When it comes to receiving workers’ compensation, your employer is only responsible for compensation related to injuries sustained on the job. What happens if you have a previous injury and it gets aggravated during the course of your employment? This is a tricky situation that can be difficult to prove. As a result, the New Jersey work injury lawyers at Rispoli & Borneo P.C. will need to take a close look at your circumstances to help you determine how best to go about obtaining the compensation you’re entitled to. In most cases, your employer will only be responsible for losses related to the extent to which your previous condition became worse as a result of aggravation while you were on the job.
When the Injury Already Qualified for Workers’ Comp
Before you do anything, you should let your New Jersey work injury lawyers know if your injury is an aggravation of a previous injury you received workers’ compensation for. It’s possible you received a completely different injury to the same body part, which will make a world of difference for the workers’ compensation claims process ahead.
If your injury truly is an aggravation of a previous workplace injury, your current benefits will probably be slightly reduced. Your employer will have to compensate you for new medical bills related to the new injury, but your permanent disability benefits could change. If there is an increase in permanent disability to some part of your body, you will receive the difference between what you were previously given and the compensation the doctor determines you are now eligible for. If you do not have a permanent issue from your new injury, there will probably not be any change to your permanent partial disability compensation. This is a tricky calculus, but your New Jersey work injury lawyers can provide clarity after learning about your unique situation.
When the Injury Was Not Previously Compensated
In situations in which you have a previous injury that did not previously qualify for workers’ compensation, your doctor will have to determine the extent to which your injury was worsened. That worsening amount is generally what you will be compensated for. For example, if you were in a car accident and hurt your back, and a year later your back injury begins to ache because of the amount of lifting you do at work, your compensation will cover any new medical bills and not those related to the initial car accident and treatment.
A Couple Points to Keep in Mind
There are a couple of things you should keep in mind when a previous injury has been aggravated at work, regardless of whether it previously did or did not qualify for workers’ compensation.
- You’ll need to find a doctor who has experience treating patients with work-related injuries. He or she knows the system and what will help you receive what you are entitled to.
- Contact New Jersey work injury lawyers as soon as possible to find out just what to do. There may be some legal loopholes you could miss if you don’t have an experienced professional by your side.
Why Was My Claim Denied?
In the majority of work injuries, the victim is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits based on the laws that New Jersey has in place to protect injured employees. But just because an employer has workers’ compensation insurance and just because the employee was injured due to a work-related task, that does not always mean that a claim will be approved with no issues. Many injured workers have to turn to one of the skilled New Jersey work injury lawyers from our firm to ensure they get the financial compensation they are entitled to under the law.
If a worker will be unable to work for seven or more days, they are entitled to receive benefits for those missed wages, usually 70 percent of what they would normally earn. Yet, even legitimate claims can be denied, which is not only frustrating for an injured worker but also very stressful. Not only are you dealing with the pain and of your injury, but not being able to work and receive an income means you may not be able to pay your bills.
If an employer and/or the insurance company denies the claim, they may use one of the following reasons.
The injury did not happen on the job.
For the most part, only injuries that are sustained at work are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, if the employee was performing work-related duties away from their usual place of work, the law says they are still covered. For example, if an employer requests an employee pick up supplies and that employee is injured while doing so, they are entitled to benefits. If the employer tries denying the claim on these grounds, the injured worker should consult with one of our New Jersey work injury lawyers.
The employee did not report the injury in time.
Like many “legal” actions, there is a statute of limitations for how long the worker has to report the injury and file a claim. Although the law says an employee has 90 days to report the claim, we always recommend reporting the injury to the employer as soon as possible. Any delay in reporting the claim could give the employer or the insurance company ammunition to try to say you waited too long to report the injury.
The employer says the employee caused the injury through their own fault.
Workers’ compensation laws are no-fault, meaning there does not have to be fault assigned in order for there to be a legitimate claim. Even if the employee was partially responsible for the accident that caused the injury, the insurance company cannot deny the claim on these grounds. There are exceptions, however, such as if the employee was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the incident occurred, or the employee intentionally caused their own injury in order to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. If your employer is trying to deny your claim by saying it was your fault you were injured, call one of our work injury lawyers in New Jersey for help.
Please reach out to our New Jersey work injury lawyers at Rispoli & Borneo P.C. today!