During your workers’ compensation case, you may be asked to undergo an “independent” medical examination, or IME. They are also known as Rule 4:19 exams or defense medical examinations.
In reality, the doctors who perform these examinations serve insurance companies and are paid handsomely to downplay injuries, make a case for cheaper treatment, and make a report that’s as favorable to the insurance companies as humanly possible.
It’s smart to wonder whether you may record these examinations to bolster your case.
According to the 2023 New Jersey Supreme Court Case DiFiore v. Pezic, you may bring a neutral third-party observer to make an audio or video recording of the exam if your lawyer informs the defendant in advance. If the defense counsel opposes the third-party observation or recording, the parties should meet and confer to reach an agreement.
The court also did not seem to hold the common view that an IME or DME is an “adversarial proceeding inevitably designed to disprove claims of injury and trap plaintiffs into admitting or showing their claims are exaggerated or fabricated.” In the court’s view, a DME/IME is a professional assessment. The courts did acknowledge that DMEs/IMEs are not “always a purely objective exercise unaffected by any conscious or subconscious biases of the examiner.”
A recording is only considered to be evidence if it follows these guidelines. While you won’t get into any trouble for recording your IME outside of these guidelines (New Jersey is a one-party recording state), you won’t …Read More
If you can’t return to your old job because your injuries make it impossible, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services. These services are designed to help you find and keep jobs so you don’t have to live on a meager workers’ compensation check for the rest of your life.
To do so, you must first find an organization to help you. Most people get VR services from one of the following organizations.
- The New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (NJVRDS)
- The Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI)
- The United States Veteran’s Administration
- Employment Networks through the SSI/SSDI Ticket to Work Programs
- Private vocational rehabilitation services
Note that you must apply for any of these services; any organization may deny you. Fortunately, your workers’ compensation lawyer can help you with a VR denial like we would help you with a denied workers’ compensation claim. You have the right to appeal any denial.
The types of services you would receive depend on the organization but often include:
- Career counseling
- Job placement services
- One-on-one job coaching
- Assistive technologies
- Training, including vocational school, technology, trade, or business school training
- Deaf or hard of hearing services
- Mental health counseling
- Vehicle or home modifications
Many people feel utterly lost when considering what kind of work they can do now, especially if they have been barred from a career they held for years or even decades. Vocational rehabilitation services can help you identify new opportunities you might enjoy or be good …Read More
If you suffer a workplace accident the consequences are immediate. After a workplace accident, you need medical attention and time off work – in the event of a serious accident, you need emergency care and weeks (or longer) to recover. These ramifications of an injury or illness are costly and there is every reason to worry about the financial consequences of a workplace accident.
In New Jersey, the state government has recognized the swift and cutting impact of a workplace accident and designed the process for a workers compensation claim to follow suit. An employee is entitled to temporary disability benefits when unable to work for seven days. The first workers compensation check should arrive within two weeks of reporting your workplace accident.
What if this isn’t the case for your workers compensation claim? Some employees wait much longer for their workers compensation claim to begin reimbursement of medical costs or payment of lost wages. At the Law Offices of Albert J. Talone, we take a look at what causes these delays and an employee’s options for getting their workers compensation benefits on time.
Delays by the Insurance Company or Employer
The most common cause of delay to a workers compensation claim is the insurance company. Employers in New Jersey are required to carry workers compensation insurance. These insurance policies protect the employer from exceptional costs, in the event of a workplace injury, but also provide assurance to the employee that a workers compensation claim will …Read More
It can take anywhere from a couple months to half a year for workplace accidents and injuries statistics to work their way into the public sphere. In this case, workers’ compensation practitioners and businesses are just seeing the final numbers for 2017 and estimates for 2018 here in December. What do these new numbers tell us about workplace accidents in recent years?
Data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the number of fatal workplace accidents dropped from 2016 to 2017 and the approximate numbers for 2018 show another slight decrease this past year. Specifically, in 2017, the fatal injury rate was 3.5 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers in the United States. This number is down from 3.6 fatalities reported in 2016.
The data on fatal workplace accidents also tells us a lot more about injuries, illnesses, and infamously dangerous industries in the United States in the most recent years.
What Does the Drop in Workplace Fatalities Indicate?
The total number of workplace fatalities in 2017 is 5,147. This number represents all fatalities from all causes and across every industry in the United States for last year. The total fatalities account for slip and fall, electrocution, work-related car accidents, and even heart attacks occurring in the workplace. There were only 43 fewer fatal accidents in 2017 than in 2016.
While it is encouraging to see a slight drop in the number of workplace fatalities, this information doesn’t indicate much to a worker’s compensation or …Read More
There are some jobs in New Jersey and the United States as a whole that appear inherently more dangerous than others. For example, the use of heavy machinery and heavy lifting in construction makes it an obvious workplace for employees injured by equipment, electric shocks, improper use of tools, and manual lifting or pushing.
Similarly, the dangers of working in a restaurant or other hospitality setting are readily apparent. There are slick floors, spilled beverages, and a lot of time standing. The longer a waitress or waiter is on a shift, the greater increase there is in employees injured by slips and falls. Finally, we can look to firefighters and police officers as brave individuals taking on a job with evident dangers. These first responders are thrown into chaotic and dangerous situations as part of their job description.
These Surprising Jobs Have a High Number of Injured Employees
On the other hand, there are some professions in New Jersey where the number of employees injured at work seems inconsistent with the job description. You may not think of nursing and in-home care as particularly dangerous careers, but in fact, healthcare professionals have one of the highest rates of injury in the United States according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Another career that is high on the list of employees injured each year is taxi drivers and chauffeurs. These professional drivers don’t have some of the typical risks found in an office space of manufacturing facility …Read More
The seasons are shifting in New Jersey, and for now, the state is buzzing with autumn activities and pumpkin spice. But anyone familiar with the New Jersey fall knows that there are colder temperatures not far behind and so are the hazards of certain workplace injuries. What is now sweater weather and scary movies will soon turn to frosty mornings and cold temperatures.
In most parts of your life, it is wholly acceptable to ignore the approaching winter and cold weather, but not when it comes to preparation and planning for workplace injuries. There are entirely new hazards and concerns for the winter months, and the time to address these workplace risks is right now.
Whether you are an employee or employer this is the best time to start preparing for cold weather workplace injuries in New Jersey. Here are five of the common cold weather injuries and accidents you can take steps to avoid.
#1: Slips, Trips and Falls Increase Drastically
One common sign that winter is coming to the workplace is a gigantic leap in the number of slip and fall accidents that are reported to workers’ compensation insurance during the winter months. The cause of many slip and fall workplace injuries is probably obvious – frost, ice, and inclement weather – but these hazards are still overlooked by too many employers.
First, many employers put off their winter weather procedures, such as buying salt and bringing shovels out of storage, until the initial winter weather hits their …Read More
Slip and fall accidents are among the most common workplace accidents in NJ and across the U.S. Each year thousands of employees miss thousands of days at work because they have a broken arm, sprained neck, or another injury from falling at work.
Another important statistic about slip and fall accidents is that they occur in a variety of NJ workplaces and work environments. Offices, industrial warehouses, construction sites, and hospitals are all common locations for an employee to slip and fall. Other accidents occur in restaurants, hair salons, and schools.
Yet, slip and fall accidents are preventable. Very few employees are falling without reason and most slip and fall accidents occur because of a hazard in the workplace. Putting in place alternatives and safety features can reduce the hazards leading to slip and fall accidents. In particular, employers can work to address these five common hazards at work.
#1: Cables and Cords Across the Floors
Employees often don’t notice where their computer or printer is plugged in, until the cord to that power source becomes a hazard in the hallway or other areas of the workplace. In fact, cables and cords that go unnoticed or unsecured on the floor are one of the most common reasons for slip and fall accidents in the office.
However, it isn’t just law firms and business professionals that need to worry about this hazard. Extension cords, power cords, ropes, and other cables are common in warehouses, industrial facilities, and other workplaces …Read More
As a New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer, the serious and severe workplace injuries receive the majority of time and attention in this blog. We discuss how to handle the medical costs associated with a workplace injury and what happens when your employer refuses to cover an expensive claim. However, minor injuries shouldn’t fly under the radar.
It’s important for workers in New Jersey to understand how to handle minor injuries. These injuries are subject to the same rule and regulations as a very serious injury and also entitled to the same recovery from New Jersey workers’ compensation insurance. Here are a few tips for handling a minor injury in the workplace.
Report All Workplace Injuries to Your Employer
Did you know that nearly half of all workplace injuries go unreported in the United States? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that nearly half of all serious injuries are unreported and very few workers inform their employers of minor injuries. Even in industries where the number of workplace injuries is high, a substantial number of minor injuries go unreported.
Not telling your employer about a minor injury is problematic. First, you must inform an employer of an injury to initiate the insurance and healthcare process. Whether you visit the emergency room or later require additional care for an injury, you can’t recover the medical costs without telling your employer about the injury.
Second, you are required to inform your employer of an injury within a specified amount of …Read More
There is a legal requirement that NJ employers acquire and carry workers compensation insurance at all times. This insurance should cover all employees of the company, including new hires. It is a non-negotiable and extremely firm requirement that exempts few NJ employers. The structure of the workers compensation insurance obtained by your NJ employer may vary, but the legal obligation to protect workers through a policy is finite.
Yet, each year a small number of NJ employers neglect their workers compensation policies, fail to renew plans, forget to pay premiums, or just choose to take the legal risk and not obtain the mandatory insurance. What should an injured worker do if they discover their NJ employer doesn’t have workers compensation insurance?
#1: Determine There Isn’t an Applicable Exception
Upon the discovery that an NJ employer doesn’t have workers compensation insurance, your first step is confirming the employer is violating an NJ law. There are two major exceptions to the requirement to carry workers compensation insurance. You should be certain your employer doesn’t fall outside the insurance obligations.
First, the workers compensation law in NJ exempts any employer covered by a federal program from the workers compensation insurance requirements. This is a blanket exception, meaning it is applicable to all employers that receive insurance commitments from a federal program, but it is also extremely limited. There are few employers in NJ that would meet the criteria of the exception.
The second exception is applicable to employers that qualify for self-insurance. Again, …Read More
Back injuries are a major cause of missed workdays and leave of absence in the New Jersey workplace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which collects employment, workers’ compensation, and workplace injury data for the entire United States, estimates there are over one million workers impacted by back injuries last year. This means back injuries accounted for nearly 20% of all workplace injuries in 2017.
The trends for workplace injuries are similar to those for the rest of the United States, and the Garden State sees a high number of back injuries reported to workers’ compensation each year. A back injury lawyer is busy with these claims that come from individuals of all ages and professions.
What Are the Main Causes of Back Injuries?
A back injury lawyer will represent workers hurt in a multitude of different accidents. Some people can cite to a specific moment or accident that caused their ongoing back pain, while other workers point to repeated motions or actions over a period of weeks, months, or years. Yet, it is possible to delineate three common causes of the back injuries in the New Jersey workplace.
First, improper lifting techniques when moving or pushing a heavy object, machine, or inventory is the leading cause of workplace back injuries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 75% of all back injuries result from this single cause. In New Jersey, nurses, occupational therapists, construction workers, retail employees, and air transport workers are some of the professions reporting an extraordinary number …Read More