Parisi & Gerlanc, Attorneys at Law
Helping Injured People Since 1936
551-587-8915 Free Consultation
Helping Injured People for More Than 70 Years
learn More

Hackensack Workers' Compensation Law Blog

New Jersey work-related health problems

Even the most seemingly benign workplace in Bergen County may put a worker in harm’s way. Whether someone lifts heavy loads or sits at a desk, for example, the spine is at risk for serious issues. The U.S. Department of Labor gathers the statistics for all workplace-related illnesses and injuries via an employer reporting system. By taking a look at the most recent numbers for New Jersey, researchers can analyze the safety of various industries, and develop improvements to prevent further harm.

In the private sector, illnesses only accounted for 4.4 percent of the recorded issues employees suffered, and 32 percent of the 3,100 cases involved breathing conditions, skin problems and hearing loss. Roughly 68,800 sustained injuries on the job. Including both categories, there were 40,900 workers who missed work for days, were restricted from performing their normal job duties or required a transfer to a new job. More than 31,000 suffered less severe issues that were significant enough to be reported, but did not lead to restriction or transfer, and the employees did not miss days of work.

Protecting yourself from a lifting injury

If you work in a Bergen County warehouse, you are probably required to lift anywhere from 50 to 100 pounds on a regular basis. This kind of repetitive work can take its toll and one of the most common injuries we see here at Parisi & Gerlanc Attorneys at Law are those related to lifting. While not all work injuries can be prevented, there are certain things that you and your employer can do to reduce your risk.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration points out that the warehouse should be sufficiently lit. While this seems like common sense, it can be easy for warehouse managers to overlook a lightbulb that is not burning at its full capacity. If a job is a one-time assignment in the far corner of the building, you or others may dismiss the fact that it is a bit dark there. However, you should always bring any lighting deficiency to the attention of your supervisor or bring in additional lighting to make sure the work is done safely.

What you post on social media could hurt your workers’ comp claim

For many people in New Jersey, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace are part of their daily routine. These sites enable people to post photos and messages about their activities, but they can also be used to deny a workers’ compensation claim.

For example, one woman posted videos of herself competing at a beauty pageant on YouTube, according to Insurance Journal. However, at the same time, she was collecting workers’ compensation for an injury to her foot. She claimed that she was unable to wear a shoe on that foot, move it or place any weight on it. The videos though, show her walking in high heels without any problem. Consequently, she charged with committing fraud.

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.