Over three decades ago, Attorney Anthony Carbone began fighting for the rights of his clients who suffered injuries on-the-job. As an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, Carbone provides his clients with the guidance they need to pursue a claim.
While many workers’ compensation cases arise from isolated workplace accidents, some do not. You may be entitled to benefits for occupational exposure for a variety of reasons. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics offers some valuable insight concerning illnesses that may be work-related. They include the following:
- Skin diseases or disorders: Exposure to chemicals, plants, or other substances sometimes results in serious skin diseases or disorders.
- Respiratory conditions: Inhalation of hazardous substances ranging from chemicals to dust, gas, and vapors can all cause harmful respiratory conditions. This includes asbestosis, cancer, obstructive pulmonary disease, and more.
- Poisoning: Work-related poisoning can come from a one-time incident or arise as a result of repeated exposure. Lead, arsenic, carbon monoxide, and insecticides all put workers at risk for poisoning.
- Hearing Loss: Without proper protection, employees may suffer hearing loss as a result of excessive noise.
- Repetitive motion injuries: Repetitive lifting and bending, using hand tools, or working on a production line may all lead to occupational exposure claims.
New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws are based on a no-fault system. You don’t need to prove your employer did something wrong in order to claim benefits.
Workers’ Compensation in NJ: What You Need to Know
If you are a victim of a workplace accident, you need to know the basics of workers’ compensation law. Most importantly, you should know the first step of the process. It is critical to submit a report of the incident to your employer. In the case of occupational exposure, you may want to enlist the assistance of your attorney.
You may or may not be aware that injured workers are entitled to a few different benefits under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws. It stands to the reason that your employer needs notice that you have suffered a work-related accident.
As an experienced workplace accident lawyer, Attorney Carbone helps ensure your claim gets processed as quickly possible. You want to avoid delays in receiving authorized medical treatment or temporary disability benefits while you’re healing from injuries or illness. And, of course, you don’t want to risk denial of either after the initial filing of the documentation.
Once your employer receives the notification of your job-related accident or injury, the next step is filing a claim with the insurance company. In some cases, your company may be self-insured. Nonetheless, what happens next remains standard protocol.
Once a file is opened regarding your claim, an investigation begins to determine your eligibility for benefits. At the very least, the following are reviewed for confirmation and clarification:
- How did the accident happen?
- What were your injuries, and what treatment have you received?
- Did you have any pre-existing medical conditions?
- Were there witnesses to the incident?
- Was someone other than your employer or a co-employee responsible for the accident?
Initially, the first concern is showing that you suffered injuries or an illness in the course of your employment. Once this is established and your claim receives approval, you become eligible for benefits:
When you suffer an on-the-job injury, you may need emergency medical treatment. In some circumstances, your employer may escort you to a local clinic or hospital. Once your claim receives approval – if your claim is approved – you may be eligible for the following benefits:
- Medical Treatment: The employer’s insurance will pay for any medical treatment you need following the accident, including physical therapy and medical devices. However, the caveat is that the insurance company selects and/or authorizes the health care providers. However, emergency medical treatment immediately following the accident does not generally require prior authorization. In select situations, your employer may allow you to choose your treating doctor.
- Lost Wages: If you are unable to perform your job after the accident, you may be entitled to temporary disability benefits. However, you cannot arbitrarily decide you cannot work. You are eligible for these benefits if an authorized treating physician determines you need at least seven days out of work to recover from your illness or injury. Temporary disability benefits are based on 70% of your average weekly wage over the 26 week period before your accident. Notably, the state sets maximum and minimum rates that change each year.
- Death Benefits: If a loved one dies in a workplace accident, the worker’s dependents are entitled to death benefits. The worker’s medical treatment and burial arrangements will also be paid.
- Permanent Disability Benefits: You do not need to be totally disabled to make a claim for permanent disability. You could be entitled to partial permanent disability related to different illnesses and injuries. In some cases, the percentage of disability falls under a schedule of losses. However, it is also possible to sustain an “unscheduled loss.” The workers’ compensation carrier does not always offer permanent disability awards. This remains one of the key reasons that injured workers seek the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
Third-Party Claims as they Relate to Workplace Accidents
You may have heard the phrase “third party claims” and may not understand its relevance to your accident. In New Jersey, there are rare exceptions when you can sue your employer or co-worker outside workers’ compensation courts.
That said, there’s a possibility that you may be able to make a claim against a third party that caused your accident. In some cases, the workers’ compensation carrier may offer to pursue a subrogation case. However, their goal is to seek reimbursement of money they expended on your behalf.
Attorney Carbone handles third party cases in conjunction with workers’ compensation matters. Some examples of prospective cases against negligent parties include the following:
- Motor vehicle accident: If you were hurt while driving a delivery truck when another driver caused a collision, you may be entitled to pursue a case against them.
- Slip and Fall: When you slip and fall on premises that are improperly repaired and/or maintained, you may have a cause of action. However, there must be proof that your employer did not own or control the premises.
- Products Liability: A manufacturer or distributor could ultimately be found liable for your injuries if their product caused you to suffer on-the-job injuries.
- Toxic Substances: If you suffer a serious illness due to a toxic substance, you may be able to file a third-party claim.
- Construction accidents: Employees working on construction sites often work other trades. It may be possible to pursue a negligence action if someone from another company caused you to suffer a workplace accident.
This list represents a basic illustration of prospective third-party claims. Attorney Carbone understands the significance of these types of actions and evaluates them. The goal is to achieve maximum recovery for your injuries.
Reopening a Workers’ Compensation Case
New Jersey workers’ compensation laws allow injured employees to reopen their cases in select circumstances. One critical factor concerns how the case closed in the first place. You can also only reopen a case within certain time limitations.
In order to reopen a workers’ compensation case, you must demonstrate the need for additional treatment. Furthermore, you must show proof that your condition has worsened since the time the court originally decided your case.
What to Do After Being Injured on the Job
What you do after your accident is crucial to your case. By not following these steps, you may risk your workers’ compensation claim.
- Let your supervisor and employer know as soon as possible that you were in a workplace accident. Even if you think you are uninjured, you may start feeling the effects a few days afterward.
- Seek medical attention. The physician will determine whether you should be working. Remember, it is the authorized treating doctor’s medical decision, not your employer’s, as to when you can return to work.
- Make sure you keep all records about your accident. Such files include a history of all your medical visits, getting any witness accounts, photos of the accident scene, and any documents that involve your claim.
- Also, keep an eye on your deadlines. By missing the time limit to file a claim, you can lose out on receiving benefits. It makes the most sense to see an attorney as soon as possible.
Get the Right Result for Your Jersey City Workers’ Comp Claim
Our Jersey City workers’ compensation attorney will work hard to make sure of a winning outcome for your claim. It’s not uncommon for a settlement in these types of matters. However, it all depends on the extent of your injuries, your prognosis for the long term, and your circumstances. A workers’ compensation judge reviews all cases before a settlement is authorized.
It can be complicated to deal with matters involving the law without the right attorney by your side. It takes a dedicated lawyer with the right mixture of experience and know-how to make sure your case has a successful conclusion. And, you can count on the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone to get you the result you deserve.
If you’ve been injured at work and received a denial for workers’ compensation benefits, New Jersey workers compensation attorney Anthony Carbone is ready to fight on your behalf. We are prepared to explain how workers’ compensation laws work in New Jersey. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.