to our near and dear ones and knowing what is going on in each other’s lives, today the information available on social media can sometimes work against us. You can unknowingly jeopardize your chances of employment if your employer finds out information that contradicts what you have declared on file. There are also various instances where a person has lost a legal battle or compensation claim where they were hurt on the job because the pictures they shared on social media depicted a different story.

 

A work injury affects your life in more ways than one. From having to take time off from work to recover from injuries or living with disability in serious cases. A lawsuit aims to recover damages because the injury you suffered at work is taking a toll on your life. On the other hand, the defense lawyer will try to find proof of the fact that your life is not negatively affected and try and prove that you are exaggerating.

 

It would not be wrong to call our generation social media obsessed. Sharing selfies and instant images of our day to day happenings on facebook, twitter, and other social media platforms have become like second nature. Even with people fighting for privacy rights, the amount of information that you post online, which is available for the taking is mind-boggling. Social media is now being used a tool by insurance carriers and investigators to conduct investigations. If you were hurt due to a work injury, you should avoid posting images or put out statements which are contradictory and could harm your workers’ compensation claim.

 

We came up with four critical things that you should keep in mind when you plan to post something online, while you’ve filed a personal injury claim.

 

Don’t Post Negative Comments About the Defendant:  It’s natural to be angry about an injury that was caused by the negligence of the defendant and was no fault of yours. An extension of venting can include going on social media and announcing it to the world. This is an absolute no-no.

 

There have been a lot of cases where the party who’s suing is labeled as “sue-happy” and rightly so because they have exaggerated their claims and have got away with it.  You will make it easy for the defending lawyers to use the hateful post against you, and claim that you’re just out to malign their name.

 

Don’t Post Details of Your Accident:  Your family and friends might rightfully care for you and might want to know of your progress after an accident. But it’s not a good idea to post pictures or update your status on social media. It could seriously damage your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve, thus end up costing you a fortune.

 

It will work against you if it can be proved from your accounts on social media that you’ve recovered beyond what you have claimed or your activity level is more than what’s required to claim compensation. Though your intention might be just to update your near and dear ones with progress, always keep in mind that the other side is watching.

 

Don’t Use the “Check-In” Feature: Social media, especially Facebook now has location tracking capabilities. You can use this to let people know where you’ve been. In normal situations, it gives your friends or colleagues who are in the vicinity an opportunity to catch up. Even in distress situations, it can help track you down.

 

When it comes to claiming compensation for your work-related injury, it’s a good idea to stay away from using this feature. While you are recovering, if you are out and about especially visiting places where an injured person shouldn’t be in the first place; checking-in can be interpreted that you aren’t as immobile as you claim to be. This could be perfect grounds for you lose your compensation claim. It is wise to stay away from this feature until you have completely recovered or your case has reached a logical conclusion.

 

Check Your Privacy Settings: Make sure that your privacy settings are set to the maximum before you post anything. Images shared by your friends and family members should also be restricted so that only known people can access those. Posts from your timeline before the date of injury could also cause issues to your injury claims case.

 

For example, even if you post an earlier picture of you involved in a demanding physical activity after you have filed a case can make your claim look fraudulent. It might not matter if the picture was taken earlier.

 

Being cautious is better than falling prey to unmindfully posting updates on your social media platform that the other side can use against you.

 

If you have suffered a work injury and are seeking compensation, you need an experienced work injury lawyer to help you navigate your case and receive the compensation to which you are entitled. Since 1992, the attorneys the Law Offices of Goldberg & Wolf have been dedicated to winning our clients’ work injury cases and getting them the benefits they deserve. Contact us today at (856)-651-1600 to speak with a member of our legal team regarding a case or to schedule a free consultation.

What to Know About a Work Injury Caused by Third Party Negligence

What you should know about injuries caused by third-party negligence?

Recently my friend Paul (a limousine driver) met with an accident. His limousine was rear-ended by a truck. Thanks to heavy traffic the impact was not too much but, my friend suffered some serious back injuries which will keep him out of work for at least a couple of months, if not more. He has been advised to file for third-party negligence in addition to workers’ compensation.

Who could be termed as the “third party” in the case of a work injury?

Third party liability or negligence comes into play when a work injury is caused by someone who doesn’t work for your employer, similar to what happened to Paul. The third party as the name suggests is another person or entity who is not your employer.

Here are a few examples of who are categorized as the third party:

  • Companies who manufacture and/or distribute toxic materials (without proper safety  instructions)
  • Manufacturers and distributors of defective machinery or unsafe products
  • Manufacturers of unsafe equipment which are used in industry
  • Motor vehicles belonging to a third party which has been involved in an accident
  • Property owners who put others at risks due to their negligence like not clearing sidewalks after a snowfall, not putting up caution signs)

All of the above can cause people at work to suffer significant injuries as a result.

We have made it easy for you to identify the term “third party” negligence in the following situations where you can file a personal injury lawsuit and claimed compensation related to your injuries:

  • You are on the road in a company vehicle or a paid vehicle doing company related work, and you meet with an accident. Then the person who causes the accident is the third party.
  • You get injured due to defective tools or products. The manufacturer is the third party and can be liable.
  • You get injured when a delivery truck is trying to pull into the bay of your warehouse. Since your injury is caused by the truck driver, he becomes the third party.
  • You get injured due to a toxic substance manufactured by a third party.

Unfortunately, workers’ compensation doesn’t cover everything. There’s no compensation for your pain and suffering, or disfigurement, or wage loss beyond the limits of workers’ compensation.

The only way to recover these additional damages caused by a third party (someone other than your employer or coworkers), is a personal injury lawsuit against the equipment supplier, manufacturer or driver (in the case of road accidents).

You would need to prove the following in order to establish your claims:

  • A duty existed: It was the duty of the “third-party” to keep you free from harm.
  • Breach of duty: The “third-party” didn’t adhere to their duties of keeping you safe.
  • There was an injury: You as a victim suffered damages.
  • Cause: Their (third-party) negligence caused your injury.

The important point to note when filing for third-party negligence is to make sure that you can prove or have facts that the injury was indeed due to their fault. Consultation with a work injury lawyer is important when filing for third party liabilities. Third party claims can allow an injured worker to claim 100% compensation and wage loss for the past and future. 100% of the medical treatment can also be claimed along with compensations for the pain and suffering.

The possibility of financial recovery from a personal injury case caused due to third party negligence may be greater than what could be recovered in a normal workers’ compensation claim. Your employer can also stake a claim on the compensation benefits that you receive from the third party negligence.

Work injuries as the result of third-party negligence can be confusing. If you have questions regarding a case or want to speak to a representative, the attorneys at Goldberg & Wolf are more than happy to help. Contact a member of our legal team today at (856) 651-1600 for more information.

The Workers’ Compensation Hearing Procedure for Injured Workers

New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Hearing Procedures

Most workers’ compensation cases result in a settlement between the injured worker, the employer, and their insurer. Settlements can be primarily of two types; settlements for a level of permanency under Section 22 or a full sum settlement under Section 20.

 

What to do in Case of a Work-Related Illness or Injury

In case of a work injury, you should notify your employer within 90 days without fail. The next step is to consult a work injury attorney who is well versed in workers’ compensation law. He or she will file a claim petition for medical and temporary benefits with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. This needs to be done within a 2-year period and applies for both work-related injuries and occupational diseases.

 

What Happens Once You File a Claim Petition?

Once a claim is reported it is investigated by the employer and if it is found that the work that you do, contributed to your injury or illness, your employer will compensate you for:

 

  • The cost of necessary and reasonable medical treatment.
  • Wage replacement benefits during recovery period
  • Benefits for any permanent partial disability / temporary total disability / permanent total disability.

 

While your claim petition is in the process, keep all records related to the claim such as:

 

  • Claim-related forms
  • Accident report if any
  • Medical reports, prescriptions, hospitalization records
  • Any communication from your employer and their insurer

 

It is possible that the insurer might try to delay or deny claims, so work with your attorney so that he or she can build enough evidence to substantiate your claim.

 

You (as well as your employer) can also file for an informal hearing with a Judge of Compensation, where a representative of your employer or their insurer will also be present. Any suggestions made by the judge are not binding on either party. If no agreement is reached then a formal hearing is requested.

 

A formal hearing may be scheduled several months after the injury has occurred. Here, disputes are resolved and details of the benefit payments are determined based upon factors such as the degree of disability, treatment procedures, permanency, work-relatedness of the injury/illness, and compensation rates.

 

Hearing Procedures in New Jersey

While medical treatment after a work related injury will be typically covered by your employer or their insurer, receiving other benefits may depend on the claims process which may vary from state to state. In New Jersey, the procedure of hearing is as follows:

 

  • Post medical treatment, your doctor (or employer) certifies that you have achieved maximum medical improvement (MMI). Twenty-six weeks after this you can file a claim petition.
  • Once released from medical care, your lawyer will look through your records and ensure your case is ready for either hearing or for discussion of the settlement amount with your employer. This process takes a period of approximately nine months up until the first hearing.
  • When a settlement is agreed upon, the case will proceed to the settlement hearing. If not then the case is adjourned for a number of cycles, each cycle being 3 weeks.
  • Not all claims go to trial, the ones that do are listed on a 3-week cycle by the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
  • Within the 3-week period, or if extended over adjournments to more cycles, the case is eventually closed by judgement from the court, a lump sum payment or, order approving a settlement which is more common.
  • The case may also be dismissed without (or with) prejudice.
  • Following this, the settlement awards and attorney fees are paid out by the insurer or employer.

This is usually the final step of the entire claims process that you started many months ago. While this may have been a difficult journey, your attorney can be an invaluable partner during this process to make sure you get what you deserve.

 

The dedicated attorneys at Goldberg & Wolf can help you through the workers’ compensation claim process and hearing procedure if you or someone you know were injured at work. Contact our legal team today at (856) 651-1600 for more information.

The Evolution and History of the Workers’ Compensation Law

Through the centuries, the definitions of words have changed, going through a metamorphosis. They have also developed synonyms and slang terms. This occurs in any industry and for any product.

For example, the word automobile became auto and then a car. They mean the mean the same thing. However, a person may use “auto” while another individual may use “car” based on where they live and from social influence.

The same can be said of workers’ compensation. The system not only went through many changes to form the workers’ compensation we know today but in name as well. It has many names, most commonly still used is workmans’ compensation. But how where did this phrase come from?

How Workers’ Compensation Began

According to The Iowa Orthopaedic Journal, workers’ compensation law dates to ancient Sumeria. The law of Ur-Nammu in 2050 B.C. provided monetary compensation for workers’ body parts that were injured on the job.

From there, it went through many changes to focus more on the employer than the employee. In the late Middle Ages, the legal framework of workers’ compensation was formed and was defined by three principles, which lasted until the Industrial Revolution:

  • Contributory Negligence: If the worker was at fault for his injury, then the employer was not responsible.
  • The “Fellow Servant” Rule: If the worker’s injury resulted from the carelessness of a “fellow servant,” then the employer was not responsible.
  • The “Assumption of Risk:” Employees did not realize the danger of their jobs when they signed their contracts. But by signing the contract, the employee assumed the risks that came with the job. These contracts became known as “worker’s right to die” or “death contracts.”

In the nineteenth century, the only way for workers to get compensation was to sue their employer. This was a costly process, and few workers were victorious.

The biggest change to workers’ compensation came with Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in the late 1800’s in Prussia. Bismarck needed the support of the working man, so he created the Workers’ Accident Insurance in 1884, which was followed by the Public Pension Insurance.

It provided a stipend for workers injured from non-work related illnesses and Public Aid for those who became permanently disabled. These programs fueled the notion of providing care to workers hurt on the job across Europe and then to the United States. The focus on the employer was now shifting to the employee.

It wasn’t until many failed attempts by varies states in the U.S. that the federal government created a law (1908) that would cover workers involved in interstate trade. The first workers’ compensation passed in 1911 in Wisconsin. By 1948, every state had workers’ compensation legislation.

Universal Tenets of Workers’ Compensation

Although workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, they all have these tenets:

  • Employees can receive workers’ compensation benefits even if the worker is at fault.
  • Employees cannot sue their employers if they receive workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Employees can sue third parties (i.e. product manufacturers) that caused their injuries.

How Workmans’ Compensation Became Workers’ Compensation

Just as the framework of workers’ compensation changed over the centuries, its name changed too. In 1880, the English called it “workingmen’s compensation” when Parliament passed the Employers Liability Act.

In 1897, this Act was replaced by the Workmans’ Compensation Act. It wasn’t until the twentieth century in the United States, did “workingmens’” became workmans.’ This change occurred in Florida as they were formalizing their own state-run workers’ compensation system.

In 1978, the state’s workmens’ compensation provided workers with a schedule of benefits based on the type of injury. Workers received a lump sum payment to cover medical bills. Soon the “wage loss concept” took root and system were renamed workers’ compensation (or workers’ comp).

Many still use the term workmans’ compensation (or workmans’ comp) because of the changes Florida made to its workers’ compensation laws. They all mean the same thing: monetary compensation for medical bills and wages lost during recovery.

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Here, at Goldberg & Wolf Law Firm our experienced attorneys can help you with your Workers’ Compensation claim and understand the complex workers’ compensation law. To speak to one of our highly qualified attorney’s contact us or call us at 856-651-1600.

Remember that workers’ compensation law differs from state to state, if you need help in Pennsylvania reach out to our good friends at Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo.

NJ Construction Workers Often Suffer Back-Related Work Injury

New Jersey Construction Workers Often Suffer Back-Related Work Injuries

 

Construction workers are vulnerable to work-related back injuries. Working at construction sites is a physically taxing job, that is a known fact. It involves a lot of heavy lifting, lugging big loads, bending at awkward angles and also involves the risk of falling from heights. For construction workers; this implies a constant threat of getting hurt on the job.

 

Injuries to the spinal cord or back muscles can hinder a worker’s movement. So, it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that a back-related work injury could put a worker out of action at least for some time.

 

There could be a number of reasons for back injuries taking place at construction sites.

 

  • Repeated stress injuries happen if a repeated movement puts a strain on the back. For instance, bending at an abnormal angle on a regular basis over a period of time can leave a worker’s back susceptible to injury.

 

  • Spraining back muscles can also result in an injury, and this is pretty common. For example, a worker could get hurt while twisting the back and carrying a heavy load at the same time.

 

  • Workers could also hurt their backs due to a fall or collision with a heavy object.

 

Back injuries are not always immediately apparent. If the work injury is due to a fall or an accident which results in back pain or any other back-related symptom, the association between the two events can be made right away. However, there are times when the association is not as clear.

 

A worker who maintains improper posture while carrying out his duties or work-related activity is more likely to suffer a back injury if the action continues for many days at a stretch. Or a worker who needs to push, pull, or carry heavy loads on a regular basis could also sustain a back injury that might not be visible immediately. In such cases, the injury will manifest itself after a period of time, usually in the form of pain or stiffness in the back.

As soon as a worker gets the feeling that the back might be injured, he or she should consult a doctor. In most cases, the doctor will advise the patient to undergo scans of the back like an MRI or X-Ray to determine the type of injury as well as its severity.

 

Treatment of back injuries varies based on the type and extent of the injury. Depending on the severity of the injury, the worker might be advised active rest of back muscles by refraining from strenuous activities. In some cases, complete bed rest might be advised as well.

 

Treatment for back injuries usually involves physiotherapy, strengthening exercises, or sessions with a chiropractor. The doctor might prescribe pain-relieving medication if necessary. In some severe cases, surgery could be the only solution.

 

The pain from back injuries can be quite intense, but timely treatment can help resolve the issues. Scans to determine the extent of damage and a particular line of treatments can be quite expensive, though. Injured workers who are advised to rest will also end up missing work. Workers are entitled to receive workers’ compensation to cover the expenses incurred from a work-related injury.

 

Workers who get hurt on the job should consult with a work injury attorney to understand their rights and ways to file a compensation claim. Construction workers in New Jersey who sustain work injuries can get compensation benefits which could cover their medical costs entirely. Discussing your case with an experienced attorney will help you figure out the way ahead.

If you’ve been a victim of a work-related injury, but your employer is trying to lowball, you will require a team of seasoned lawyers by your side to get a just compensation. Contact the Law Offices of Goldberg & Wolf at (856)-651-1600 to speak with a member of our legal team regarding your case.

Understanding the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Process

The NJ Workers’ Compensation Process

It’s a well-known fact that laws differ from state to state, and workers’ compensation laws are no different. If you are residing in the state of New Jersey and get injured at work, then here is what you need to be aware of when you are filing for a workers’ compensation.

 

Benefits under workers’ compensation

If your claim is accepted, then you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. You may be eligible for medical, disability, partial and/or permanent benefits when you are injured at work or have contracted a condition that is work-related.

 

Medical benefits: Treatment for your work-related injury or disease is covered under medical benefits. Medical benefits include physiotherapy, hospital visits and other procedures that could be required in your case.

Under New Jersey law if you have a work-related injury then your employer or the insurance provider of your company may choose your doctor for treatment. Your medical bills may not be covered if you choose a doctor who isn’t authorized by the insurance provider for treatment.

 

Temporary disability: If you are out of work or are unable to recover from your work-related injury for seven or more days then you are eligible for temporary disability benefits. In New Jersey, you will receive 70% of your wages, subject to the maximum limit set by the state. The temporary disability benefits end when your doctor certifies you are fit enough to start work again.

 

Permanent Partial Disability: If you have sustained a permanent injury, like a disabled finger, but are still capable of doing some work then you may be eligible for permanent partial disability. These benefits start once you have reached a point where no further medical treatment can improve your condition.

The amount of benefits depends on the disability rating assigned by your doctor and also on the part of the body part you have injured. The NJ workers’ compensation rulebook consists of a list which contains the injury and the number of benefits for each that you would be eligible for.

 

Permanent Total Disability: If your work injury makes you permanently disabled then you may be eligible for permanent total disability. You will receive a weekly payment which is similar to a pension. The ceiling of the benefit amount is 70% of your average weekly pay.

You can refer to the State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development website.

 

Filing a Claim

In New Jersey, you must file your workers’ compensation within 90 days of your injury. If you do not file within the stipulated time, then you may lose the right to claim your benefit. Once you notify your employer, he, in turn, will notify his insurance company. The insurance company files your claim, and you start receiving benefits once your claim has been approved. If you claim is denied then you can appeal against it.

 

Appealing for a Denied Claim

You can file a claim if your benefits were denied or there was a dispute between your employer and you. You can file a Formal Claim Petition or Application for Informal Hearing. After filing, your case will be assigned to a court and judge depending on your county of residence. A formal hearing takes longer to resolve than an informal one.

Whatever your case may be, there are certain things you must remember when you file a claim.

  • Do not agree to give any recorded or sworn statements. It may work against you.
  • Talk to a work injury lawyer before filing your claim.
  • If your employer lures you for a settlement, then do not agree to it. Your benefits will most likely be lower than what you will get with workers’ compensation.

 

If you have been injured at work, you are not alone. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Goldberg & Wolf can help you navigate through the complex process of filing a claim and make sure that you get the compensation you are entitled. Contact the Law Offices of Goldberg & Wolf today at (856)-651-1600 for a free consultation.