The most common workplace accidents are slips, trips, and falls – as well as overexertion injuries and contact with objects and equipment. In the time of COVID-19, however, the most common workers’ compensation claims have to do with “exposure to harmful substances or environments.”
Exposure to Harmful Substances or Environments
This class of workplace injury and illness includes exposure to electricity, radiation, extreme temperatures, noise, traumatic events, and, pertinently, contagious and infectious diseases like COVID-19. In New Jersey, essential workers can file workers’ compensation claims if they contract COVID-19 because state law presumes that these workers were exposed to the virus on the job.
Even outside of COVID-19, New Jersey workers who are injured or become ill on the job or as a result of their employment can file workers’ compensation claims. For more complex cases or serious injuries, employees may wish to have attorneys help them with their workers’ compensation claims. Even though workers’ comp benefits are supposed to be “guaranteed,” insurance company interference often ensures that they are not, so teaming up with a lawyer is usually the right choice.
If you need help with your workplace accident or construction accident claim, trust Palmisano & Goodman, P.A. for small firm attention and large firm results.
Slips, Trips, and Falls at Work
Employees can slip on icy, oily, or wet floors and other unsafe conditions at work. Unfortunately, workers can also fall to a lower level, and falls from heights can lead to serious injuries or fatalities.
In fact, falls are one of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s “fatal four,” and nearly 37% of construction accident deaths are caused by falling – off roofs and scaffolding or into unprotected holes or sides.
Falling on the same level and slips and trips without falling should lead to mild soft tissue injuries and straightforward workers’ comp claims but falls to a lower level can lead to serious injuries and deaths.
Workers’ compensation claims are rarely straightforward when they involve serious injuries or fatalities, so you should have a lawyer help you after a severe slip, trip, or fall at work.
Excessive physical effort, such as improper lifting or carrying, can lead to non-impact overexertion injuries. Back pain is a leading cause of long-term disability, so you may need a lawyer to help you secure workers’ compensation benefits for as long as you need them.
Repetitive motion injuries can also cause stress or strain to some part of the body and lead to long-term disability, and a lawyer can help you negotiate longer-term workers’ compensation benefits.
Contact with Objects and Equipment
Construction workers, factory workers, and other employees who work with moving objects or dangerous equipment may be subject to this kind of workplace accident. Equipment injuries are usually serious, so you may need to get legal help with your workers’ compensation claim.
Employers can also be penalized if they do not provide adequate training and safety procedures. Although workers’ compensation claims usually excuse employers from liability, these protections do not count in cases of gross negligence (or carelessness that demonstrates a disregard for the safety or lives of others).
Third-Party Injury Claims
In the construction industry, employees are often eligible for both workers’ compensation and third-party negligence claims. This duality of options occurs when a construction worker is covered by workers’ compensation but is hurt due to a third party’s negligence, such as an independent contractor on the site who was performing another job duty. Or, in another example, a construction worker who was hit by reckless driver while they worked near an active highway can seek workers’ compensation benefits and a third-party injury claim against that driver’s auto insurance policy.
Although third-party injury claims most often overlap with workers’ compensation claims when considering construction accidents, workers in the construction industry are not the only ones who can be presented with both options. As long as your work injury was not caused by your employer or a coworker, then there is a chance you could use workers’ comp and a third-party claim, regardless of what industry you work in. For example, a retail worker who is hurt due to a third-party vendor’s negligence, such as making a slip hazard in an aisle, could use workers’ comp and an injury claim against the vendor’s employer.
Should I Seek Legal Help After a Workplace Accident?
If you suffer a serious injury or lose a loved one to a workplace accident – or if you have trouble with your employer or workers’ comp insurance company at any point after your workplace accident – you should seek legal help.
Always report workplace accidents to your supervisor right away. Follow your employer’s instructions carefully and try to cooperate with the insurance company. If something feels wrong, stop talking to the insurance company and contact an attorney as soon as possible. You may even want to call a lawyer before you start talking to the insurance company because insurers don’t always have your best interests in mind.
Workplace accident attorneys like the ones at Palmisano & Goodman, P.A. keep your best interests close to heart and offer free consultations, so you won’t lose anything, and you will gain an important understanding of your rights and legal options.
Our team has more than 100+ combined years of experience, and we have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements. While you will get the skill and experience you would expect from a large firm, we also provide the honest advice, energetic representation, and personal attention of a much smaller firm. We also work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no fees unless we win.
Need help? You can schedule your free consultation with our firm today by calling us at (732) 709-4400 or sending us a message online.