How Nurses Should Handle Needlestick Incidents

Needlestick Injury: What Happens Next?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are nearly 400,000 needlestick incidents among nurses and other health care workers each year. Nursing accident lawyers warn that health professionals should take immediate and specific action in these events. Such actions can prevent illness and position the employee for compensation should that be necessary.

Needlestick Injuries

A needlestick injury can be scary, but it’s important to remain calm and let your training guide you. It is important to note that each hospital or other medical facility may have its own protocols to which you should adhere. Note also that your ideal actions may depend on the exposure type, but in most scenarios, the proper course of action includes:

  • Cleaning the wound
  • Reporting the event to a supervisor
  • Performing blood work and other lab work
  • Seeking counseling
  • Seeking legal representation if applicable

Clean the Wound

The first order of business is to clean the wound as soon as possible. If there are still professional responsibilities in the immediate area, another nurse should manage those. Clean the wound with soap and warm water. It is also recommended to milk the area in order to assist with bleeding. Viruses can multiply quickly once in the bloodstream, and milking helps ensure that they never get there. Additionally, if there was any splashing, then it is necessary to irrigate those areas well. These steps can help to prevent bloodborne diseases, which include:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Human immunodeficiency virus

Report the Exposure

Among the most common mistakes nurses make in these scenarios is not reporting the event to a supervisor as soon as the wound is clean. This is a tremendous mistake because it delays the medical attention that the nurse receives, and it can put the employee in a difficult situation should damages arise from the event and compensation be required.

Blood Work and Other Medical Attention

At this point, the process will depend on the willingness of the patient. Blood work is ideal, but if the patient is not willing, then lab work will be performed. After, the nurse will receive medical attention from a doctor. The situation usually needs to be monitored in an ongoing fashion until all of the lab work is complete, and treatment must begin at the first signs of infection. It is important to comply with all examinations and treatments recommended by your doctor.

Seek Counseling

Nurses dealing with a needlestick incident often benefit greatly from professional counseling. This will often be provided by the employer. Not only is a needlestick stressful, but it also often results in a protracted period where nurses have to wait for test results and the like. Ensuring proper mental health at a time like this is imperative. Be mindful that you have the right to confidentiality with a therapist, so you can speak freely without fear that what you say could undermine a legal case.

Seek Legal Representation

There are many damages to which you may have a right to compensation in the event of a needlestick. It can help to seek legal representation early in the process. Prior to seeking assistance, never admit fault, and if at any point you feel as if your rights are being infringed, pause that discussion or other scenario and seek help. Many lawyers who specialize in such cases will take them on at no up-front cost to the nurse, and it can make a big difference to have an independent party in your corner.

Legal Assistance for Health Care Professionals

At the Voorhees Law Office, workers’ compensation is an area of focus for us, and that extends to nurses and other health care workers who often have specialized needs. You can sit down with a nursing accident lawyer to discuss your case, and we’ll provide that initial consultation without obligation. If you choose us as your legal team, you’ll receive local representation. To schedule, contact us online or call our office in Somerville at (908) 200-2297.

Restaurant Workplace Hazards Create a Need for Workers’ Compensation

Reasons Restaurant Workers Might Be Denied Workers’ Compensation

From 2014 to 2017, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a steady increase in annual fatalities among food service workers. On-the-job injuries and illnesses among restaurant employees occurred at a rate of three per 100 full-time workers in 2017 for an overall total of 138. As with workers in most other industries, these injured employees or their surviving family members qualified for workers’ compensation in most cases.

Timing Is Important to Successfully Filing a Claim

Many workers who have been hurt on the job get adequate benefits in a timely manner. However, it’s important to take a few steps to better ensure a successful claim. Reporting a workplace injury to your employer establishes that the problem happened at work. Your supervisor or person in authority should be informed as soon as possible. In New Jersey, the report does not have to be in writing. If you need immediate medical treatment, however, request it right away.

Top Reasons Workers’ Comp Claims Are Denied

Unfortunately, not all workers’ compensation claims are accepted. A letter from the agency managing the claim will explain the reason for the denial. The most common reasons are:

  • Missed deadline for reporting the injury
  • Missed deadline for filing the insurance claim
  • Employer disputed the claim
  • Injury did not qualify for payment
  • No medical treatment was needed
  • Lack of evidence that injury happened at work

The advice and attention of a workers’ comp lawyer could resolve problems with your claim. With legal support, you may be more likely to win a workers’ comp denial appeal.

What Motivates Employers to Fight Workers’ Comp Claims?

Employers pay insurance premiums based on the hazards associated with their specific industries. Claims upon their workers’ compensation insurance policies will likely raise their premiums.

In some cases, owners or managers might discourage reporting injuries and applying for benefits. In addition to financial concerns about higher premiums, they might want to avoid safety inspections triggered by accidents.

Servers, hosts, bartenders, chefs, cooks, and dishwashers might also experience other problems when trying to report an injury or seek benefits. Common issues include:

  • No clear way to inform management
  • Lack of information about workers’ compensation
  • Irregular work schedules
  • Language barriers
  • Workplace culture that promotes “sucking it up”

Many Hazards Surround Food Service Workers

Restaurant employees face many workplace hazards. When accidents occur, they often need to rely on workers’ compensation benefits to pay for medical care and lost wages. Common sources of injury include:

  • Slips and falls on wet or greasy floors
  • Burns or respiratory distress after exposure to cleaning chemicals
  • Cuts and lacerations from using knives and slicing machines
  • Serious burns from hot ovens, grills, boiling water, and hot oil
  • Repetitive motion injuries from carrying trays, chopping food, and scrubbing pans
  • Attacks by angry customers
  • Robberies

Any of these hazards could leave you hurt and in need of food service workers’ comp.

Benefits Provided by Workers’ Comp

The medical treatment and recovery time away from work that you need will determine the amount of benefits. Because cases vary in severity, the insurance program in New Jersey is designed to accommodate different levels of need. You might only get medical benefits to cover treatment. If you miss work for a certain amount of time, you might qualify for temporary total benefits that would pay for medical care and replace some of your lost pay. Disabling injuries might meet requirements for either permanent partial benefits or permanent total benefits. In the event that a worker dies, a surviving beneficiary might receive a death benefit.

Discussing your case with a workers’ comp lawyer could clarify what types of coverage you should receive. Your case does not have to prove that anyone was at fault to qualify for workers’ compensation.

Get Legal Advice

Understanding your rights could help you access the benefits that you deserve after an accident at a food service workplace. Contact a lawyer the Voorhees Law Office at our practice in Somerville, NJ, at (908) 200-2297.

Implementing Workplace Safety Strategies for Construction Sites

The Importance of Workplace Safety at a Construction Site

Did you know that if you’re a contractor, carpenter or electrician working regularly on a construction site, you face a one-in-10 chance of getting injured on the job over the course of a single year? That statistic was put forward by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA.) If you’ve been hurt while working at a building site in New Jersey, a seasoned construction accident lawyer could help you obtain workers’ compensation, which can cover medical expenses and other bills while you’re unable to work.

Implementing Safety Strategies

Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s why a construction employer should have some strategies in place that will help cut down on the risk of job-related injuries. These strategies should include:

  • Creating a safety plan: A site-specific safety plan is an OSHA requirement. Such a plan can go a long way toward protecting workers and visitors to the job site. This plan should outline the hazards that exist on-site as well as the proper steps needed to minimize those hazards.
  • Making appropriate safety gear available: When protective gear is required, employers must apprise contractors and subcontractors of this fact as part of the safety plan. Such gear typically includes items like hard hats, goggles, masks, earplugs and safety boots. If workers are required to purchase these items themselves, employers must tell them so.
  • Emergency drills: The best way to prepare for worksite emergencies is to practice for them. This takes safety planning out of the realm of the purely theoretical and identifies areas in which being prepared may be beneficial.

The Elements of a Site-Specific Safety Plan

If the construction site you’re working on does not have a safety plan in place, it’s not in compliance with OSHA regulations. Here are some of the issues a safety plan should address:

 

 

 

 

 

  • Information about the company that’s behind the construction project and the names of key contacts who must be informed if an accident takes place
  • Description of the scope of work being performed at the construction site
  • Names of the contractors and subcontractors on site and information about their safety training
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) that’s required on-site
  • Task-specific hazard analyses

All on-site personnel should be required to sign off on the safety plan. This essentially acknowledges that they have read it and are acquainted with the information it contains.

Task-Specific Hazard Analyses

A task-specific hazard analysis is the most important part of any construction workplace safety plan. A good safety plan will address:

  • The environment in which a hazard is most likely to occur
  • The workers most likely to be injured by the hazard
  • Triggers with the potential to precipitate the hazard
  • Consequences should the hazard occur

Drafting a safety plan presents managers and employees with a great opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue. In the best-case scenario, every task should be analyzed for hazards. If a manager has to prioritize, however, the jobs with the highest accident rates should be analyzed first.

Meeting With Employees

Employees are the best resources for breaking tasks down into their component parts. It may be useful to video an employee while he or she is performing a task. This is because some parts of the assigned task may have become so automatic that the employee could forget to describe them. Once the initial data collection is through, the manager charged with putting the safety plan together should meet with all the employees who perform that task to get feedback.

Every single thing that could possibly go wrong must be identified. How likely is it that those things will go wrong? Causative factors must also be pinpointed. How might those causative factors be mitigated? This information must be aggregated in an orderly, logical manner.

Even when strategies are in place that aim to limit workplace injuries, accidents can happen. If you’ve been injured while working on a construction site, a construction accident lawyer can prove to be an invaluable resource. For more information about your rights in this situation, call Vorhees Law Office in Somerville, New Jersey, at (908) 200-2297 for a no-cost initial consultation.

Some Workers Are More at Risk for Injury Than Others

What Occupations Have the Highest Risk of Injury?

In 2015, 34,500 New Jersey workers filed new claims for workers’ compensation benefits. While no workplace in the Garden State is entirely free of hazards that have the potential to cause injuries, certain workplaces pose a higher risk of injury than others. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, a workers compensation lawyer in New Jersey may be able to help you attain benefits that will help you focus on your recovery more effectively.

What Occupations Present the Highest Risk of Injury?

Workplace injuries are on the rise according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and some of these injuries even lead to a loss of life. Certain occupations are also associated with higher numbers of workers’ compensation claims. Those occupations include:

  • Construction work
  • Health care
  • Driving

Common Injuries Associated with Construction Work

Construction sites can be hectic environments where safety rules are often bent in the interests of expedience. Some of the most common injuries on construction sites are:

 

 

 

 

 

  • Falls: Construction workers are often called upon to climb ladders or scaffolding. Should workers fall from such perches, they can incur broken bones as well as serious back and neck injuries. Back and neck injuries can be tricky because often their initial presentation makes them seem less serious than they are. If you suffer a fall at a building site where you are working, it’s important to see a health care provider as soon as possible. If your health care provider places any restrictions on your ability to work, it’s important to get these instructions in writing.
  • Lifting and turning injuries: Back injuries are also associated with lifting, turning, pushing and pulling, which are all very common activities on a construction site. If you pivot the wrong way while you are hoisting a heavy load, you can rupture a disc. This is another situation where at first, the injury may not seem to be as serious as it actually is.
  • Electricity-related injuries: Many construction site injuries are related to the temporary wiring that’s often put into place so that power tools can be operated. Workers may shock themselves or trip over unsecured wires and injure themselves by falling.

Common Injuries Associated with Health Care

Working in the health care industry can be physically demanding. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20 percent of all nonfatal occupational injuries affect nurses, nursing aides and other ancillary medical personnel. Some of the riskiest activities are:

  • Needle sticks: Nurses and nursing aides are often required to draw blood and to administer intravenous medications. Occasionally, this results in a situation where a health care worker sticks himself or herself with a contaminated needle. This situation is particularly risky if the worker has been caring for a patient with a bloodborne infection such as Hepatitis C or HIV.
  • Maneuvering patients: Hospital patients often have limited mobility and rely upon aides to help them out of bed and assist them when they perambulate around the halls. If a patient begins to fall, and a nurse breaks that fall, that nurse can sustain a serious back injury.
  • Lifting: Lifting heavy loads can be a routine part of a health care worker’s job. If you underestimate the weight you’re lifting, though, you can also injure your back.

Common Driving Injuries

According to occupational data collected by the U.S. Census in 2010, nearly 3 percent of all Americans drive for a living. They work as truck drivers, bus drivers, cabbies and part-time Uber chauffeurs. Drivers may suffer broken bones, whiplash, and other back and skeletal injuries if they become involved in traffic accidents. If lifting heavy freight is also a part of their job descriptions, they can injure their backs or sprain their muscles while loading or unloading heavy boxes.

The Vorhees Law Office in Somerville, New Jersey, has a proven track record when it comes to helping clients get the workers’ compensation they deserve. Let an experienced workers compensation lawyer advocate on your behalf. Contact us today at (908) 200-2297 to schedule a no-cost initial consultation.

What You Should Know About Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Workers’ Compensation Benefits and the Injuries That Are Covered

Whether you tripped and fell at your workplace or were struck by some type of moving machinery, you may have a case that would qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. In 2016, nearly 4,700 worker fatalities occurred in private industries, which shows just how dangerous some occupations can be. If you were injured in an accident at your workplace, reach out to our job accident lawyer so that we can help you determine what legal options you have.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that’s designed to provide employees with certain coverage in the event that they become injured while on the job. This coverage typically extends to any medical expenses as well as wage replacement. When an employee obtains this type of coverage, they relinquish the right to file a lawsuit against their employer for perceived negligence. Some types of compensation that typically aren’t included in any workers’ compensation policy include punitive damages plus pain and suffering.

When you’re thinking of filing a workers’ compensation claim in Somerville, the types of benefits that you may receive will depend on the extent of your injury. In most cases, more serious injuries bring with them higher benefits. This policy may pay for standard medical care caused by a work-related injury immediately after the injury has occurred. In other situations, the injury or illness may take longer to fully diagnose and comprehend, which means that the payment of any possible benefits may also take longer to receive.

Medical Only and Temporary Disability Benefits

If the injury that you’ve suffered while you were on the job has resulted in the need for medical care but hasn’t caused a disability, the types of benefits that may be provided in this type of case are considered to be medical-only benefits. In these types of cases, the lost time at work that has occurred from the injury will range from several days to a week. There are times when caps are placed on how much benefits are provided for medical costs. Medical-only cases are easily the most common type of workers’ compensation claims to be filed.

A temporary disability is one where the injury or illness prevents the worker from returning to their job for an extended period of time. The amount of the benefit with a temporary disability will differ depending on the extent of the injury as well as how much work was missed. The benefits may last until the worker has returned to their job after the injuries have been healed.

Permanent Disability and Fatality Benefits

A permanent disability is considered to be an injury or illness where the worker is unable to return to work because of the condition. It’s possible for these benefits to be paid once the individual has reached the maximum amount of medical improvement that they’re expected to achieve. When it’s deemed that the worker’s health will no longer improve, it’s possible that an individual may be able to qualify for permanent partial disability or permanent total disability benefits. Partial disability cases are ones where the worker has physical impairments that will never get better but don’t completely inhibit their ability to work.

Workers’ compensation programs also pay benefits for work-related fatalities that have occurred because of an illness or injury. These benefits usually include cash payments for the worker’s dependents as well as funeral expenses. In general, workplace fatalities are rare, which is why this type of claim makes up only .5 percent of workers’ compensation cases. No matter the severity of your work-related injury, consider contacting our job accident lawyers to help you understand more about the claims process and all that it entails.

If you’ve recently been involved in an accident at your place of employment, call our job accident lawyer in Somerville today at (908) 200-2297 so that we can take a look at your case and advise you on the available actions you may be able to take.

Nursing Home and Hospital Exertion Injuries Exceed Other Industries

Overexertion Injuries in Nursing Homes and Hospitals Top Other Industries

A back or spinal injury can end the nursing or health care career that you have worked hard to achieve. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, manual lifting poses the greatest risk for work related injuries in health care. Nursing accident lawyers can help health care employees with Worker’s Compensation claims for a patient handling injury.

Nursing and Health Care Job Injury Hazards

Transferring and repositioning hospital patients and nursing home residents put experienced and well-trained health care professionals at risk for a variety of injuries including:

  • Muscle strain and sprains
  • Stress fractures
  • Ligament, tendon, and joint injury

Work-related injury is a hazard in facilities where understaffing, long shifts, and time constraints abound. Here are some things you need to know about injuries to nurses and other health workers.

Patient Lifting

Surprisingly, body weight is not the greatest factor in determining your ability to manually lift a patient or client. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ensuring safety in manual patient lifting depends on several other factors.

  • Is the patient combative or resistant or experiencing tremors or muscle spasms?
  • Is the patient able to follow instructions you give during lifting and transferring?
  • Is the patient able to perform weight-bearing movements with minimal support from a nurse or aide?

Further, the maximum recommended lifting capacity for many occupations, including health care is between 35 and 50 pounds, far below what most patients weigh.

Handling Patients Safely

Nursing and patient care staff can find themselves with many tasks to complete in a short amount of time. Cutting corners on personal safety may seem like an easy solution but can result in sudden or worsening injuries over time. Take the time to be mindful of your work conditions and how you get things done. Here are some tips to remember to help prevent a patient handling injury.

 

  • Keep the patient care area free of clutter
  • Use equipment to assist with lifts and transfers
  • Focus on good body mechanics
  • Ergonomics is key

A clutter-free work area helps reduce the risk of slipping or falling for both the worker and the patient. Hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities have lift devices to help lift and move patients. These are not just for bariatric patients. Anyone providing patient care should have access to and be trained in the proper use of patient lift devices. Good body mechanics means taking a few extra steps to pick up something rather than trying to reach too far and straining a muscle. Prevent foot and leg injuries with ergonomic shoes. Back and posture supports can be valuable for CNAs who lift patients.

Special Considerations for Home Health Care Workers

Home health workers face some extra challenges when trying to prevent injuries. First, lift devices are not an option in most home care settings. Second, driving to multiple clients during a day, and getting into or out of a vehicle, can cause fatigue and injury to your neck, back, shoulders, hips, and legs. Finally, walking and climbing stairs to reach a client’s residence is another source of potential injury for therapists, aides, and nurses. Health care professionals can minimize personal injury risk by:

  • Using elevators and ramps to enter apartment buildings or homes that have accessible equipment.
  • Slowing down on stairs. Avoid running up or down to reduce shock to legs and feet.
  • Wearing proper shoes and clothing and using body, wrist, and ankle supports.

Help for Nursing Accidents and Injuries

If you are a nurse, CNA, therapist, or patient care worker and have been injured, you might want to take a personal or vacation day to relax. Next, you may want to make an appointment with your primary care doctor for a wellness check-up. Also, you can talk with your supervisor or human resources department about your job hazards, and ask them to work with you to find ways to minimize overexertion and fatigue. Finally, if your injuries are interfering with your ability to continue working, causing disruptions in your life away from work, or have resulted in a disability, you may want to contact an attorney to find out what your rights are. You can schedule a consultation with a nursing accident lawyer at Vorhees Law Office LLC by calling (908) 200-2297 to determine if you have an injury claim or are eligible for Worker’s Compensation.

An Impairment Alone Doesn’t Guarantee Disability Benefits

An Impairment Alone Doesn’t Guarantee Disability Benefits

Social Security disability benefits are only granted if you can’t work for 12 months because of a condition. Therefore, simply having a medical condition may not be enough to qualify for payments.

How to Provide Proof of Impairment

Roughly 35 percent of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) cases are approved on the first application. This can be because there is a lack of information provided or because there is a chance that the condition could improve. What can do you do help yourself get the SSDI benefits that you may be entitled to?

Obtain Recent Medical Records

The person who examines your case generally cannot approve it unless there are recent medical records verifying that you are disabled. Generally speaking, recent means anything within 90 days of an application being sent in for review. If you haven’t seen your doctor or another treatment provider within that period of time, it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment.

Otherwise, it may be necessary to undergo a consultative examination. While this has little bearing on whether an application is approved, avoiding this step could reduce the necessary processing time.

In some cases, an examiner may request additional information from your doctor or other treatment providers. However, if you know where these records are or how to get them, you can obtain them on your own. This can also work to reduce the amount of time it takes to process your application.

Don’t Minimize Your Pain

During an examination, you may be asked to describe the specific ways in which your condition impacts your life. If you experience constant pain while walking, it is important to mention that. If you can’t sleep because of neck or back pain, you shouldn’t hesitate to mention these issues as well. The more detail that you can provide to a doctor or your case examiner, the easier it will be for the application to be approved on your first try.

Get Statements From Friends or Colleagues

When the examiner is reviewing your case, he or she will be looking for specific details regarding how a condition may impact your ability to work or live a normal life. A statement from your boss saying that you get tired easily or can’t walk more than 50 feet without limping may help your cause. Statements from friends or family members saying that you can’t go outside or be near lights without complaining of blurred vision could also bolster your case.

Get a Letter From Your Doctor

A letter from your personal physician saying that you can’t walk or remember names because of your condition can be helpful. Your doctor should also include a full list of the medications that you take as well as anything that has been done to help improve your condition. If there is no evidence that you have taken medication or gotten surgery to improve your condition, the examiner may deny the application or delay approving it until such steps are taken.

File an Appeal in a Timely Manner

Typically, you get 60 days from the date that an application is denied to file an appeal. You may also get an extra five days to mail the application to the office where the case is being reviewed. It is important that you file an appeal as opposed to filing a new initial application.

If you have any questions about the case, you can consult with a Social Security disability lawyer. It is important to note that an appeal that arrives late may still be considered if you didn’t have access to medical records. Other valid reasons for filing an appeal late include having a mental impairment or losing records because of a natural disaster. However, it is always best to be as timely as possible with your filings.

Working with a Social Security disability lawyer could help you get the compensation that you need to make up for lost wages because of your physical or mental impairment. You can contact the Voorhees Law Office, LLC in Somerville, NJ, by phone at (908) 200-2297. Alternatively, you can send a fax to (908) 704-7329.

Self-Employed and Contract Workers’ Eligibility for Social Security Disability

Many people have been forced out of permanent employee positions and have had to find work as self-employed or contract workers. A contract worker’s eligibility for workers’ compensation and Social Security disability is not the same as they were when he or she was a full- or a part-time permanent employee of a company. It is important to understand the eligibility requirements and know how to take action if your claim is denied for any reason.

Job-Related Accidents and Injuries That Lead to Disability

The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration tracks statistics related to injuries, accidents, and deaths that happen to workers on the job. In 2016, 5,120 people were killed on the job. An estimated 2,857,400 nonfatal injuries and illnesses caused by paid employment were also reported in 2016. Some of the most common injuries include slip and falls, trips, contusions, and concussions. The most common causes of the injuries include falling, getting struck by an object, getting caught between immense items, and electrocution. When an injury is so severe that a person cannot be expected to return to paid employment within six to 12 months, it is natural for him or her to file a claim for workers’ compensation or Social Security disability insurance. While the pathway is clear for permanent employees of a company, the situation is not as obvious for contract workers or people who are self-employed but doing paid work for a business. In these situations, it is important for you to contact a job accident lawyer for a consultation.

Social Security Disability Eligibility for Contract and Self-Employed Individuals

As long as you have properly filed your federal taxes with a Schedule SE for the time that you have been self-employed or working as a contractor, you should be eligible for Social Security disability payments. Your payments of self-employment taxes (SECA) give you the same eligibility for all parts of Social Security just as if a traditional employer was paying FICA taxes on your behalf. The Social Security Administration processes the eligibility of self-employed workers using the “three tests.”

  • Significant services: If you are the only person in your self-employed business, what you do is automatically considered significant.
  • Substantial income: The level of substantial income is $1,180 per month. The Social Security Administration may accept a lower level if your salary is similar to what non-disabled people in your community make or if it is similar to what other individuals earn in your field
  • Countable income: If you can no longer earn $1,180 per month, this may make you eligible.

Workers’ Compensation Eligibility for Contract and Self-Employed Workers

Under New Jersey law, most individuals who perform paid work for a business are eligible for workers’ compensation. It would be paid out by the company’s workers’ compensation insurance policy. Under the law, the term “employee” includes:

  • Day workers
  • Leased employees
  • Borrowed employees
  • Subcontractors
  • Part-time employees
  • Unpaid volunteers

A workers’ compensation judge would make the final determination as to whether a person is considered to be an employee of a company even if he or she gets injured performing work for the company.

Eligibility If You Have Left the Workforce for a While

Not all situations are clear when it comes to eligibility for Social Security disability or workers’ compensation. For example, if you have just returned to self-employment after being a stay-at-home parent for the previous 10 years, you may not be eligible even if you pass the three tests or are considered to be an employee through the above criteria. This is because the Social Security Administration requires that you have worked 20 out of the past 40 quarters in order to be eligible for disability benefits.

Appealing a Claim Denial

If your claim for Social Security disability or workers’ compensation has been denied, it may help to have an attorney working on your behalf. We know what to expect throughout the appeals process, and we can explain how these types of compensation cases usually work. Our workers’ compensation lawyer at the Voorhees Law Office is ready to listen to your situation. Call us at (908) 200-2297 to schedule a consultation. You may also visit our location in Somerville to make your appointment with our workers’ comp lawyer. We can also be reached via email at craig@voorheeslawnj.com.

5 Keys Things to Bring to Your First Consultation

5 Keys Things to Bring to Your First Consultation

In Pennsylvania, you have three years from the date of a workplace injury to file a claim and just 90 days to visit a medical provider your employer approves. You’ll likely want to get the process moving as fast as possible, but it’s important to document as much of it as reasonable in order to give a workers’ compensation lawyer a good starting point. Let’s take a look at five things you’ll want to have at your initial consultation.

1. Names

As with telling any story, it’s critical to fill in the names of who was involved. This can be a little disconcerting for some clients because they often see co-workers and bosses as friends. The important thing, however, is to assemble an honest list of who was present when an accident occurred and anyone who had power over decisions leading up to it. Your list should include:

  • Workers who were there
  • Anyone with specific knowledge, such as maintenance personnel
  • Individuals in supervisory positions
  • Customers who were present

The list you generate should be as exhaustive as possible. Given that people move on from workplaces, it’s prudent to write the names down as quickly as possible. Refrain from discussing what happened with the individuals listed since that can be seen as legally problematic, but be sure to get contact information. Your lawyer can narrow down the list to who seems relevant to the case at a later time.

2. Details and Dates

Producing as much detail about the incident as possible is important. If at all practicable, try to get the details written down as quickly as you can following a workplace accident. The less fuzzy you are about what happened, the better your case will look if you need to present it to a workers’ compensation board or jury.

You want to be sure the information you provide can paint a picture, so try to include points like the:

  • Time of day when the incident occurred
  • Location where it happened
  • Moment when you noticed that something seemed wrong
  • Time and date you first sought medical attention
  • Date and time the accident was reported to your employer
  • Date you visited an employer-approved medical provider to be examined

3. Work History

How long you’ve worked for a company and what you did both matter. If the training you or someone involved in an incident received was relevant to the nature of what happened, make a note of it. Should there be concerns about the nature of your employment, such as being classified as an independent contractor, try to include as much detail as possible about your direct relationship with the company and the site where the accident happened.

A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you decide whether you might have the basis for pursuing a claim. Don’t be intimidated by questions regarding your status with a company. Allow the attorney to focus on what may or may not be allowed.

4. Medical Reports

When you talk with a doctor about your injuries, ask them to make sure they can provide paperwork. Detailed medical reports should be used to document the initial medical response to your injuries and any subsequent issues. Not every issue pops up right away, so make a point to record the dates when you go to the doctor after an accident, even if the problem you spoke with the doctor about seems only tangentially related.

You should also try to produce as thorough a pre-incident medical history as possible. This should include details such as:

  • Any pre-existing injuries in the affected area
  • Long-term medical conditions
  • Medical issues that were present at the time of the accident

5. Communications

Try to keep track of all communications between you and your employer in the weeks and months following an incident. A lawyer will work through this information to establish what an employer knew about an accident. You should be able to present an attorney with:

  • Copies of any emails you received
  • All mailed correspondence
  • A list of phone call times and who they involved
  • Any company-required filings, such as incident reports

Anyone who has been hurt in a workplace accident may benefit from consulting with a workers’ compensation lawyer at the Voorhees Law Office. We’re licensed to represent clients from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, and you can call our Somerville, NJ, office at (908) 200-2297.

Top Causes of Injuries and Accidents at Construction Sites

Top Causes of Injuries and Accidents at Construction Sites

In 2016, 4,693 workers died while on the job working for private employers, and of those deaths, 21.1 percent were construction workers. Excluding collisions on the highway, most construction deaths and injuries were related to four causes, including falls, getting struck by an object, electrocution, or getting caught between two immobile surfaces. If you were injured anywhere in the region while on the job as a construction worker, our construction accident lawyer is ready to listen to your situation and determine if you have a case against your employer.

Falls

Falls are a common hazard at construction sites. This category of construction accidents includes slip and falls. A slip-and-fall accident could result from uneven surfaces, wet surfaces, or spills of slippery materials such as oil. Falls also include falling off an elevated surface or platform, such as falling off a ladder or scaffolding. You may have fallen because of improperly constructed scaffolding. A lack of fall protection, such as harnesses and ropes to secure you to the structure, is another cause of falls at construction sites. Lack of barriers or warnings may also cause a fall. A fall could cause serious injuries, such as contusions, broken bones, and concussions, causing you to miss work for an extended period of time.

Struck By Objects

Getting struck by an object is another hazard of working in construction. At many construction sites, heavy machinery is present for lifting massive loads. Human error while moving those loads could cause you to be struck either by the machine or by the load. Improperly secured loads are another cause of this type of accident. If a worker failed to secure the load to the machinery, it may have gotten loose, causing it to hit you. Objects falling off an elevated surface are also a risk factor. For construction workers on highways, there’s a risk of getting struck by improperly secured objects falling off cars and trucks that are passing on the road. Getting struck by an object could cause you to have a serious injury such as broken bones, a concussion, or even the loss of fingers or toes.

Electrical Accidents

Construction workers who are on building sites may also be harmed by electrical accidents. Electrocution is one of the top four causes of death for construction workers who are killed on the job. It’s also one of the leading cause of injuries in construction workers. Electrical accidents could be due to poorly maintained equipment, such as generators. Improper wiring methods could also cause an electrical accident. Loose connections could allow sparks to come out of an outlet, and they could also cause overheating of wires. If live wires aren’t properly labeled, this presents a considerable hazard. Flammable objects left near live wires are another source of construction site injuries. Electrical accidents may cause first- to third-degree burns, vision damage, and other types of injuries.

Caught In or Compressed By Objects

While on the job site, construction workers face a risk of getting caught in or compressed by objects. Getting between a moving object and an immobile structure could cause a worker to get pinned. A swinging load from a crane affected by unexpected wind gusts is a risk for injury. Cranes and heavy equipment could injure a worker, too. The compression and caught-in accidents of this type are often related to human error and miscommunication. Materials handling can be another problem. Improperly digging a trench and dropping the soil where a worker is standing could lead to a caught-in accident. Some construction workers use heavy tools or machinery with moving parts. Improper maintenance or misuse of these tools could lead to an injury while on the job. The purposeful removing or disabling of barricades or guards on equipment may also cause you to get hurt. Caught-in and compression accidents may cause serious injuries, such as the loss of a limb, broken bones, concussion, and severe wounds.

When you’ve experienced an injury while working at a construction site, it’s important to seek legal counsel. If you believe that your company failed to implement proper safety procedures, didn’t provide you with proper safety equipment, or in some other way contributed to your injury, then you may have a course for legal action. Our construction accident lawyer may be able to represent your case. Call us at the Voorhees Law Office in Somerville today at (908) 200-2297.

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