People hurt on the job while working in New Jersey may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits for their losses. They must meet certain requirements in order to be eligible for such benefits, however. For example, they have to establish that they suffered compensable injuries, which means, in part, the harm must be work-related. Recently, a New Jersey court discussed the review process in a matter in which an employee’s workers’ compensation claim was denied due to insufficient proof of work-related harm. If you sustained injuries while working in New Jersey, it is advisable to speak to a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to assess whether you may be owed benefits.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is alleged that the plaintiff worked at a manufacturing warehouse for the defendant. He was provided with protective eyewear and gloves but no equipment to protect his hearing. In July 2015, the defendant presented to the emergency room with complaints of dizziness. He was prescribed medication and directed to follow up with an ENT doctor. He was then evaluated in October and November 2015 by ENT doctors.

It is reported that the first doctor found the plaintiff’s hearing to be normal and did not diagnose any abnormalities, while the second diagnosed him with tinnitus and hearing loss. The plaintiff then filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, alleging his hearing issues were work-related. Following a hearing, his claim was denied, after which he appealed. Continue Reading ›

Many people in New Jersey work in maritime industries. Thus, if they suffer injuries at work, they may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“the Act”). The Act only applies in certain circumstances, however, as discussed in a recent opinion in which a New Jersey employee’s denial of benefits under the Act was reversed. If you were hurt while working in New Jersey, you might be owed workers’ compensation benefits under the Act or other laws, and it is advisable to meet with a seasoned New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to determine your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who was working on a marine construction project for the defendant, suffered hearing loss due to his work conditions. He then filed a claim for benefits under the Act, which was dismissed by an administrative law judge on the basis that his injury did not occur in navigable waters. The plaintiff appealed the decision, and on appeal, the court reversed and remanded for a determination of benefits.

Eligibility for Benefits Under the Act

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the administrative law judge misinterpreted the definition of navigable waters, and therefore, the ruling was unjust. The court stated that the concept of navigability is vast. Because the Act was a federal maritime law, the court noted it must apply the definition that is used for determining admiralty jurisdiction under Article III. Continue Reading ›

People who suffer injuries in the workplace are frequently owed workers’ compensation benefits. They must comply with certain notice requirements, though, and if they fail to do so, their claims may be denied, regardless of the work-related nature of their injuries. The ramifications of the failure to give an employer proper notice of an injury was the topic of a recent New Jersey ruling, in a case in which the plaintiff appealed the denial of his workers’ compensation claim. If you sustained harm at work, you might be owed benefits from your employer, but it is critical to act promptly, and you should speak to a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff worked as a police officer for the defendant township from 1979 through 2004. In 2007, he filed a workers’ compensation claim, seeking benefits for orthopedic and psychiatric occupational injuries. Following a trial, both claims were dismissed. He appealed, and the decision was affirmed with regard to the psychiatric injury claims, but the court found that there was insufficient information to affirm the ruling as to his orthopedic injury claims, and the case was remanded for the judge to make specific findings. Following the remand, his orthopedic claim was dismissed as well, after which he appealed.

Notice Requirements in Workers’ Compensation Cases

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that he did not realize until 2007 that his orthopedic complaints were work-related. The court explained that the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) requires an injured employee provide an employer with notice of the injury within ninety days of an injury. Further, the Act states that a claim petition must be filed within two years from the date the accident occurred. The statute of limitations does not begin to run, though, until an employee is, or reasonably should be, aware of the work-related nature of an injury. Continue Reading ›

New Jersey employees who suffer injuries in the workplace have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits from their employers. Unfortunately, not all employers respond favorably to claims for benefits, and some terminate injured employees in retaliation for filing workers’ compensation claims. While generally people fired after being hurt at work can seek recourse via the civil courts, in some instances they may be forced to arbitrate their claims due to contractual agreements with their employers. This was discussed recently by a New Jersey court. If you lost your job after sustaining injuries at work, it is wise to meet with a skillful New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to determine your options.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff worked as a production manager at a facility owned by the defendant, a company that made and sold vegan products. In October 2018, while using a machine designed to mold cookies, the plaintiff severely injured his hand. As such, he filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Less than two weeks after his injury, he was terminated. He then filed a lawsuit in a New Jersey federal court alleging, in part, that he was terminated in retaliation for seeking workers’ compensation benefits, in violation of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act.

Allegedly, the defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims and enforce a provision of an employment agreement that required the plaintiff to arbitrate certain claims. The court ultimately found that the agreement was enforceable and applied to the subject claims, and dismissed the case. Continue Reading ›

While New Jersey, like most states, has its own workers’ compensation act, there are other workers’ compensation acts that may apply to New Jersey employees based upon their professions. For example, maritime employees who suffer injuries while working may be eligible for benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). In a recently delivered opinion, a New Jersey district court discussed the factors considered in assessing whether an employment relationship exists for purposes of the LHWCA. If you suffered an injury while working in New Jersey, it is advisable to speak to a capable New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney regarding your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Injury and Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant employer, asserting negligence claims. The case was transferred to a New Jersey district court. Following discovery, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. In support of its motion, the defendant argued that it was statutorily immune from liability due to the fact that it employed the plaintiff and the exclusivity provision of the LHWCA barred employees from pursuing tort claims against their employers. The plaintiff opposed the motion, arguing that the issue of whether he was an employee should be decided by the jury. Ultimately, the court found the evidence supported the defendant’s arguments and granted its motion, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims.

Employment Relationships Under the LHWCA

The LHWCA establishes a workers’ compensation program that provides longshoremen with a variety of benefits. Like other workers’ compensation laws, the rights provided under the LHWCA extinguish an employee’s common law right to pursue tort claims against an employer, limiting an employer’s liability to the payment of no-fault payments. Continue Reading ›

In New Jersey, employers are typically required to pay injured employees workers’ compensation benefits. In most instances, employers do not pay employees benefits directly but rely on their workers’ compensation insurers to pay them. Thus, even if an employer admits such benefits are owed, a claim may be denied due to an insurer’s refusal to provide coverage. If you were harmed at work and your claim for benefits was denied, it is in your best interest to speak to a skillful New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to determine your options.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

Allegedly, the plaintiff was injured while working for the defendant employer. He submitted a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The defendant insurer filed an answer in which it denied coverage, stating that the coverage it once provided to the defendant employer was canceled prior to the plaintiff’s accident. The defendant insurer then filed a motion to dismiss. A hearing was held on the matter, after which the workers’ compensation judge denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss. The insurer then appealed, arguing the judge erred in denying the motion.

Proving Coverage for a Workplace Injury

On appeal, the court noted that the trial court stated that the New Jersey statute governing the cancellation of workers’ compensation insurance policies was clear and unambiguous. Specifically, it stated that either an employer or insurer could cancel a policy within the time indicated by the contract, as long as at least ten days written notice was sent by mail from the party seeking cancellation to the other party. Continue Reading ›

It is well-established that employees that suffer work-related injuries can seek workers’ compensation benefits from their employer’s insurers, while people who are not employees are generally precluded from such coverage. In some instances, though, it is not clear whether a party is considered an employee and is owed benefits or is a worker that must pursue damages for a workplace injury via civil litigation. Recently, a New Jersey court discussed the existence of a special employee-employer relationship in an opinion issued in a case in which the defendant argued the plaintiff’s lawsuit was barred by the exclusivity provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act). If you were injured while working, it is advisable to meet with a seasoned New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your potential claims.

The Employee’s Injury

It is alleged that the plaintiff worked in a warehouse owned by the defendant. While working, the plaintiff suffered an injury in a forklift accident. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the defendant negligently directed him to ride as a passenger on the forklift, which violated OSHA regulations. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that it had a special employer-employee relationship with the plaintiff, and therefore the plaintiff’s exclusive remedy was a workers’ compensation claim. The court agreed, dismissing the plaintiff’s claim, and the plaintiff appealed.

Special Employee-Employer Relationships in the Context of Workers’ Compensation

New Jersey courts conduct a five-part test to determine whether a worker is a special employee of an employer for purposes of the Act. Specifically, the court will examine whether: the employer entered into an express or implied contract of hire with the employee; the work done by the employee constitutes the essential work of the employer; the employer has the right to control the details of the employee’s work; the employer pays the employee’s wages; and, the employer has the right to terminate or hire the employee. Continue Reading ›

Workplace injuries are unfortunately common, but most people that are injured at work can pursue workers’ compensation benefits from their employer. While employees who file workers’ compensation claims are within their rights, some employers perceive such claims as a slight and will take retaliatory action against the employee. Terminating an employee due to a workplace injury is unlawful, though, and employees who are unjustly fired may be owed damages. Recently, a New Jersey court discussed what a plaintiff must allege to proceed on a retaliatory firing claim. If you lost your job after being hurt at work, you may be owed compensation and should speak to a skilled New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney about your options.

Factual Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered multiple work-related injuries while he was employed by the defendant. The injuries occurred in the summer and fall of 2008 and 2011. The plaintiff received workers’ compensation medical benefits for his injuries through April 2014, when it was determined that he could return to his job without any restrictions. The plaintiff returned to work full duty in May 2014. He was fired in July 2015.

Reportedly, the plaintiff asserted that the cause of his termination was due to him being absent due to work-related injuries. He filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging he was fired in violation of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, arguing the plaintiff failed to demonstrate a causal link between his firing and his injury. Continue Reading ›

Typically, when an employee suffers an injury in the workplace that entitles the employee to workers’ compensation benefits, it will be due to an accident. In cases in which the harm incurred is not clearly an accident, however, an employer may dispute whether it is compensable. The standards for determining whether harm is both accidental and work-related were discussed in a recent New Jersey ruling in which the employer argued that the employee’s injuries were not covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act because they arose out of a skirmish with another employee. If you suffered harm while working, you may be entitled to benefits and should meet with an experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to discuss your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff entered the locker room where another employee was sitting on a bench. He asked the employee to move his legs so he could pass by, but the employee refused. The plaintiff jumped over the employee’s legs but was unable to clear them entirely. The employee then became angry and threw a cup of soda at the plaintiff, after which the plaintiff left the locker room.

Allegedly, the plaintiff returned to the locker room a few minutes later to wash his hands and again encountered the employee who was holding a pizza box. The employee pushed the box in the plaintiff’s direction, after which the plaintiff swung his arm, accidentally hitting the employee’s hat. The employee then shoved the plaintiff, which caused the plaintiff to fall and injure his shoulder. The plaintiff filed a workers’ compensation claim, but the defendant opposed the claim, arguing that the plaintiff’s injury was not accidental.

Continue Reading ›

Under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), employers are required to provide employees who suffer work-related harm with workers’ compensation benefits, including medical benefits. In some cases, though, even if an employer concedes that an employee is eligible to recover benefits, it may dispute what treatment is reasonable and necessary. The process for determining whether novel treatments are covered under the Act was recently discussed by a New Jersey court opinion in a case in which the employer denied the employee’s claim for the cost of stem cell therapy. If you were hurt at work, you should speak to a skillful New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to discuss what medical treatment your employer may be required to provide for your injuries.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who worked as a housekeeper for the defendant, injured her right bicep and shoulder while making a bed and required surgery for her injuries. She then injured her cervical spine and left shoulder a few months later and underwent a second surgery. She filed workers’ compensation claims for both sets of injuries, and an order was entered granting her disability and medical benefits that approved treatment with an orthopedist. Traditional treatment methods failed, and her treating doctors recommended that she undergo stem cell treatment for her shoulder.

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a motion for medical benefits asking the court to order the defendant to pay for her stem cell therapy and attached a report from her doctor advising the treatment was the last option before surgery and therefore was medically necessary. The defendant opposed the motion arguing the treatment was not approved by the FDA. A discussion was held in chambers, and the court found in favor of the plaintiff, after which the defendant appealed. Continue Reading ›

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