NJ Workers Compensation Lawyer
When you become injured at work, a NJ workers’ compensation lawyer knows you may be wondering what your rights are or if you even have any rights. It is imperative that you know each state has certain laws regarding workers’ compensation and that your place of work must provide a safe working environment for you and your colleagues. Even in some of the safest environments, however, it is still possible for you to become injured. Furthermore, if you were at fault for the accident, in most cases, workers’ compensation can cover the injuries that you sustained. As a NJ workers’ compensation lawyer, we at Rispoli & Borneo, P.C., want you to know that you do have rights after being injured at work and that we are here to help you exercise those rights. For more information on workers’ compensation and your rights, contact us now.
The First Step to Protecting Your Rights
When you are injured at work, you may be wondering what steps you can take to protect your rights and successfully apply for workers’ compensation. The first thing you can and should do is report your injury to your supervisor. This may seem like an obvious answer (or it may not), but there is very little your employer can do for you if they do not know you were injured in the first place. In fact, if you go ahead and file a workers’ compensation claim without ever notifying your supervisor, this is a very good reason for your claim to come back completely denied. When it is denied for this reason, there may be very little you can do to appeal that claim. When you are able to report the injury to your supervisor, do so. If you need help with this, you can ask a NJ workers’ compensation lawyer.
The Second Step to Protecting Your Rights
The next step is filing your claim. While there are usually time limits when it comes to filing your claim, you want to do so as quickly as possible. The reason for this is twofold: if your claim is accepted, that is very good news. That means workers’ compensation can begin paying for your medical bills and the time you have taken off work because of your injury. Essentially, the sooner you apply the sooner the payout. On the other hand, if your workers’ compensation claim is denied for any reason, and you and your NJ workers’ compensation lawyer can decide you want to appeal that claim, you can do so as quickly as possible.
Remember, when you are injured at work, you have rights. You have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim, to get medical treatment for your injuries, to have disability compensation if it is needed, and to have a NJ workers’ compensation lawyer from Rispoli & Borneo, P.C., represent you as you go through the workers’ compensation process. Contact us now so we can get started.
Benefits that May Be Available through Workers’ Comp
The New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Rispoli & Borneo, PC have handled hundreds of workers’ compensation claims. We understand how devastating a work-related injury can be to an injured worker and his or her family. The New Jersey workers’ compensation laws (N.J.S.A. 34:15-1, et seq.) are designed to provide an injured worker with certain benefits.
The benefits include:
- Medical Treatment: The employer or workers’ compensation insurance company is required to provide medical treatment to an injured worker. The cost of the treatment is paid 100% by the insurance company. However, the insurance company has the authority to select the treating physician. If an injured worker sees a physician other than the authorized treating physician, the insurance company will not be responsible for the cost of treatment.
- Temporary Disability Benefits: The employer or workers’ compensation insurance company is required to pay an injured worker 70% of his or her average weekly wage for the time missed from work because of the work-related injury. An employee must be out of work for seven consecutive days before he or she is entitled to receive temporary disability payments.
- Permanent Disability: An injured worker can seek payment of permanent disability payments, as compensation for the percentage of disability caused by the work-related injury.
- Death Benefits: When a work-related accident results in a worker’s death, benefits are payable to the employee’s dependents. Benefits are paid weekly, at 70% of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage. In addition, the insurance company shall pay $3,500 in funeral expenses.
The attorneys at Rispoli & Borneo, PC are well versed in the rules that govern payment of medical and temporary benefits under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation system. If all of the benefits owed to an injured worker are not paid in full, the attorneys at Rispoli & Borneo, PC can file a Motion for Medical and Temporary Benefits to force the insurance company to provide all of the benefits afforded under the law.
The legal firm of Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. has successfully represented many workers’ compensation cases. Our attorneys are here to help. Contact Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. today for a free initial consultation.
Asbestos Exposure Workers’ Compensation Cases
Asbestos is a mineral substance that occurs naturally. It is generally made into a fluffy-like consistency and is heat resistant, and resistant to chemical or electrical corrosion. Historically, asbestos was used in the making of certain cloth, concrete, plastic, and paper to make the materials more durable. Until the facts came out that asbestos was dangerous, even deadly, to your health, businesses profited greatly from using asbestos.
What makes it so dangerous is that very tiny fibers can enter the body and over time be responsible for causing diseases. These hazards were covered up by industry executives for years and years.
If you were exposed to asbestos at your place of employment, is your company responsible for any injuries resulting from the exposure?
Asbestos and Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation laws in most states are said to be an ‘exclusive remedy’ for recovering compensation as a result of being injured on the job. These laws also state that because of how the workers’ comp laws are structured, the employee cannot take their employer to court to recover more than what the workers’ compensation pays. So regardless if you fall and twist your ankle or develop cancer because of being exposed to asbestos, the same remedies apply.
Most workers’ comp claims are handled out of court, using an administrative team to decide how workers’ comp funds are distributed to the injured employee. The funds are raised by requiring contributions from employers and employees to state programs, or they are paid through private workers’ comp insurance companies.
If a claim is filed for exposure to asbestos, it is limited only to the employer. If there were manufacturers, contractors or suppliers that may have also been responsible for the conditions where asbestos was involved, they are not covered under the workers’ comp law. You are able to sue these companies in court, but you cannot sue your employer.
Who Is Defined as the Actual Employer When Considering an Asbestos Case?
Because contractors often work at different job sites, the place of employment or who is the employer can get a bit murky. In construction or industrial settings, there are often several trades working at the same time in the same place. If there is asbestos found at the job site, who, then, is responsible for any injuries incurred as a result of the exposure?
The employer is who the workers get their paychecks from. A contractor may work at a particular site for most of their career but still get paid by a contractor and not actually be employed by the plant. This means that if the worker is exposed to asbestos while on the job, they can collect workers’ comp benefits from their employer and not from the plant where they work. They can, however, take the plant to court and sue them for injuries resulting from asbestos exposure.
If you find yourself in a position where you have been exposed to asbestos and are now discovering health issues resulting from the exposure, contact an experienced New Jersey Workers’ compensation attorney to determine if you are entitled to any compensation beyond workers’ compensation benefits.
How Can an NJ Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help You?
You have probably contemplated if it would be worth it to hire a New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer. It is one of the first things that cross your mind if the cost will be justified. While it is a big decision choosing to hire a lawyer it can be a beneficial one to you and your situation.
A skilled workers’ compensation lawyer’s goal is to help victims of a workplace injury or illness and to pursue the compensation and benefits that they deserve. Workers’ compensation lawyers are also available to get competent medical care for those victims that have been injured on the job.
Every year, millions of victims file workers’ compensation claims with the end goal of receiving compensation for their medical costs, lost wages, or mental distress. Having an NJ workers’ compensation lawyer on your side, you may be one of those fortunate victims who can complete the legal process with less stress and have justice being served.
A lawyer will be able to fight and defend you on your behalf. Many employers and their insurers try to escape the responsibility for the injuries that an employee incurred while at work. A workers’ compensation lawyer will understand the legal process and will be able to facilitate communication with medical and insurance staff, offering advice on how to fill out crucial paperwork, and guidance and clarification throughout legal processes.
Additionally, a workers’ compensation lawyer will be available to protect your best interests at all times. They will help you seek whatever benefits you deserve especially after everything that you have endured and will endure in the future. A lawyer will help you settle your workers’ compensation cases especially if an insurance adjuster fails to resolve your case. An employer will most often be more concerned for their welfare, so it is crucial to have a trustworthy workers’ compensation lawyer who will keep your goals and best interests in mind throughout the entire process.
Working with a lawyer means that you will have someone on your side who will be able to make the time and effort into your claim and case. They will be able to delve deeper than the surface of the claims process. This is especially beneficial when and if your claims become more complicated.
The lawyer will have the knowledge and extensive experience to help you with everything that is required and needed for you to get the best possible outcome with your claims. They will be available to gather any documentation from other parties like doctors, which could become difficult if it was just you trying to gather information and documentation.
As mentioned earlier, they are fluent in the legal process and the type of information and verbiage that is needed to speed along your case so it doesn’t get put on the back burner.
Ultimately, an NJ workers’ compensation lawyer could give you the best chance to have a smooth legal process, so that you can focus on healing and getting the medical care and assistance that is needed to enjoy your life.
The legal firm of Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. has successfully represented many workers’ compensation cases. Contact Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. today for a free initial consultation.
Mistakes That Could Jeopardize Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you were injured at work, you definitely want to take advantage of your right to workers’ compensation benefits. Don’t let careless mistakes hurt your case. Here are some mistakes a NJ workers’ compensation lawyer wants you to avoid:
- Not informing your employer about your injury promptly. If you suffered an injury at work, your employer must be notified soon. In New Jersey, you must report your injury within 14 days. If you miss that window, you won’t be eligible to receive benefits anymore.
- Exaggerating your symptoms. When you see a doctor about your workplace injury, it’s important to be completely honest. Some workers may exaggerate their symptoms to try to get more benefits. However, you must understand that doctors will perform tests and examinations, so they will likely know if you’re being untruthful about your symptoms. A doctor could inform your employer, which can ultimately hurt your worker’s compensation claim.
- Failing to follow your doctor’s instructions. After evaluating your injury, your doctor will advise you on the proper treatment plan. Whether your doctor advised bed rest or physical therapy, it’s critical to follow his or her instructions. If you stop your treatment early, you could jeopardize both your health and workers’ compensation claim.
- Not going back to work on light duty if your doctor allows it. After you’ve had a chance to recover, your doctor may advise you to go back to work on light duty. Even if you’re not thrilled about taking on lesser responsibilities, you should still return to work. If you fail to do so, your employer may assume that you don’t actually want to work, which can hurt your claim.
- Assuming that your employer is looking out for your best interests. If you have been with your employer for a while and have always had great performance reviews, you might assume that they have your best interests at heart. However, you must realize that employers typically care about their bottom line first and may try to get out of paying you what you deserve.
- Not hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer. If you have a fairly straightforward and simple workers’ compensation case, you may be able to get away with no legal assistance. However, if there are any complexities in your case, such as a permanent injury or retaliation from your employer, it’s important to hire a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer promptly.
Preserving Evidence For Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
When you are planning to file a workers’ compensation claim, a NJ workers’ compensation lawyer will tell you that one of the best things you can do for your claim is to preserve evidence. Remember, just because you are not out to prove that your employer was negligent does not mean you do not have anything to prove at all. Instead, you will want to show that you:
- Did suffer from physical or mental injuries
- You reported your accident
- You saught medical treatment for your injuries
- Your injuries happened while at work or while doing work-related tasks
What happens if you do not preserve evidence?
This can be difficult if you are unable to preserve evidence after you were injured. In certain situations, it can turn into a “he said, she said.” Especially in certain events, like your boss asking you to do work outside your normal hours or running an off-site errand for work, things can become murky when you got injured. Say, for example, you were instructed to grab the team coffee or donuts or you needed to pick up lunch for a client. This may fall out of your typical work purview. When this is the case, you may not consider filing a workers’ compensation claim or there may be some argument as to whether you were actually acting within your scope of duties.
This is why it is important to have evidence backing you up. Your employer’s insurance company may not see you running an office errand for your team by grabbing donuts. Instead, they may argue that you were on your break and thus not working. If you have a text, a voicemail, or an email with your boss instructing you to do this, however, this will show that it was a work-related task.
What other kinds of evidence can I gather?
After an injury, if you are able to, it is important to gather photo or video evidence of where the accident occurred. If, for example, you fell from a height because the ladder you were on broke, take a picture of the ladder. Document how it was damaged, how the fall occurred, and what you fell onto. Photo or video evidence can show precisely how and where the accident occurred.
It is never a bad idea to gather as much evidence as possible when you are going to file a claim. Learn more from our attorney to see what other kinds of evidence you should be gathering as well.
Contact Our NJ Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
An injured worker is allowed to reopen a claim and seek additional treatment and/or additional compensation. If you were injured and settled your claim, the attorneys at Rispoli & Borneo, PC may be able to file an Application for Review and Modification of Prior Award in an effort to obtain additional benefits. Most often these benefits include additional treatment and additional compensation for the work-related injury. An injured worker only has two years to file such an application. Contact our workers’ compensation lawyer in New Jersey now.