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
We are quickly approaching summertime in the Garden State. It’s the season of trips to the Shore, backyard BBQ, family vacations, and simply, being outdoors. It’s also the season with the highest number of workplace injuries in New Jersey and throughout the United States.
The United State Bureau of Labor Statistics performed a detailed survey on the seasonality of workplace injuries and events. The nationwide data confirms that at the start of the summer, the overall number of New Jersey workplace injuries rises. In September, the number of New Jersey workplace injuries starts to fall, with a bigger drop in the rate of injury in November. Throughout the winter, specifically in January, there is the fewest number of workplace injuries in the United States.
What can explain this increase in New Jersey workplace injuries occurring from June through September? While we can’t directly blame the warmer, nicer weather of the summer months, the rise in temperatures and seasonal work does have a lot to do with these trends.
An Increase in Construction Work
From June to September there is a noticeable increase in the number of construction projects in New Jersey. Whether it’s roadwork, new homes, or renovations of an old building you’ll soon be hearing hammers and seeing construction boots in or around your neighborhood. This increase in construction work has a corresponding impact on the number of New Jersey workplace injuries.
Construction sites are a leading location for employee and worker injuries. Per population, more construction workers …Read More
Throughout the holiday season, and even into the New Year, employers show their appreciation for employees by hosting a company holiday party. These events are intended as celebrations and joyful affairs for the company’s employees. Sometimes gifts are exchanged or dinner is provided. Other employers turn their conference room into a winter wonderland, and some rent an event space. One of the biggest decisions is whether or not to include alcohol as part of the party.
The festive environment not only increases employee morale and commitment but also encourages co-workers to step away from work and form personal relationships. These parties can be essential to retention and company culture. However, each year in New Jersey several employees leave the office holiday party with injuries.
Common Injuries at the Office Holiday Party
The office holiday party provides the perfect environment for certain injuries. These parties almost always involve food and drink, which is spilled and sloshed throughout the night. Unlike a normal workday, other employees are far less likely to clean up these spills. Slick or wet floors lead to slips and falls. It isn’t unusual for a few employees to leave with bumps, bruises, or even broken bones from a slippery floor. These spills are even more dangerous when out on the dance floor, where employees are already prone to lower back injuries and other strains.
As well, holiday celebrations also include extra decorations. Even if the holiday party is hosted at the office, employers will rent or buy …Read More
Between 2010 and 2011, New Jersey firefighter Carl E. Larson filed two separate workers compensation claims for two separate work-related injuries. It took until February 2013, but the Paterson City Council in Passaic County eventually approved both of these claims. The total in workers compensation came to over $105,000.
In many instances, the approval of the applicable municipal legislature would bring closure to a workers compensation case, but soon after the approval of compensation and benefits, Larson needed to take two days off work, unrelated to injuries or workers compensation. This short leave initiated a chain of events that eventually led to Larson’s retirement from the city’s fire department.
As stated in his subsequent lawsuit, this was a retirement that Larson didn’t seek or desire – and in fact, was allegedly forced upon him by the department as retaliation for workers compensation claims in New Jersey.
Circumstances for Retaliation for Workers Compensation
In his original complaint against the City of Paterson alleged that the city’s fire department forced him to retire as retaliation for the two workers compensation claims filed years earlier. The facts that surrounded the claim made by former fire captain, Larson, include evidence that after two days of non-injury related leave, he was told to remain off-duty until he completed for a fitness of duty examination. Then, upon his insistence that he was prepared for such examination, the department would neither facilitate such test nor allow him to return to work.
A few weeks into this …Read More
Under New Jersey law there are several restrictions on an injured employee’s recovery of workers’ compensation benefits. Some of these restrictions apply to the nature of the injury, for instance there is a basic requirement that the injury happened in the course of employment. This restriction means employers, and their workers’ compensation insurance companies, are not required to provide any benefits to employees who are injured at a recreational league basketball game or doing yard work.
Other restrictions are procedure based. An employee must file a workers’ compensation lawsuit within two years of from the date of the injury or two years from the last benefit payment, whichever is later. After this two year statute of limitations runs an employee is barred from filing a claim with the New Jersey Department of Labor. A New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer can describe and explain every restriction required to qualify for benefits.
One restriction that can present a problem for employees is that the employer has control of choice over the medical provider covered by workers’ compensation.
Employer’s Chosen Medical Provider
New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Law requires that employers must provide or give employees access to reasonable and necessary medical treatment for a workplace injury. Given this standard of care and responsibility for ensuring the care is available falls to the employer, in New Jersey the employer also chooses the covered medical professionals. Typically, the hospitals and doctors that can treat injured employees are actually determined by the employer’s insurance provider.
When …Read More
Quite often, expenses and costs are perceived as a barrier to legal representation and recovery. Admittedly, it is true that participation in the modern day legal system can be costly. However, when it comes to workers’ compensation in New Jersey, the law provides mechanisms that try to ensure an injured employee can afford the costs of filing a claim. Therefore, this post will answer two questions: what costs are associated with a workers’ compensation claim and what mechanisms help alleviate these costs?
Compensation for Your Lawyer
New Jersey limits the amount and process for payment of a workers’ compensation lawyer. This provides safeguards for an injured employee and also ensures the path to recovering workers’ compensation benefits is available to all workers. First, workers’ compensation lawyers in New Jersey are paid on a contingency basis. This means you do not pay your lawyer until a settlement is obtained from the insurance company.
Second, the legal fees are based upon the amount of settlement you receive, as a percentage. Under the law, a workers’ compensation lawyer cannot receive more than 20% of a settlement. Of this amount, the employer is expected to cover 60% and the injured employee 40%. Therefore, if you receive $10,000 as settlement, your lawyer can collect up to $2,000, of which you will pay $800.
Keep in mind, that in order for your lawyer to be paid, you must be awarded a settlement of your workers’ compensation claim by the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation, …Read More