Archives for June 2012

Resolving Your Differences through Alternative Means

If you have come to the conclusion that your marriage cannot be saved, you can seek to settle your disputes in court. However, divorce litigation is typically costly, both financially and emotionally. If you have minor children involved, or if you want or need to maintain a positive relationship with your ex-spouse, you may want to consider other alternatives.

Divorce Mediation

In the mediation process, you work with a third party whose task is to help you find a mutually beneficial solution to all your differences. The mediator is neutral and does not represent either party. The mediator typically does not take testimony from witnesses, although both parties to the divorce have an opportunity to tell their story. The mediator does not make decisions about such issues as custody, visitation, support and property distribution, but helps the parties work together to identify and implement an outcome that is in everyone’s best interests. If you resolve all your differences, the mediator may help you put together an agreement that is enforceable in court.

There are many benefits to divorce mediation. First, because you have to work cooperatively to find solutions, mediation can allow you to maintain a positive relationship moving forward. Because you don’t have to get on the court’s docket, and don’t typically have to engage in discovery (gathering and sharing evidence), the mediation process can be completed much faster than litigation. Unlike litigation or even arbitration, you get to participate fully in the decision-making. You can make suggestions regarding how your differences will be resolved, and can always reject an offer from your ex-spouse. In most instances, the mediation process will be less expensive than other forms of dispute resolution.

The Arbitration Process

Arbitration can look similar to mediation, but has significant differences. In arbitration, you work with a third party, but the third party is typically someone with an extensive understanding of divorce and family law. The arbitrator performs a role similar to that of a judge, considering evidence and making rulings regarding how custody and visitation will work, whether there will be spousal support (and how much will be paid), and how marital debts and assets will be divided.

The arbitration process still offers significant advantages over divorce litigation. In most instances, you will be able to complete the arbitration process far more quickly than you will be able to resolve matters in court. Arbitration can be binding or non-binding. If it is non-binding, you have the right to reject the ruling of the arbitrator, and can still seek to resolve your dispute in court.

Contact Taylor & Boguski

To schedule a free initial consultation, 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.

Failure to Diagnose and Treat Nursing Home Injuries

In today’s world, where more and more people are living longer, and the demand for nursing home care continues to rise, the risk of injury to nursing home residents has become a serious issue. Many nursing homes are understaffed, or have employees who lack adequate skills or training. A resident can suffer a serious injury that may not be noticed by caregivers, resulting in unnecessary pain and suffering, complications, and even an early death.

Failure to Diagnose a Nursing Home Injury

The failure to diagnose a nursing home injury can stem from a variety of reasons:

  • The nursing home may not have adequate staffing—The residents in a nursing home often need regular monitoring and care to either minimize the risk of injury, or to quickly respond to injury. Understaffing can lead to serious problems. An aide may neglect to put up rails or other safety devices. They may not be able to.
  • The nursing home may have inadequate procedures for identifying injury or illness—Many residents in nursing homes are either incapable of communicating the nature of an injury, or unwilling to make an issue of an injury. Without proper procedures in place, a resident may be able to mask an injury for a significant period of time.
  • The nursing home may have poorly trained employees, or employees who lack the skills to diagnose an injury or illness—An employee may lack the skills to recognize different types of conditions, such as bed sores, infections or the signs of dehydration or malnutrition.
  • A caregiver may try to play down a serious injury to protect themselves—If a caregiver believes that they may get in trouble if an injury is discovered, they may attempt to persuade the resident that the injury is not serious, or does not need further attention.

Negligence in Treating a Nursing Home Injury

Once an injury has been diagnosed, a nursing home employee may still be careless in treating it. The employee may neglect to seek the appropriate medical care for the resident, or to bring in a nurse or doctor, when called for. If medication is prescribed because of the injury or illness, the failure to monitor the resident’s dosage, and to make certain that proper medications are taken at the right times can also be the basis for a personal injury claim.

Contact Taylor & Boguski

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