Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Cover Infectious Disease?

Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Infectious Disease?

If you suffer an injury at work, what to do next may be obvious if you’re familiar with the basics of workers’ compensation law and filing procedures. But what happens if you catch a contagious disease at work?

 

What happens if you contract pneumonia while at work, for example, and you’re not able to return to work for several weeks while you recover?

 

While it’s important to note that not all infectious diseases are compensable under New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law, diseases that are contracted while working under conditions unique to your job duties or work environment have the potential to earn you compensation for medical bills or lost wages. In the event that an infectious disease is so severe that it leads to the infected employee’s death, their surviving spouse or family members may be entitled to benefits for medical and funeral expenses paid out by the employer’s insurance carrier.

 

What Types of Infections Are Considered Employment-Related?

New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development, like those of many other states, define infectious or contagious diseases as being compensable under workers’ comp law if the employee filing the claim had a greater chance of contracting the disease at their job than they would while among the general public. Under this definition, catching a cold or the flu, which are very common diseases that most of the general population can contract anywhere, would not be compensable under workers’ comp law.

 

However, there are certain work environments, factors and job duties that pose the risk of employees contracting certain types of infectious diseases while on the job, more so than the general public would be at risk of contracting.

 

As a prime example, health care workers are especially vulnerable to a slew of contagions and infections that can carry serious or fatal health risks from even the slightest amount of exposure. A nurse accidentally stuck with a needle that was used on a patient known to have HIV, or that contracts MRSA while treating patients infected with it, can earn workers’ comp benefits by claiming they were at a particularly high risk of those infections due to the nature of their work.

 

Since these types of infections are quite common in hospitals but not readily spread among the general public, these healthcare workers are likely to receive workers’ comp since these illnesses were contracted while on the job, and working at the hospital or rehab center gave them a peculiarly high risk of exposure and contraction compared to the level of exposure and spread among the general public.

 

Other types of infectious diseases that can be caught on the job include rare fevers, tuberculosis, asbestosis, and even cancer, depending on the conditions in which a claimant works and the type of work expected of their job position. As another example, a salesperson who is sent abroad to an Asian country where they contract typhoid or a rare type of flu may be able to file a workers’ comp claim.

 

Since foreigners are at an especially high risk of contracting a disease that the locals in these countries have most likely built an immunity to, and since the salesperson attended a foreign country as part of a work assignment and as a result, was exposed to the chance of catching an infectious disease on the job more so than they would have been exposed elsewhere, they have a good chance of collecting workers’ compensation for lost wages and medical bills.

 

In the case that exposure to an infectious disease causes you to miss work in order to seek treatment, such as for blood testing, you may be entitled to temporary disability compensation to cover your medical costs and wages lost from missing work. If you’re infected with a disease that causes lifelong issues or the permanent malfunction of a certain bodily system, your employer may be required to pay you permanent disability and medical monitoring.

 

What Happens if You Catch a Disease from a Coworker?

Workplaces are breeding grounds for contagious diseases. With a large number of people working within close proximity of one another in the same building or room, it’s common for one sick person to come into the office and spread their germs among their coworkers.

 

However, there are certain situations where catching an infectious disease at your workplace could earn you workers’ comp benefits. The hard part is proving that your circumstances entitle you to these benefits.

 

Unlike being hurt on the job, where one specific incident or string of events happens that triggers a work injury or occupational disease on the work premises, proving you caught an infectious disease at work can be difficult and negatively impact your claim if not done correctly and thoroughly. There are two factors at play that need to be proved in order for you to see any benefits: you must prove that your workplace exposed you to your disease at a greater degree than what the general public would normally be exposed to, and that the specific job duties you perform and environment you work in significantly contributed to you contracting your disease.

 

The common cold and the flu are prevalent throughout America and spread fairly easily across the population, even among groups of people who don’t work in an office every day. Catching a cold or the flu from a coworker while at work is not likely to award you any money, even if you end up missing work for several days as a result of your illness, because your risk of contraction is about the same as the general public’s risk of contraction.

 

More serious and possibly lethal diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis, typhoid or meningitis, can be eligible for workers’ comp if your coworker brought it into the workplace and you work alongside said coworker for the majority of your workday.  Workers’ comp, in this case, would clearly be attainable, since you technically caught the disease while at work and your employment gave you a greater risk of contracting the disease than what the general public would normally have.

 

What to Do If You Contract an Infectious Disease at Work

If you contract an infectious disease at work, whether or not you’re eligible for workers’ compensation can depend on a number of circumstances. It’s advised to see a doctor to determine the extent of your injuries, and your workers’ comp claim will also require you to prove the link between your disease and your employment in order to see benefits. The best way to discover which benefits you’re eligible for is to hire a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer.

 

Goldberg & Wolf has been representing work injury and occupational disease claims throughout Cherry Hill and surrounding areas since 1992. Our highly experienced legal team will go through your case with meticulous attention to detail and help you file your claim within the statute of limitations for New Jersey workers’ comp law.

 

Get the compensation you deserve from lawyers who are ready to focus on your recovery and rights. Contact us today for a free case evaluation at 856-651-1600 or visit our office at 1949 Berlin Road in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Workers’ Compensation Section 20 vs. 22: Which Section is for You?

 

Section 20 vs. 22: Which Settlement is for You?

Employers dealing with workers’ compensation claims filed against them by their employees have many facets of each case to consider when deciding on a potential settlement. Each unique case, and the circumstances under which a particular claimant suffered a work injury will bring about the possibility of settlement either under Section 20 or Section 22 of New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Law.

 

But what are the differences between these two types of settlements, and which one works out best for the employer and employee? Which type an employer eventually petitions for depends on the injury or illness suffered by the filing employee, whether they’re at risk of re-injuring the same body part in the future, and whether there is a bona fide issue of causation or liability of the injury that needs to be resolved.

 

Pros and Cons of Settling Under Section 20

Before delving into the benefits this type of settlement can give an employer, let’s go over exactly what a Section 20 settlement is. A Section 20 settlement, named for the corresponding section of New Jersey Workers’ Comp Law, happens when both parties agree to a one-time lump sum payout to settle a workers’ comp case and the agreement is approved by a judge. Once settled, a Section 20 case cannot be reopened in the event of the claimant re-injuring the same body part at some point in the future.

 

Employers and insurance carriers greatly benefit from this type of settlement because they won’t have to pay any additional amount of money in the future in the case of re-injury, and the employer does not have to admit fault or liability in the workplace accident. This is an easy way out for the employer and a way to save money they won’t have to dedicate to future doctors’ visits or treatment, which is why they prefer Section 20 to Section 22. However, the employee filing the claim is not as fortunate in this situation.

 

A Section 20 settlement is purely for insurance rating purposes and is not an actual workers’ comp payout, and will not provide the employee with additional medical bill or wage loss assistance in the future if they suffer further injury to the body part they already injured at work.

 

In some cases or pre-existing conditions or re-injury, employers and their insurance companies are having to pay ten times more than they had ever imagined. This is called “Apportionment.” Knowing whether your employer relies on this practice is very beneficial to the potential of future workers’ compensation cases you might have and what their outcome may be.

 

Pros and Cons of Orders Approving Settlement, Or Section 22

Most workers’ comp lawyers will advise against a Section 20 settlement if you’ve been hurt on the job; instead, they will guide you towards the option of an Order Approving Settlement, detailed in Section 22 of New Jersey’s Workers’ Comp Law. This type of settlement is paid out in weekly installments, and the employee receives a percentage of disability paid out by the employer.

 

Unlike the permanence of a Section 20 closure, a Section 22 allows the employee to seek more money for future treatments if they re-injure their originally injured body part within two years of the last date of payment, and will give an employer a credit for the percentage of workers’ comp they’ve paid. However, settling under Section 22 requires the employer to admit fault for their employee’s workplace injury, and it can potentially cost them more money over time if they have to pay an extra amount to the injured employee in case of future re-injury.

 

Why Does This Difference Matter?

These two types of settlement have the same end goal in mind—to ensure you end up with the workers’ compensation you rightfully deserve for suffering an injury or contracting an illness while on the job. However, there are only certain instances where you can file a Section 20 settlement, and it must be approved by a judge before you see any benefits. This type of settlement really benefits your employer more than it will benefit you for a number of reasons.

 

Remember that your employer does not have to admit fault or liability for your accident in a Section 20 settlement. All they have to do is request a judge’s approval and payout a lump sum in order to send your claim to the archives forever, without the fear of you reopening it and demanding more money from them. However, it means you can’t reopen the case at a later date if you re-injure your same body part, and you won’t receive any additional funds for future medical treatments, hospital bills or lost wages if that’s the case.

 

Section 22 settlements are a far better situation for you to be in, but a much worse situation for your employer. Neither type of settlement accounts for or can prevent a future re-injury from happening, but a Section 22 settlement means a higher payout rate for your employer, which they’ll most likely do anything to prevent.

 

A percentage of disability is paid by your employer based on the body part injured, and severity of the injury suffered, so if they’re paying 25% for your injury now, and in 2020, you re-injure your back, for example, their percentage paid will most likely increase, which costs them more money in the long run. The Section 20 settlement option allows for an employer to argue for a lower credit since there is no initial credit amount established when a claim is first filed, and they can still file for a retroactive credit for the previous injury in the event of a re-injury.

 

Which Type of Settlement is Right for You?

New Jersey’s workers’ comp settlement options give you a choice if you’ve suffered an injury or contracted an illness at work, but you may still be a bit confused as to which option is right for your specific situation. Before you file your claim, it’s highly recommended to consult with a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney to determine which settlement option you should go with, and to make sure you’ve correctly filled out all necessary documents by the proper deadlines.

 

Your attorney can review Section 20 vs. Section 22 settlements with you and help you make an informed decision based on which one will most benefit you. In the event of a re-injury to your already injured body part if you originally settled your case under an Order Approving Settlement, it’s important to document all additional medical expenses and time out of work within two years after your last benefit payment so the Division of Labor can review your claim and adjust your payout accordingly.

 

When in Doubt, Contact an Experienced NJ Workers’ Comp Lawyer

If you’re feeling any uneasiness about your workers’ comp claim or fearing possible retaliation from your employer, you should turn to an experienced workers’ comp lawyer to help you sort out the details of your case and ensure you receive the full amount of compensation to which you’re entitled.

 

Goldberg & Wolf have fought and won thousands of cases in the courtroom for injured workers throughout Cherry Hill and the surrounding areas. We’ve been relentless advocates for workers’ rights and benefits since 1992, and now we’re ready to learn more about how your work injury has impacted your life. Call us today for a free consultation at 856-651-1600 or visit our office at 1949 Berlin Road in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Injured Police Officer of Vegas Shooting Denied Workers’ Compensation

Las Vegas Shooting Police Officers Denied Workers’ Compensation Claims

The mass shooting incident at a concert in Las Vegas a few months ago is one that will not be easily forgotten. While the shooting was transpiring, several off-duty California police officers took decisive action and rushed to save lives during the deadly rampage. Some Southern California law enforcement officers who risked their own lives to save others while off-duty were left wounded. While they were praised for their heroism, when they returned home, their workers’ compensation claims were denied.

 

These wounded officers filed for public-employee benefits to cover the long-term medical care much-needed to recover from the trauma. But this resulted in local cities and counties debating whether these heroic law enforcement officers are entitled to receive any incentive of the sort. These cops who were off-duty at the time chose to intervene in such a deadly situation even though it was an out-of-state emergency.

 

California Labor Code

 

According to California labor code, the public agencies must pay benefits to off-duty officers injured while they are involved in the protection or preservation of life, property, or the preservation of peace anywhere in the state. It fails to make any mention of out-of-state incidents. Some attorneys believe that lawmakers should fix this problem. Others believe that preservation of life should not leave any restrictions on the officer’s location at the time of the incident.

 

The Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs stated: “Where the law is vague, the legislature has instructed the courts to liberally construe workers’ compensation statutes in favor of injured workers.” However, Orange County rejected workers’ compensation claims from four sheriff’s deputies injured in the shooting. This action has only made way for a legal battle in court that could set a standard for outcomes on the matter affecting several counties in Southern California.

 

Leon Page, an Orange County councilman, stated that the claims would not have been rejected if the county believed that the state’s code sided with those seeking compensation. He also went on to state that ruling out such compensation is only fair as per the law. He appealed that there is no ill-will, and there was absolutely no other option.

 

“The statute does not allow counties to cover off-duty conduct outside of states,” Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer said, expressing a view shared by county lawyers. “These police officers went into their instinctive training mode… and I don’t think they should be punished because they trusted their instincts. But it requires a legislative fix to the statute to extend workers’ benefits for out-of-state conduct.”

 

Local work injury lawyers have raised their condemnation against Orange County’s interpretation of state law. And the union representing Orange County’s sheriff’s deputies has said that if the county denied its members’ claims, the agency would be forsaking officers who were acting under their department’s training.

 

There are certain job fields where you can be called to duty even when you are technically off the clock such as police officers, doctors and social workers. These police officers at the Vegas concert were not on duty but stopped to render aid and serve their communities while getting physically injured trying to protect people. Psychological trauma is also another outcome suffered by these officers as a result of the shooting.

 

The compensation claims by two deputies in Los Angeles who were also injured during the Las Vegas massacre are being considered by the Los Angeles County. Officials acknowledged that they had no policy on how to handle such requests and said they expect the issue will result in litigation.

 

The Way Forward

 

If the officer’s workers’ compensation claims are approved, the taxpayers of California would be obliged to recover their medical bills. The officers could be granted paid time off and an early retirement of disability. If the officers claim injuries related to PTSD suffered during the shooting – it could result in additional filings.

 

This incident has opened up a whole discussion on when workers can and cannot file for workers’ compensation. If officers can claim compensation from getting hurt on the job while in their home state, it is only logical to extend the same rule while they perform their duties outside of the state as well. In case of denial of workers’ compensation claims and similar situation, a qualified injury lawyer is of utmost importance to help recover a deserving compensation.

 

If you have questions about work-related injuries give Goldberg & Wolf a call at (856) 651-1600 or contact us and we will help you get the best possible representation.

The Importance of Knowing New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Facts

New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Facts

 

How much attention do we pay to our rights as an employee while taking up a new job? We are not thinking about morbid things like accidents and injuries at such a time, right? So it is not uncommon for most workers to be completely unaware of their right to compensation or benefits if they get injured at work.

 

Workers spend a significant amount of time at work. Getting hurt while on the job is always a possibility. In the event you get a work-related injury, it is essential to know your workers’ compensation facts.

 

Injuries are not limited to physically taxing work like construction jobs. They could happen anywhere, at any place of work. The damage could be minor, or it could be grave. It could be due to an accident, or it could be due to a repeated stress injury which manifests over a period.

 

Whatever may be the cause of the injury, if it occurs at the workplace, the claim for compensation is valid. If a worker needs medical attention or has to miss work while recuperating from a work injury, then he or she is eligible to get benefits that compensate for the losses incurred by him or her.

 

Know Your Rights

 

If employees are familiar with their compensation rights, the chances of being cheated out of receiving monetary benefits from the employer or the insurance company are lower. Lack of awareness could lead to being denied what is rightfully yours. This is why it is necessary for workers not to be ignorant and to educate themselves on such matters.

 

Division of Workers’ Compensation

 

In New Jersey, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development has a specific division that looks into compensation for workers who have sustained injuries at work. The Division of Workers’ Compensation serves as a regulatory body when it comes to protecting the rights of workers as well as employers in the state of New Jersey.

 

Some of the objectives of this organization are ensuring that employers obtain insurance coverage for their employees and that the workers receive compensation if they get injured at work. The Division also levies fines or penalties on erring companies that do not have insurance coverage for their employees. It provides temporary benefits to employees who have been injured at the workplace.

 

What Should a Worker Do If They Get Injured at Work?

 

When workers get injured at work or discover that an existing injury has been caused due to a work-related activity, the first thing they must do is inform their employers.The employer then has to notify the insurance company after which a ‘first report of injury’ can be filed.

If medical treatment is required, the employer’s insurance company will have a list of pre-approved hospitals and doctors that can be consulted. If the worker goes to a doctor, not on the list, there is a chance that the insurance company may decline the compensation claim.

 

What If You Disagree With Your Employer?

 

While work injury compensation may seem like a straightforward matter, it is not always so. A lot of times there may be disputes on claims between injured workers and the company they work for. One of the primary reasons for dispute is if the company believes that the worker’s injury is not work-related.

 

In such situations, an informal claim can be filed by either party with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. A judge will preside over the hearing and will mediate between the opposing parties to arrive at a consensus. This exercise helps save time and effort involved in having to go the legal route. If the solutions that come up are not acceptable to either party, they can file a formal claim as well which will involve a pre-trial stage and subsequently a formal trial. Throughout this claim filing process, whether formal or informal, it is advisable to consult with a work injury lawyer.

 

If the case goes to trial, there is a chance that the company may try to pressurize their employee to withdraw the case or discriminate against the employee at the workplace. This is strictly against the law in the state of New Jersey. In case of the worker suspecting discrimination, he or she can file a complaint against the employer with the Division.

 

A competent lawyer at Goldberg & Wolf, in Cherry Hill, NJ, can help you through the complicated process of getting worker compensation. Contact us today at (856) 651-1600 for a free consultation or to speak with a member of our legal team.

Important Workers’ Compensation Facts For Home Health Caregivers

Facts About Workers’ Compensation For Home Health Caregivers

 

Getting sick or frequently falling as you age happens to be commonplace. It is the caregivers who often have to be on the receiving side and end up being grievously hurt while on the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the figure at 12%, a percentage that’s even higher than the injury of construction workers!

 

With the population in America aging rapidly, there is a tendency of the old and infirm individuals to remain at home instead of being put into a care facility. This has resulted in an unprecedented number of home health care workers today. The home agencies providing care has seen a huge spurt in growth that’s now over a $74.5 billion industry today.

 

Sadly, the percentage of people being hurt on the job continues to plague the in-home caregivers with many of them reporting work Injury during the course of their jobs. Yes! The healthcare workers attached to psychiatric wards may face assaults and violence from the patients too.

 

However, patients like this are usually confined to an institution. So the caregiver has every right to claim workers’ compensation for the damages both physical as well as psychological.

 

The issues of providing adequate compensation to in-home caregivers have not been considered by most authorities so far. However, that is all set to change now as the demand for health caregivers has been rising up considerably with every passing year. Some of the home caregivers make an abysmally low daily wage while remaining dedicated to their tasks.

 

Unfortunately, they have to work in unhygienic conditions and are subject to abuses frequently.  The latest report by AFL-CIO has revealed a 50% increase in work-related injuries due to violent behavior of patients since 2005.

 

However, it is not going to help to silently bear it all without a complaint. A home caregiver along with the nursing and caregiving staff working in a health facility needs to get in touch with a top work injury lawyer ASAP for claiming compensation.

 

The hazards that most healthcare workers face every day include but are not limited to:

  • Overexertion and stress
  • Physical or verbal abuse
  • Risk from bloodborne pathogens
  • Injuries while handling medical wastes and sharps
  • Developing allergies due to latex sensitivity
  • Having to work in unhygienic conditions for long hours
  • Being subject to extreme temperatures
  • Back and shoulder pains from having to push heavy wheelchairs or gurneys

 

A worker who is injured or suffers disabilities while on their caregiving job can hope to receive adequate workers’ comp by filing it at the opportune moment! While it may not be necessary to hire a lawyer for filing a claim, it is recommended to do so say the experts.

 

A qualified attorney who has both the skills as well the expertise in handling workers’ comp can assist his client effectively in filing the claim properly without errors. The legal jargon is almost impossible to comprehend for a lay person and trying to file a compensation claim can prove to be a costly affair when it gets rejected outright due to errors in filing.

 

You may be wondering if there will be additional expenses when contacting a lawyer.  You can always get a free consultation from qualified attorneys and many of them will charge their fees when you receive the amount due to you after the claim has been granted.

 

Do not wait for long periods before making a claim though! Talk to an experienced work injury lawyer and they will handle it on your behalf while you remain focused on retaining your health after suffering damages.

 

You are sure to receive the required amount for the following from the insurance carrier of your employer or settle for a lump sum without having to go to court.

 

Types of Compensation that are taken into account to calculate your claim:

  • For Lost wages
  • For Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Reimbursement of all medical expenses
  • For Regular Exposure To Biohazards
  • For Disabilities both permanent and temporary

 

Health care workers who are eligible to file Workers’ Compensation claim:

  • Nurse / Nursing aid
  • Home Health Worker
  • Medical Assistant
  • Ambulance Driver
  • Physical/Occupational Therapist / Aide
  • Paramedic

 

Goldberg & Wolf is an experienced workers’ compensation law firm that can help you with your case. If you have a workers’ compensation case, you will require a team of seasoned lawyers by your side to claim the fair amount. Contact us at (856) 651-1600 for a free consultation and to get all of your queries regarding your case answered.

Workers’ Compensation & Occupational Disease Statute of Limitations

Workers’ Comp & Occupational Disease Statute of Limitations

 

If you get injured at work, the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim may be vaguely familiar to you. However, there is a similar condition that can arise from performing repeated job-related motions over a period of weeks, months or years, called occupational disease. Occupational disease differs from a workplace injury in that the onset of the disease cannot be backtracked to a specific incident or date of an accident; rather, it develops gradually as a direct result of performing some repetitive motion or being exposed to certain conditions, at your place of employment over an extended period.

Examples of an occupational disease can include carpal tunnel syndrome from typing at a computer, lung cancer from being exposed to dangerous chemicals or secondhand cigarette smoke, and arthritis from performing repetitive manual labor at a janitorial job. If you believe you have developed an occupational disease from a previous place of employment, it’s important to file your workers’ comp claim after being evaluated by a medical professional and receiving an official diagnosis and potential cause of your disease within the statute of limitations set forth by New Jersey labor laws.

Definition of Occupational Disease Statute of Limitations

New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Law states that all occupational disease claims must be filed within two years of the plaintiff discovering the nature of their disease or disability, its relationship to their work conditions or job duties and that the disease is severe enough to be compensable by your employer. It is advised that you visit a medical professional related to your specific disease or disability, receive an official diagnosis, and then file your claim within the two-year period to solidify that you’ve received written proof that your occupational disease is in fact directly related to your work.

When filing a claim, the employee must notify their employer and employer’s insurance provider that they were diagnosed with a disease that they believe to be work-related and request a medical evaluation from an employee-selected healthcare provider. The employer can refuse the employee’s request for evaluation, and if this happens, the employee may need to pay for their own medical treatment while informing both the employer and insurance provider that they are seeking their own medical treatment.

If you decide to file an occupational disease claim against your employer, the burden of proof for any type of workplace negligence falls to your employer. If negligence is not the case, you’re tasked with the burden of proof when it comes to showing beyond a reasonable doubt that you have a disease that resulted heavily from the work you did during your time of employment under your employer and that this disease was caused by a particular set of skills, movements, or a certain workplace environment specific to your occupation or type of job performed.  

Agreement of Compensation by Employers

Generally, once a workers’ compensation claim is filed in the State of New Jersey, an employer and employee will draft an agreement where the employer will give the filing employee some sort of financial compensation, in the form of either necessary medical treatment or lost wages due to absence from the place of employment on the condition of disability. If the employer and employee cannot come to an understanding, a decision will be made by an arbitration forum appointed by the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Division. Under this type of mutual agreement, a claimant has two years from the date of the last payment of compensation granted by their employer to file a workers’ compensation claim or two years after their employer’s failure to pay due to compensation.

Statute of Limitations for Filing an Occupational Disease Claim in NJ

The statute of limitations for filing an occupational illness or disease claim in New Jersey is defined as two years from the date of official diagnosis of the disease, or the date the plaintiff was made known of the nature of their illness and its relation to their job duties. The actual start date of the statute of limitations period can be difficult to determine because every claimant’s situation is vastly different. However, the statute is said to begin at the point the claimant understands the severity of their condition, which includes noticing and experiencing the most characteristic symptoms of their specific illness, and that medical treatment and disability resulting from their illness is eligible for compensation from their employer.

Take into consideration the case of Earl v. Johnson & Johnson (1999), where the claimant, Joan Earl, filed a workers’ compensation claim with her employer, Johnson & Johnson, after learning that her significantly reduced respiratory function over a period of four years was a direct result of her time of employment there. She worked in their file room for twenty hours a week, and the room contained such health and occupational hazards as poor air ventilation and drawers insulated with anhydrous gypsum powder, which is believed to cause respiratory irritation if inhaled.

Although she suffered several breathing attacks during her employment period dating back to 1989 which required hospitalization, she was not officially diagnosed with asthma and COPD until April 1993, the year she filed her claim. Johnson & Johnson argued that since Earl knew about her breathing and pulmonary problems in 1989, she should have filed her claim before 1991, the end of the two-year statute of limitations.

The court ruled in Earl’s favor, stating that she was not aware of the severity of her pulmonary and respiratory conditions until she underwent pulmonary function tests in 1993, which made her cognizant of her permanent disability. Even after she started experiencing these problems, she was still able to perform her job duties reasonably and only left the company in 1993 to accept Johnson & Johnson’s offer of early retirement. Therefore, the statute of limitations was still underway when she filed her claim, as she was not aware of the compensable and serious nature of her illness until 1993.

File Your Occupational Disease or Workers’ Comp Claim with Confidence

Although it’s not mandatory to recruit legal representation when filing your claim, it is strongly advised to hire a work injury lawyer who understands the complexities of the workers’ compensation process and can assist you with filing an occupational illness claim within the two-year statute of limitations set forth by the New Jersey Department of Labor. An experienced attorney can help you submit an appeal if your employer denies your claim or fails to provide necessary medical treatment and lost wages due to your work injury or occupational disease.

It’s not worth losing the medical and financial compensation you deserve for your employer’s negligence by filing your occupational illness claim after the statute of limitations expires. If you suspect you have an occupational disease that arose from specific duties or environments related to your job, you want to hire a workers’ comp lawyer who will listen to your concerns, help you file your claim or appeal in a timely fashion, and fight for your case. Goldberg & Wolf LLC has been helping employees earn compensation for workplace injuries in the Cherry Hill and surrounding areas since 1992, and it’s time we do the same for you. Contact us today by calling 865-651-1600 or visiting our office at 1949 Berlin Road in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Use Social Media Wisely If You Are Filing For Workers’ Compensation

Use Social Media Wisely If You Were Hurt on the Job

Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be daunting and exhausting, especially if your work injury requires medical care or rehab. Your primary focus is on healing up and receiving your well-deserved insurance payout. During the process of submitting your claim, it can be easy to get caught up in sharing your ordeal with friends and family and broadcasting your life on social media.

 

However, posting on your social media profiles while your claim is processing may hinder your workers’ compensation case, get your claim denied, or possibly incriminate you for insurance fraud. It’s imperative to exercise the highest level of caution and place your social networking profiles on the most restrictive privacy settings just as a general practice, but in the case of filing for workers’ comp, the reason is more important: any insurance company can find what you post online and use it against you, including information posted on now-defunct sites such as MySpace.

 

Let’s say you slip on a wet floor in your office lobby and suffer a leg injury. Even if you’re not active on social media while recovering from this injury, your employer’s insurance company will be on the hunt for any piece of evidence to disprove your workers’ compensation claim. A photo of you at a bar, a video of you playing football, or a Facebook status about how much fun you had at that concert, even if it was posted last year, can all be used in court to prove you’re not in as much pain and suffering as you claim.

 

Insurance companies are looking for high profits and low payouts for themselves, and as unfortunate as it sounds, they can admit something you posted on Facebook several months before your work accident as evidence that you’re over-dramatizing the severity of your injury, which they may consider insurance fraud. If this sounds like a stretch, consider the case of State of North Carolina v. Antonio Delontay Ford.

 

Even though this particular example was a criminal case, the court ruled an original song and photos posted by the defendant on his MySpace page as admissible court evidence that aided in their guilty verdict of his pit bull murdering his next-door neighbor. They stated in their verdict that the defendant knew of his dog’s aggression problems, which was determined by the photos’ captions and should have known not to let the dog roam free around the neighborhood.

 

How Can Internet Posts Incriminate You?

Just like how courts can get a hold of private emails you send to a select predetermined recipient with a subpoena, claims adjusters and private investigators can access anything you’ve posted on the internet, meant for a blanketed, undetermined audience, with a subpoena or during court proceedings.

 

When it comes to Facebook and Twitter posts submitted publicly for a wide viewership to see, there’s no way of knowing exactly who will end up viewing your statuses, photos or videos, even if your privacy settings are at the highest level. Posts can get shared and spread across the profiles of friends, and then friends of friends, like wildfire, and there’s not really anything you can do to stop this from happening. Social networking sites also have backups of their uploaded data stored on their servers, making it even easier for a claims adjuster to request any information on you if they feel it will help their case.

 

Anything you post on the internet, no matter how innocuous it may seem, can potentially deny you a claim. According to the American Bar Association, it’s important to follow precautionary steps and hire a work injury lawyer who can assist you with managing your online presence throughout the process of filing for your workers’ compensation.

 

Restrict Your Social Media Profiles’ Privacy Settings

While anything you post online is never actually private – Facebook and many other social media networks’ terms and conditions state that they’re allowed irrevocable, perpetual rights to any type of media posted on their sites without compensating the original poster—there are a few steps you can take to reduce the chance of your personal posts spreading very far.

 

It’s generally in best practice from a safety standpoint to restrict your personal social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to the highest possible privacy settings. On Facebook, this means restricting your posts so that only people you’ve “friended” can see your photos, statuses, and videos. On Twitter and Instagram, this means privatizing your accounts so you have to approve people to follow you before they can see your posts.

 

Google Yourself

To get a solid idea of what your employer’s insurance company can possibly discover about you with a quick online search, Google your name and look at the results that generate. If you spot anything in your search results that you suspect could get your workers’ comp claim denied, it’s advised to contact a work injury lawyer who can help you sift through your problem information and address it accordingly.

 

However, this doesn’t mean you should delete old posts of yours from years past. Anything you post online can come back to be used against you, and deleting old posts can actually do more harm than good. Often sites like Facebook and Twitter store backups of the data their users upload, and this seemingly deleted data can be requested for use in court by a claims adjuster or other legal party. Also, deleting old posts of yours may bring up suspicion as to what you may be trying to cover up about your workers’ compensation case.

 

What to Do If You’re Filing For Workers’ Comp

You don’t have to take a full social media hiatus during the process of filing your work injury claim, but you should exercise caution when messaging friends in apps, posting photos or statuses to Facebook, so nothing you upload gets taken out of context and warped in favor of your employer. Don’t delete old posts without first consulting a work injury lawyer. Throughout this process, they will truly be the only party you can trust.

 

As long as you stay prudent about your online presence while filing your workers’ compensation claim, use a doctor recommended by your employer and file within 14 days of your workplace accident, you should be able to earn the compensation and medical bill assistance you rightfully deserve for being hurt on the job.

 

Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

You have the right to appeal your claim if it’s been denied. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury at work, you need an experienced team of lawyers who will take the time to understand the nuances of your case and offer professional, expert advice.

 

The Law Offices of Goldberg & Wolf are ready to assist you in every stage of the workers’ compensation process, and we will fight for you. We proudly service Cherry Hill and the surrounding areas. Contact us today at (865) 651-1600 for a free consultation or if you have questions regarding your case.

Workers’ Compensation: Why Hiring a Lawyer to Help is the Best Option

Workers’ Compensation: Why Hiring a Lawyer to Help is the Best Option

If you have been injured at work and are wondering if you should hire a lawyer or represent yourself, you must consider the complexities of your case before deciding.

In a case where your injuries are minor (a sprain, a twisted ankle, a few stitches) and you have not missed many days at work, your employer confirms the injury at the workplace, you do not have any pre-existing conditions, and your case is not complicated, you can represent yourself.

Most often these are ideal situations where your case is likely to get approved in a workers’ compensation court. But, that’s seldom the case. The moment there are complexities in your case you need to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer for the following reasons:

 

Denial of your claim or failing to receive benefits:

Many employers and insurance companies deny benefits claims because they are confident that about 80% of employees would not appeal. Sadly it’s true. People just accept the fact that they cannot get compensation for whatever reason was stated to them. There could be many reasons behind your claim getting declined; from not seeking proper medical attention, a discrepancy in medical reports, improper filing, or not reporting your injuries right away. But, appealing by talking to a lawyer gives you a greater chance to get what is rightfully yours.

Your employer’s settlement offer may not be the best: It is true that you need a judge to sign off on your settlement, and judges will sign off most things as long as they think it is a fair offer. Employers try to give you a settlement which acts more like a benefit for them than it is for yours. Sometimes these settlements may not even cover your all your medical bills. This is one more reason for you to consult a workers’ compensation attorney who knows whether the deal that is being offered is in your best interest.

 

Medical issues that prevent you from getting back to work:

You may be entitled to a lifetime of weekly compensation or a one-time settlement if you have suffered an injury that has permanently disabled you. Since insurance companies have to pay significant amounts for these cases, it turns out costly for them. Hence they try their best to get you to settle for a much lower benefit. This is all the more reason that you should hire an attorney.

 

Your boss turns against you:

Many employees find themselves in a grave situation when they file for workers’ compensation. Bosses may suddenly fire you, demote you, reduce your working hours, reduce your pay and can discriminate you with other employees. Though none of these behaviors should be meted out to anyone, in case, such a situation arises only a good lawyer can help you sort out your workers’ compensation case.

 

Social Security Disability Benefits:

If there is a problem with the structure of your workers’ compensation benefits, then Social Security can receive a chunk of your total profits. Only an attorney will be able to prevent this from happening with a structured benefit plan.

 

You have a third party claim:

Though workers’ compensation has been designed in such a way to keep work injury cases out of the civil tort system, you are still allowed to sue a third party whose negligence caused you the injury in the first place. For example: if a delivery truck man was hit by a recklessly driven car while he was out making deliveries, then the delivery truck man has the right to sue the owner of the vehicle for a third party negligence. Most of the times third-party claims are much higher than workers’ compensation benefits. Only an experienced attorney can help you file for both cases.

 

What can an attorney do for you?

An attorney can:

  • Help you meet all your deadlines
  • Make sure you file your forms error-free
  • Help you document your medical records to prove the severity of your condition
  • Estimate how much your case is worth and evaluate your settlement offers
  • Guide you to make sure you don’t get cheated by your employer or insurance company

 

Goldberg & Wolf is an experienced workers’ compensation law firm that can help you with your case. If you have a workers’ compensation case, you will require a team of seasoned lawyers by your side to claim the fair amount. Give us a call at (856) 651-1600 to get all of your queries regarding your case answered.

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.