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.

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.

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.