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.

7 of the Most Common Work Injuries

7 Most Common Workplace Injuries

Millions of people are injured at work every year. According to CBS, an American employee becomes injured every 7 seconds, with 12,900 workers being injured every day and more than 4 million getting injured every year. Here are seven of the most common ways people become injured at work.

Slipping, Tripping, and Falling

When people are at work, they may slip, trip, or fall. This happens most frequently on wet floors or across snowy walkways. People who work in stores, as groundskeepers, or in security are most likely to experience this type of injury. Slips, trips, and falls can cause a variety of conditions including sprained ankles, strained backs, and head injuries like concussions. A worker could even break a bone or experience a severe enough injury to cause him or her pain and suffering for the rest of his or her life. A Somerville workers’ compensation lawyer can help you to file a claim.

Struck By Something

Another common way that people are injured at work is when something strikes them. An item may fall off a shelf or another worker may accidentally drop something. Someone may bump into you and cause you to fall against a filing cabinet or a bookshelf, resulting in an injury. Those who work in retail, an office setting, or a restaurant are most likely to experience an injury by being struck by something.

Machine-Based Accidents

Machinery accidents happen when workers are mutilated or crushed by large pieces of equipment. Most of these types of incidents happen at construction sites or in factories. When accidents like this happen, they usually result in major medical costs. Today, most states have laws in place that require companies to train workers on the proper use of equipment before allowing them to operate it. There are maintenance requirements to make sure that machines are kept in good working order. Companies are also required to keep their workers up to speed on how to use the equipment.

Exposure to Fires or Explosions

Many American workers make their living doing things that are dangerous. They may work with harmful chemicals or volatile substances. Because of this, they are at risk of injury due to fires or explosions. When workers are exposed to fires or explosions, they can be killed. They may also suffer from:

  • Hearing loss
  • Inhalation issues
  • Blindness
  • Brain injuries
  • Lung damage
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Respiratory issues

Driving Accidents

One of the top causes of being injured on the job is driving. Truck drivers are at a high risk of this since they spend so much time on the road. Delivery drivers, police officers, and traveling business representatives are also at an elevated risk of being injured in a motor vehicle accident.

Exposure to Dangerous Chemicals and Environments

When an employee’s body is exposed to harmful chemicals such as lead, pesticides, mercury, asbestos, or solvents, he or she may suffer injuries like:

  • Lung problems
  • Burns
  • Rashes

Exposure to dangerous substances, chemicals, or environments can also cause neurological injuries. Employers who run their businesses with the use of dangerous chemicals should require employees to don safety equipment like gloves, bodysuits, and helmets. Employers should also make sure that employees are working in conditions with the proper ventilation.

Overexertion

When major jobs with time-sensitive deadlines arise, workers can easily overexert themselves attempting to get everything done. Lifting, pulling, or pushing more than you should can cause strained muscles or torn ligaments. These types of injuries generally happen to those who perform physical labor. If you work in a factory, warehouse, or construction site, then you are at a greater risk of overexertion. With physical therapy, you should be able to repair the damage, but the time that you spend away from work doing so could be costly. Physical therapy or surgery can also be expensive.

Compensation for Workplace Injuries

If you’ve suffered a workplace injury, then a Somerville workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to help you get the financial assistance that you need. Whether you’ve experienced a fall, an auto accident, or exposure to a deadly chemical, our attorney will be there to help you get back on your feet. Contact us to make an appointment with us today. You can reach our Somerville office by calling (908) 200-2297 or emailing craig@voorheeslawnj.com.

Why You Should Get a Prompt Evaluation for an Ankle Injury on the Job

Common Types of Ankle Injuries Experienced on the Job

Ankle injuries are one of the most common ways that people get hurt while on the job. The incidence of ankle sprains and other types of injuries of the ankle ranges from two to 14 out of 1,000 people every year. Females are nearly four times as likely to experience an ankle sprain or similar injury compared to males, and adolescents are three to six times more likely to experience an ankle injury compared to adults.

On-the-Job Ankle Injuries

The ankle joint has to be flexible so that a person can quickly turn on their feet, ascend and descend steps, and bend their foot. This flexibility and the prominence of the bones in this area makes the ankle easy to injure. On-the-job ankle injuries can affect all workers. People who have active jobs are more likely to experience an ankle injury while at work. Some of the most common ankle injuries that a person could experience while at work include a sprain, tendinitis, ruptured tendon or strain. These are soft tissue injuries. It is also possible to experience a fracture of the tibia, fibula or talus.

Risk Factors for an Ankle Injury

Some people may be more prone to an ankle injury than others. People who have to move quickly in order to do their job have a higher risk. This includes assembly line workers, order fulfillment technicians and similar occupations. People who have had a past injury of the ankle may have scar tissue or degeneration of the soft tissues, which increases their risk of another injury in the area. People who have circulatory disorders, diabetes, arthritis or who are obese also have a higher risk of hurting their ankles at work.

Activities Most Likely to Cause an Ankle Injury

While an ankle injury can occur from something as simple as a missed step, there are a few work activities that are more likely to cause an ankle injury. Those activities include:

  • Running or walking on uneven surfaces
  • A sudden impact such as dropping an object or getting crushed in equipment
  • Twisting or rolling when coming off of a step or curb
  • Falling off of equipment such as a ladder or scaffolding
  • Landing awkwardly after jumping

Impact of an Ankle Sprain or Other Injury

In the immediate aftermath of an ankle sprain or fracture, a worker may be unable to stand or bear weight on the affected ankle. For many workers, this would have an instantaneous impact on their ability to perform their typical work activities. A soft tissue strain or sprain may cause difficulty with movement and swelling that makes it difficult for a worker to wear shoes. A fracture typically requires a cast or surgical boot, which could also interfere with the ability to perform required work duties. If an employer is unable to make on-the-job accommodations, such as a light-duty job that does not require movement, the person may be unable to work. A workers’ compensation claim is key for getting medical expenses paid and for collecting some of the lost wages that the worker would have earned if they were not injured.

What Workers Should Do After an Ankle Injury at Work

Anyone who experiences an ankle injury while working or on their employer’s property should seek a prompt medical evaluation by a physician who handles workers’ compensation medical claims. Walking on a sprained or otherwise injured ankle could worsen the damage and make the recovery take longer. People who are hurt on the job may be eligible for workers’ compensation in order to account for their missed work time and medical bills. A nursing accident lawyer may be able to represent a person whose claim was denied by their employer.

For more information about workers’ compensation cases in Pennsylvania, contact the Vorhees Law Office, LLC at (908) 200-2297, or email craig@voorheeslawnj.com in order to schedule a consultation with a nursing accident lawyer.

Can Pennsylvania Interns Get Workers’ Compensation?

Do Interns in Pennsylvania Have a Right to Workers’ Compensation?

Internships are often an attractive option for students and even adults transitioning careers because it provides practical experience, and the rate at which interns are converted to full-time employees is more than 72% in the post-recession market. Internships may not generally be regarded as dangerous positions, but the rate at which interns suffer injuries usually does not deviate from the rate at which paid employees do in the same field. The issue is whether they have the same rights, and if so, it may require a workers’ comp lawyer to assert those rights.

What Is Workers’ Comp?

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance. It protects employees by guaranteeing compensation in the event of an injury. It protects employers because employees surrender their right to sue, so employers accept some liability while avoiding negligence lawsuits. In the U.S., each state has its own Workers’ Compensation Act, but there are some federal laws at play as well.

Not All Internships Are the Same

When determining whether an intern will be viewed as an employee and thus covered by workers’ comp, the kind of internship and the type of work both matter, as it provides context. You may think that a paid intern is guaranteed the protection, but this is not necessarily the case. Likewise, there are scenarios were an unpaid intern would be protected. Types of internships include:

  • Paid internships, which involve employee-like compensation
  • Partially paid internships, which generally come with a stipend
  • Unpaid internships, which provide value in terms of experience

Federal Labor Standards Act

While workers’ comp is generally controlled by the state, there are federal laws that influence it. Fearing that companies would abuse internships, the U.S. Department of Labor introduced the FLSA, which it based on various appellate rulings. This law provides guidelines through which a judge should consider a job not by its label but its characteristics. Evaluation factors include the extent to which:

  • The lack of compensation is clear
  • Training provided is comparable to education
  • The intern is academically rewarded
  • Duration of the position is limited
  • Intern work complements employee efforts
  • A paid position may await the intern

How the Courts May Decide

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act covers full-time, part-time and seasonal employees but does not explicitly protect interns. Whether an intern was or is being paid is a strong factor but usually not the determining factor. The law has a concept of a casual worker. This is generally a position that is more sporadic than formalized. If the judge deems you a casual intern, then you would not be entitled to workers’ compensation even if it were a paid position. On the other hand, if a judge deems an internship to having occupied a role that would have otherwise been filled by a paid employee, then you can receive compensation even though the position was unpaid.

Filing for Workers’ Comp as an Intern

It may be unclear at the onset whether you have a right to compensation. You have to start the process, and it is strongly recommended you seek legal counsel as early as possible. In Pennsylvania, you have 120 days to inform your employer. The employer then has 21 days to either accept or deny the claim. If the employer denies the claim, you then have up to three years to appeal that decision.

Receive Personalized Legal Advice

Are you an intern or perhaps someone involved in work research who was injured during those activities? You may have a legal right to worker’s compensation, and we’d like to help. Our law firm focuses on Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law. We offer a broad range of legal services related to the domain, have handled many such cases and can provide you with local representation. Our firm would welcome the opportunity to provide you an initial consultation with a workers’ comp lawyer at no charge. We are licensed in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, and you can contact us online or by calling our office at 908-200-2297.

Employers Must Take Steps to Keep Workers Safe

Safety Rules Employers Must Follow at All Times

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, there were roughly 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries in 2017. If you are not trained properly or don’t have proper protective equipment, you could be at risk of getting injured on the job.

Your Employer Must Identify and Mitigate All Potential Hazards

At a minimum, a person or team of people must be dedicated to finding and mitigating hazards on the job. If you see a potential hazard, you are allowed to report it without fear of retaliation or harassment on the part of an owner or a supervisor. You also have the option to refuse to perform a given task if you legitimately believe that it unnecessarily puts your health or safety at risk.

Your employer should have a written safety plan that has protocols in place to prevent hazards from occurring. The plan should also include contingency procedures that can be implemented in the event that a chemical spill or some other type of emergency situation occurs. For example, you may be directed to report an incident to a certain person or head to a central location to avoid further risk of injury or death.

You Have the Right to Protective Equipment

Falls from heights are among the most common reasons why workers get hurt. Therefore, if you are going to be working several feet off the ground, be sure that you have a safety harness or other equipment to guard against a fall. Examples of protective equipment could include footwear with nonslip soles or platforms that have guardrails you can hang onto.

Goggles, hard hats and gloves are other kinds of protective gear employers must provide to their workers if a situation calls for it. Eyewash stations and decontamination showers should also be readily accessible if you handle chemicals or toxic materials.

You Are Entitled to Training in Your Native Language

The company that you work for has an obligation to provide sufficient training to ensure that you can do your job safely. This training must be provided in a language that is familiar to you. Therefore, if you speak English, you must be trained using materials written in that language. If you speak Spanish, you must be given training in Spanish.

Employers Must Provide Tools That Are Free From Defects

Let’s say that you clean produce that comes down a conveyor belt or you use a machine to cut meat. Any machine or conveyor belt employed to perform such a task must function properly at all times. Furthermore, there must be specific procedures in place to ensure that machines, power tools or other items used at work can be cleaned and maintained safely.

You’re Entitled to Request an OSHA Inspection

OSHA is the agency in charge of making sure that employers follow safety rules and regulations. If you don’t think that a hazard has been properly identified or rectified, you can ask that this agency perform an investigation. In the event that an inspection takes place, an employee representative must be allowed to observe it. You and your fellow workers get to choose who that person is with no input from your employer.

Feel Free to Request Your Own Medical Records

OSHA rules allow workers to request their own medical records or any other information that an employer may keep on file. Furthermore, you have the right to see copies of workplace injury and accident logs that your company keeps on file. These records may be used by your workers’ comp lawyer to get you the compensation you deserve in a workers’ compensation or personal injury lawsuit.

If you have been hurt on the job, talk to a workers’ comp lawyer from the Voorhees Law Office LLC. You can contact our office in Somerville to arrange an appointment by calling (908) 200-2297 during normal business hours. Our firm can also be reached by sending a fax to (908) 704-7329.

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.

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