what-additional-benefits-are-available-in-a-new-jersey-workers-compensation-claimIn New Jersey, when you’ve been injured on the job, you have a right to collect benefits to compensate you for lost income. Once you’ve been unable to work for at least seven days because of your injury, you are eligible for as much as 70% of your gross weekly wage before your accident. If your claim isn’t challenged, your benefits will likely start within a couple weeks, and will be retroactive to the date of your injury.

You are entitled to other benefits when you file a workers’ compensation claim:

  • Payment of medical expenses—Under New Jersey law, if your workers’ compensation claim is approved, you are entitled to reimbursement for or payment of all reasonable and necessary medical treatment. As a general rule, you must obtain pre-authorization for medical care, except in the case of an emergency.
  • Job training or vocational rehab—If your injuries are permanent and will prevent you from returning to your previous occupation, you can obtain financial assistance to help you find a new job or get trained to do other work.
  • Mileage reimbursement—You’ll be required to stay under the care of a doctor and to schedule regular appointments. You can request reimbursement of mileage expenses.
  • Death benefits—If you die in a work-related accident, your surviving spouse and/or other dependents can receive payments at the same rate as if you had been permanently and totally disabled.
  • Funeral and burial expenses—The workers’ compensation laws also provide for payment of up to $3,500 to cover funeral and burial expenses when a worker is killed on the job.

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At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.

panel-says-workers-compensation-insurer-can-seek-reimbursement

If you have been in a work-related motor vehicle accident and you file a third party claim for injuries suffered in the crash, your company’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier may be entitled to a portion of any recovery you receive in the personal injury lawsuit, if you also received workers’ compensation benefits. A New Jersey appellate court came to that conclusion in August, 2016.

In an appeal that consolidated claims from three different insurers, the court was asked to reconcile competing provisions of two New Jersey statutes: the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act. All three cases involved public workers who were hurt on the job and who had recovered damages in personal injury actions for medical expenses.

At the trial level, all three courts held that workers’ compensation insurance companies could not seek reimbursement of medical expenses in such occasions, as the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act prohibits reimbursement of medical expenses collected or paid under personal injury protection (PIP) policies. The trial judge concluded that, because an injured employee in a work-related accident is treated as a “no-fault” insured, the worker can’t recover medical expenses from the defendant if those medical expenses have been paid by an insurance company—that would be a double recovery. The judge concluded that, because the injured party could not recover medical expenses, the damage award could not and did not include compensation for medical expenses, so that workers’ compensation insurance company had no basis for reimbursement.

The appellate court disagreed, finding that the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act seeks to minimize insurance costs by guaranteeing medical expense coverage. Since the recovery could include reimbursement of medical expenses, and since the Workers’ Compensation Act allows a workers’ compensation insurance provider to seek reimbursement of any medical expenses paid, the requests of the insurance companies were permissible.

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At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to men and women throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.

According to a statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), automatic nailers or nail guns are responsible for nearly 40,000 ER visits every year. But the risk is not limited to construction workers. The CDC found that almost a third (32%) of annual nail gun injuries are sustained by consumers.

Nail guns are generally one of two types: contact nail guns or sequential nail guns. With a contact nail gun, there’s a spring loaded safety mechanism at the tip of the “barrel.” You can hold down the trigger and the gun will automatically fire when you make contact with something, as it will disengage the safety mechanism. With a sequential gun, you must first depress the safety mechanism and then pull the trigger. If you have already pulled the trigger and try to depress the safety mechanism, it won’t work. Not surprisingly, the CDC found twice as many injuries involving contact guns.

The Principal Causes of Nail Gun Injuries

Researchers found a number of causes of nail gun injuries:

  • Unfortunately, in many instances, people are hurt because they have bypassed or permanently disengaged the safety mechanisms
  • It’s not uncommon for a gun to double fire, with the second nail coming out after the gun has been pulled away from the board
  • A nail can ricochet off a metal surface or even a knot in a board
  • A framing nail can easily penetrate a stud, causing injury if a worker’s hand is on the back side of the board
  • A worker may accidentally push the gun against a leg, hand or other body part
  • A worker may miss the board, even though the safety mechanism has been depressed

Contact the Law Office of Taylor & Boguski

At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-200-8989.

According to an annual census compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly 4,700 people (4,679) died in 2014 as a result of occupational injuries, an increase of approximately two percent over the previous year. The death toll equates to about three workers out of every 100,000 in the United States.

Here are some of the key conclusions from the 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries:

  • Deaths from slips and fall rose approximately 10%, from 724 to 793
  • There were more deaths among people who were self-employed—also a 10 percent increase, from 950 to 1,047
  • Occupations that saw the greatest increases included mining (17%), agriculture (14%) and manufacturing (9%). Deaths declined for government workers (12%) and in private, service-related sectors.
  • Older workers suffered more occupational deaths—there was a 9% increase in fatal accidents involving workers over 55.
  • Among ethnic workers, Asians and African-Americans saw increases, while Latino/Hispanic workers saw a decline
  • Work-related deaths involving women increased 13% over the prior year

Types of Workplace Accidents

In 2014, motor vehicle accidents accounted for four of every 10 occupational deaths. More than half of those fatalities involved collisions, and 17% involved pedestrian deaths. There was also a 34% increase in rail vehicle deaths.

Deaths caused by workplace violence declined over the prior year, from 773 to 749. One telling statistic—in workplace homicides where the victim was female, the perpetrator was most likely to be a relative or domestic partner. However, in workplace homicides where the victim was male, the greatest likelihood was that the assailant was attempting to rob the business.

Less than 10 percent (372) workers were killed in so-called “catastrophic” accidents, where more than one worker was killed in a single accident.

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At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured workers throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.

 

Seven construction workers were injured in a Hackensack scaffolding collapse in early December—three critically. Authorities say the workers were performing repairs on the roof of an apartment complex on Tracy Place around 3:30 in the afternoon when the scaffolding fell. There were six workers on the scaffold at the time it collapsed. The workers fell approximately 45 feet to the ground.

The accident occurred at an apartment complex known as ‘The Brookdale’, which has approximately 200 apartments in 10 buildings.

According to witnesses, the scaffold was a makeshift one. One neighbor, who declined to be identified, said that it wasn’t “a real scaffolding,” but was “jerry-rigged” together with ladders and planks. The neighbor said the way the system was set up, it did not seem reasonable that it could support the weight of all the workers. Authorities confirmed that no permit had been pulled to do the work on the roof. Both OSHA and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification reportedly came to the site for an investigation.

Under state and federal laws and regulations, building owners and general contractors have to take certain steps to minimize the risk of injury to workers. Specifically, when workers are employed at levels above the ground, they must be provided with adequate safety equipment, which may include:

  • Properly installed scaffolding
  • Safety harnesses or hoists
  • Well-maintained and sufficient ladders

Witnesses said that the “scaffold” setup at the apartment complex consisted of so-called “ladder jacks” holding walk-boards between two extension ladders. Preliminary investigations indicated that there were no rails on the scaffolding, and that the workers did not have safety harnesses or similar devices. Authorities believe that the workers, who were unsupervised at the time, exceeded the weight limit of the walkboard.

Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today

At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people – including workplace accidents and construction accidents – throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.

When you are expecting a child, you can read all the books you want, but you still have to depend on your doctor to ensure that you take all the right steps to ensure the health and safety of your unborn child. With proper testing and screening, your doctor can tell you if your child will likely be born with a birth defect, such as Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida or Sickle Cell Anemia. If your doctor fails to use reasonable care to either conduct appropriate screening, or negligently interprets test results, you may have a claim for “wrongful birth” of a special needs child.

There are a number of different types of screening tests you can have administered. Some are invasive, but many are not. If circumstances warrant, you may be a candidate for what is known as amniocentesis, or for chorionic villi sampling. With amniocentesis, the placenta must be punctured to obtain a sample of your amniotic fluid, which encapsulates the fetus. With chorionic villi sampling, medical professionals will take a sample of your chorionic tissue for screening.

The less invasive procedures include:

  • ultrasounds;
  • genetic tests;
  • nuchal translucency tests; and
  • maternal blood serum screening.

As a general rule, you should expect to have prenatal screening throughout the course of your pregnancy, starting in the first trimester. Some of the least invasive types of procedures can be conducted fairly early in your pregnancy, but can provide critical information about the potential viability of your pregnancy, or may be cause to engage in more complex testing and monitoring over the course of gestation.

If your child is born with what should have been a detectable birth defect, you may have a claim against the doctor for misreading test results or for failing to order necessary tests. You may also have a claim against a lab, if there was an error in administering the test.

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At Taylor & Boguski, we have more than 70 years of combined experience representing people across New Jersey with medical malpractice and personal injury matters. For a free initial consultation, send us an e-mail or call us at 856-200-8989.

Medical Malpractice and Shoulder Dystocia

Doctor preparing for a proceedureWhen you are giving birth to a child, there’s always the possibility that, once the baby’s head is out of the birth canal, one of its shoulders will get caught on your pubic bone, a condition known as “Shoulder Dystocia.” If your delivering physician fails to take appropriate steps, your child can suffer very serious consequences, including damage to the brachial plexus nerves that control the shoulder, arms, hands and fingers. This can lead to loss of use or paralysis. In rare situations, shoulder Dystocia may impede the flow of blood and oxygen, causing brain damage, cerebral palsy or even death.

Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy

There are commonly accepted procedures that can ease the pressure on your baby’s shoulder and minimize the risk of injury. Often, though, delivering physicians will try to force the shoulder past the pubic bone. When this causes injury to the upper group of arm nerves, your child may be left with limited range of motion of the affected arm, or may not be able to raise the arm at all, a condition known medically as Erb-Duchenne palsy, or Erb’s palsy. If, however, the carelessness of the physician causes damage to the nerves/muscles in the forearm or the hand, your child may have limited or no use of hands or fingers. It’s also common for a child who has suffered injury because of shoulder Dystocia to have the damaged arm end up shorter.

There are medical procedures and treatments for both Erb’s and Klumpke’s palsies, but they can be extensive and expensive. Your child may benefit from nerve grafting or surgeries that cut and reposition bones, muscle or tendons. It’s likely, though, that your son or daughter will face years of physical therapy.

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At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to men and women throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.

Under New Jersey law, you can name your health insurance provider as your PIP (personal injury protection) option for medical care in the event of a motor vehicle accident. If you do, that company will be the primary source to pay for any medical treatment required in an accident.

Choosing your health insurance company as primary provider in the event of a motor vehicle accident can minimize the total amount that you have to pay in insurance premiums, but there can be consequences to making that decision. Before you opt to designate your health insurance provider as your PIP option, you should consider the following issues:

  • Are you currently insured through Medicaid or Medicare? Under Medicaid and Medicare provisions, you cannot select either one as your primary provider for a motor vehicle accident. Medicaid and Medicare will only pay benefits if you have exceeded the PIP limits of liability on your auto policy.
  • Are motor vehicle accident injuries excluded from coverage on your health policy? Some health insurance policies specifically exclude any injuries sustained in a car accident. Check with your insurer.
  • Be certain you know deductibles, co-pays, limits and pre-certification requirements of your health insurance policy—Certain procedures may require pre-certification to qualify for reimbursement. In addition, any deductibles or co-pays apply to motor vehicle accident injuries.
  • What happens if your health insurance is terminated? You can look to your auto insurance provider if that happens, but you will have an additional $750 deductible that you’ll have to meet before you get reimbursement.

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At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.

Critics Say Intersection and Road Design Increase Risk to Pedestrians

BicycleIt’s become a far too common occurrence—a motorist parks on the street and opens the traffic-side door without looking, putting the open door directly in the path of an oncoming vehicle, or even worse, a cyclist. In a study conducted in Chicago earlier this decade, researchers found that “dooring crashes”—where bicyclist collided with the open door of a parked vehicle—accounted for almost one in five bicycle-related accidents (19.7%). A similar study in Boston found that about one in ten bicycle crashes involved “dooring.”

The problem is not a new one, though. Unbeknownst to most people, so-called “dooring laws” have been on the books in some states since 1956. Over the past 50 years, most states and many metropolitan areas have either enacted legislation requiring motorists to use reasonable care before disembarking from a vehicle, have mounted public service campaigns to make motorists more aware of the risks associated with opening a door into traffic, or have put both measures in place. Only ten states have no dooring law. All but two of the states with dooring laws also make it illegal to leave a door open longer than necessary to load or unload a vehicle.

Cycling advocates say that both the infrastructure that has been created for bicycling, as well as many new bicycling laws, have increased the risk of dooring accidents. For example, they point to the proliferation of bicycle lanes between road and curb, which may actually require that bicyclists ride in the path of an open door. Furthermore, some bicycle laws mandate that riders be as far to the right as possible, placing them directly in the door zone.

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At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-234-2233.

The New Jersey Traumatic Brain Injury Fund – An Overview

Brain diagramIf you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), your needs can be great. You may require long-term and constant care, may need to have your home retrofitted to meet your needs, and may have to have in-home continual care. When insurance, public assistance and personal resources are inadequate to meet your needs, the state of New Jersey offers help through the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Fund.

To be eligible for assistance through the TBI Fund, you must first have medical proof of a traumatic brain injury. The injury can be open or closed head, but you must be able to demonstrate impairment of brain function. Furthermore, the brain injury must be the result of trauma—congenital or degenerative conditions will not qualify you for benefits. In addition, you must document that you have been a legal resident in New Jersey for at least three months (90 days), and that you have liquid assets (bank accounts, CDs, stocks and bonds) of no more than $100,000.

If you qualify for help from the TBI Fund, you can seek money for a number of services or needs, including:

  • Neurological treatment or cognitive therapy
  • Speech, occupational or physical therapy
  • Home remodeling
  • Medication
  • In-home assistive technology

To initiate an application for benefits, you can contact the TBI Fund program manager in Mercerville, New Jersey. As a general rule, once you have submitted an application for benefits, you will be assigned a case manager, who will determine both your needs and your eligibility.

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At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-234-2233.