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Workers’ Compensation

Workers across New Jersey go to the office or a worksite every day to make money and provide for their families, but they could be hurt at work any time. Workers’ Compensation insurance should cover these injuries so long as the employee is covered under state law. Exempt employees, such as housekeepers or salaried executives, are generally not covered.

Workers’ Compensation claims can be confusing. This is why a Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation lawyer should review these cases no matter how the accidents occurred or how the employee has been covered. At times, a lawyer is needed to ensure an injured employee can properly recover, receive the services they are entitled to, and recover compensation if warranted.

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How is My Workers’ Compensation Claim Processed?

The Workers’ Compensation system in New Jersey is set up to help injured workers obtain needed medical treatment and temporary wages while they recover. Claims can be disputed and even denied by the insurance company. The employer might encourage employees to avoid reporting injuries, or the supervisor that accepts the report might not handle it properly.

Workers should report an injury to their supervisor and seek medical attention as soon as they are able to do so. Because employers tend to post literature showing who their cooperating doctors are, employees can quickly call a doctor and receive the care they need. In New Jersey, employees can call 911 and seek emergency medical care outside of the Workers’ Compensation insurance provider’s network. After that point, the insurance carrier might advise which doctor to see because that office cooperates with their plan or the employer.

Workers’ Compensation takes care of several things while the employee recovers and/or misses work. Remember that these claims are out of the employer’s hands once an insurance claim has been filed. In exchange for providing Workers’ Compensation insurance, businesses avoid liability for work accidents. This is a no-fault system that does not seek to blame workers for their injuries unless they are breaking the law, engaging in horseplay, or not attending to their duties properly.

Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation Lawyers advocate for injured workers throughout New Jersey. Is My Accident Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?

Work accidents are not always severe, and some workers believe that they might not even be covered because of where they were or what they were doing. Workers are often confused about their rights. Employers post signs in the office, but they may not lay out those rights for everyone in a handbook or training session. Accidents covered under Workers’ Compensation include:

  • Injuries in the office or on a worksite
  • Injuries involving work vehicles
  • Injuries caused by heavy machinery
  • Injuries caused by construction equipment
  • Injuries suffered by civil servants, such as first responders, law enforcement officials, or teachers

This is not an exhaustive list of work injuries, but it shows that those who have been hurt at work should be covered in most cases. Someone who is walking across the office might trip on damaged carpet and sprain their wrist. Someone who is driving for work could be hurt in a car accident, and they should be covered. Factory workers could be injured by large machines or construction workers might be hurt by malfunctioning tools.

Civil servants might also be injured on the job, and they should be covered by the government agency that employs them. Exceptions include longshoremen, sailors, railroad workers, and federal contractors. Speak to a Workers’ Compensation lawyer when an accident occurs and the employee or their family is not certain on how to obtain coverage.

Which Industries Does My Lawyer Specialize In?

Different industries require various things from their employees. These industries commonly deal with work accidents or work-related injuries, and those working in these fields need to understand how they could be hurt. Some of these workers might even believe that their injuries are normal. Being hurt at work is not normal, and workers in the following industries should be hyper-sensitive to any pain or discomfort they experience.

Construction workers:  Construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Thousands of workers are injured or killed every year. Some of the leading causes of construction accidents include insufficient training, defective equipment, slip and falls, crane accidents, construction vehicle accidents, falls from elevations, poor safety precautions, and falling objects.

Manufacturing workers: These workers often experience head, neck, and back injuries due to lifting, falling objects, or being caught between two large objects or machines. For example, a worker might be walking through a warehouse when something falls from above and strikes them in the head. The worker might feel fine, even though they have a headache. Subsequently, they choose not to go to the doctor. This worker should immediately report the accident and seek medical treatment.

A traumatic brain injury might have occurred in this situation, and it must be diagnosed and treated. Broken bones and muscular injuries occur simply because workers are dealing with heavy objects and large machines. Someone who experiences intermittent pain in the same area might have broken a bone without even knowing it. The worker might have also torn ligaments or damaged muscles.

Health care workers: These workers could be injured when lifting patients, slipping on wet floors, or when they are inadvertently stuck with needles. These workers might be exposed to infectious diseases, or they may have been assaulted by patients or colleagues. A common complaint from medical workers is that the work they do is too important to stop. Regardless, injured workers should report injuries and/or illnesses immediately and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Transportation workers: Workers, such as truck drivers, bus drivers, cabbies, mechanics, and pilots, could be hurt on the job at any time. If a truck driver is cut off by an aggressive driver and runs off the road, they could be injured when the truck finally comes to a stop. Aside from the obvious aftermath of the accident, the driver should report their injuries and receive medical care. An injured driver does not have the strength to control a massive truck or bus.

Cab drivers cannot drive effectively if they are injured or sick. Mechanics could be hurt while working on these vehicles, and even a pilot could be injured during an extremely rough landing. This very same pilot might be unable to control a plane if they, for example, have strained muscles in their elbows. Flight attendants, cargo handlers, and baggage handlers may be injured while handling baggage, unloading vehicles, or during rough transit, such as landing at the airport or when unloading in bad weather.

Pharmaceutical workers: These workers can suffer from repetitive stress and/or respiratory injuries or illnesses. These workers might be cut by broken glass jars or exposed to diseases or samples located in their laboratories. These workers might also slip on wet floors or fall when trying to reach items that have been stored in their facilities.

Technology workers: These workers include network or database administrators, programmers, and support staff, who can easily suffer from repetitive stress injuries, and they might also suffer from back and neck pain because they are asked to sit all day. Report any injuries to a supervisor to ensure that pain and discomfort can be treated before the pain worsens. In the worst cases, these workers might be in so much pain that they cannot work at all.

Hospitality workers: Workers in hotels, conference centers, and banquet halls may have a difficult time obtaining coverage as they are often independent contractors hired for each event.

Food service workers: These workers can slip on wet floors or suffer from burns when working in a kitchen. Kitchen workers and servers in close quarters might also be affected by smoke and fumes produced by a day of cooking, or these workers might be cut by knives or other sharp objects.

Retail workers: These workers might slip on wet floors or suffer from injuries as they lift large items, boxes fall from shelves in a storeroom, or they are cut by sharp objects. Workers in these industries or those who suffered from similar injuries should reach out to a Workers’ Compensation lawyer for assistance with their case.

Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation Lawyers fight hard to secure full compensation for victims of work-related injuries. Which Workers’ Compensation Benefits are Available to Me?

Workers’ Compensation benefits in New Jersey are offered based on the following different levels of disability:

Death benefits: These benefits are provided to anyone who is killed because of a work accident, and the victim’s disability is judged by a medical professional to determine how long benefits will last. Death benefits are also available when a worker is killed in an accident on the job or succumbs to the injuries incurred during the accident. Families will receive burial expenses and the deceased’s dependents will receive wage benefits. The insurance company or a judge will determine how 70 percent of the worker’s weekly wages should be split among the spouse, children, or other dependent family members.

Temporary partial disability benefits: These benefits indicate that the injured worker is temporarily disabled and suffers from a partial disability. These benefits are paid at 70 percent of the worker’s weekly pay. This means that the worker could complete some of their duties but not all of them. In the temporary form of Workers’ Compensation, the worker is checked for improvement as the doctor expects them to be released to return to work.

Temporary total disability benefits: These benefits are offered when the worker has been deemed completely disabled and are paid at 70 percent of the worker’s weekly pay. The doctor might believe that the victim could make a full recovery, but the victim must be evaluated by a medical professional to determine if they recovered. In some cases, the worker will recover fully. In other cases, the worker will only recover to a certain level, and they may qualify for permanent partial disability benefits.Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation Lawyers work endlessly to recover full benefits for victims of workplace injuries.

Permanent partial disability benefits: These benefits are offered to workers when they have not made a full recovery. Temporary benefits last for 400 weeks if the worker has not recovered fully or been released to return to work. The worker will receive 70 percent of their weekly pay for up to 400 weeks as the insurance plan pays for all medical treatment, medications, physical therapy, and required procedures. After 400 weeks, the worker will be re-evaluated.

Permanent partial disability benefits can continue after 400 weeks if it is determined that the worker is disabled but able to obtain gainful employment in this condition. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services can provide job training for anyone who must change careers after a work accident. The worker’s benefits are paid based on their loss of functionality, their overall percentage of disability, and how much money they can make in a new job. If the worker is evaluated after 400 weeks and they cannot obtain gainful employment, they qualify for permanent total disability benefits.

Permanent total disability benefits: These benefits are offered to workers when a medical professional determines that they are more than 50 percent disabled, even after receiving disability benefits for 400 weeks. In effect, the worker cannot go back to their original job, and they are not in a place where they can obtain gainful employment.

Special impairment benefits: These benefits are provided when the worker has lost their sight, hearing, an eye, a limb, or lost the use of other extremities. The state of New Jersey has a chart that can be used to determine how much the employee will receive. A Workers’ Compensation lawyer can review this chart and determine the compensation the worker should receive. Insurance companies are committed to paying as little as possible, and a lawyer should review the case to ensure damages are awarded appropriately.

What if the Insurance Company Orders an Independent Medical Exam?

When injured employees have questions about their case, they often need to know what happens when the insurance company orders an independent medical exam (IME). An IME is used by insurance companies to prove that workers can go back to work. Workers can prepare for the IME with a lawyer who works on cases such as these every day, provide information the worker can share with a doctor, and even challenge the results of the exam, if necessary.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Simple Workers’ Compensation Claim?

A lawyer can help anyone who is involved in an accident at work. It may be that the employer makes it difficult to report accidents. Because the worker cannot be covered unless the accident is reported, they should reach out to a Workers’ Compensation lawyer for assistance. The employer will respond to any communication from a lawyer because the company knows lawyers can sue them and/or question the insurance provider. A lawyer can make light of a situation where a supervisor did not accept or file the report properly. The lawyer might also begin investigating the circumstances of the accident.

If workers are terminated or lose pay and benefits because they reported an injury at work, a lawyer should know about it. The insurance provider may have also engaged in targeted harassment intended to keep the victim quiet. In all these cases, a lawyer is needed to represent the family’s interests and ensure the victim receives the coverage or compensation they deserve.

Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation Lawyers protect the rights of injured workers and their families. When can I Sue for Damages?

An employer transfers their liability to the insurance company when Workers’ Compensation takes over. The insurance company can be sued for a refusal to provide coverage or worker intimidation. Insurance companies might deny claims without completing a full investigation, but a lawyer will investigate the accident on behalf of the injured worker. The insurance company can be taken to court to offer retroactive coverage, or the lawyer might broker a settlement. If the case goes to trial, all third parties to the accident can be named in a lawsuit. A contractor that was negligent when building scaffolding can be sued for its willful neglect of known safety standards. A company that sold faulty tools to the employer can be sued, or the manufacturer of a machine or vehicle that malfunctioned can be sued.

Should I Accept a Settlement Offer?

Settlement offers may come from the insurance company, employer, or a lawyer representing a third party that has been implicated in the accident. As injured workers and their families need money to get by, they may feel tempted to accept a lowball settlement offer. A lawyer for the employer, insurance company, or a responsible party may send letters, call incessantly, or request meetings with the victim or their family. Send all calls, emails, or letters to a lawyer to be reviewed. A lawyer can negotiate a settlement or take the case to trial when necessary.

When the family gets a lawyer involved in the case, a proper lump-sum settlement can be reached with the insurance company. There are two settlement options that help the family move forward. A lawyer can negotiate an order approving a Section 22 settlement where the insurance carrier does not dispute how the accident occurred. The case can be reviewed within two years of the settlement date by either party. A Section 20 settlement is used to close the case when the insurance company has questions about how the accident occurred. The family’s lawyer can negotiate the settlement, and the case will be closed with no opportunity for future review.

Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC Help Injured Workers Recover Damages After a Work Accident

If you or a loved one has been injured at work, reach out to the Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC for assistance. Since 1995, our law firm has been helping injured workers get the benefits and/or compensation they deserve. Call us today at 856-751-7676 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, Cherry Hill, Trenton, and Vineland, New Jersey, as well as Trevose, Pennsylvania, we assist injured workers throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

856-751-7676 16000 Commerce Parkway
Suite C
Mt Laurel Township, NJ 08054 Monday - Friday | 8am - 5pm

856-751-7676 1913 Greentree Rd
Suite C
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003 Monday - Friday | 8am - 5pm

856-751-7676 1234 Bridgetown Pike
Suite 200
Feasterville-Trevose, PA 19053 Monday - Friday | 8am - 5pm

Trenton, NJ Office
Vineland, NJ Office