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Hackensack Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Are you suffering from PTSD due to workplace trauma?

Violence, excessive bullying or harassment, or a natural disaster that occurs at your workplace in Bergen County can be a traumatic event that affects you emotionally and mentally. Perhaps you are struggling to concentrate on daily tasks or you find yourself reliving the experience over and over again. You may be suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The National Institute of Mental Health states that men are less prone to have PTSD than women, but it can occur in either sex, regardless of age. If you do have it, you may also be suffering with another mental health issue such as anxiety or depression. This is common with the disorder, as well as abusing substances like drugs or alcohol. If you have been experiencing symptoms for more than a month, your doctor will probably determine that you have PTSD. To make the final determination though, your doctor needs to rule out other possible factors such as a medical illness.

Scaffold collapse blamed for work accident in water tower

Any workplace environment in Bergen County can become the scene of an accident, but there are some jobs that are considered more dangerous than others. The U.S. Department of Labor points out that construction workers often suffer serious injuries and the No. 1 cause is falls. This is not surprising since workers in this industry often perform tasks while standing on scaffolds several feet above the ground. If the platform they are using has any defects within it, the results could be disastrous.

This was the case for one man who was working across the river in another state. Apparently, he and another worker were in the process of painting the inside of a water tower, which rises almost 200 feet from the ground. The man incurred injuries to his back, neck and head when he fell a distance of almost 40 feet. It is unknown how serious the injuries were but first responders stated that he was conscious and alert throughout the rescue. He was immediately transported to a local hospital by air.

Returning to work after a workplace injury or illness

As part of a workers' compensation claim, it is common for workers to take a leave of absence from work as they recover from the illness or injury. According to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, in order to be eligible for temporary disability benefits under workers' compensation, the injury or illness must keep an individual out for at least seven days. This count need not be a consecutive number of days and includes holidays and weekends.

For those who have a less severe injury or illness, returning to work will not be an issue. However, many find issues as they return to work while still recovering from an injury or illness. In some cases, a doctor might clear a person to light duty work rather than their full workload. If an employer is unable to provide work that fits within the medical clearance, then the employee is entitled to temporary disability befits until the individual fully heals or reaches the maximum possible point of recovery. The individual must continue to receive medical care from an authorized professional for this to happen.

Preventing slip and fall accidents in the workplace

Although every possible cause of an accident cannot be foreseen, employers typically take care to create a safe environment to reduce the number of injuries that occur. There are some common scenarios for which companies can implement practices to reduce some of the most frequent causes of accidents and injuries in New Jersey, such as slip and fall accidents.

Despite programs in place to prevent falls, many companies continue to have unsafe practices that have kept the number of workplace accidents steady, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are several contributing factors that could lead to falls. Some of the most common are due to issues with surfaces on which workers walk or work. This might be that they are unstable, cluttered or slippery. Poor safety with ladders and openings in the floor and wall also contribute to the problem.

What benefits am I entitled to with permanent disability?

When you are party to an unfortunate accident at work, you might experience a significant injury that results in permanent disability. At Parisi and Gerlanc, we understand that you might be unsure as to what benefits you might be entitled to in New Jersey if you find yourself in this situation.

The benefits you receive for permanent disability are similar to other workers' compensation claims. You will receive some of your regular income, as well as coverage for your medical bills, lost wages and any residual disability.

The facts about asbestos and asbestosis

Prior to recognizing the dangers of asbestos, it was commonly used in a wide variety of products. This is why many workers in New Jersey are still exposed to it on a regular basis, which might lead to health problems. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, breathing in asbestos can lead to significant reduction in lung function, lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Because of the health hazards, there are several standards in place to protect workers, especially those in construction and who work in the shipyard. These involve reducing exposure to workers, monitoring the airborne levels and using certain protective gear to diminish the health risk as much as possible.

What is voluntary tender in workers' compensation cases?

After a serious accident in the workplace, you might find yourself unable to work but with a long wait before your workers' compensation benefits arrive. At Parisi and Gerlanc, we understand how hard it can be to go without a paycheck while you wait for a workers' compensation to be handled. In New Jersey, prior to your workers' compensation settlement, you have the choice to apply for voluntary tender.

If you become seriously injured after an accident, you might qualify for temporary disability benefits through workers' compensation. However, this might not provide sufficient funds. According to the New Jersey Department of Labor, you are entitled to these benefits until there will be no further improvement of your condition, known as maximum medical improvement, or you are able to work again. There are minimum and maximum rates between which the amount you receive must fall. Additionally, the temporary disability benefits are only 70 percent of your average weekly wage.  

How much worker's comp is a lost limb worth in New Jersey?

A workplace injury resulting in an amputation most likely qualifies you for workers' compensation. The amount you receive depends on the state in which you work, as well as which appendage/appendages were lost. According to ProPublica, New Jersey workers' compensation benefits pays higher than the national average for several limbs, but some are valued at a lower than average amount.

The amount paid depends on what is known as a schedule of disabilities, which details the maximum amount of money offered per limb. This is calculated based on a combination of what is lost, as well as the percentage of disability that results from the lost limb. For example, if you were to lose a finger but still be able to perform the majority of your job, then you would not be entitled to as much workers' compensation money as you would if the loss of the finger severely limited your ability to work.

Protection from retaliation for a workers' compensation claim

When an employee is injured on the job, he or she is entitled to file a workers' compensation claim in New Jersey. The Workers' Compensation Statute in New Jersey details the law surrounding workers' compensation and includes a provision protecting workers from any retaliation by an employer, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. 

Under the statute, testifying at a hearing or filing a claim cannot be grounds for firing an employee. However, this does not completely protect employees from being fired from their position or losing other employment benefits. The law does not protect against an employer taking away any health benefits while an employee is on medical leave.

Forklift accidents common causes of injuries and death

Forklifts are commonplace in a variety of industries, especially those requiring the use of warehouses, all across New Jersey. Many businesses categorize these machines as invaluable equipment with which work could not happen. However, they are also dangerous and account for a significant number of workplace accidents, according to Tools of the Trade.

Many of these accidents could have been prevented with proper safety measures in place. Following simple guidelines, such as using headlights, observing speed limits, yielding to pedestrians and retaining a clear field of vision, could have prevented 70 percent of forklift accidents. These accidents do not just affect the driver; pedestrians are also at risk. In fact, pedestrians are involved in almost 80 percent of accidents.