Articles Posted in Work Injuries

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.

In New Jersey, a person who suffers injuries while working may be eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits but only if he or she meets the requirements set forth under New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Law (the Law). Specifically, in order to recover benefits a person must demonstrate not only that he or she suffered an injury during the course and scope of work, but also that he or she had an employee-employer relationship with the entity for whom he or she was working at the time of the injury. Thus, if a person cannot prove that he or she was an employee at the time the harm occurred, his or her claim for benefits will be denied, as shown in a recent New Jersey workers’ compensation case. If you were injured while working, it is wise to speak to a seasoned New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to examine whether you may be eligible to recover benefits.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Work

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a workers’ compensation petition, seeking benefits for an injury to his right hand that he allegedly sustained while he was working for the defendant. The defendant contested the plaintiff’s petition, arguing that the plaintiff was not his employee when the injury occurred. During a hearing, the parties presented conflicting testimony regarding when the plaintiff was hired and the extent of his job duties.

Allegedly, following the hearing, the judge found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded the plaintiff workers’ compensation benefits. The defendant filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that the workers’ compensation judge failed to articulate any basis for finding the plaintiff was an employee. The appellate court agreed with the defendant’s reasoning and reversed the judge’s order and remanded the case for further proceedings. Continue Reading ›

It is not uncommon for companies to host fundraising and community events and for company employees to work or attend the events. If an employee is injured during such an event, it may be disputed whether the injury is work-related so as to warrant an award of workers’ compensation benefits. Recently, a New Jersey appellate court discussed the distinction between work-related injuries and injuries sustained during recreational activities in a case in which an employee’s workers’ compensation claim was denied.  If you were injured during a work event, it is prudent to contact a proficient New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to assess whether you may be owed benefits for your injury.

Facts Regarding the Employee’s Injury

Reportedly, the employee worked as a cook for the employer, a non-profit organization that provides services and vocational training to individuals with developmental disabilities. In September 2017, the employer hosted an event for the family members of its clients, which included food and recreational activities, such as music and games. The employee was not required to work the event but volunteered her services to the employer. She was not paid for her participation. During the event, she fell and injured her right ankle and foot.

It is alleged that the employee filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits following her injury. The employer argued that the employee was not entitled to benefits because she was not engaged in employment activities at the time of her injury. The workers’ compensation judge ruled in favor of the employer, finding that the employee was volunteering, not working, at the time of her injury. The employee appealed the judge’s ruling. Continue Reading ›

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