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.

When you are expecting a child, you can read all the books you want, but you still have to depend on your doctor to ensure that you take all the right steps to ensure the health and safety of your unborn child. With proper testing and screening, your doctor can tell you if your child will likely be born with a birth defect, such as Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida or Sickle Cell Anemia. If your doctor fails to use reasonable care to either conduct appropriate screening, or negligently interprets test results, you may have a claim for “wrongful birth” of a special needs child.

There are a number of different types of screening tests you can have administered. Some are invasive, but many are not. If circumstances warrant, you may be a candidate for what is known as amniocentesis, or for chorionic villi sampling. With amniocentesis, the placenta must be punctured to obtain a sample of your amniotic fluid, which encapsulates the fetus. With chorionic villi sampling, medical professionals will take a sample of your chorionic tissue for screening.

The less invasive procedures include:

  • ultrasounds;
  • genetic tests;
  • nuchal translucency tests; and
  • maternal blood serum screening.

As a general rule, you should expect to have prenatal screening throughout the course of your pregnancy, starting in the first trimester. Some of the least invasive types of procedures can be conducted fairly early in your pregnancy, but can provide critical information about the potential viability of your pregnancy, or may be cause to engage in more complex testing and monitoring over the course of gestation.

If your child is born with what should have been a detectable birth defect, you may have a claim against the doctor for misreading test results or for failing to order necessary tests. You may also have a claim against a lab, if there was an error in administering the test.

Contact Taylor & Boguski

At Taylor & Boguski, we have more than 70 years of combined experience representing people across New Jersey with medical malpractice and personal injury matters. For a free initial consultation, send us an e-mail or call us at 856-200-8989.

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.

Fatal Crash in New Jersey Leaves Two Dead

Sunday October 1, 2012 started out as a glorious autumn morning, with clear skies and warm weather. Sadly, for one New Jersey family, the promise of the day turned into tragedy when a New Jersey father and his son were killed in a crash when their car collided with a jeep Cherokee.

The father, age 38, and his young son, died in the crash, while the daughter, age 4, is currently hospitalized. The driver of the other car did not suffer serious injuries.

2.2 Million Injuries From Motor Vehicle Accidents in U.S.

The cause of the fatal crash is under investigation and at this point it is unclear what caused the collision. This much is known, nearly 33,000 people were killed in car crashes in 2010 in the United States and over 2.2 million people were injured in car and other motor vehicle accidents throughout the nation. Statistics show that about one in eight people who lost their lives were passengers in the automobile.

Accidents happen all the time. No matter how safe and careful of a driver you are, you cannot always control the actions of other people on the roads. Dangerous drivers are out there. Texting drivers are out there, in increasing numbers. Roadway conditions in southern New Jersey, including construction areas, can distract drivers, just enough for them to make a mistake, sometimes with tragic results.

If you or a loved one has been injured or if you have lost a family member due to a fatal crash that was caused by someone else’s careless actions, you may have reason to file a personal injury or wrongful death legal claim. Speaking with an experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorney can answer your questions and help you have some understanding of your rights in situations like these.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney in Southern New Jersey

At the law office of Taylor and Boguski, we fight for the rights of the injured and those who have lost loved ones in car 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.

Causes of Truck Accidents

When a trucking accident results in serious injury or death, assigning liability for victims’ losses is critical, and depends on accurately determining the cause or causes underlying the crash. Evidence degrades quickly, and witness’s memories become unreliable after a short time. For that reason, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrive at the scene of a serious truck accident shortly after the crash is reported. Investigators from the trucking company’s insurance company may arrive even before the NTSB. As a result, there is good data available on causes of truck accidents.

What are the primary reasons for trucking accidents?

Crash reconstruction experts agree that most truck accidents are complex events, involving more than one causative factor and two or more vehicles. It is common for more than one factor to contribute to the crash. A truck-crash causation study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that a majority of truck accidents involved fatigue, alcohol, and speeding. When breaking out details overall, however, the study pointed to a much wider range of factors that increase the risk a large truck will be in an accident, including some that may have occurred long before the accident.

  • Driver error was considered a critical reason for 87% of the accidents, and includes two major categories—the driver’s condition before the crash, and decisions made by the driver. The most common critical events resulting from driver error were driving out of the lane, crossing into another lane or off the road and loss of control due to speeding. The category of driver condition includes poor training, driver fatigue, alcohol, illness, and use of legal or illegal drugs. Poor decisions on the part of the driver include traveling too fast for conditions, responding to work pressure from carrier, inattention (distracted driving due to texting, eating, or other activity), following too close, making an illegal maneuver, and responding to an internal distraction in the vehicle.
  • Equipment failure, with brake failure the lead in the category, followed by tire failure.
  • Carrier negligence, a category that includes inadequate driver training and hiring, improper load distribution, pressure to drive longer than legal hours, and failure to maintain equipment.
  • Environmental issues, such as poor road conditions, improperly marked construction zones, and defective roadways can be contributing factors.

Assigning liability for injuries and death

Truck accident injury victims and families of deceased are entitled to compensation from negligent parties. Sorting out the degree to which each party is liable for the damages can be challenging. A person who has a serious injury or death claim should consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident in order to ensure a fair settlement or result at trial.

Contact us for a free attorney consultation, or visit our Practice Areas page for more information about Taylor & Boguski.

Anesthesia Errors in the 21st Century

Since its introduction in the mid-19th century to the present day, anesthesia has become notably safer. The first anesthetic compounds were explosive, dosages were not established, and unexpected negative effects included fatal aspiration of stomach contents.

Today, anesthesia is administered by anesthesiologists (MDs) and certified nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) with extensive specialized training in the field. The operating room (OR) is equipped with devices that monitor blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, and actions of the heart and lungs during surgery. The anesthesiologist can choose from a range of drugs proven to be safe and reliable.

Why do patients still die from anesthesia?

Despite the abundance of knowledge about anesthesia drugs and their effects on humans, about allergic reactions and antidotes and about techniques and devices to keep airways clear during surgery, deaths and serious injuries still result from anesthesia. Some are unpredictable and inexplicable. Others, resulting from human error, are medical malpractice. And still others are the result of defective drugs or medical devices.

It is critical that the patient’s airway remain open to receive oxygen. During general anesthesia (when the patient is unconscious, paralyzed and can’t breath normally), the anesthesiologist protects the airway by inserting an endotracheal tube into the trachea (windpipe). If the doctor carelessly inserts the tube into the esophagus instead of the trachea, the patient’s oxygen level will drop and the patient will suffer cardiac arrest and, if the airway is not cleared within four to six minutes, brain damage. A well-equipped OR will have a device to verify correct placement of the endotracheal tube. When a procedure is done in an office, the risk of error rises.

Anesthesia is an entire branch of medical science, not just a class of (potentially toxic) drugs. The anesthesiologist, nurse anesthetist, and anesthesia assistants are responsible for observing the patient, noting any unanticipated changes after administration of a drug and responding accordingly. Fatigue, stress, inattention, or poor training may result in operating room staff’s failure to identify an emergency and take appropriate measures.

One of the earliest noted causes of anesthesia-relate death was aspiration of stomach contents; it continues to threaten patients today, especially those who are pregnant, obese, or have bowel obstructions. Special techniques will protect those patients. Another human error is overuse of a sedative during a minor procedure, causing a patient to stop breathing and die. Strong sedatives are often administered by poorly trained staff in a doctor’s or dentist’s office. After the anesthetic is stopped, the anesthesiologist’s or anesthetist’s failure to administer drugs to reverse the paralyzing effect may result in the patient’s failure to resume breathing.

Mechanical devices used during administration of anesthesia are very reliable, but the doctor/nurse anesthetist is responsible for going through a checklist to ensure the device is working properly and avoid death or injury from failure of the anesthesia machine, ventilator, or monitor.

A family that has lost a loved one, or a patient who suffered brain injury or another serious injury as a result of an anesthesia error, may be entitled to compensation from the hospital, anesthesiologist, anesthetist, or manufacturer of defective medical equipment. If a survivor is considering a personal injury claim, it is important to work with a law firm with the resources to pursue a complex, expensive case, and a successful record in personal injury law.

Contact us for a free attorney consultation, or visit our Practice Areas page for more information about Taylor & Boguski.

Fire Injuries: the Third Leading Fatal Home Injury

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fires are the third leading cause of fatal home injuries. Every day sees an average of 435 children treated for fire injuries. Two of them will die. Most victims die from inhaling smoke and toxic gases, not from burn injuries. Smoking is the leading cause of fire-related death and cooking is the most common cause of residential fire. Statisticians can break down the cost of injuries, demographics (children four and under are most at risk of fire injury or death), ethnicity, economics, and social factors.

We also know that most home fires happen during the winter months, alcohol is often a contributing factor, and over one-third of home fire deaths happen in structures without working smoke alarms; one-quarter resulted from fires in homes in which smoke alarms were present but not operational. While there are numbers regarding losses and cost there are none to describe the pain and suffering of a family that loses a child, or a victim who survives but suffers serious burn injuries.

Completely preventable tragic accidents

The steps property owners and families can take to prevent home fires and related injuries and deaths are simple and inexpensive. Take the time to do the following and protect your family:

  • Install smoke alarms in or near every sleeping area and on every level. Check batteries monthly.
  • Discuss fire with your family members. Have an escape plan, with two exits from every room in the house. This might require investing in hanging ladders for second-story bedrooms. Have a meeting place outside of the house. Be sure everyone understands the importance of getting out without stopping for pets or personal belongings.
  • Discuss safe cooking practices, including never setting flammable materials on the stove.
  • Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, and make sure everyone knows how to use it.
  • Enforce a no-smoking-in-bedrooms rule.
  • Be clear that matches and lighters are not toys.

Fire injuries resulting from tenants’ or landlords’ negligence

Owners of rental property, including multi-family units, college dorms, and apartment buildings, are responsible for providing fire exits and smoke alarms. Specific requirements for inspections and permits vary by community and state. A landlord who fails to provide and maintain smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, fire alarms, or exits may be liable for damages to tenants injured as a result. A personal injury lawyer who takes on a fire injury or wrongful death claim should have resources available to conduct a thorough investigation. If a defective smoke alarms or other poorly designed equipment was to blame, the manufacturer may be liable. A landlord who failed to provide a safe building can be sued. In both those situations, insurance companies for the defendants will handle the cases and either agree to settlements or go to court.

Tenants are themselves responsible for taking reasonable precautions to prevent fires. A tenant who causes property damage, injury, or death through dangerous cooking or smoking practices, disabling smoke alarms, or blocking exits can be sued or charged with negligent homicide. If a tenant charge with a crime cannot afford a criminal defense lawyer, the state will provide a public defender. Again, the outcome of a civil or criminal case will depend heavily on the quality of the defense investigation.

When someone suffers injury or loss in a fire

It is important, if a person is injured or suffers another loss in a house or apartment fire, that a thorough investigation be conducted immediately, before evidence degrades or disappears, and witness memories become unreliable. It is common practice for personal injury law firms to offer free initial consultations and, if a firm takes a case, to arrange for that investigation. Therefore, person who has been injured, suffered loss of property, or lost a loved one to fire, should contact a firm as soon as possible afterwards.

Contact us for a free attorney consultation, or visit our Practice Areas page for more information about Taylor & Boguski.

Dealing with Your Insurer after an Accident

Mount Laurel Personal Injury Attorneys

In 2010, Allstate, one of the nation’s largest insurers, paid $10 million to settle a lawsuit brought against it by 41 states. The lawsuit claimed there were inconsistencies in how Allstate used a claims software called “Colossus” to calculate claim payments in injury accidents. While Allstate agreed to standardize the use of Colossus, the claims software is still used today – and not just by Allstate. Colossus is used by many large and smaller insurance companies in order to determine claims payouts in car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian knockdowns, and other kinds of accidents where personal injuries are involved.

What is Colossus?

Colossus is a proprietary software used by some of the nation’s largest insurers (MetLife, Farmers, and the Hartford) for estimating claims in personal injury cases. In many ways, Colossus acts like a database for providing a baseline range of costs associated with different kinds of injuries that are similar in kind. To begin, a claims agent selects certain variables and enters them into Colossus – variables like “broken femur, “concussion,” lost wages, and the kind of accident you were in. Using pre-determined algorithms, Colossus then estimates the amount you should be paid based on costs associated with injuries that are similar to yours in your situation.

However, since there are certain questions associated with each variable entry, what is entered determines how each variable interfaces with value drivers considered by Colossus. Value drivers include such things as the kind of injury involved, hospitalization, its duration, treatment, etc. After analyzing costs associated with these value drivers, Colossus provides an estimate for a claims payout.

Questioning the Estimates of Colossus in Injury Claim Payouts

In this way, the results provided by Colossus depend in part on the variables entered by a claims agent in the first place. If your broken shoulder results in chronic pain or the weakness in your hand, the estimate provided by Colossus may not take into account these other factors that are a part of your injury. Critics of Colossus have pointed to this aspect of Colossus, though its supporters claim the software has been improved. Additionally, the manner in which Colossus determines an average payout has come under fire since insurers can tweak results by selecting from the low end of what is considered an average payout.

Why It’s Important to Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney

Insurance companies don’t always tell you that they’ve used a computer software to estimate your claim. And, since the result provided by Colossus is dependent upon what a claims agent enters, the estimate is subject to error. Further, Colossus does not take into account pain and suffering, especially in cases where an injury results in chronic pain or a loss in strength or the use of an arm or a leg. For these reasons, it’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who understands how to challenge the estimates provided by Colossus and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, truck wreck, motorcycle crash, your slip and fall, contact Mount Laurel personal injury attorneys at Taylor & Boguski today to discuss your case.

Hit and Run Car Accident Injuries – Who Pays?

Mount Laurel UM/UIM Car Accident Attorneys

Due in part to the economic downturn, more and more Americans are driving without insurance coverage. In fact, experts and other observers have noticed an increase in uninsured / underinsured drivers since 2009. With foreclosures, unemployment, and bankruptcy affecting millions of Americans, many are choosing to let their car insurance lapse in order to pay for other things. As a result, it’s likely that the number of uninsured / underinsured drivers will continue to rise. Consequently, it’s not unreasonable to expect a rise in the number of hit and run accidents as uninsured motorists attempt to avoid criminal charges or lawsuits after hitting another car, bicyclist, or pedestrian.

Recovering Compensation after a Hit and Run Accident

If you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident, you can recover financial compensation under the terms of your own policy’s uninsured / underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage. Since UM/UIM coverage is not mandatory in New Jersey, you’ll want to make sure you purchased it and for how much you’re covered. If you purchased $100,000 UM/UIM coverage, you can claim up to that amount in damages under the terms of your UM/UIM policy less any amount you received from the responsible parties insurance.

Here, however, is where a hit and run injury victim can encounter difficulties with their own insurer. Since insurance companies are in business to make money, they can be difficult to deal with regarding UM/UIM claims.

You may be on good terms with your agent and have an excellent rapport with him or her. However, once you submit a UM/UIM claim after a hit and run accident, your relationship essentially becomes adversarial: since the other driver fled the scene, your insurer is unlikely to recover the losses it has to pay you. As a result, they may delay your payment, choose to take their time in the investigation, or dispute the severity of your injuries.

Protecting Your Interests after a Hit and Run Car Accident

If your insurer disputes your claim, you’ll need to hire a personal injury attorney to represent you. Although UM/UIM claims generally do not go to trial in New Jersey, they are handled through arbitration. Here, an impartial third party will listen to both sides of the case and decision. Arbitration requires that both parties agree to adhere to the arbitrator’s decision which means you and your insurer must accept what is final decided.

Hiring an experienced car accident attorney can help you prepare for and participate in the arbitration process. An experienced car accident lawyer understands what sorts of tactics insurers resort to minimize claims, including the use of claims software like Colossus and medical economists and life care planners. As such, you and your personal injury attorney may need to hire your own experts in order to challenge those working for your insurer.

Contact Mount Laurel UM/UIM Claims Attorneys

A hit and run accident can be a nightmare beyond the physical injuries you suffer if your insurer balks at paying your claim in a timely fashion. To protect your interests and learn how we can help you, contact Mount Laurel car accident attorneys at Taylor & Boguski today.