The construction site is one of the most dangerous job environments. According to the US Department of Labor nearly 6.5 million Americans work at 252,000 job sites around the nation, making the risk for accidents steep. These work related injuries can be disastrous towards the victims and their families resulting in a loss of wages and financial stress, as well as physical injury. The victim of these types of accidents is entitled to at least some compensation no matter the circumstances when injured at the job site due to the Workers Compensation Act. It is for this reason, it is imperative that if you are injured on a job site you should contact an expert attorney as soon as possible, to help guide you through the legal process so that you may receive the financial compensation that you deserve.
When injured at a construction site, or while working as any type of employee, it is important to note that you may not sue your employer. However, in many situations it is possible to sue third parties, including architects, owners, equipment manufacturers, contractors, and other professionals involved with the site or organization. They may all be held accountable for work related injuries due to the fact that they are all personally responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for all employees. They are expected to do this by:
- Warning employees of possible hazards on the site
- Coordinating job safety
- Checking that all safety procedures are adhered to
In New Jersey, your work-related injury claim will be handled by the Division of Workers’ Compensation. This is a state agency, meaning that workers’ compensation cases go through the Division rather than the court system. Nearly all work injuries are covered. This includes repetitive stress injuries such as tendon damage or broken bones from construction activity. Some illnesses also are covered, as long as they are caused by the individual’s work, such as lung disease from inhaling toxins on the job. If your injury was preexisting but made worse by your job duties, Anthony Macri will fight to ensure that it is also covered.
New Jersey is a no-fault state for workers’ compensation. This means that you can receive workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault for your injury. If you made a mistake that led to your injury, your claim is as valid as if your employer had taken negligent action. At the same time, if your employer was at fault, you cannot sue them for negligence. Workers’ compensation is your only recourse for a work-related injury, excepting situations in which your employer intentionally harms or attempts to harm you.
Workers’ compensation benefits available in New Jersey include:
- Medical benefits. Workers’ comp will pay 100% of your medical bills for treatment that is reasonable and necessary. This includes things like prescriptions and hospital stays.
- Temporary Total Disability. TTD benefits are available for injured employees who are unable to work and are receiving medical care. TTD payments are generally 70% of the employee’s (gross) average weekly wage. The amount is subject to a maximum and minimum. For 2009, the maximum is $773.00 and the minimum is $206. These limits are based on the state average weekly wage.
- Permanent Partial Disability. A permanent partial disability entitles you to ongoing benefits. The amount of your weekly payment depends on the type of injury you have (which part of your body is disabled), as well as the severity of the injury. These benefits begin after TTD benefits end.
- Permanent Total Disability. If you are unable to return to any type of work due to a work-related injury, more permanent benefits are available. These benefits are generally 70% of your (gross) average weekly wage – the same amount you were receiving for TTD. Permanent total disability is available for life.
In New Jersey, the employer or carrier is permitted to specify the doctor who treats work-related injuries. In other words, your employer's insurance company may tell you which doctor you have to see. However, you may file a motion to receive your own care at a location of your choosing and a judge will determine whether you are entitled to additional or different treatment.
In New Jersey, attorney fees for workers’ compensation cases are limited to 20% of the award, subject to a maximum amount. This means that if you end up getting $50,000, your attorney can receive $10,000. If you recover nothing, you will not pay any attorney fees.
There are important steps to follow in order to ensure that you receive benefits. First, you should notify your employer of your injury as soon as possible. Notice does not have to be in writing, but you should tell your employer immediately if you are hurt. The employer is then required to file a first report of accident. Then, you have a certain amount of time to file a claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. You have two years from the date of injury to file a claim. If you have received benefits, you have two years from the date of the last payment.
Workers’ compensation cases and claims are not lawsuits. They are more similar to claims against a health insurance carrier. Your attorney will be working with the insurance company, not directly with your employer. However, it is absolutely necessary to obtain the services of an experienced attorney when negotiating a claim, especially in New Jersey. The process is complicated and requires skilled legal navigation.
If you or a loved one have been injured at a construction site, or at any other place of work, you need an expert personal injury attorney so that you can obtain the compensation you deserve. Anthony Macri has over 30 years of legal experience and will work tirelessly on your behalf. As an independent attorney, he will personally review your case and provide expert counseling for you throughout the process. You will not be siphoned off to deal with inexperienced attorneys as is common at larger firms. He is respected and, as an adversary, feared in the legal profession because of his innovative, proactive approach to handling cases (Anthony Macri on Trying Cases) and he is eager to represent you. For an ally in the courtroom contact Anthony J. Macri at 973-538-6200.