Archives for May 2015

Hurt handWorkers’ compensation programs have been instituted in all fifty states, including New Jersey, to provide a streamlined process for injured workers to obtain benefits to cover lost wages and medical expenses. Unfortunately, a large percentage of claims, including many legitimate claims, are initially denied by workers’ compensation insurance companies. There are some valid reasons why a workers’ compensation claim will be denied:

  • The injury was not work-related
  • You didn’t report the claim within the period of time required by law
  • The injury may not be one that is covered by workers’ compensation—for example, some states don’t allow coverage of psychological injuries, including stress-related clai
  • The injuries are not serious enough to prevent you from working

If none of the above situations applies and your claim has been denied, you are not necessarily out of luck. Every state, including New Jersey, has a process by which you can appeal the denial of a workers’ compensation claim. Often, you will find specific instruction on how to appeal the denial in the denial letter itself.

Before filing any formal appeal, you should contact the insurance company that provides workers’ compensation coverage for your employer. The denial may have been a mistake, or may have been based on erroneous or incomplete information.

In New Jersey, there are two ways you can appeal the denial of a work comp claim. To obtain a formal hearing, you must file what is known as a “claim petition.” An informal hearing may be arranged by submitting an Application for an Informal Hearing.”

The informal hearing process typically moves faster. Once you file your application, you will be assigned to a workers’ compensation judge and will receive notice of a hearing date. If you are unsatisfied with the judge’s ruling, you may still file a formal claim petition and seek a formal hearing.

When you request a formal hearing, you will be assigned to a “judge of compensation,” and will also be scheduled with a hearing date. However, that hearing may not take place for six months or more. In addition, the hearing will look more like a trial than a conversation (the informal hearing usually involves the judge asking questions of both parties). The formal hearing may include witnesses, as well as documentary evidence.

Contact 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 our office online or call us at 856-234-2233.

Making Divorce Less Painful for Your Children

Parents arguingAs a parent, the last thing you want is to see your children suffer. In the midst of a divorce, though, you can do thing, often unintentionally, that cause a lot of confusion, anxiety and pain for your children. Here are some tips to minimize that risk.

Redefine Your Relationship with Your Ex

If you have minor children, the reality is that you will have to have some sort of relationship with your ex, as you will have to work effectively with them on custody and visitation matters. To the extent that you can, let the past be the past. When structuring your new relationship with your ex, ask yourself, “how can I get along with my ex in ways that are most beneficial for my children?” Be willing to compromise, as long as you are not sacrificing your relationship with your children in the process.

Pay Attention—Even the Best of Intentions Can Be Misinterpreted

Often, some of the most painful things that divorced parents do are done with the best of intentions. For example, don’t tell your child how much you will “miss” them as get ready to head out the door with their non-custodial parent. Many young children interpret this to mean that their custodial parent will be “lonely” without them, and will be sad. Consequently, they spend most of their time with the noncustodial parent worrying about the other parent. Your children know that you love them. When they go with a non-custodial parent, you should simply encourage them to have a good time.

Always Be Clear In Your Communications

Not knowing is generally far worse than knowing. Furthermore, your children are more observant than you probably give them credit for. If something is wrong, they’ll generally know, even if they don’t know what is wrong. If you don’t give them some idea of what is going on, they will typically try to figure it out themselves and will usually come up with the wrong answer.

Contact the Law Office of Taylor & Boguski

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 us online or call us at 856-234-2233.

Slip and Fall Injuries in New Jersey—What is the Duty of a Property Owner Regarding Snow and Ice?

Icy stepsIf you live in New Jersey, you expect that the area will be blanketed with snow at some point during the winter, and you know that ice storms and icy sidewalks can be a common hazard from October into April. But it begs the question—what are the duties of a landowner with regard to snow and ice?

Under the common law of New Jersey, the owner of residential or commercial property has a duty to maintain the premises so as to minimize the risk of injury to anyone legally on the property. This requires the property owner to act as a reasonable person would—to reasonably monitor the premises for potential injury risks, and to take reasonable measures to either remedy the situation or warn visitors of the potential risks? What does this require a property owner to do with respect to snow and ice?

Interestingly, the rules are somewhat different depending on whether the property is residential property (essentially single-family dwellings) or commercial property—multiple dwellings are generally viewed as commercial property for purposes of liability for snow and ice removal. With a single-family, private residence, there is generally no duty to remove snow/ice or to warn others of the potential for accumulation or injury due to ice/snow, as people using the property are typically not what is known as “business invitees.”

A business invitee is a person who is on property for commercial purposes, who has essentially been “invited” to the property by the property owner to potentially engage in a business transaction. Because the owner or operator of business/commercial property is considered to have encouraged or enticed the business invitee to come onto the property, the duty to keep the business invitee free from injury is higher. Accordingly, properties that house commercial enterprises, including apartment complexes, require the owner or manager to take reasonable steps to monitor and remediate potentially dangerous situations. To recover for injuries, a person must show that the commercial property owner either knew or should have known of the likelihood of injury.

As a general rule, courts have held that the accumulation of snow is reasonably foreseeable in New Jersey, as is the likelihood of melting snow refreezing overnight. Accordingly, a commercial property owner must take reasonable steps to prevent the accumulation of snow and/or ice, or will be liable for any injuries that result. In addition, when a property owner has a duty to remove snow or ice, the property owner must exercise reasonable care when doing so. This means taking action that is reasonable both as to timeliness and effectiveness.

Contact Taylor & Boguski

At Taylor & Boguski, we have more than 70 years of combined experience representing injured people across New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, send us an e-mail or call us at 856-234-2233.