The Reinartz Law Firm represents individuals injured in workplace accidents in New Jersey.
The average person spends about one-third of their waking hours earning a living. Over your lifetime, that amounts to about 90,000 hours at your job. Considering how much time you spend at the workplace, the expectation is that it’s a safe environment.
And in fact, governmental oversight works to help encourage safe work environments. Employers are responsible for following mandatory safety guidelines and doing their best to minimize hazards that can lead to accident and injury.
Despite these efforts, U.S. workers suffer an injury at work every 7 seconds, on average. This amounts to 4.5 million workplace injuries each year. In New Jersey the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported there were 92,200 non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses across all industries in the private sector, and local and state government in 2017. With those types of numbers, it’s important that you understand your rights and options if you suffer a workplace injury.
Legal Remedies for Workplace Accident and Injury in New Jersey
The law is designed to help protect workers from unsafe working conditions and to help remedy the situation when accident and injury occurs. Various factors and conditions influence which legal avenues a worker can pursue when they are hurt at work.
The most common legal remedy for a workplace accident injury is workers’ compensation. This no-fault insurance covers employees who have been injured on the job. No blame need be assigned – instead, the injured worker must simply show that they were hurt while performing their job duties, in the course of their employment, and that they need medical treatment for their injury.
If the employee is unable to return to work for any period of time, they must demonstrate that this inability to perform their job duties is due to the accident/injury. This makes them eligible for partial wage replacement. It’s an established system that usually works well for most injured workers.
In some cases, the employer and their insurer may fight the workers' compensation claim, making it difficult for the injured employee to receive the benefits they need. This is where New Jersey Workplace and Workers’ Compensation lawyers can provide valuable legal assistance. Our team knows the New Jersey workers' compensation system and understands how to fight for your rights. We help clients prove their claim and recover the benefits they are entitled to.
Independent contractors are generally not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Sometimes, however, employers erroneously classify as "independent contractors" those people who would be considered employees for purposes of workers' compensation benefits. Thus, when an independent contractor is injured on a job site, it is important for them to consult with an experienced work injury lawyer. A lawyer can analyze the facts of the case and explain their rights and options. Our attorneys understand the legal distinctions between these classifications and can review your situation to determine whether you are entitled to benefits.
While workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, an exception may apply if the worker’s accident was caused by the intentional conduct of their employer. In New Jersey, it is not necessary to show that the employer set about to actually cause the injury – it is enough to demonstrate that the employer took actions that created a “substantial certainty” that their conduct would result in harm or injury to their employee.
Knowingly violating established safety measure and protocols that lead to accident and injury may meet this requirement. In these cases, our attorneys can help you pursue and recover compensation that isn’t available under workers’ compensation law – such as compensation for pain and suffering.
Defective Products Claims
Dangerous or faulty work equipment and machinery is frequently the cause of workplace accidents. In product liability lawsuits, the party responsible for a worker’s accident may be the product designer, manufacturer, maintainer or someone else in the supply chain, rather than the employer.
It may be appropriate to file a defective product claim if the equipment that caused injury failed due to a design flaw or an error in the fabrication process. Another example of a defective product claim is the failure to adequately warn, or placing insufficient warnings on inherently dangerous equipment. In these situations, the responsible party may be liable for damages the worker suffered due to their defective product. This may include compensation for lost income, medical bills, pain, suffering and more.
In many industries, a typical job site involves work by a variety of different trades and entities. In construction work, for example, construction workers perform their work duties alongside a variety of different contractors, subcontractors, and trades. Delivery drivers and other workers in the transportation field perform most of their work on the road, alongside other motorists.
Installation, maintenance and repair service providers often travel to remote locations to perform their services, and some healthcare professionals make home visits. When these workers suffer injury within the scope of their employment, which is caused by someone other than their employer, the injured worker may be able to not only institute a workers’ compensation claim but also sue the negligent third-party.
Toxic Tort Suits
Workers who handle chemicals and other hazardous substances in the course of their employment may be injured by these materials. Mishandling of these products can expose employees to dangerous toxic substances that cause illness, chemical burns, and other injuries. When a worker is sickened or otherwise harmed by this type of chemical exposure, a toxic tort suit against the parties responsible for the manufacture, storage and/or containment of the toxic substances may be a viable legal option for financial compensation.
High-Risk and Accident-Prone Employment
Accidents may occur in any environment. But some industries and worksites experience a higher incidence of accidents and injuries due to the high-risk nature of the work. The following trades are examples of these industries.
- Oil & Gas Industry
- Maritime Industry
- Transportation, Shipping & Warehousing
- Installation, Maintenance and Repair
- Healthcare Industry – Nursing and residential care facilities
- Service Professionals – Includes couriers, messengers, and fire fighters
- Retail and Wholesale Trade
- Sports and Recreation
Common Workplace Accidents
Working with heavy machinery, toxic chemicals and other volatile substances, and performing work at construction and industrial sites are just some of the factors that contribute to the following workplace accidents:
- Equipment and machinery accidents
- Falls from ladders, roofs or scaffolding
- Falling objects
- Inadequate safety procedures
- Mistakes made by customers or co-workers
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Vehicle Accidents / Transportation Incidents
- Assault / workplace violence
- Gas explosions
- Pipeline accidents
- Biological hazard accidents
Injuries from workplace accidents can range from minor to severe. Broken bones, torn muscles and ligaments, traumatic brain injuries, amputations, spinal cord injuries and burns are among these injuries.
New Jersey Workplace Accident Attorneys You Can Count On
When a workplace accident leads to harm, workers typically need medical treatment for their injuries. Workers’ compensation usually covers this, and in serious cases, these benefits can provide partial wage replacement for employees who can’t work due to their injuries. Under certain circumstances, injured workers may also be entitled to bring a lawsuit against responsible third-parties for damages.
The Reinartz Law Firm New Jersey Workers' Compensation Lawyers can help determine whether you may be eligible for compensation from any of the legal remedies available to injured workers. Our attorneys will review every aspect of your case to identify these available options. The skills and guidance of a competent lawyer from our firm can make all the difference in obtaining the compensation and benefits you need for recovery, and to support you and your family during this difficult time. Contact our firm to schedule a free consultation to learn your options.