Revealing a COVID-19 Diagnosis in the Workplace

Will You Be Told If a Co-Worker Tests Positive for COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a number of issues. As a worker, you might be struggling with the reality that individuals you are working with on a daily basis could test positive for COVID-19. With that in mind, it is important that you understand both your rights and those of any co-workers who do actually end up being diagnosed.

Employee Privacy Explained

In the United States, there are strict regulations in place that govern the disclosing of an individual’s medical records with their consent. This is especially applicable in the workplace. While an individual person may choose to disclose his or her positive COVID-19 test, this is viewed to be a decision that is left up to that employee alone. An employer cannot unilaterally make that decision on their behalf. When it comes to employee privacy, certain laws dictate the actions of the employer.

What Can Be Revealed?

This is a murky area of the law for many reasons. On the one hand, the employer will want to protect the privacy of the worker who has just been diagnosed with COVID-19. On the other hand, the employer will also want to protect the health and safety of all workers that may have been in close contact with the infected individual. It is a situation that nobody wants to be in, yet is one that is playing out across the country. The ADA is quite clear about this. An employer should not reveal any personally identifiable medical information without the individual’s consent. Some states even require that this consent be made in writing. However, employers do have some flexibility in terms of allowing co-workers to know that they may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. This is perhaps the most prudent and CDC recommended course of action to take.

Who Should Be Told of a Positive Test Result?

This is the key question that many people, employers and employees alike, would like to have answered. While there are no hard and fast rules governing this topic, there are some general guidelines that can be followed. If it comes down to you possibly contracting the virus at work, thereby affecting your ability to provide financially for yourself and your family, then you will want to consult with a workers comp lawyer. It is recommended that employers let an employee know when they have been working within close proximity to a co-worker or visitor who is known to have contracted the virus. At the same time, the identity of the infected person should not be revealed. This protects the identity of the employee who has tested positive, which is a provision of FMLA, while simultaneously giving others in the company the opportunity to take immediate action to safeguard their health.

The Health of the Community and Workplace Depend on Disclosure

Employers do have an obligation to help maintain a safe workplace for everyone in their employ. This can be done without revealing the diagnosis of any one individual. Employees who do test positive for COVID-19 should be free to leave the workplace to get the treatment that they need without being subjected to others knowing the reason why they are absent. This is why an employer should not reveal the identity of any one person who contracted the virus. This includes not divulging any information that could be traced back to one particular person nor the extent to which an individual employee has come down sick. Doing so protects the rights of the person. However, letting others know that an infected individual was on the premises gives people the opportunity to take charge of their health at the same time.

Contact Voorhees Law Office LLC if you are in need of a workers comp lawyer in New Jersey. You can reach Craig Voorhees by phone at 908-200-2297 or learn more online by visiting www.voorheeslawnj.com.

NJ Workers Exposed to COVID-19 at the Workplace

Construction Workers in NJ Exposed to COVID-19

According to the Federal Reserve chairman, the COVID-19 pandemic caused people in 40% of American households earning less than $40,000 to lose their jobs in March. Concurrently, millions are being exposed to serious health and economic hardships attributable to uninformed decisions and poor judgment. Construction workers and other essential employees may benefit from understanding more about their rights and what’s required of their employers in the wake of this pandemic.

NJ Workers Affected By COVID-19

Millions of construction professionals in New Jersey are currently suffering hardships because they were unnecessarily exposed to unsafe working conditions during the initial surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, several federal and state protections have been put in place to provide aid to employees affected by a wide variety of circumstances. New Jersey has some of the most comprehensive family leave, temporary disability, and earned sick leave laws in the United States.

Obtaining Workers’ Compensation for COVID-19

According to the New Jersey Department of Labor, there are several scenarios where NJ workers have state and federal protections and benefits available for COVID-19 exposure. The NJDOL recommends workers speak with employers first about pursuing potential alternatives whether that be working remotely, getting paid time off, taking a leave of absence, or some other flexible opportunity that may be available.

Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation Under COVID-19

The NJDOL outlines several scenarios where state and federal protections or benefits would be available to employees.

Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or exhibit the symptoms and are unable to work may be entitled to use up to 80 hours of federal emergency paid sick leave. The state also requires employers to provide full-time, part-time, and temporary workers with up to 40 hours of earned sick leave each year. Under the CARES ACT, employees already out of sick leave may apply for up to 39 weeks of unemployment insurance through the state.

Once unemployment insurance benefits have been exhausted, or as an alternative means altogether, filing for temporary disability insurance would call for a health provider to make a diagnosis and prognosis relating to how long you’d be out of work. The amount of TDI benefits afforded to you would depend on your wage records already on file. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act may also provide NJ employees with medical-protected paid leave as well.

According to the New Jersey Department of Labor, employees who contracted COVID-19 from exposure through a work-related encounter may qualify for workers’ compensation and should file through their employer. Anyone exposed to COVID-19 through their work activities and told to self-quarantine by a public health authority or health care provider may also qualify for the aforementioned protections and benefits, including workers’ compensation.

Challenges With Obtaining Workers’ Compensation

Outside of contracting COVID-19 or self-quarantining under orders recognized by the state, it may prove difficult for the average person to obtain workers’ compensation. Many other difficult situations created by COVID-19 may still allow employees to file for various state and federal protections, however. Gig workers and those unable to work due to child care issues, temporary closings, state-ordered closings, workforce reductions, or preexisting health issues may still be able to pursue partial insurance benefits or sick leave.

Workers’ compensation in NJ may also provide employees with medical benefits, death benefits, and up to $3,500 for funeral expenses. If an employee dies from a work-related illness like COVID-19 exposure, the surviving spouse, minor children, and any additional dependents are entitled to death benefits. Workers’ compensation also pays for any medical treatment that may be related to the COVID-19 exposure that occurred at the workplace.

Legal Assistance for Obtaining Workers’ Compensation

If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or you feel you’re entitled to workers’ compensation, a construction accident lawyer may be able to help. Workers in New Jersey in need of a construction accident lawyer can contact the Voorhees Law Office, LLC. Our law office in Somerville can be reached by phone at (908) 200-2297 or by email at craig@voorheeslawnj.com. The physical address of our office is 68 North Bridge Street, Somerville, NJ 08876. Give us a call to speak with a lawyer about workers’ compensation benefits.

COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation

Can You Receive Workers’ Compensation for Getting Coronavirus at Work?

New COVID-19 cases in New Jersey are still averaging over 3,000 per day. Those who believe that they have contracted the virus at work may be eligible for workers’ compensation as long as they can prove that they were exposed at work.

The System Is Still Working to Process Claims

While the workers’ compensation courts in New Jersey are physically closed right now due to COVID-19, it does not mean that the system has ground to a halt. Judges are continuing to be assigned, and they are working on matters from their homes. They can use telephone and video conferencing, and they have been encouraged to do as much work as possible during this time. They can even still issue rulings right now, so the system is still working.

If you have a COVID-19-related workers’ compensation claim, you can still file it right now. You do not have to wait for the stay-at-home order to be lifted. In fact, you should still file it as soon as possible in order to get the process started.

Were You Exposed on the Job?

The ordinary consideration in a workers’ compensation case is whether the employee was injured on the job. In most cases, it is very clear where the injury occurred. Thus, it is very easy to prove, and this does not prove to be a barrier to the injured employee receiving compensation.

With COVID-19, there are some concerns as to whether the employee can prove that he or she contracted the virus while on the job. First, someone who gets the virus while at work could generally qualify for a work-related injury if it was due to occupational exposure. However, demonstrating causation is very difficult when dealing with a highly contagious virus that has spread everywhere in society. In other words, you may have an issue showing that you were exposed to coronavirus at work as opposed to anywhere else even with the amount of contact tracing that is now available.

Assumptions About and Duties of Safety Workers

First, there is a presumption in New Jersey that certain public safety officers have been exposed to a virus on the job when they are sickened. This covers occupations such as police officers and paramedics. However, other employees in New Jersey may be out of luck if they believe that they have contracted COVID-19 at work but cannot prove it to the satisfaction of the administrative judge.

In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy has issued several executive orders that have designated certain employees as essential, forcing them to remain on the job and exposing them to the potential that they could contract COVID-19. However, at this time, there is no COVID-19 presumption for these essential workers that would pave the way for them to receive workers’ compensation easier. This includes people such as grocery workers and people who work at pharmacies and restaurants. They will still need to prove causation—namely, that they were injured at work.

How Sick Workers Can Get Help

There may be some possible help for these employees in the future in the form of legislation. The New Jersey legislature is considering a bill that extends the current COVID-19 presumption about public safety workers. Many other states have done this by executive order or by statute, and it is likely that New Jersey will not be that far behind.

Nonetheless, it is still possible to show that an employee was exposed to the pandemic while at work, making it likely that he or she is eligible to receive workers’ compensation. However, without a legislative change, an employee will need to actually bring the proof. It could delay his or her claim or introduce some risk that it would not be approved. However, workers should stay apprised of developments in the law so that they can rapidly file their claim once the law has been changed. The bill has been introduced, and a workers’ comp lawyer can let you know when it has passed.

If you need a workers’ comp lawyer, contact the attorneys at the Voorhees Law Office, LLC in Somerville, NJ, at (908) 200-2297 to learn more about how you would go about filing a claim and to schedule your initial consultation.

Types of Injuries That Aren’t Covered by Workers’ Compensation

When Are You Not Entitled to Workers’ Compensation?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018 was the first year on record since 2012 that the work-related incident rate did not decline. To be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim, you must be able to establish that you’re an employee rather than an independent contractor, and you have to prove that you hurt yourself while performing your normal work-related duties. With that said, you should take the time to know the cases where your eligibility for workers’ compensation might be brought into question.

Simple and Minor Injuries

Any injury that can be patched up with a first-aid kit does not warrant filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you get cut, scraped, or wounded or you suffer from a single headache while being on the job, you probably will not get workers’ compensation benefits.

Some Employees Are Not Eligible

Even though most workers are entitled to workers’ compensation, there are two exceptions: crew members working on vessels and interstate railroad workers. In either of these cases, if an employee gets injured, their only recourse according to federal law is to sue their employer, in which case it might be a good idea to reach out to a Somerset County job injury lawyer.

Independent Contractors Are Ineligible for Workers’ Compensation

As stated earlier, one of the main tenets of being eligible for workers’ compensation is being able to establish that you are an employee and not a private contractor. That being said, the line between the two can often be blurry. Both employers and insurance companies may try to fight a claim based on how murky the dividing line can get.

So, what are the main differences between an employee and a contractor? The biggest and most important difference is that an employee has to work under their employer’s direction and control. This means that an employer has the right to dictate how an employee should perform every task they work on.

On the other hand, a contractor has much more freedom in how they work so long as they get the job done. Another difference is that an employee utilizes the employer’s tools while a contractor usually has their own tools. Moreover, an employee enjoys a long-term position with their employer and is compensated for the work they do over a specific period of time. A contractor is usually hired on a per-job basis and is compensated for the completion of said job regardless of the amount of time it took them to complete it.

Injuries During a Commute Are Ineligible for Workers’ Compensation

Even though employees are entitled to compensation for any injury sustained while on the job, the law does not consider the commute to and from work as being “on the job.” It is only when you arrive at your employer’s premises that your employer becomes liable for your health.

The exception to this is if you are running an errand for your employer. For example, let us say that on your way to your work, your employer asked you to stop by the post office to pick up something. As you were making your way from the post office to your job, you got injured in a car accident. In this case, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation.

Injuries Sustained on the Employer’s Premises But Outside of Work Hours Are Not Covered

If you show up at your employer’s premises even though you are not scheduled to work, such as when you decide to pay your work colleagues a social visit, you will not be covered by your employer’s insurance should you get injured. The only exception to this is when your employer is aware and consents to you being there after hours.

Getting Help When You Need It the Most

Obviously, there are a few more cases where you may not be eligible for workers’ compensation. Alternatively, even the above cases are filled with nuances that are not always black and white. Therefore, if you have been injured and would like to know whether you qualify for compensation, do not hesitate to contact a Somerset County job injury lawyer. You can reach the Voorhees Law Office at (908) 200-2297 for a free consultation. Even better, you can visit our offices at 68 North Bridge Street in Somerville, New Jersey.

What’s in Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act?

Understanding Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act

In 2018, nearly 40,000 Pennsylvania residents filed for workers’ compensation under Pennsylvania Statutes Title 77 P.S. Workers’ Compensation. Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act, which provides medical treatment and wage reimbursements for workers affected by job-related injuries and illnesses, is designed to protect the rights of both employers and employees. If you or a loved one has been injured in a workplace accident that took place in the Keystone State, a Manville workers’ compensation lawyer could help you obtain benefits that will keep you financially secure throughout your recovery.

How Does Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act Define a Work-Related Injury?

In Section 411, Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act defines work-related injuries in general terms as any injury, illness, or medical condition that’s specifically caused by an employee’s job. This definition includes occupational diseases as well as preexisting conditions that have been exacerbated by workplace conditions.

What Types of Benefits Does the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act Provide?

Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act provides several types of benefits:

  • Expenses related to medical treatment: Section 531 of the Act provides payment for medical services related to the diagnosis and treatment of a work-related injury. This includes hospital or ambulatory care clinic charges, doctors’ visits, any indicated surgery, appropriate laboratory tests, necessary medical equipment, medications, and prescribed physical therapy.
  • Indemnity benefits: Section 601 entitles injured workers to the payment of compensation that’s designed to offset any loss of wages associated with the injury. The Act stipulates these indemnity benefits will be two-thirds of a worker’s weekly wages. This amount is determined using minimums and maximums that are based upon the Department of Labor and Industry’s average wage calculations.
  • Partial disability benefits: If the work-sustained injury limits an employee’s ability to work to full capacity for 500 weeks or less, Section 511 provides for financial compensation.
  • Permanent disability benefits: If a worker loses an arm, a leg, an eye, or some other body part, Section 513 contains formulas and timelines for compensation.
  • Death benefits: Under Section 411, spouses and dependent children are entitled to compensation if a worker dies from an injury sustained in the workplace within 300 weeks of the date the injury was incurred.

What Deadlines Does Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act Impose?

One of the most common reasons workers’ comp payments are delayed is because workers fail to fill out paperwork properly in the allotted period of time. Workers seeking compensation are required to comply with a number of strict deadlines. Section 311 requires you to inform your employer about your injury within 21 days, and if you don’t inform your employer within 120 days, your workers’ comp claim will be denied. Once your employer has been informed, however, you have up to three years to petition for workers’ comp. You and your employer can come to an agreement about the nature of your compensation as early as seven days after the injury.

Does Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act Contain Specific Protections for Employers?

For most employers in the Keystone State, workers’ comp coverage is mandatory. Employers who shirk this responsibility may be subject to criminal prosecution as well as civil litigation. However, the statute contains some employer protections, too.

Sections 531 and 651 allow employers to request that a health care provider of the employer’s own choosing examine a claimant. Employers often make use of this stipulation if they have doubts that an injury is workplace-related. Section 481 prevents an employee from alleging negligence through civil litigation in situations that would otherwise be covered by workers’ comp.

Workplace injuries can be difficult to deal with both psychologically and in practical terms. A Manville workers’ compensation lawyer who understands the full implications of Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act can give you the support and guidance you need during these challenging times. For 16 years, the Voorhees Law Office has been fighting on behalf of injured workers. Contact our office in Somerville, NJ, today at (908) 200-2297 to set up a consultation.

Hiring an Attorney for a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Why Hire an Attorney When Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

No one anticipates being hurt on the job. Nevertheless, in the event of a workplace injury — there are about 7 million of them a year — most employees’ first thought is to file a workers’ compensation claim. While the law requires employers to have a workers’ compensation plan in place to protect injured workers, employees are generally better off when they also consult a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney soon after the injury.

Your Employer Wants the Best Outcome for the Business

While you may have close professional relationships with your managers and perhaps even with the business owner, businesses are primarily tasked with maintaining their own financial health. Therefore, you may encounter difficulty receiving compensation for your workplace injury after you file your claim. If you feel you are unlikely to receive an equitable resolution for your claim, don’t take it personally. Hire a workers’ comp lawyer who thoroughly understands how to negotiate with corporate attorneys and insurance companies. A reliable attorney will not leave you alone to face adversarial corporate and legal professionals who often have many years of experience negotiating against injured workers.

Consulting a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Costs Nothing

One of the biggest upfront advantages to calling a workers’ compensation lawyer is the fact that doing so literally costs nothing. These attorneys offer free case evaluations to help you understand your legal options and to give you professional insight into how you should proceed. Enlisting the help of an attorney may also ease the stress of handling all correspondence and legal matters with your employer on your own. If you are severely injured at work, navigating the road to recovery will require enough of your attention. Therefore, it only makes sense to leave the legal legwork to an experienced attorney.

When Should You Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?

In general, the sooner you contact an attorney, the better off you will likely be. While you should ideally contact an attorney immediately after a workplace injury takes place, injured workers often contact an attorney later in the process. Events that should prompt you to contact a workers’ comp attorney include:

  • Your employer denies your workers’ compensation claim or delays paying benefits.
  • Your employer offers a settlement that does not cover all your medical expenses and lost wages.
  • Your workplace injury limits your ability to return to work.
  • You are receiving or would like to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
  • Your employer retaliates against you for filing a claim.
  • A third party caused your work-related injury.
  • Your injury was caused by your employer’s serious misconduct.

Any of these situations may quickly complicate your workers’ comp case. Consult a trustworthy workers’ compensation attorney at the first sign that things may be spiraling beyond your control or if there is any aspect of your case that you don’t fully understand.

How Can a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help You?

In addition to simply offering you legal advice, workers’ compensation attorneys add value in a variety of other ways. An experienced attorney is well-versed in workers’ compensation laws and court procedures. Therefore, your attorney will be able to assist you in properly filing all required documents and meeting court and administrative deadlines. An attorney who has a proven track record of success has demonstrated the ability to negotiate with employers and insurance companies. A skilled attorney is better equipped with the knowledge, training, and experience to obtain a more favorable settlement for you. Your workers’ comp attorney will also be able to groom you and prepare you for your day in court in the event that your case requires a hearing in front of a judge.

Contact a Proven, Reliable Workers’ Compensation Attorney

The best way to learn first-hand what a competent workers’ compensation attorney can do for you is to request a free case evaluation. Contact Vorhees Law Office, and learn how we can fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve. Our New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer is eager to assist you. With proper benefits, you could pay for medical treatment and receive a portion of your weekly wages while you recover. Call our Somerville office today at 908-200-2297.

Calculating Workers’ Comp Benefits in Pennsylvania

How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Pay in Pennsylvania?

In general, PA workers’ comp does not fully cover your complete salary. It provides only a portion of the income that you made at work before the incident as well as covers the medical bills that are caused by the injury. It is important to understand how Pennsylvania workers’ comp benefits are calculated if you have been the victim of a workplace accident.

PA Workers’ Comp Formula for Calculating Benefits

The primary formula for calculating your benefits under workers’ compensation depends on your income over the past year. Your income for the full year, or 52-week period, preceding the injury will be divided into four quarters of 13 weeks each. Additional amounts received at work, including bonuses, tips or other compensation, will also be added to your calculated salary. These benefits are based on your gross income rather than your net pay after taxes. It is important to note that untaxed income is not included in these calculations. For example, if you receive unreported tips or other money under the table, it cannot be claimed for consideration in calculating your benefits.

Your quarter with the highest income is then divided to determine the average compensation that you took home each week before your injury. In general, you will receive two-thirds of that amount on a weekly basis to cover your lost wages through the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation program. The formula seems straightforward, but a number of issues may make the calculations more complicated. A workers’ comp lawyer can provide detailed advice on how the formula might work for you.

Beyond the Formula: Calculating Pennsylvania Lost Wages

There are a few factors that could affect the number of benefits that you receive after a workplace injury. If you did not work for your employer, or any employer, for a full year before being injured, this can affect the calculation. Wages from all employers are included in the calculation, even prior employers you worked for before the accident.

In addition, many people work in professions where their salaries are highly driven by commissions and performance-based bonuses. If you cannot work, you cannot make sales or hit performance metrics, leaving you with a much lower calculated income as a regular salary. There are some rules that the state uses to ensure that sales workers are not excessively penalized.

Adjustments to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp Formula

If you do not have a full 52 weeks of work behind you, the calculation of your average wage each week is completed by taking your average gross income for the 13 weeks right before you suffered the on-the-job injury. You can still be protected if you have not worked for 13 weeks, but there are further conditions.

In this case, your average wage per week is calculated by multiplying your standard hourly wage by your expected hours of work per week. Some employers attempt to drive down their costs for workers’ compensation by claiming that you were required to work far fewer hours than you actually did.

Employers are not allowed to lie about your hours of work under the Workers’ Compensation Act. If they misrepresent your wages in order to reduce their costs, your employer may be held accountable for up to three years to pay back extra money owed, plus an additional 10 percent interest.

Maximum Benefits Under Pennsylvania Law

You may not receive workers’ comp benefits for the full amount of your salary depending on how much you make each week. According to the Department of Labor and Industry, the maximum weekly compensation for injuries in 2019 is $1,049 a week. If you make between $786.76 and $1,573.50 each week, your payments will be calculated at exactly two-thirds of your average weekly income. On the other hand, if you make between $582.78 and $786.75, you will receive $524.50 in weekly compensation. If you make $582.77 or less each week, you will receive 90 percent of your wages in weekly workers’ compensation benefits.

Contact a Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp Lawyer

If you have been injured at work, make sure to protect your rights by contacting an experienced workers’ comp attorney. Protect yourself, and prepare for the future by speaking to the skilled workers’ comp lawyers at the Voorhees Law Office in Somerville, New Jersey, as soon as you can after your accident. Call our office at (908) 200-2297, or use our secure online form to set up your initial consultation.

Do You Need Approval for Your Surgery?

Workers’ Compensation and Surgery Approvals

If you were one of the 173,267 people who got hurt on the job in Pennsylvania last year, you may have been entitled to workers’ compensation under state law. Workers’ compensation benefits can help you stay on top of your finances as you recover from your injuries. However, the situation could get complicated if you need surgery.

Surgery After an Accident

Workers who have suffered severe injuries on the job might need surgery. This medical procedure is necessary to put the employee back on the road to recovery. Surgery may even be required for those who suffer injuries from minor workplace accidents. Depending on the severity of the injury, the nature of the accident and the particular medical doctor, surgery might be the best option for the employee.

In most cases, it’s in the best interest of all parties to allow the worker to get surgery for the injuries. You might think it will be easy to set up a time and date for a procedure. However, there are times when you will have to follow a process to schedule your surgery. Unfortunately, with insurance companies and legal protocols, you must have the operation approved to be covered under workers’ compensation claims.

Contact Your Insurance Company

If you want to have your surgery approved under workers’ compensation, you will have to reach out to the insurance company provider of your employer. When you call the insurance company, there will be an adjuster assigned to your case. Once you speak to the adjuster, you can ask them to approve the surgery. In most cases, the procedure will be approved by the insurance company. However, there is always a chance that the insurance company will deny the surgery even though you require the procedure.

File a Petition for Benefits

Workers’ compensation insurance should grant you the right to have surgery for your injuries. If that claim is denied, you can file an appeal. You can also file a petition for benefits with the Workers’ Compensation Adjudication Board. You need to make sure to fill out the right claim forms and file them by the deadline. If you fail to do this, you might lose out on your entitled benefits from your employer.

Request a Hearing

If there is an issue with getting your surgery approved, you have the right to request a hearing with the Workers’ Compensation Adjudication Board. If you had a surgery denied by your employer’s insurance company, there are ways to dispute that denial. In some cases, the insurance company does not want to pay out for a surgery claim. The agency might want to spend as little as possible when the claim is filed, and it may insist on using its own doctors to deny a medical procedure.

During this hearing, you should present evidence and medical reports to back up your claim. However, if it has reached this level, consider seeking the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. There is too much at stake to handle this issue by yourself.

Consult a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you got hurt on the job and now need medical help, you should consult an experienced attorney. During the claims process, a lawyer will help you file the correct petitions, request a hearing and handle all correspondence with the insurance company. If your medical provider has recommended surgery, you should not have to worry about fighting to get it approved. If you’ve been injured on the job, you’re entitled to those workers’ compensation benefits.

Experienced Workers’ Compensation Law Attorney

It can be devastating to get injured on the job. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. After an accident, it’s in your best interest to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. At the Voorhees Law Office in Somerville, we can help with your case. Contact our office at (908) 200-2297 or send us a message to schedule a consultation.

How Your Workers’ Compensation May Be Affected

Factors That Affect Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is used as a form of insurance to replace wages and medical benefits when an employee becomes injured while working. Those who file a claim often have to provide proof of their injuries to receive a portion of their wages over the course of a specific period as they recover. If you’re eligible for workers’ compensation, it’s important to be aware of different factors that can affect your claim and how much compensation you receive.

Your Medical Treatment

Those who require significant medical treatment if their injuries are severe are often entitled to more compensation due to higher medical bills. Injuries also have a higher value if they require that procedures or surgeries be performed. If your doctor wants to prescribe medication or have you participate in physical therapy, then the settlement value may also increase. The amount of payment that is provided through workers’ compensation varies and is on a case-by-case basis.

Future Medical Problems

An additional factor that is evaluated when you file a workers’ compensation claim is if you’ll likely suffer from ongoing medical issues in the future due to your work-related injury. Your claim could be more valuable if your doctor believes that the pain or lack of mobility will continue over time and won’t be resolved quickly. Unfortunately, this can limit your ability to work and affect the wages that you’re capable of earning. You may be eligible for a higher payout if your injuries are extensive and require more time to heal.

The Attorney You Hire

It’s important to use the help and services of a legal professional when filing a workers’ compensation claim to ensure that you understand your rights. With the help of an attorney, you can understand how to navigate the process with someone who has your best interest in mind. Not only will it allow you to avoid common mistakes when filing your claim, but it could also help you receive more workers’ compensation. Look for a work injury attorney who has several years of experience. The more qualified your attorney is who represents you, the more money you could be awarded. Make it a point to meet with a lawyer in advance to review the details of your case and inquire about how much money he or she will seek for your claim.

Your Doctor’s Credibility

The medical testimony that is included in your workers’ compensation claim is one of the main factors that is evaluated when you’re seeking to receive payments. The medical professional will need to testify in your favor and provide facts that support your injury claim. It’s important to seek treatment from a doctor who has a reputable history in the medical field and is thorough. If a judge deems the individual to be trustworthy and honest, then it could allow you to obtain more compensation. Medical professionals who don’t seem to care about your treatment or remember the details of your injury will likely not testify well before the judge.

Your Willingness to Fight

Many people are surprised to learn that workers’ compensation benefits and payments are not always awarded easily or quickly. It’s important to be prepared to fight if your claim is denied or the benefits are lower than what you believe you should receive. Insurance companies are often relentless in their defense and don’t want to pay victims what they deserve. With an attorney by your side and a willingness to continue fighting, you’ll increase your chances of eventually receiving the funds that you deserve for your specific injury.

Contact the Voorhees Law Office, LLC at (908) 200-2297 at our office in Somerville to obtain more information about various factors that can affect your workers’ compensation claim. With the help of a work injury attorney, you’ll get the chance to learn more about your rights and understand what you’re entitled to with your specific case.

Causes of Construction Accidents and Their Effects

Some Types of Construction Accidents

There are over 10 million individuals working in construction in the United States, and of all work-related deaths, the construction industry has the highest rate at 21%. If you are a construction worker, you could be at risk for a serious construction-related injury. That’s why it’s important to know the most common types of construction accidents.

Falls at Construction Sites

In 2016, falls were reported as the leading cause of fatalities on construction sites. Working in high places puts construction workers at risk for falls, and they can happen when scaffolds are not set up properly, when surfaces are wet and slick, and anytime stairs, ladders, or work platforms do not have sufficient support. Falls can also occur when guardrails are not present.

This type of accident can be both life- and limb-threatening. If you experience a construction-related fall, you could be permanently disabled. Whether you work in residential or commercial construction, if your job involves climbing or working on elevated platforms, you could easily fall and be injured.

Burns in the Construction Environment

Construction workers may be susceptible to many types of burns, some of which may not be so obvious. Exposing skin to caustic substances such as cleaners containing acid and flammable substances like fuel can cause chemical burns. Also, chemicals that give off fumes can cause burns and damage the lungs and eyes. Roofing materials such as asphalt and tar can also cause burns.

Exposure to chemicals can happen as a result of inadequate protection. If your job requires you to work with or around dangerous chemicals, your employer should ensure that you wear the proper protective gear for the job. Depending on your duties, protective gear can include gloves, goggles, clothing that will not permit chemicals to soak through to the skin, and protective footwear. In situations where you can inhale fumes, your employer should provide proper ventilation and respirators. If they do not provide you with this gear and you get injured, you can contact a Bridgewater construction accident lawyer.

Burns can also occur as a result of sparks from electrical wires and explosions. Digging near a gas line or welding near flammable materials can result in explosions that can kill or maim construction workers or others in the vicinity. Scalding water and steam from punctured water lines can also cause burns.

Caught-In or Caught-Between Accidents

Construction sites are environments where workers are at risk for caught-in or caught-between injuries. The following are causes of caught-in or caught-between accidents as described by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration:

  • Being crushed by a vehicle backing up to a wall or dock
  • Cave-ins that suffocate workers during trench work
  • Getting too close to machinery that can grab and pull in clothing or limbs

These accidents often result in death.

Struck-By Accidents

Struck-by hazards include any object or moving vehicle that could strike a construction worker. Falling cranes, tools that fall from high platforms, moving vehicles, and swinging objects can all strike a worker and cause serious injuries.

When objects or vehicles strike construction workers, fatalities or extensive injuries including broken bones, internal injuries, and traumatic brain injuries can occur.

If you suffer a serious injury while working on a construction site, the effects can be devastating. If you survive the injuries, you can be left with a permanent disability, chronic pain, damaged skin tissue or organs, and post-traumatic stress. If you experience any of these issues, more than likely you will not be able to work. Additionally, mounting medical bills will add to financial distress.

When construction workers experience injuries on the job, some companies will try to avoid paying medical bills and offer little if any compensation for pain and suffering. If you or someone you care about has suffered as a result of a construction accident, you should not have to settle for less than you deserve.

A Bridgewater construction accident lawyer will work hard to help you get fair compensation for your injuries. At the Voorhees Law Office, we are ready to be your advocate when you are injured in a construction accident in New Jersey. Call our office in Somerville at (908) 200-2297 today.

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