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Hackensack Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Workers' comp claim denied for dying 9/11 animal rescuer

A woman who worked to rescue animals abandoned in New York City in the weeks following the September 11 attacks lost her battle with cancer this month. She had worked for the ASPCA as a humane law enforcement officer and special investigator for nearly 20 years, investigating reports of abuse and rescuing sick animals. However, in the weeks following 9/11, she spent her time around Ground Zero rescuing animals left in apartments that their owners weren't able to get to because the areas were restricted or evacuated.

That responsibility took its toll on the officer's health. In 2014, she learned that she had breast cancer. It spread to her brain. The cancer was caused by the toxic fumes that she inhaled during her rescue efforts around Ground Zero.

Certain mechanical motions make amputations more likely

One of the worst injuries that a worker in New Jersey or elsewhere can suffer is an amputation. It's important for workers not only to know their rights after they have been hurt, but to know what types of things increase the danger level in the workplace. For instance, the following mechanical motions have been classified as hazards by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

- Rotating motions. These can occur when using cams, pulleys, flywheels and other similar devices. In some occupations, an exposed rotating shaft end is also a hazard. These can snag workers' clothes or hair.

Medical workers suffer higher workplace accident rates

American hospitals are among the most dangerous workplaces in our nation. New Jersey medical workers suffer higher incident rates of injury when compared not only to general private injury, but specifically to the construction industry. That is right -- hospital employees have higher accident and injury rates than both manufacturing and construction workers! Health care workers take more time away from work, and continue to work with injuries, more often than almost anyone else in the United States. Sadly, hospital administrators and health care leaders do not seem to acknowledge the situation, and high injury rates persist within the medical community.

Hospital workers are exposed to a diverse array of hazards that are not present in other industries. Lifting patients with limited mobility, for instance, can cause serious injury that requires rehabilitation before returning to work. Additionally, the culture of a hospital or other health care facility dictates that workers "do no harm" to those for whom they are providing care. Workers tend to put their own welfare behind those of their patients, which can lead to severe workplace consequences.

Construction worker claims lead to $26 million award for leg loss

A construction worker in New Jersey has won a massive jury award after a serious workplace accident caused him to lose his leg. The man, age 22, suffered severe injuries in the construction accident, which occurred when he plunged 20 feet through a hole at a work site. The victim had been directing a steel delivery when the 2012 accident occurred. He stepped on some plywood that had been covering a large hole; the flimsy wood gave way and caused the man to suffer a violent fall.

The six-week trial led to a jury award of $26 million for the man, who had 10 surgeries in an effort to save his leg. Those surgeries were not successful, and physicians eventually had to amputate below the knee. The victim was awarded financial compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering and lost wages from the Manhattan jury. Even the judge seemed to be convinced that the construction worker deserved compensation, noting in a pretrial hearing that the man's grave injury was due to poor safety compliance on the part of the developer.

Questions often asked about hard hats

Workers on construction sites are typically required to wear hard hats as part of their uniforms. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration often gets questions about these hard hats, and they've provided a few answers to help workers know what to do to stay safe and avoid accidents in New Jersey.

1. Can workers wear baseball caps under hard hats?

How many people suffer a workplace accident every year?

Do you know how many people are injured at work every year in the U.S.? The number might surprise you. Nearly 3 million nonfatal workplace illnesses and injuries are reported annually by workers in New Jersey and the rest of the nation. Many of these injured employees need workers' compensation to help them recover from their ailments. The good news is that worker injury nationwide is actually declining, continuing a downward trend that started more than a decade ago.

Which industries are most prone to worker injury? Statistics show that employees at manufacturing and heavy industrial plants continue to experience high rates of workplace injury. Further, transportation accidents play a major role -- many victims are injured in car accidents associated with work, even if they are not professional truck drivers. Car accidents can occur on a work site or as an employee is in transit between work areas. About 75 percent of workplace injuries occur in service-providing industries, such as serving food, working as a cashier or stocking shelves. Only about one-quarter of injuries occur in goods-producing industries.

Forklift construction accident leaves man in critical condition

A New Jersey man suffered serious injuries at work in late October when he was run over with an industrial forklift. The construction accident victim, age 24, was working at a residential construction site when the incident occurred. The driver of the forklift was backing the vehicle up at the time of the accident, and he apparently did not see the victim before driving over him. The operator's vision was obstructed, but news reports have not said whether this was because of improper use of the forklift.

The victim was conscious at the time that first responders arrived, but little other information was provided to news outlets at the time of the incident. It is not clear whether the victim suffered life-threatening injuries in the accident. He was most recently listed in critical but stable condition at a local hospital.

Construction accident prevention tips

The construction industry bears the burden of being called the most dangerous industry in New Jersey—and the United States, for that matter—year after year. It is one of the leaders when it comes to accidents, injuries and deaths.

However, there are many things that company owners can do to prevent accidents and shake this title, such as:

What happens if I suffer an accident during disaster cleanup?

Does your employer have a responsibility to keep you from weather-related harm? Although many of us would agree that we cannot control the weather, the federal government dictates that employers are required to protect their workers from workplace accidents related to tornadoes, floods and other severe weather events. This duty extends to workers who are attempting to clean up after a flood or hurricane in New Jersey.

What hazards are associated with flood cleanup? Workers can suffer workplace injuries while helping clean up after a flood or hurricane because they encounter diverse hazards that may not be similar to those they experience every day on the job. These include:

Workers' comp benefits provide help for re-injury cases

Workers' compensation claims are rarely the easy, slam-dunk type cases that involve the quick agreement of all parties. Employers and insurers love to drag out the claims and appeals process, preventing workers from obtaining the compensation benefits they need to receive treatment and return to their everyday lives.

The good news is that you have an ally in your fight against unfair workers' compensation practices. Our team of legal professionals assists scores of victims who have suffered injury in a forklift accident, ladder fall, or other type of construction accident in New Jersey.