Articles Posted in Work Injuries

It is not uncommon for an employee to live in New Jersey and work in Pennsylvania, or, to be engaged in work activities in both states. Thus, if the employee suffers an injury, it may not immediately be apparent which state’s workers’ compensation laws apply. Recently, a New Jersey court discussed the grounds for determining the applicability of a state’s compensation act in a case in which a resident of New Jersey who was injured while working in Pennsylvania filed claims with the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation division. If you were hurt at work, you might be owed benefits, and it is prudent to consult a skillful New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney regarding your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the claimant, who lives in New Jersey, filed two claims petitions with the Division of Workers’ Compensation (the Division) seeking benefits from his employer. The first claim alleged that the claimant suffered an injury to his hip while working for his employer in Philadelphia in 2015. The second claim alleged that the claimant suffered an occupational injury to his hip due to repetitive motions while he was performing his job duties from 1986 to the present, at the employer’s site in Philadelphia.

It is reported that the employer moved to have both petitions dismissed due to a lack of jurisdiction. Specifically, it argued the claimant did not work in New Jersey, the accident did not occur there, and the employer did not have any contact with the state. Following a hearing, a judge granted the defendant’s motion. The plaintiff then appealed. Continue Reading ›

Under New Jersey law, people injured at work are generally limited to seeking benefits for their harm via workers’ compensation claims. There are some exceptions, however, that allow a party to pursue civil claims as well. For example, an employee may recover compensation from an employer if the employee can show that the harm suffered was caused by an intentional act. If you were hurt while working, you may be able to pursue damages in a civil lawsuit against your employer in addition to recovering workers’ compensation benefits, and you should consult a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to assess your potential claims.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was injured while working for the defendant when an off-road utility vehicle that he was operating rolled over. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the company that leased the vehicle to the defendant and the company that manufactured the vehicle. The defendant was joined as a third-party defendant by the leasing company, and ultimately the plaintiff sought leave to amend his complaint to assert direct claims against the defendant. The defendant opposed the plaintiff’s request for leave, arguing that the amendment would be futile because the plaintiff’s proposed claims were barred by the exclusivity provision of the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation Act (the Act).

The Intentional Wrong Exception to the Exclusivity Provision of the Act

The Act specifically provides that it is the sole remedy for an employee injured in the scope and course of his or her employment. There is an exception under the Act, however, for harm that arises out of an employer’s intentional wrong. The New Jersey courts have explained that to establish an intentional tort claim, an employee must show that the employer knowingly exposed the employee to a significant certainty of injury and that the injury the employee suffered was not a fact of life working in an industrial industry but was clearly beyond anything that the Act was meant to immunize. Continue Reading ›

Under New Jersey law, employers are required to provide employees that are injured at work with workers’ compensation benefits in most instances. Additionally, employers are prohibited from firing employees for filing workers’ compensation claims. Unfortunately, many employers choose not to abide by the law and will terminate employees for seeking benefits they are entitled to recover. If you were terminated after filing a workers’ compensation claim you might be able to assert additional claims against your employer, and it is in your best interest to speak to a dedicated New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff worked as a field account representative for the defendant, which required him to travel extensively. In November of 2016, the plaintiff was involved in a car accident while working, which caused him to sustain significant injuries including herniated discs. As such, he filed a workers’ compensation claim. He then learned from a co-worker that his manager was displeased that the plaintiff hired an attorney to represent him in his workers’ compensation claim.

Allegedly, the plaintiff reported that he was discriminated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim, after which the terms of his employment were changed. He was eventually terminated in November 2018. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendant asserting numerous claims, including retaliation in violation of New Jersey’s workers’ compensation law. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss numerous claims asserted by the plaintiff. Continue Reading ›

In many instances in which an employee suffers an injury at work, the employer will argue that the harm was not work-related. Thus, the employee must file a petition seeking workers’ compensation benefits, and the court will weigh the evidence produced by each party to determine if the employee’s claim is valid. Only certain evidence will be considered, however, and an employer that fails to introduce valid evidence may ultimately lose the right to object to the employee’s claims, as discussed in a recent New Jersey workers’ compensation case. If you were hurt at work and your employer is disputing that you are owed benefits, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney regarding your claims.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff, who worked as a laborer for the defendant, suffered injuries during the course of his employment. Specifically, he hurt his back, shoulder, and neck while lifting heavy logs. He then filed a petition seeking workers’ compensation benefits. The defendant filed an answer past the deadline, arguing that the plaintiff’s injuries were not work-related. The plaintiff then filed a motion for medical and temporary disability benefits (MMT). In support of the MMT, the plaintiff provided an affidavit of his attorney that set forth the facts regarding the plaintiff’s injury and treatment and stated the plaintiff’s physician recommended that he undergo surgery.

Allegedly, the defendant refused to authorize the surgery. As such, the plaintiff asked the court to compel the defendant to provide treatment by a certain date. The defendant did not reply to the MMT until the day before the hearing and did not provide an affidavit in support of its position. Thus, the court considered the MMT as unopposed and granted it, after which the defendant appealed. Continue Reading ›

It is well-known that in order for an employee to recover workers’ compensation benefits, the employee’s injury must be work-related. It may not be entirely clear, though, which party bears the burden of proving whether or not an employee sustained an injury at work. In a recent New Jersey workers’ compensation case, the court clarified which party bears the burden of proving the nature of an employee’s injury. If you sustained a work-related injury, you might be owed workers’ compensation benefits, and you should consult a skillful New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Injury

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered an injury to her shoulder while she was undergoing physical therapy for an injury to her right wrist that she sustained at work. As such, she filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, alleging that she either tore her rotator cuff or aggravated an existing tear, and that the injury was work-related. The defendant employer denied that the plaintiff’s shoulder injury was work-related. As such, the plaintiff filed a motion to recover benefits. The judge of compensation denied the plaintiff’s motion, finding that she had not sustained her burden of proving her injury was work-related and that her claim was compensable. The plaintiff appealed the denial of her motion, arguing that the judge improperly shifted the burden of proof from the defendant to the plaintiff.

The Burden of Proving the Nature of an Employee’s Injury

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that when a defendant claims an accident was caused by an employee’s physical condition, the employee bears the burden of establishing causation and that the defendant failed to show that the plaintiff’s injury was idiopathic. The appellate court disagreed, stating that while it is a fundamental truth that the language of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act is to be liberally construed in favor of a claimant, a claimant nonetheless bears the burden of proving that an accident caused a compensable injury. Continue Reading ›

In workers’ compensation cases, a court will generally try to balance the competing interests by providing an injured employee with benefits he or she is owed and protecting the due process rights of all parties. Recently, a New Jersey court discussed due process rights in workers’ compensation matters in a case in which an employer alleged its rights were violated due to an expedited trial. If you were injured at work, you might be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits, and you should speak to a trusted New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your rights.

The Claimant’s Injury and Procedural History

It is reported that the claimant worked as a domestic helper for a rabbi and his wife. The rabbi was employed by a Jewish center and lived in a home provided by the center. During the course of her employment, the claimant slipped and fell down the stairs, suffering injuries to her left knee and back. The claimant subsequently sought workers’ compensation benefits from the center and from the rabbi and his wife. In turn, the center joined a rabbinical college, claiming the college employed the claimant. A judge of compensation then converted a conference prior to trial to a motion for temporary medical and disability benefits, awarding the claimant benefits and dismissing the claims against the rabbinical college. The center appealed, arguing its due process rights had been violated. After review, the appellate court affirmed.

Due Process Rights in Workers’ Compensation Cases

Under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) a motion for temporary medical or disability benefits must show that a claimant is currently temporarily disabled or needs medical treatment. If only past periods of disability are claimed, the issues should be presented at pretrial or trial and not resolved via a motion. The center argued that by allowing the claimant to testify during a pretrial conference, the fundamental elements of the Act were violated. However, the appellate court noted that the Act allows for accelerated scheduling. Further, the appellate court noted that at a prior hearing, the court advised the parties it would permit the claimant to testify at the pretrial conference. Continue Reading ›

In New Jersey, a person that suffers an injury at work may be eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are certain factors that determine whether a person may be awarded benefits, such as whether the person is an employee or an independent contractor and whether the person was engaged in the scope and course of his or her work. As discussed in a recent New Jersey case, generally, an employee that suffers an injury while traveling to or from work is not considered to be engaged in work-related activity and cannot recover benefits. If you suffered an injury while working, it is prudent to meet with a knowledgeable New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to discuss whether you may be owed benefits.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Injury

It is reported that the plaintiff, a nurse, parked her car in the parking lot across the street from the hospital in which she worked. She was crossing the street to go to work when she was struck by a vehicle. She suffered a concussion, multiple fractures, and other injuries. She subsequently filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Her employer denied her claim, and a judge of compensation ultimately ruled that her injuries did not arise in the course and scope of her employment. The plaintiff appealed, but on appeal, the appellate court affirmed the dismissal of her claims.

Benefits for Injuries Suffered While Traveling To or From Work

Pursuant to New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), employees that suffer injuries while they are in the course of their employment have the right to recover workers’ compensation benefits. While the general law previously provided that injuries incurred while traveling to or from work were not compensable, there were numerous exceptions. Thus, the legislature enacted what is known as the premises rule. Continue Reading ›

In New Jersey, an employee that suffers an injury may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. There are specific things an employee must prove to recover such benefits, however, such as the work-related nature of the injury. In a recent New Jersey case in which the employer appealed an order granting an employee workers’ compensation benefits, the court discussed the burden of proving causation in workers’ compensation cases. If you were injured at work, you may be owed benefits from your employer, and it is in your best interest to speak to a dedicated New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to assess your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff injured his left foot and ankle while working as a roofer for the defendant. The plaintiff then filed a workers’ compensation petition, seeking benefits for his injuries. In its answer to the petition, the defendant denied that the plaintiff’s injuries were work-related, but provided benefits without an admission of liability. The plaintiff subsequently filed multiple motions seeking temporary disability benefits, which the defendant opposed on the grounds the injuries were not work-related. The majority of the motions were resolved without a hearing.

Allegedly, however, in 2019, a hearing was held on a pending motion in which the plaintiff sought benefits for a proposed surgery. The court entered an order continuing temporary disability benefits and requiring the defendant to authorize the surgery, but did not opine on the defendant’s continued argument that the plaintiff’s injuries were not work-related. The defendant then appealed. Continue Reading ›

In most instances in which an employee suffers harm while working, the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law (the Law) provides the employee’s exclusive remedy. There is an exception, though, for cases in which the employer commits an intentional wrong. Proving an employer’s intentional act caused an employee’s harm can be difficult, as discussed in a recent New Jersey case.  If you suffered an injury while you were working, it is prudent to speak to an attorney regarding what benefits you may be able to recover and whether you may be able to pursue any other claims.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff and his co-worker were involved in a car accident. The co-worker was driving a vehicle owned by the defendant for whom they worked. The plaintiff suffered severe injuries, after which he filed a lawsuit against the co-worker and defendant seeking compensation for his harm. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, in which it argued that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the Law. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed, arguing that his claims fell under the intentional act exception of the exclusivity provisions of the Law. The appellate court disagreed and affirmed the trial court ruling.

Proving an Intentional Wrong

On appeal, the appellate court explained that under the test for determining whether an intentional wrong had been committed, a plaintiff must show more than a mere appreciation or knowledge of risk. In other words, the appellate court stated that a defendant that engages in an act that he or she knows or believes places another person at risk for harm may be negligent but is not committing an intentional wrong. The appellate court elaborated, however, that an intentional act is not limited to actions taken with a wish to cause harm but also acts the employer commits despite the knowledge that such acts are substantially certain to cause harm. The appellate court also noted that there is a high bar to proving substantial certainty and that knowledge that an act may result in death or evidence of gross negligence or a complete lack of concern for an employee’s health is insufficient to demonstrate intent. Continue Reading ›

Generally, New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Law (the Law) provides the sole remedy for an employee who is injured at work. However, there are some exceptions that allow an employee to pursue claims against an employer in a civil lawsuit in addition to recovering workers’ compensation benefits, such as when an employer engages in an intentional act that leads to the employee’s harm. The intentional act exception to the exclusivity provision of the Law was discussed in a recent New Jersey case in which an employee filed a civil lawsuit against his employer after he suffered an amputation of his left arm due to a work injury. If you suffered a work-related injury, you should speak to a capable New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney regarding whether you may be able to recover civil damages in addition to workers’ compensation benefits.

Facts Regarding the Employee’s Injury

It is alleged that the employee worked for the employer as an electromechanical technician. The employee’s job duties included servicing, repairing, and maintaining large industrial machines. While servicing a machine in 2015, the employee suffered an injury that required him to undergo amputation below the elbow of his left arm. The employee subsequently filed a workers’ compensation claim and was awarded over one million dollars in benefits. He then filed a lawsuit against the employer in which he alleged he was owed civil damages as well because his employer violated the intentional wrong exception of the Law. The employer filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the employee’s civil claims. The court found the employee set forth sufficient evidence in support of his claims and denied the employer’s motion.

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