Workers Comp Lawyer New Jersey
Our New Jersey workers’ comp lawyers from Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. can help victims who have suffered accidents on the job pursue their cases. Anyone who is injured as a result of someone else’s actions will naturally desire to be compensated by the person who caused the injury. If this injury happens while you are working, you still have the right to compensation, but things are a little more complicated.
Under normal circumstances, you would file a personal injury lawsuit against whoever caused your injury, but is this still an option for workplace injuries? While in most cases, you will be required to file for workers’ comp, specific situations may allow for you to file a lawsuit for your damages.
Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. are a team of workers’ comp lawyers who can assist you by reviewing and representing you in your case.
If you are injured while doing work-related activities, then the correct course of action is to file a workers’ comp claim. Workers’ comp is a system in the US that compensates any employee who is injured while working. Our workers’ comp lawyers find that many accident victims are surprised to learn that if your injury qualifies for workers’ comp, then you are not able to file a personal injury lawsuit. It is expected that you will go through the workers’ comp system to be compensated instead.
Generally, you will be unable to go through your insurance policy as well. Most insurance companies do not want to pay out for a workplace injury when workers’ comp benefits are available. Luckily, workers’ comp is a full-coverage system that should compensate you for expenses that were related to your injury.
Our workers’ comp lawyers share that it’s important that you are aware of the exceptions to this rule. If your injury falls into any of these situations, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit, rather than making a workers’ comp claim:
- A third party caused the injury – If someone other than you, a coworker, or your employer causes the injury, then your workers’ comp lawyer may be able to help you file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who caused the injury. This type of injury does not qualify for workers’ comp, which is why a lawsuit may be the appropriate action.
- The injury was caused maliciously – If someone intentionally harmed you, then criminal charges need to be filed. You may or may not be able to file a civil lawsuit in addition to the criminal one, depending on the laws in your home state. You should speak with our workers’ comp lawyer in New Jersey to learn more.
- The injury does not qualify for workers’ comp – If the injury does not qualify for workers’ comp for any reason, such as it not being due to work-related activities, then filing a personal injury lawsuit is the only course of action you have. This may also apply if your employer fails to file a workers’ comp claim due to negligence or malicious intent.
To learn if your case allows you to file a personal injury lawsuit or for help with your workers’ comp claim, you should speak with a lawyer for NJ workers’ comp at Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. immediately.
My Employer Says I Need To Use My Own Health Insurance for Medical Treatment. Is That True?
No. You’re never required to turn to your health care for workplace injuries, and you shouldn’t do so. It’s illegal for your boss to offer you an incentive or threaten you so you use your own health insurance. Your employer can’t harass you or fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
If you’re in this situation, contact a workers comp lawyer in New Jersey right away. At Rispoli & Borneo, P.C., we can let you know all of your legal rights and help you protect your interests. You deserve to receive the full compensation you’re legally entitled to.
What Benefits Does Workers’ Compensation Provide?
Workers’ compensation can cover the cost of health care and medical treatment related to your injury. These expenses can include the cost of medications, needed physical therapy, surgery and other prescribed treatments depending on the extent of your injuries.
You can also receive compensation for time you have to spend recovering without being able to work. In the case of life-changing injuries, you may qualify for temporary or permanent disability payments to make up for lost income.
Filing the right claim and providing evidence of your injuries are essential for getting the compensation you need. A workers comp lawyer in New Jersey can help you know what steps to take and what options are available in your case.
Can I Reject a Workers’ Comp Settlement?
Contrary to what your employer or the insurance company tell you, you’re within your rights to reject any settlement. This can be necessary if the insurer isn’t calculating your wages correctly or refuses to cover necessary treatments you’re legally entitled to. When this happens, your workers comp lawyer in New Jersey can appeal the case and negotiate a new, better settlement.
Can I Get Workers’ Compensation for Pre-Existing Injuries?
Workers’ compensation doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions that simply flare up; however, if hazardous conditions or an accident at work make your pre-existing injuries worse, then you can file a workers’ comp claim.
For example, if you already had back problems before getting the job, you wouldn’t qualify for workers’ comp if your back hurts. What if lifting heavy boxes irritated your back and caused the pain to get worse? You would be able to file for workers’ comp.
At Rispoli & Borneo, P.C., we can help you analyze your injuries. We also recommend independent doctors (not ones on your employer’s payroll) that give you an honest medical evaluation.
Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Case
When consulting with you about your case, we may go over what not to do so that you can get the most out of your workers’ compensation claim. When an accident happens that causes injury or illness, a worker may feel disoriented or embarrassed, and may not be thinking clearly. There are certain steps that should be done moments after the accident, and the first is remaining calm. If you need to get medical attention, do so right away and notify your manager on duty promptly. Your health should be the top priority.
Here are easy mistakes that people sometimes make, that could have a negative impact on your case:
- Not acting quickly enough at the accident scene. As soon as you can, document what you remember about the accident and how it happened. Take pictures of the area, specifically what had caused your injuries, before anyone has a chance to clean it up.
- Failing to notify your doctor of the entirety of your workplace injury. When visiting the doctor, it is important that you express every symptom, ache, pain, regardless of whether you think it’s related to the accident or not. Symptoms help your doctor understand the type and severity of the injury, which will be a factor in how much you receive in workers’ compensation benefits.
- Not selecting your own doctor. You may have to visit the work-assigned doctor after the accident, but you may have the option to choose your own physician thereafter.
- Failing to abide by the doctor’s order or care plan. If you do not follow the doctor’s recommendations, you are risking your claim being diminished or denied. Always attend follow-up visits, physical therapy, and any other medical appointments required of you (even if you are feeling better).
- Not returning to work on light duty when your doctor permits you to. Your doctor may say that you can go back to work but with fewer responsibilities than you normally have. Even if the job feels beneath you, not returning to work to do less may make it easier for your employer to dispute your injury claim.
- Performing job tasks that go beyond your doctor’s recommendations and restrictions. When going back to work, you may feel pressure to do more than your doctor has suggested that you do when recovering. It can be tempting to give in, especially in a world when it’s easier to jump back in quickly than advocate for ourselves. So if your employer is pushing you to do more, we can intervene and make sure the pressure is taken off of you.
- Assuming that your workers’ comp adjuster has correctly calculated your average weekly wage (AWW). It isn’t uncommon for adjusters to not include overtime hours, vacation pay, or incentives when adding up your average weekly wages. As your legal representative, we can double-check the adjuster’s calculations so that you are receiving the full and fair benefits.
- Not hiring an experienced attorney, or at all. Not every attorney has the same experience as others. Not every attorney is knowledgeable on workers’ compensation law, which is why we advise being selective in who you choose.
Workers’ Comp and Commuting Injuries
The workers’ comp system protects most employees by compensating all expenses that result from any injuries that happen while working. The qualifications are a little more complicated than that, but that is basically how it works. Many people have a lot of questions about what counts as a work-related injury. For instance, does an injury that happens in a car crash while driving to or from work count? After all, you would not have been driving if it was not for your job. This guide will go over this example, as well as the qualifications for workers’ comp.
For immediate legal assistance, please speak with a workers’ comp lawyer New Jersey workers’ can count on at Rispoli & Borneo, P.C.
It will be easier to understand whether injuries that happen while commuting qualify for workers’ comp if you understand the overall qualification requirements. Workers’ comp is very generous with what kinds of injuries qualify. In fact, there are only two requirements that must be met:
- The injury must have been the direct result of work-related activity.
- The injured person must be an employee.
So what does “work-related activity” mean exactly? As a workers’ comp lawyer New Jersey trusts might tell you, essentially, any action that was taken for the benefit of the company counts. You do not necessarily need to be on the clock when you are injured, especially if you are injured by a coworker who is on the clock. The second requirement is much more objective. If a portion of your paycheck is withheld for tax reasons, then you are an employee. There are no limitations on the type of injury. It must be noted that special circumstances apply, and these can be further explained by a workers’ comp lawyer in New Jersey.
Injuries While Commuting
Let’s return to our original example. Now that you understand what the qualifications are, would an injury that occurs while commuting count? This is a case that is on the very edge of the qualifications, but courts have ruled that injuries while commuting generally do not qualify for workers’ comp. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however.
If you were doing work at your home prior to commuting to work, then the journey may be seen as a break in the middle of your shift, rather than happening before your shift started. In these cases, the injury would qualify for workers’ comp.
Additionally, if you were somehow working while driving, then your injury would also most likely qualify. For instance, if you were making deliveries on your way to work, transporting work-related resources with you, or even picking up your boss and carpooling to work, that may be enough to make your injury qualify.
Commuting and Workers’ Compensation Injuries
If you would like to learn more about your eligibility for workers’ compensation while commuting, look no further. Workers’ compensation and commuting to or from work can be especially difficult. As noted above, while there are exceptions to this, most insurances and courts will rule against extending compensation to the injured person if the injury happened during their commute. Remember, workers’ compensation is in place to hold employers responsible for injuries their employees got at work or while on the job. So, even if an employee is responsible for their injury at work, they will likely still be able to receive compensation. If you get into a car accident on your way to work, this is likely not considered an on-the-job injury.
Exceptions to Commuting Injuries
Below, you will find a few exceptions that allow you to receive workers’ compensation benefits when you are commuting to or from work.
- You were asked to drive. If your employer asked you to run a special task or errand for them, this could be considered part of your job, even if it is not what you normally do. If you were asked to grab lunch for your team or run to an office to pick up paperwork, you could receive compensation for this.
- You drive for work. Simply put, if you need to travel for work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Whether you are a service technician, a delivery truck driver, or a police officer, you should be able to file for workers’ compensation benefits.
- You were traveling for work. In circumstances where you were traveling for work and were commuting to get around, you can file for workers’ comp benefits. Typically, even working for only part of the day allows you to get workers’ comp benefits if you were injured while commuting at any point of the day if you were traveling.
- You were on call. If you work in a job that requires you to work different hours or be on call for work, it is possible to get workers’ comp benefits for the time you were commuting.
Getting workers’ compensation benefits can be difficult if you were injured while you were commuting. However, our workers’ comp lawyer in New York is here to answer any questions you may have and best direct you as to how you should file your claim. Call our office if you wish to discuss the details of your case.
If you are unsure of whether your injury counts, it is a good idea to speak with a workers’ comp lawyer in NJ from Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. today.