Seeking Worker’s Compensation for an Occupational Disease

Under the laws of the state of New Jersey, if you are injured on the job, and you are not an exempt employee, you must seek financial recovery for any losses through the state’s workers’ compensation system. An injury need not, however, be the result of a single traumatic event, such as a fall or the malfunction of machinery. You can seek compensation for any illness that arises because of your job or occupation. This blog post addresses the subject of occupational illness, identifying those circumstances where you have a right to file a workers’ compensation claim for a disease.

In occupational disease claims, it is typical that individuals working in the same area, exposed to the same conditions, will show symptoms of the same illness or disease. Under the laws of most states, there is a presumption that a disease is caused by conditions at work, and the burden of proof is on the employer to show otherwise.

Types of Occupational Disease Claims

The most common types of occupational diseases leading to workers’ compensation claims are lung and skin related conditions. Lung disease may result from exposure to particles in the air, whether inside or outside. In many occupations, where workers have been exposed to asbestos, workers’ compensation claims for asbestosis have been frequent. Black lung, silicosis and occupational asthma claims are also common in industrial workers.

Many modern work sites involve the use of chemicals and chemical compounds. Accordingly, certain occupations, such as hairdressing, golf course maintenance, printing and motor vehicle repair, involve regular concerns about skin or other diseases.

Other diseases that can be covered under state workers’ compensation laws include:

  • HIV or AIDS among medical workers exposed to the virus
  • Allergic reactions
  • Heart conditions or heart attacks resulting from stress or other conditions

With an occupational disease, if you had a condition prior to your employment that is aggravated by the work you do, you will typically be unable to recover workers’ compensation. For example, if you had a skin condition when you started your employment, and the work you are currently doing is aggravating that condition, you will not be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits if you can’t work.

Contact the Law Office of Taylor & Boguski

To schedule a free initial consultation with experienced New Jersey family law attorneys, contact Taylor & Boguski by e-mail. To learn more about our practice, visit our practice area overview page.

The Difference between Permanent Partial Disability, Permanent Total Disability, and Temporary Total Disability

If you have been injured on the job in New Jersey, you may pursue benefits for your injuries through the state’s workers’ compensation system. Under state law, recovery for injuries caused by the negligence or wrongful act of your employer or a co-employee is limited to benefits available through a workers’ compensation claim. If, however, you are hurt because of the careless act of a third party, such as the driver of a vehicle, or the manufacturer of dangerous or defective equipment, you may be able to seek damages in a personal injury lawsuit as well as pursue a workers’ compensation claim.

The workers’ compensation statutes are set up to pay benefits based on the type of injury. Benefits can be temporary or permanent, and the disability caused by your injury can be partial, preventing you from performing specific tasks; or it can be total, making it impossible for you to work at all. If any injury prevents you from working temporarily you may be eligible for temporary total disability benefits. After you have been determined to have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) for the injury you may be eligible for a permanent partial or permanent total disability award.

What Is Permanent Partial Disability?

The most frequent type of workers’ compensation claim is one for a permanent partial disability (PPD). The injury is considered to be permanent when it is determined that you will never fully recover from it. It is considered to be partial when it prevents you from conducting all tasks required of your job, or from working at full capacity. Such an injury can result from a traumatic accident, or from an occupational illness.

There are a wide range of injuries and illnesses that will qualify you for PPD benefits. Some common work related permanent partial disability injuries are:

  • Back injuries
  • Permanent loss of vision or hearing
  • Shoulder, hip, knee, elbow or other joint injury
  • Amputation or loss of limb
  • Repetitive stress syndrome

The amount of benefits you can receive in a PPD claim is typically based on the degree to which you injury limits your ability to work, know as your disability rating.

What Is Permanent Total Disability?

If the work related injury renders you totally permanently disabled you may be eligible for permanent total disability (PTD). In order to receive PTD benefits a person must be totally disabled and unable to return to gainful employment.

If you are totally disabled as a result of a work related accident you may be eligible for benefits for the remainder of your life.

What Is Temporary Total Disability?

You can seek temporary total disability (TTD) benefits when you are either temporarily unable to return to work because of an injury or illness, or your doctor authorizes you to return to lighter duty work, but your employer has no such work for you. Typically, you are entitled to TTD benefits until you have physically recovered and are able to return to work full time, or your employer is able to put you back to work at doctor-approved tasks.

Examples of injury or illness that can make you eligible for TTD include:

  • Broken bones that make it impossible to work
  • Sprains, strains or muscle pulls, particularly in your back or knees

To schedule a free initial consultation, contact Taylor & Boguski by e-mail. To learn more about our practice, visit our practice area overview page.

Construction Accidents, Third Party Liability, and Workers’ Comp

Mount Laurel Third Party Construction Accident Attorneys

While workers’ compensation covers medical costs for work – related construction accident injuries, it doesn’t always cover lost wages or pain and suffering. That’s important to remember in cases where construction accident injuries involve negligence on the part of a contractor or subcontractor other than your employer. In fact, it’s not uncommon for painters, electricians, carpenters, drywallers, and concrete workers to come and go, each working for a different employer. As a result, it’s not uncommon for certain safety violations to occur, resulting in construction site accident injuries that incur costs beyond what workers’ compensation can cover.

Third Party Liability and Construction Site Accidents

If you’ve been injured due to negligence on the part of a contractor or subcontractor, your employer’s worker compensation should cover most of your initial medical costs. However, if your injuries are serious and result in partial or long-term disability, workers’ compensation may only cover a portion of the total financial impact of your injuries. For instance, serious head trauma, spinal cord injuries, burns, or amputations often involve pain and suffering and long-term costs that exceed what you can recover through workers’ compensation benefits.

Holding Third Parties Legally and Financially Liable for Your Injuries

A negligent electrician, backhoe driver, crane operator, welder, or carpenter isn’t going to volunteer information regarding their negligence. As a result, you’ll need to work with an experienced construction accident attorney who has access to the necessary investigative resources needed to expose OSHA violations and departures from New Jersey state law governing everything from the use of ladders, scaffolding, asphalt, electrical work, drywall, concrete, and heavy equipment at construction sites. This involves collecting eyewitness statements, reviewing company records, collecting evidence from the scene of the accident, and reconstructing what happened.

Contact Mount Laurel Construction Accident Attorneys at Taylor & Boguski

If you’ve been injured in a construction site accident, there may be other considerations beyond what your workers’ compensation benefits will pay. If your injuries were caused in part by the actions of a third party, you may be able to collect additional compensation to offset the long-term financial consequences of your injuries.

To discuss your case and learn more about our personal injury practice and how we can help you, contact Mount Laurel construction accident injury attorneys at Taylor & Boguski today.

Workers’ Compensation Claims – Do I need to See My Doctor?

Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

If you’ve been injured in a work-related accident, your employer’s worker’s compensation insurer will likely ask you to see one of their doctors to verify your injuries and condition. While this may seem reasonable and simply part of the worker’s compensation process, don’t assume the doctor who exams you is primarily interested in making sure you are okay and being taken care of. A doctor that works for an insurer is interested in determining if your injuries are due in part to a prior condition or as serious as you claim.

In this capacity, an insurance doctor is in part an agent of the insurer and has an incentive to protect the interests of the insurer. As a result, the severity of your injuries may be questioned or downplayed while your length of recovery shortened by recommendation of the doctor.

Consult Your Doctor | Protecting Your Interest after a Work – Related Injury

Under New Jersey’s worker’s compensation laws, an employer (or the employer’s insurer) can select the doctor you have to see. However, you can elect to consult your own doctor if you tell your employer (or their insurance carrier) that you are under the care of a particular doctor. If your employer requires you to see a particular doctor you should be able to see your own doctor after a certain amount of time has passed or to get a second opinion. However, you may be responsible for any expense incurred in seeing a doctor of your selection.

Getting a Second Opinion | Disputes and Worker’s Compensation Claims

When you see the insurance doctor, you’ll likely be asked a series of questions about your medical history and the accident that injured you. If the insurance doctor has reason to believe your injuries are due completely or in part to a prior condition, you benefits may be reduced or denied altogether.

For example, suppose you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome after being on the job for a year and a half. The insurance doctor might ask if you’ve ever had trouble with your wrist or arm before. Suppose you play guitar and tell the doctor that you’ve struggled on and off with pain and soreness for a few years. He might conclude that your injury is due to your guitar playing and constitutes a prior condition.

At this point, if your claim is denied or you contest the benefits offered, you’ll have to file a Claim Petition or Application for an Informal Hearing with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Being prepared with a second opinion from your doctor may provide grounds for honoring or increasing your claim if the court is persuaded by the facts.

Contact Mount Laurel Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Taylor & Boguski

Employers don’t always inform their employees about their rights, nor do they always treat them fairly when it comes to protecting their job and returning to work. If you’ve been injured on the job, it’s important to talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to ensure your rights are protected. To learn more about your rights under New Jersey workers’ compensation laws, contact Mount Laurel workers’ compensation attorneys at Taylor & Boguski.