An employee that suffers an injury at work generally has the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. In many instances, though, the benefits awarded are insufficient to fully address the harm suffered by the employee. As such, in cases in which a third party contributed to the employee’s harm, he or she may also seek to pursue claims against that person or entity as well. The third party cannot, however, then seek contribution from the employer, as discussed by a New Jersey appellate court in a recent case. If you were injured at work, you may not only be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits, but you may also be able to pursue damages from other parties, and it is advisable to meet with a skillful New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your possible claims.
It is reported that the defendant obtained a contract to replace a roof on an elementary school. The defendant then subcontracted some of the work to a construction company that employed the plaintiff. While working on the project, the plaintiff fell off of the roof and suffered significant injuries. The plaintiff sought and received workers’ compensation benefits from his employer. He then filed a complaint against the defendant, alleging that it was negligent in failing to provide a work environment that was reasonably safe.
Allegedly, the defendant company then filed a third party complaint against the employer, arguing it was liable for the plaintiff’s harm. The employer filed a motion for summary judgment, averring that the defendant’s claims were barred by the Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act). The court granted the motion, and the defendant appealed. (more…)
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. (more…)
While the work-related nature of some harm is clear, in other instances, an employer may deny that an employee suffered an illness or injury due to work conditions. Thus, the matter of whether an employer owes an employee workers’ compensation benefits will have to be decided in court. Recently, a New Jersey court addressed an issue where an appellate court overturns an initial ruling that an employee suffered work-related harm, if the employee may be compelled to repay any benefits he or she received. If you suffered an illness or injury due to conditions you encountered at work, it is advisable to confer with a dedicated New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to assess your rights.
Facts and Procedural History
It is reported that the employee requested workers’ compensation benefits, alleging that he suffered harm due to exposure to toxic substances in the workplace. The employer denied that the employee suffered a work-related injury, and therefore the employee filed a claim against the employer. A trial was held, after which a judge of compensation awarded the employee temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, and costs. The employee appealed and filed a motion to stay the case pending resolution of the appeal.
Allegedly, the judge of compensation denied the stay, but orally proscribed that if the decision was overturned, the employee might be required to repay the employer any benefits paid during the pendency of the appeal. While the parties were waiting for a ruling on the appeal, the employer paid the employee almost $117,000 in benefits. The appeal was subsequently granted, after which the employer filed a motion seeking reimbursement of the benefits paid. The judge of compensation denied the employer’s motion, stating that jurisdiction remained with the appellate court, after which the employer appealed. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
While some workplace injuries resolve in a relatively short time, others result in permanent disabilities. If an employee is permanently disabled due to a work-related injury, he or she may be entitled to permanent disability workers’ compensation benefits. An employee must meet certain requirements to prove a permanent disability, as discussed in a recent case in which an employer disputed whether an employee was entitled to permanent disability benefits. If you sustained an injury at work that left you permanently unable to earn an income, you should confer with an experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney about what benefits you may be owed.
Facts of the Case
Allegedly, the employee worked as a framer for the employer construction company. The employee fell off a sixteen-foot scaffold and suffered injuries to his ankles and right shoulder, after which he filed a petition for workers’ compensation benefits. He underwent a surgical reduction of the fractures in his ankles that involved the installation of plates and screws, and arthroscopic surgery in his shoulder. Following his surgeries, the employee continued to suffer swelling and pain in both his shoulder and in his ankles.
It is reported that during the trial, the employee testified that his injuries prevented him from returning to work as a framer. The employee also presented testimony from medical experts who opined on the extent of the employee’s limitations and the percentage of the employee’s disabilities in his shoulders and in each ankle. The employer presented medical expert testimony in opposition to the plaintiff’s experts. The judge ultimately ruled that the employee suffered a forty-five percent partial total disability, after which the employer appealed. (more…)
Employees that suffer work-related injuries may be entitled to certain workers’ compensation benefits, including medical treatment. Specifically, New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Law (the Law) provides that employers must provide employees with any medical treatment that is necessary and reasonable. Recently, a New Jersey appellate court analyzed whether an employer’s duty to provide an employee with medical treatment includes the duty to compensate an employee for the cost of marijuana that was prescribed under the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Act (the Act). If you were injured at work, you may be eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits, including medical treatment, and you should speak to a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney about your rights.
Facts of the Case
It is alleged that in 2001, the employee suffered an injury while working for the employer. Specifically, he suffered herniation and bulging of discs in his lumbar spine when a dump truck emptied a load of concrete onto him. The employee filed a workers’ compensation claim, but the employer disputed that the employee’s injuries were work-related. The employee then underwent a variety of treatments, including surgery and the use of opioid pain medication, which he paid for himself, but he continued to suffer from chronic debilitating pain. He then began treating with a doctor who specialized in palliative care, who ultimately determined that the employee was a candidate for a medical marijuana program.
Reportedly, fifteen years after the injury occurred, a workers’ compensation trial was held to determine what benefits, if any, the employer owed the employee. At that time, the employer stipulated that the employee suffered a work-related injury but argued it was not obligated to reimburse the employee for the cost of his medical marijuana. Specifically, the employer argued that paying for medical marijuana would be tantamount to aiding and abetting a crime. The court ultimately found in favor of the employee and determined that employers were not exempt from reimbursing employees for the cost of medical marijuana treatment. The employer appealed the trial court ruling. (more…)