Archives for January 2015

Can You Be Denied Workers’ Compensation if You Contributed to Your Own Injury?

Work Injury Claim FormEvery state, including New Jersey, has workers’ compensation laws, designed to provide benefits to people who have been hurt on the job. Workers’ compensation programs are designed to be a compromise for both employees and employers, eliminating the need for an injured worker to incur the time and expense of a lawsuit, and simultaneously shielding employers from exorbitant jury awards. Worker’s compensation benefits are typically designed to address instances where the employer was careless or negligent in some respect. But what if you are an injured worker, and the accident was caused in part by your own negligence? Can you be denied benefits?

As a general rule, the worker’s compensation system is a no-fault system. This means that, in most instances, eligibility for benefits does not depend on who was at fault. There are exceptions, however. Many states bar or limit claims that result from the employee’s wrongful acts, including injuries that are intentionally self-inflicted, or injuries resulting from a fight or “horseplay” unrelated to the employee’s job. As a general rule, workers who injure themselves while drunk or under the influence of controlled substances will find it difficult to get workers’ compensation benefits.

In most instances, when the employee’s actions or behavior contributed to the injury, the court will look at whether there were other factors as well that caused the accident. Typically, courts will allow a worker to receive benefits unless the employer can show that the worker’s wrongful conduct was the sole cause of the injury.

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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.

Protecting Your Property Rights during a New Jersey Divorce

Splitting the houseWhen your marriage has failed, one of the most complicated procedures can be the division of marital debts and assets. You may have property that you owned free and clear before the marriage, or that you had made significant payments on before you got married. There may be disputes about retirement plans or credit card bills. One of the best things you can do to protect your interests and avoid endless battles is negotiate and sign a marital separation agreement, also known as a property settlement agreement.

A marital separation agreement is a legally binding contract that addresses the key issues of your divorce, including custody and spousal support issues, as well as the division of debts and assets. You can prepare and sign the agreement before you file for divorce, if you want, but for most people, it’s part of the divorce process. It’s important to understand that there is no requirement that you file the agreement with the court for it to have legal effect.

A property settlement agreement is not necessary to get a divorce, but it will make the process much simpler. There may be circumstances, though, where you simply don’t need a property settlement agreement—for example, if you have no home or significant joint assets, no debt and no children, there’s really no need.

Because the agreement is a legally binding contract, it will remain in effect until modified, either by mutual agreement of the parties, by court order, or if the purposes of the agreement are no longer legitimate. When you file the agreement with the court, the court may, in its discretion, review it to determine whether it is fair to both parties. As a practical matter, though, courts rarely do, unless there have been allegations of domestic violence.

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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 856-234-2233.

Protecting Your Rights after You Have Been Hurt in a Motor Vehicle Accident

After a car accidentIn the aftermath of an automobile accident, in the confusion and uncertainty that can abound, it can be easy to forget to take simple steps to protect your rights. Here are the most important things to do.

Get the Medical Care You Need

This is legal, as well as medical, advice. Before you can even think about protecting your legal rights, you need to make certain you get all the treatment you need. Remember, this isn’t the time to be brave. Don’t try to shake off serious injuries. If you find it difficult to move under your own power, don’t try to do so. Let emergency responders come and examine you. They will take every precaution to ensure that you don’t make your injuries worse, and that you get the care you need.

Even if you leave the scene under your own power, take yourself to an emergency clinic, a hospital emergency room, or make an immediate appointment with your doctor. You may have injuries that have not yet surfaced. Get a checkout and tell medical personnel exactly what happened and advise them of anything that feels out of the ordinary. Don’t just focus on the most obvious injury—don’t let all the attention focus on your broken leg without telling them that you hurt your back or neck, or bumped your head.

Getting the medical treatment you need is critical to protecting your legal rights. When you seek damages, a significant portion of your recovery will be based on any physical injuries you suffer. You need to document them as soon as possible, so that defense attorneys don’t try to claim they were the result of some event other than the motor vehicle accident.

Gather as Much Information as You Can

The more information you gather, the easier it will likely be for your attorney to prepare a case to help you get full and fair compensation for your losses. If you can, get basic contact information from anyone else involved in the accident, as well as witnesses. This includes name, phone number, e-mail address, home address, and name of their insurance company.

It can also be beneficial to get pictures. Use the camera on your phone, if necessary. Take pictures of anything related to the accident, from the damage to your vehicle or any bruises or scrapes you may have to skid marks, traffic signals and signs, and even weather conditions.

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 856-234-2233.