Employers in New Jersey are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The law is to protect injured employees from workplace injuries. Because of the workers’ compensation law, if you are injured, there are different legal mechanisms to collect damages. Typically, an injured employee will have a workers’ comp claim. However, this is not always the case. Unfortunately, and despite the strict laws, some employers fail to carry workers comp insurance. In these cases, an injured worker may have the right to file a personal injury claim against their employer for lost wages and medical treatment and medical expenses as well as other damages.
In New Jersey, failure to carry insurance is actually a crime. If you’ve suffered an injury while working in Cherry Hill, NJ, or any surrounding counties, talk with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at the Law Firm of Craig A. Altman who can determine if you have a lawsuit and, if so, will help you file suit against your employer for your workplace injury.
Under the NJ workers’ compensation system, you are typically not allowed to sue your employer for negligence. This is because no-fault coverage works both ways. You are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier regardless of your own culpability in the accident that caused your injuries. The flip side of this is that in exchange for your employer providing you with coverage for injuries caused on the job, you agree not to sue your employer for negligence — regardless of whether the injuries were permanent or temporary.
As a result of the nature of workers’ compensation law in New Jersey, workers’ comp is usually the only option available for injured workers. If you work for an uninsured employer, you are allowed to file a personal injury claim against them.
Additionally, there are a few other exceptions to the “no-fault” law prohibiting employees from suing employers when they are injured. These include:
Intentional Acts – Although workers’ compensation laws generally prohibit you from filing a negligence claim against your employer, there is an exception if your employer intentionally caused your injury. For example, you may be able to sue your employer if they removed safety guards on heavy machinery. This small exception exists for public policy reasons; employers must make every effort to keep workers safe on the job.
Product Liability – Another major exception in the workers’ compensation system exists when an employee is injured due to a defective product. In a product liability case, an injured worker may be entitled to compensation far beyond workers’ compensation benefits.
Toxic Substance Cases
Construction Site Accidents
“Off the Job” Accidents – Additionally, if you were not “on the job” when you suffered your injury, you may be able to sue your employer in a personal injury lawsuit and recover compensation. Sometimes employers argue that the employee was not covered by workers’ compensation because he or she was hurt while driving to work. However, this may expose the employer to third-party liability for negligence.
Sexual Harassment and Defamation Cases – You can also potentially sue your employer in sexual harassment and defamation cases.
Retaliation – You may also sue your employer if they fire you for filing a workers’ comp claim. This is because workers’ compensation law explicitly protects employees against retaliation for filing claims.
If you’ve been injured while working for an employer who failed to provide workers’ compensation insurance, you can still potentially receive compensation through the New Jersey Uninsured Employer’s Fund (UEF). The UEF provides temporary disability benefits and medical expenses to workers injured on the job. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you explore your options and navigate this complicated process.
*The Law Offices of Craig A. Altman does not offer any guarantee of case results. Past success in litigation does not guarantee success in any new or future lawsuit.
First, you set up a free consultation for an evaluation of your potential workers’ comp case. There is no fee. This free consultation is when the law firm reviews the details of your case, and the workers’ compensation attorney recommendations are strategized.
From there, if the Law Offices of Craig A. Altman take on your case, it will be on a contingency fee basis. This means they do not get paid unless they obtain fair compensation for their client. This ensures they are your advocate and are focused on representing you in your workers’ compensation claim for benefits.
Craig Altman and his team will handle all matters related to your workers’ compensation case, including initial interviews, workers’ compensation insurance company follow-up conferences, the preparation and review of all legal documents, review of your medical records, medical bills and medical reports, communications with insurance company representatives and their attorneys, court appearances and conferences as well as hearings and trials. The Altman team will also counsel you on settlement offers, lump sum settlements and any other offer the employer or their third-party insurance company make to you. All questions regarding your rights, the progress of your case, fair settlement or trial strategy, and any concerns you have will be addressed by the Law Offices of Craig A. Altman directly to you.
The Law Offices of Craig A. Altman is proud of the reputation it has built successfully negotiating and litigating for clients who have suffered personal injuries due to someone’s negligence.
Learn more about this personal injury law firm, the legal team, and its verdicts and settlements. An experienced attorney is what you will need and want if you seek to obtain maximum compensation for your injury case.
Although workers’ compensation typically prevents you from suing your employer, you may have a personal injury claim against a third party, such as a manufacturer, property owner, or subcontractor. Importantly, you can potentially seek compensation for pain and suffering through claims against third parties, which means that the compensation may be greater. You may have a viable claim against a third party in certain instances:
Defective products – You may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer of a defective product that caused your injury.
Slip & Fall accidents – If the accident was caused by a negligent property owner, you might have a valid premises liability claim.
Motor vehicle accidents – If you were injured by a negligent motorist while driving to or from your place of employment, you may have a valid claim against the negligent driver.
Violent assaults – In some circumstances, you may be able to sue a co-worker who assaulted you if the assault stemmed from a personal matter.
Employees who were hurt or became ill due to a job-related circumstance may seek medical treatment and temporary or permanent disability benefits through their employers’ workers’ comp insurance carrier. Employees only need to notify the employer immediately of the injury and if medical treatment is needed, the employer and its insurance carrier must provide it.
If, however, in your case your employer has failed to carry workers’ compensation insurance, then you will have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. If this is the case, you are not bound or limited by the restrictions of workers’ compensation cases. You have the rights any other person would have for damages in a personal injury lawsuit even though you have a work-related injury including physical pain, pain, and suffering as well as medical expenses and lost wages.
In a personal injury lawsuit, a person can seek different kinds of damages than one can seek in a workers’ comp claim.
Compensatory damages are designed to make you whole after an accident. You may suffer both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic Damages include:
Medical bills and expenses
Non-economic damages by their nature are more difficult to calculate. This is where pain and suffering and emotional distress are covered. These damages include:
Loss of ability to work
Loss of future earnings
Loss of enjoyment of life
Loss of consortium
Emotional pain and suffering
Punitive damages are designed to punish a person for intentional conduct. This means their conduct that led to your injuries was more than negligent. While punitive damages may not be appropriate in your case, that does not mean your lawyer won’t consider them depending on the facts of your case.
There is no simple answer to this question. Each case has to be evaluated by an experienced personal injury attorney in order to determine the potential amount of damages an injured person can recover.
Initially, your lawyer will weigh how severe your injuries were; your age and health at the time of the accident; whether you have a job or not and if you were the sole provider for the family and how many members you supported; and whether you had any fault in the accident.
There are many other factors to be considered in any personal injury claim. There will be both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages will compensate you for financial costs incurred as a result of your injuries. The idea is to “make you whole” or in other words, put you back in the financial place you were in before the crash. Such damages would include:
Present and future medical expenses which includes ambulance fees, hospitalization, surgery, medication, medical equipment, surgeries, and doctor visits
Physical therapy and other necessary and related rehabilitation treatment and costs
The cost of replacing or repairing damaged property
Lost Income and wages
Loss of future earnings
Temporary or permanent disability
These types of damages are relatively straightforward. So long as they are related to the accident, they are proven by the medical bills and expenses incurred.
Non-economic damages include:
Pain and suffering
Loss of consortium
Loss of enjoyment of life
These damages require a different level of proof than the economic damages as there are no bills to prove the amount. This does not mean the damages are any less real. They require the experience and knowledge of a personal injury lawyer. An attorney will have knowledge of how the insurance company may weigh a claim for these non-economic damages and be able to evaluate what kind of demand they may make and/or argue for in a settlement conference or at a trial.
The experienced personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Craig A. Altman are here for you. We’ve been fighting for the rights of injured workers in New Jersey for many years. We focus a large part of our practice on workers’ compensation and personal injury law, so we know how to maximize your potential recovery. If you’ve been injured while working, contact one of our skilled attorneys today, or use our online contact form to schedule an appointment.