common-mistakes-when-filing-for-workers-compensation-part-twoIf you’ve been hurt at work and had to pursue workers’ compensation benefits, you know that the process can be long and difficult, even when it seems like you have an open and shut case. You don’t want to make some of the common mistakes people do, errors that can delay your receipt of benefits or even disqualify you. We’ve talked about some of the medical issues, such as failing to get a second opinion or failing to follow doctor’s orders. Here are some of the more fundamental mistakes that can jeopardize your right to benefits.

Waiting to Notify Your Employer

You should let your employer know of your injury as soon as possible. Remember, your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company have a vested interest in paying as little as possible (or nothing, if they can get away with it) to settle your claim. The longer you wait, the greater the risk that your employer or the insurance company will make one or both of the following arguments:

  • Your injury wasn’t really that serious, or you would have notified your employer immediately
  • Your injury was caused by some intervening event (another accident, unrelated to work)

Waiting to File Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

There’s a time limit for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you don’t submit your claim within the required period of time, you stand a good chance of losing any right to benefits.

Trusting that Your Employer Will Take Care of Everything for You

Don’t operate under the mistaken assumption that your employer will acknowledge your injury and help you get the benefits you need. By the same token, don’t try to handle the workers’ compensation claim on your own. Your employer and/or the insurance company will likely have your claim reviewed by legal counsel, and may actually employ attorneys to try to deny or diminish your claim. Hire an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected.

Contact Us

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.

We handle all workers’ compensation claims on a contingency basis. We won’t charge you attorney fees if we don’t recover compensation for your losses.

common-mistakes-in-workers-compensation-claims-part-oneSecuring workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey can be difficult, even when your case seems like a slam dunk. You need to be careful that you don’t make some of the common mistakes that can diminish or jeopardize your claim.

Seeking Treatment Only for Major Injuries

It happens all the time. You suffer a broken arm or some other highly visible trauma and focus all your medical attention on the obvious injury, ignoring the twists, sprains or strains to muscles or connective tissue in your back or neck. Unfortunately, it’s often the less visible injuries that cause more long term problems. When you seek medical care after a work-related injury, be sure to tell the doctor about everything that happened and anything that feels out of the ordinary.

Trying to Be Strong or Brave

When you have been hurt on the job, it’s not the time to show how tough you are. It’s the time to fully acknowledge the extent of your injuries. Don’t brush them off and, most importantly, don’t ignore doctor’s orders. There’s no race to full recovery—you need to take as much time as necessary to fully heal. If you try to do too much too soon, you may risk the loss of benefits, even though you are still injured.

Accepting a Single Medical Opinion

When you seek workers’ compensation benefits, you’ll be required to undergo a physical examination by a company-chosen doctor. That doctor may conclude that you are not prevented from working, or that your injury was not work-related. You don’t have to accept that single opinion. You can obtain a second opinion, or even a third opinion, if the first two are conflicting.

Contact Us

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.

We handle all workers’ compensation claims on a contingency basis. We won’t charge you attorney fees if we don’t recover compensation for your losses.

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.

Contact Us

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.

work-related-injuries-part-twoAs we explained in an earlier blog, to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey, you must meet two requirements—you must have been injured, and that injury must have been sustained during the course of your employment. Clearly, if you are on the clock and performing any of the duties listed in your job description, you’ll likely qualify for workers’ compensation for any injuries suffered. But there are situations where there may be questions about whether your injury was work-related.

In an earlier blog, we looked at whether you can recover workers’ compensation benefits when you are hurt at company outing or because of your own wrongdoing. In this blog, we look at your eligibility if you suffer injury on a break or while traveling for your employer.

Injuries Incurred on a Break

Under labor laws, you are entitled to take regular breaks, including a lunch break. Can you collect workers’ compensation benefits if you slip and fall while punched out for lunch or a scheduled break? Does it matter if you leave the company grounds?

Generally speaking, if you suffer an injury on company property while on a lunch or other break, you will be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits. There are exceptions—if you were involved in some time of unauthorized or forbidden horseplay at the time, you may be disqualified. If, on the other hand, you leave the physical premises of your employer for lunch, you generally won’t be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits for injuries suffered at or on the way to or from the restaurant, unless you went to the specific destination to pick up food for your boss or at the request of a supervisor.

Injuries While Traveling

As a general rule, you don’t qualify for workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained on your commute to or from work, unless you took a detour to complete a task at the request of a supervisor (your boss asked you to pick up bagels or stop at the post office). If your job requires that you drive to see customers, or if you travel to conferences, workshops or seminars for work, you will generally be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you are hurt, unless the activity you were engaged in was wholly or primarily personal. For example, if you are hurt on the way to or from a meal, you are probably covered, but if you go to a night club while at a convention and hurt yourself on the dance floor, that probably won’t be covered.

Contact Taylor & Boguski

At Taylor & Boguski, we have more than 70 years of combined experience representing injured workers across New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, send us an e-mail or call us at 856-200-8989.

We handle all workers’ compensation claims on a contingency basis. You won’t pay any legal fees unless we get compensation for your losses.

lady injured

Medical marijuana has been legal in New Jersey since 2010, but most employers and workers’ compensation insurance companies have thus far refused to cover the costs of medical marijuana when prescribed to treat a work-related injury. That practice has been ruled a violation of law by a workers’ compensation administrative law judge, in a ruling handed down in February, 2017.

In the case before the administrative law judge, a worker at a lumber company sustained an injury to his hand, and experienced ongoing pain. His doctor prescribed medical marijuana and the man filled the prescription at a state-authorized dispensary. His employer and the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider refused to reimburse him for the costs of the drug, so he stopped using medical marijuana and started using Percocet, which he claimed was less effective and had undesirable side-effects. He then brought legal action against his employer and the workers’ compensation insurer, asking for reimbursement of past expenses, as well as a ruling that all future prescription costs would be covered by workers’ compensation.

After hearing evidence from both parties, the judge concluded that the expense of the medical marijuana should have been reimbursed, as it was for prescription medication that was legally dispensed in New Jersey. Citing evidence that indicated that the medical marijuana was not “as debilitating” as the other medications the injured man had substituted, and that the medical marijuana had successfully treated his condition, the administrative law judge also ordered the workers’ compensation insurer to cover all future prescriptions for state-sanctioned medical marijuana.

Contact Us

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.

We handle all workers’ compensation claims on a contingency basis. We won’t charge you attorney fees if we don’t recover compensation for your losses.

leg-injured

When you’ve been injured on the job in New Jersey, you have a right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits. There’s a good chance, once your claim has been filed, that you’ll hear the terms “scheduled” and “non-scheduled” losses. If you’ve never been involved in a workers’ compensation claim before, you may be uncertain what those terms mean and how they might apply to your case.

Scheduled Losses

A scheduled loss derives its name from that fact that it’s a loss that is specifically listed on a state-approved “schedule” of the kind of injuries for which compensation is available. Furthermore, that schedule identifies a specific number of weeks of benefits for each type of injury. For example, an injury to your hand will allow you to recover for a certain number of weeks, but an injury to your knee or ankle may qualify you for a different number of weeks.

So-called “scheduled” losses typically involve appendages, including arms, legs, shoulders, hips, elbows, knees, wrists, ankles, fingers, toes, as well as ears and eyes. It important to understand, though, that scheduled loss payments are only available for what are perceived to be permanent injuries. If your injury is temporary, you will only be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for the period during which your injury keeps you from working, or until you have reached what is known as “maximum medical improvement.” If your injury is deemed to be permanent and it’s to a body part that is listed on the schedule, the amount of weeks you would receive benefits is calculated by looking at the degree of your disability and your “scheduled” number of weeks. As an example, if your injury entitles you to 150 weeks, but the medical opinion is that you only have 30% loss of use with the foot—you’d be entitled to 45 weeks of compensation.

Non-Scheduled Losses

Non-scheduled losses involve injury to other parts of the body, including internal organs or your spinal cord. As with a scheduled loss, you will probably get a disability rating from the treating physician, who will estimate the degree of your disability. The number of weeks you’ll be able to recover benefits (at a rate of up to 70% of Average Weekly Wage) will be the percentage of your disability times 600—the maximum number of weeks you can recover benefits.

Contact Us

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.

We handle all workers’ compensation claims on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we recover damages for your losses.

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.

Contact Us

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.

Repetitive Stress & Cervical Radiculopathy

Shooting upper back or neck nerve pain and appendage numbness may be a symptom of cervical radiculopathy. This type of nerve damage can occur due to work-related repetitive heavy lifting, keyboarding, or other types of repetitive movements on the job, or the sudden impact of a car crash.

When nerve function along the upper seven vertebra in the upper spine and neck are injured to the point of severe pain, numbness, muscle weakness, or other problems, a person may be experiencing cervical radiculopathy. If you are dealing with this type of injury that has happened due to repetitive motion on the job, workers’ compensation may pay for your medical treatment and your lost wages for the time that you could not work due to the injury.

Cervical radiculopathy means that there is an impingement or compression of a person’s nerve or nerves in the neck and upper back area. Sometimes an injury like this happens when the cushiony disk that separates each person’s vertebrae is ruptured or in some other way has been compromised as a protector. Nerve roots may then be compressed, causing damage.

A hallmark of cervical radiculopathy is pain, sometimes shooting or burning that can spread throughout the afflicted area. Other signs of cervical radiculopathy may or may not include a feeling of numbness or tingling in hands or fingers, a sensation of hot or cold in the afflicted part of the body, weak muscles, including the neck, shoulders, upper back and chest, and arms, and problems with coordination.
The reason for the numbness of lack of sensation is that when the nerve is pinched, it cannot work effectively and the arms or shoulders that are in the area will then have less feeling.

Treatment for Cervical Radiculopathy Pain

There are many ways to treat this type of nerve damage pain. These include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injection
  • Cervical fusion

Call 800-404-5299 or 856-234-2233 for a Free Consultation with a Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Attorney – New Jersey

If you have lost time from work due to a job-related repetitive stress injury or cervical radiculopathy, you have a right to workers’ compensation. Learn more about your rights and issues of liability by speaking with a workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer at Taylor & Boguski in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. We offer a free, private consultation where you can get your questions answered and your case will be evaluated.

New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Insurance Requirements

Any New Jersey employer not covered by a federal program must carry workers’ compensation insurance for its workers or be approved for and carry self-insurance. Failure to insure your workers can result in a disorderly person’s offense in the state of New Jersey.
If a corporation, LLC or partnership, or sole proprietorship is found to have willfully or knowingly denied workers compensation, the corporate officers, partners, or owner could be charged with a fourth degree crime, which carries a fine up to $5000 for the first ten days of failure to insure. This fine continues with each 10-day time period that the organization failed to insure.

Rules for Workers Compensation Insurance

Corporations. All corporations must carry workers’ compensation insurance or obtain approval for self-insurance if there are one or more people working for the company for pay. This includes corporate officers.

LLCs and Partnerships. LLCs and partnerships must carry work comp insurance or approved self-insurance so long as one or more people, not including partners or LLC members, work for the organization.

Sole Proprietors. All sole proprietors must have workers compensation or be approved for self-insurance so long as one or more people, not including the primary owner, work for the company for pay.

Consequences When Injury Occurs and There Is No Insurance

In New Jersey, if a worker is injured or dies in a work-related injury the employer will be liable for all medical costs, disability benefits and other types of related benefits. These types of liabilities are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, either.
The Office of Special Compensation Funds regularly employs a number of strategies, including cross-matching databases, to identify non-compliant employers.

Do you have questions about your work comp coverage?

Discuss your concerns with an experienced workers compensation attorney at the law office of Taylor and Boguski, in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. Please call 800-404-5299 or 856-234-2233 or contact us online.  

Construction Vehicle Accidents and Personal Injury – New Jersey

An average of 1000 construction workers die in accidents on construction sites each year. A full 15% of workers’ compensation costs are related to workers injured on construction sites. Construction vehicle accidents play a significant role in some of the most deadly of accidents on construction sites and on southern New Jersey roads.

Preventable Construction Vehicle Accidents

Sadly, a great percentage of construction vehicle accidents and ensuing injuries are preventable if safety rules are followed. Minor mistakes or carelessness can lead to serious accidents and injures such as:

  • A worker started walking between a backhoe’s swinging bucket and a concrete wall. The worker was approaching the area from the backhoe operator’s blindside. The backhoe operator did not see the worker and the big metal bucket struck the worker, crushing him against the cement wall.

    Had the employees been trained in minimal safety work procedures or had the area been fenced off as hazardous, the tragic construction accident would never have happened.
  • A bulldozer operator was driving at the top of a slope. The dozer started to slide sideways down the slope, which was ice-covered. It tipped over and pinned the driver under its roll bars. The driver had not been wearing a seat belt. The seatbelt may have prevented him from getting pinned.
  • A driver of a tractor was driving up a loading trailer. The driver had not centered the tractor and the wheels started sliding off the side and the tractor began tipping over. The driver jumped out, but the rollover structure that was supposed to protect him crushed him instead. Again, had the time been taken to center the tractor before attempting to drive up onto the lowboy trailer, tragedy may have been prevented.

Injured in a Construction Vehicle Accident? Speak With Experienced NJ Work Comp and Personal Injury Attorney

At the law office of Taylor and Boguski, we fight for the rights of the injured and those who have lost loved ones in construction vehicle crashes, work accidents, and other types of accidents. To discuss your concerns and learn how we can help, schedule a free, private consultation with an attorney in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, office today. Please call 800-404-5299 or 856-234-2233 or contact us online.