Work Injury Attorneys Serving New Jersey
No one plans on getting injured or becoming ill. When you suffer a workplace injury, it can present a new set of financial challenges for you and your family, as well as uncertainty about the future.
To stay on top of your bills and maintain a healthy financial position, you’ll need help with medical expenses and a regular paycheck that covers your living costs. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help.
New Jersey workers are protected by workers’ compensation, a program that provides medical care, disability benefits, and lost wages in the event of an accident, injury or illness, even if you were at fault.
The workers’ comp lawyers at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have a well-earned reputation of standing up for our clients’ rights and achieving the most favorable settlements for their cases. No case is too big or too small for our team. If you want the best workplace injury attorney, look no further than Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, P.C.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance benefit provided by employers. It provides workers with medical treatment, wage replacement, and permanent disability compensation for employees in the event of a workplace injury or a job-related illness. The program also includes death benefits in the event that the person dies as a result of their job.
Employees are eligible to receive workers’ compensation even if the injury was their fault. This is because workers’ compensation is considered a “no-fault” program. However, there are exceptions to the no-fault policy, and a claim may be denied if the employee hurt themselves intentionally or had drugs or alcohol in their system at the time of the injury.
Though workers’ compensation is designed to protect workers and help them get back on their feet, both financially and physically, there are times when cases aren’t as straightforward or simple as they first appear. Having an experienced workers’ comp lawyer on your side is helpful to ensure that all of your paperwork is filed on time and you get the compensation and care you deserve.
How Workers’ Compensation Works in New Jersey
When it comes to workers’ compensation, New Jersey has some unique and specific guidelines. For example, in New Jersey, all employers must carry this insurance regardless of the size of their organization. Other states only require it if they have a minimum number of employees.
Current labor law in New Jersey is heavily influenced by the struggles of workers during the first part of the 20th century. In 1911, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development created the New Jersey Division of workers’ compensation and the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act (N.J.S.A. 34:15-1 et seq.) to help employees recover medical bills and lost wages from workplace injuries.
The goals of this act are as follows:
- Ensure the fairness and timeliness of benefits. This policy is a vast improvement over employees having to take on Goliath employers who were notorious for waiting out claims and using their large legal teams to squash a case.
- Enforce legal requirements for employers. To protect employees from financial hardship due to being hurt on the job, all New Jersey employers must have workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
- Provide benefits for temporary and permanent disabilities, while also considering any pre-existing conditions. This situation can be somewhat of a gray area, and insurance companies may try to argue that the injury was entirely pre-existing, and not job-related at all. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, P.C. are well-versed in these types of cases, and we aggressively advocate for our clients. Call a work injury lawyer at (201) 585-9111 for a no-cost consultation to learn more about your case now.
Previously, employees had to sue their employers after a workplace injury or if they fell ill from their jobs, a process that was incredibly costly and could go on for years.
Today, all New Jersey employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which include medical and disability benefits, as well as death benefits. Nonetheless, it is in your best interest to consult a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney.
Verdicts and Settlements
$3,200,000 - Construction Accident
To a 35 year old iron worker who fell from a steel frame building under construction due to the failure of the general contractor to provide a safe workplace which included supervision for the use of safety equipment and guide wires.
$2,325,000 - Work Site Accident
To an HVAC worker who fell through an opening in a roof. The defense argued the opening was obvious and he should have watched where he was going. We proved that the unprotected opening was an OSHA violation and the worker was entitled to a reasonable cover to protect him from an inadvertent slip and fall as required by Federal regulations.
$101,000,000 - Construction Accident
To 20 injured workers and the families of four workers who were killed in the collapse of a parking garage at the Tropicana Casino Resort in 2003. The case involved multiple defendants, including Tropicana and a number of construction contractors. The parking garage collapsed while it was under construction because rebar was not properly installed, leaving the floors disconnected from the walls. As part of the trial…
What Types of Benefits Are Available?
Think of worker’s compensation benefits as a complete financial protection package to ensure that you don’t become bankrupt or lose your livelihood due to a workplace injury or illness. These benefits also protect your family in the event of your death.
It might not be immediately obvious that you have a right to a claim. People tend to view workers’ compensation as something that covers a fall or an injury from working with machinery. But this coverage spans a variety of issues, including overexertion, exposure to toxic substances, and even repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.
Depending on your specific case and the extent of your injury, there are a variety of benefits potentially available.
Workers’ comp pays the cost of any care associated with the injury or illness, including:
- Ambulatory care
- Physical therapy
- Any other relevant treatment costs
These expenses are covered until the employee reaches “maximum medical improvement.” The only caveat is that the employee may not get to choose his or her doctor. Ultimately, the employer has the final say about the administering doctor or physician.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
If your injury or illness prevents you from working for more than seven days, then you are eligible for temporary total disability benefits, also known as TTD benefits. This means that you are totally disabled, but only temporarily.
During this time, you will receive approximately 70% of your wage. However, this income is not subject to taxes, so you get to keep the entire amount.
Permanent Disability Benefits
If a workplace injury or illness results in a permanent disability, then the employee is entitled to long-term benefits. The amount of payment depends on whether the disability is considered partial or total.
Partial disability means that the employee can still work, but may be hindered in some way. There are two categories of partial disability:
- Scheduled Loss – a person’s use of their fingers, hands, arms, toes, feet, legs, ears, eyes, or teeth is hindered.
- Non-scheduled Loss – a person has an injury that’s not included in scheduled loss. This could be a back injury or less than optimal heart or lung function.
Permanent disability means that the person cannot work at all. When this occurs, he or she is entitled to approximately 70% of their paycheck. This amount is calculated as an average of what they had been paid weekly. There are, however, minimums and maximums that are applied to this amount.
The length of permanent disability coverage is subject to a possible maximum of 450 weeks, or 8.65 years. After that time has passed, the person must prove that they are still unable to work to continue receiving benefits.
If a worker died on the job or suffered a fatal illness as a result of the workplace environment, then the surviving family members will receive death benefits. Eligible dependents include a spouse and children who were living with the deceased. In some cases, a dependent may prove they were reliant on the person’s care and are also eligible for benefits.
Funeral expenses up to $3,500 are also included in death benefits.
Who Is Eligible?
Anyone in New Jersey employed by a company with operations in the state is eligible for workers’ compensation. This includes both full-time and part-time employees, regardless of the size of the company or the length of the employee’s tenure.
This means that you are protected by workers’ compensation from your very first day of employment.
One area that’s not as straightforward is Independent Contractors. Historically, independent contractors weren’t eligible for workers’ compensation coverage, but New Jersey law might still qualify you as an employee even if you’re classified as an independent contractor.
If you’re not sure where you fall in this continuum, contact the office of Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, P.C. at (201) 585-9111 and let our workplace injury attorneys help you determine eligibility.
How Does No-Fault Workers’ Compensation Work?
No-fault workers’ compensation means that you are eligible for benefits even if the workplace injury was your fault. This is unique to other types of insurance that don’t require the insured party to pay you if you caused the accident. Car insurance is a classic example of at fault insurance.
Because of this distinction, you could make a sizable mistake and still receive full benefits. You’re not penalized for doing something wrong. The only exceptions are if you were found to be under the influence of an illicit substance or you were found to have purposefully injured yourself for the sake of collecting a claim.
With no-fault workers’ compensation, you are unable to sue your employer as all of the benefits are provided to you through the insurance coverage. However, like anything, there are exceptions. One notable exception is if you believe your employer intentionally harmed you or put you at risk. In cases like these, having a workplace injury lawyer is crucial to help build your case.
What If a Workplace Injury Was the Result of Negligence?
Employers have certain protections under workers’ compensation laws, including protection from civil suits brought by injured workers. However, injured workers can file a lawsuit against someone other than the employer; many workplace injuries result in both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury case.
Third-party negligence contributing to a workplace injury varies depending on the workplace and the circumstances of the incident. All U.S. workers are entitled to a safe work environment that is free from both unnecessary hazards and careless workers. The manufacturer of unsafe equipment, the driver of the car that struck you, the distributor of unsafe chemicals, the contractor at the construction site who failed to provide a safe work environment, or the vendor working at your place of employment who created a safety hazard are all examples of third-party individuals who can be found liable for your workplace injury.
Filing a personal injury case allows you to collect money for damages not covered by workers’ compensation programs. Workers’ compensation can provide for pre-approved medical expenses, disability, and roughly two-thirds of the employee’s average wages, but a third-party personal injury lawsuit allows you to collect damages for all lost wages, employer contributions to retirement plans, and anticipated future medical care.
We hired Chris DiGirolamo as our attorney after Mike suffered a life changing injury at work. From the time we met Chris we felt we can trust him to work in the best interest for Mike’s needs. Chris is very down to earth and we felt comfortable whenever we met with him. He spoke to us so we always understood what was going on. He never threw around legal jargon that we would not be able to understand. He was always willing to ensure we knew exactly how our case was proceeding. Chris showed humanity in dealing with Mike’s Injuries and understanding of Mike’s unwillingness to accept some of the changes in his life.
Chris’s high level of energy and desire to bring a case to the best possible results were evident from day one. Our case was settled but of court with the help of a mediator and Chris was by our side explaining what was going on every step of the way. His preparation throughout the case was evident as he spoke before the mediator. It was a pleasure to watch. Chris at work and know he was working for us. He is tough and stubborn when necessary. We were also impressed by the respect shown to Chris by the retired judge we worked with as well as other lawyers. Chris was only happy with this case when he knew we had a settlement that we were very impressed with.
I am delighted to provide this testimonial for Mr. DiGirolamo. His representation of me during my case was unflagging over its four-year duration. He kept me informed, and prepared for every eventuality as the case progressed.
He understood my fears and pain, and saw to it that Workmans Comp provided support for me until my civil case was settled. He prepared me substantially whenever necessary. I was very grateful for his understanding of the disastrous effect my accident had on every aspect of my life.
He was always supportive and kind personally, and totally professional. He reminded me to be realistic about the eventual outcome, and advised me as to the importance of my demeanor and attitude.
Everyone I came in contact with at the office was polite and helpful, in particular Marisol Suarez, Mr. DiGirolamo’s paralegal assistant. I will always be grateful for the way my case was handled.
What Should You Do If You Are Injured At Work?
1. Report the injury
If you are injured on the job or suffer an occupational illness, immediately report the injury to your employer. Notice should be given to the employer as soon as possible but not later than 90 days from the accident.
It is extremely important to notify your employer that you were injured AND that the injury was caused by your job; failure to report a work-related injury can lead the employer to deny the accident occurred or claim the accident happened outside of the workplace. In addition, make sure you know your employer’s internal deadlines for reporting workplace injuries, as failure to report an accident in the given time frame can result in consequences like suspension or a formal citation.
2. Seek medical attention
Severe workplace injuries typically receive immediate medical attention. However, if the injury comes on more slowly, is not noticed right away, or the extent of the injury is not clear immediately after the accident, make sure to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
Seeking treatment from a board-certified physician will bolster your claim for medical expenses, and visiting a doctor in the state of New Jersey will make it easier for him or her to testify in the event medical testimony is necessary for your case. When seeking medical treatment, make sure the doctor knows you sustained the injury or illness at work.
3. Consult an attorney
The sooner you consult an experienced workers’ comp lawyer, the better. You have the right to representation by a lawyer, who will collect all medical records and appropriate medical evaluations to present in the case of a hearing. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney knows the ins and outs of workers’ compensation and can help you fight for the compensation you deserve during a difficult time for you and your family.
Why You Need a New Jersey Work Injury Lawyer
A work injury lawyer isn’t always a necessity, but we always recommend contacting someone to be certain that you are receiving the benefits you’re entitled to. There are deadlines involved in reporting a workplace injury and making a claim. A workers’ compensation lawyer will guide you in this process and ensure that your rights are protected.
Remember, workers’ compensation attorneys are not paid an hourly fee. Instead, your workers’ comp lawyer receives only a portion of your payout.
There is no risk in contacting an attorney for your workers’ compensation case. However, you may be leaving money on the table if you don’t. Get in touch with a workers’ comp attorney at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, P.C by calling (201) 585-9111 for a free consultation.