Were you injured on the job? Are you working through a painful injury or debilitating illness? Are your employer’s demands or the fear of losing out on income preventing you from taking the time off you need to recover? Your life right now is full of questions and worries that you need a workers’ compensation attorney to answer.
Employees suffering workplace injuries are legally entitled to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. If approved, a workers’ comp claim provides injured workers with medical benefits and income-replacement benefits until they’ve recovered from their injuries.
Injured workers often ask, “How do I find the best workers’ compensation lawyers near me?” The truth is, most people don’t know what to look for in a lawyer or how to go about choosing an attorney, especially for a workplace injury matter. A good guideline is to pay attention to a law firm’s experience, the results it has obtained for clients, and client testimonials.
At Console & Associates, our workers’ compensation lawyers have decades of experience helping injured employees. Our successes have included six-figure work injury settlements recovered on behalf of our clients. If you decide to bring a workers’ compensation claim with us, you won’t pay for our legal representation unless we can get you approved for benefits. That’s part of the “No Fee Promise” we make to each one of our clients.
For your free, confidential case evaluation, call us today at (866) 778-5500.
Every seven seconds, an American worker sustains a workplace injury, according to CBS News. All in all, 2.8 percent of workers got hurt on the job in 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. That translated to 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries.
Workplace injuries and illnesses can be sudden, caused by an accident or large-scale exposure to hazardous materials, or they can develop gradually due to repetitive stress or long-term routine exposures. Some workplace injuries require emergency medical care, while others may be treated over time. In any case, injured workers may have a claim for workers’ compensation if their injuries meet certain criteria.
Some of the types of injuries for which you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits include workplace injuries like the following:
Injuries at the workplace sometimes claim the lives of the worker who suffered them. The bereaved family may have the right to file a wrongful death claim over a work injury that took their loved one’s life.
Anytime a work-related injury or illness is serious enough to require medical care, the victim may be eligible for workers’ compensation medical benefits. An injury that keeps an employee out of work for an amount of time specified under state law—seven days, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, for example—may also entitle the victim to partial lost wages benefits.
You can pursue your workers’ compensation benefits without an attorney, but in some instances, it’s better to have professional legal representation. You might need an attorney for a workers’ compensation claim if your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company is dragging its feet getting your benefits to you or denying your claim. Another instance in which you may need a workers’ comp attorney is if you are suing a third party for a work injury rather than simply filing a claim with your employer’s insurance company.
If your situation is more than a routine workers’ comp claim, an attorney can streamline the claim for you and fight to get you the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Causes of injuries at the workplace are varied. The leading cause of work injuries, according to the National Safety Council, is overexertion and bodily reaction. Overexertion work injuries include harm that workers suffer from lifting, carrying, throwing, or otherwise physically manipulating objects and environments in the course of their work.
You don’t have to have a physically strenuous job to sustain an overexertion injury. Repetitive motion injuries are injuries that result from repeated stresses and strains on the body. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs in workers who use computers frequently on a daily basis as well as those who work with their hands in other capacities, such as manufacturing work, sewing, and carpentry.
Falling is the second leading cause of work injuries. Officially, workplace injuries related to slips, trips, and falls include fall incidents that occur on the same level, falls to a lower level, and trips or slips in which the worker catches themselves to avoid falling but still sustains an injury.
The third leading cause of work injuries in America is making contact with objects and equipment. This category encompasses everything from workers being struck by objects or crushed in equipment to being injured by the friction or vibrations produced by work equipment.
Other work injuries result from transportation incidents, violence, hazardous exposures, and fire and explosions.
Workers’ accidents are often—but not always—a result of unsafe working conditions. It’s never acceptable for conditions in the workplace to violate a worker’s rights, such as access to legally mandated safety gear and equipment. Whether or not workers’ injuries result from safety hazards in the workplace or from other forms of employer negligence, employees whose injuries are covered under workers’ comp law are eligible for benefits.
Workers’ compensation benefits and procedures vary according to state law. Generally, benefits are available for the following types of damages:
Different states use different language to detail what’s covered under workers’ comp law. Below are examples of types of workers’ comp benefits that exist in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Medical benefits are the most commonly awarded workers’ comp benefits. Not all workers miss a full day or more of work because of an injury, but all work injuries that are significant enough to be reported should also prompt a medical examination. Workers’ compensation benefits are meant to cover the medical costs that arise from a work injury.
Under New Jersey workers comp law, for example, insurers are required to cover “all necessary and reasonable medical treatment, prescriptions and hospitalization services” that result from the work injury. In NJ, employers can choose the authorized treating physician for their employees who are injured on the job, except in cases of medical emergencies.
Pennsylvania law provides for the coverage of “related reasonable surgical and medical services rendered by a physician or other health care provider.” Workers’ comp benefits in PA also cover “medicine, supplies, hospital treatment and services, orthopedic appliances, and prostheses” that are medically indicated as a result of the injury.
In Pennsylvania, the choice of providers is handled somewhat differently. Employers are supposed to post a list of at least six approved health care providers in the workplace. Injured employees pursuing a workers’ comp claim are required to see one of these providers for their initial treatment and for their medical care over the first 90 days after the injury, but they can choose any provider on the list. After the first 90 days, the injured worker may choose to see a provider not on the employer’s list. Injured employees also select their own doctor in cases where the employer does not have a posted list of providers.
If you are out of work for longer than a legally designated period of time because of your work injury, you might also be entitled to lost wages or temporary disability pay. In NJ, your benefits for lost wages are equal to 70% of your average weekly wage. This amount is capped at 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage, so high earners may get less than 70% of their regular paycheck, but benefits must amount to at least 20% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage.
In Pennsylvania, injured workers get two-thirds of their average weekly wage. Again, there is a maximum weekly wage cap for lost wages benefits in workers’ comp claims.
Your wage loss payments are supposed to cover the income you miss out on while you are actively under medical care for your injury. If you reach the point where you have achieved maximum medical improvement and you’re still not able to return to work, this is when you might be eligible for permanent disability benefits. Both New Jersey and Pennsylvania recognize partial and total disability benefits as benefits injured employees can become eligible to receive through workers’ compensation claims.
Pennsylvania workers’ comp law includes a provision that provides for “specific loss benefits.” If you have specific permanent injuries from your work injury, you may be eligible to collect additional compensation arising from loss of use of those body parts or functions.
When a work-related accident, illness, or another type of injury causes a worker to lose their life, their family deserves accountability and compensation.
In both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, bereaved families whose loved ones died because of a work injury receive a portion of the deceased worker’s salary, up to a maximum benefit amount. Employers (or their insurers) also have to contribute to funeral expenses.
The availability of these different varieties of workers’ comp benefits, if needed, is guaranteed to covered employees as part of workers’ rights. However, if you don’t follow the right procedures following a workplace injury or accident, you may never end up receiving fair workers’ compensation that covers the damages you sustained.
Starting your workers’ compensation legal claim off on the right foot means taking certain steps. The order of these steps depends on the nature of the work injury and the extent of the damage you suffered, but a lawyer for workers’ compensation matters will encourage you to make sure to follow all of these steps to make sure that your injuries are successfully documented.
A comparably new area of workplace injury law is Covid-19 exposure. Can you seek workers’ comp benefits if you contract Covid-19 at the workplace? Thanks to continuing legislative changes, that’s a difficult question to answer without having the full details of your situation.
Workers’ rights during the Covid-19 pandemic are the subject of ongoing debate. A complex patchwork of legislative acts has emerged. Even within a single state, like New Jersey, your right to workers’ comp benefits pertaining to Covid-19 may depend on your job and industry (and whether they are considered “essential” or “life-sustaining”).
Further complicating the matter is the difficulty of proving that the exposure occurred at work. Workers’ comp benefits are only awarded for injuries sustained in the course of employment, such as those that occur on a work site or while on the clock. It can be difficult to prove that you caught the virus at work rather than from someone you saw or a place you visited during your personal time.
If you believe you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits because of a Covid-19 exposure, you should speak to a lawyer. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney would be best suited to understand and interpret how current and pending laws apply to your unique situation.
Generally, workers’ compensation matters are no-fault claims. This means that you don’t have to prove that your employer, another employee, or any other party was at fault for your injury. You’re entitled to workers’ comp benefits no matter who is at fault—even if your own error caused the accident.
There are some exceptions to this rule. Employees can’t get workers’ comp benefits for any intentional self-inflicted harm. They may also be barred from receiving benefits under certain conditions, such as if they were under the influence of illegal drugs when the work accident occurred. These exceptions vary by state, so it’s important to speak to an attorney who is familiar with workers’ comp law in your state.
In some work accident situations, you may be able to show that another party other than your employer (and its employees) caused the accident. These third-party claims may include accidents caused by negligent vendors, the manufacturers of defective work equipment, drivers who caused motor vehicle crashes while you’re on the job, and other defendants. Plaintiffs in a third-party work injury claim, as in other types of personal injury cases, must prove that the defendant had a duty of care to them and that a breach of duty occurred that caused the work injury.
Often, there’s a waiting period for injured employees to begin receiving workers’ comp benefits for lost wages. In NJ and PA, you’re not eligible for these benefits unless you have been out of work for seven calendar days, although Pennsylvania workers’ comp law allows for retroactive payment of the first seven days of missed work if the employee is out of work for 14 days or longer.
The time it takes to actually get your money, on the other hand, could be a lot longer. Processing payments of workers’ comp benefits can take weeks, even if your eligibility for benefits is undisputed.
In the case that your employer or its insurance carrier is questioning your eligibility for coverage or denying your claim, you may need to get an attorney involved to secure a fair settlement at all. Unfortunately, getting a workers’ compensation settlement can take longer in this situation than it would have if the insurer just paid your claim from the get-go.
You must report the work injury and undergo a medical examination performed by authorized providers as soon as possible. In New Jersey, you have 14 days to report the injury. In Pennsylvania, employees have up to 120 days to report a work injury, but they shouldn’t wait anywhere near that long. Waiting more than 21 days to give notice may prevent you from being eligible for retroactive benefits.
You may have deadlines regarding medical treatment, as well. In Pennsylvania, for example, you may be required to see a provider from your employer’s list for treatment for the first 90 days following your injury.
Some workers’ compensation cases can’t be resolved through the typical claims process. If you need to file a lawsuit to get your money, this must be done by a legal deadline known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for workers’ comp lawsuits is two years in New Jersey and three years in Pennsylvania.
You should hire a workers’ compensation attorney when you suffer a serious work-related illness or injury and the routine workers’ comp claims process isn’t sufficient to resolve your situation. Some injured workers need an attorney on their side due to the sheer extent and severity of their injuries. It may be a good idea to bring on an attorney if your injuries require extensive medical treatment and if they keep you out of work for a long time or leave you permanently disabled.
You might also need a workers’ compensation attorney if you are having trouble with the insurance carrier. Suppose that your employer’s insurer tries to argue that you sustained injuries not covered by workers’ compensation, but you don’t believe this is true. It may be time to hire a lawyer who can demonstrate that your injuries were, in fact, work-related and that you are eligible for coverage.
Finally, you should hire a work injury lawyer if you intend to pursue a third-party claim against someone other than your employer. These personal injury cases require you to prove negligence and document your damages, both of which are areas in which having an experienced workplace accidents attorney can help.
Having a workers’ compensation attorney, like the Console & Associates, P.C. team, on your side can help you navigate complicated work injury matters and get the full amount of money you’re entitled to. The best workers’ compensation lawyers make the claims process easier for their clients, especially when the situation is more complex than the average worker’s comp claim. At Console at Associates, we have more than 25 years of experience fighting for injured workers and other accident victims.
An attorney can use their knowledge of law to ensure that employers’ insurance carriers aren’t taking advantage of injured workers by paying them less than they deserve or denying claims unfairly. Another benefit of professional legal representation for a work injury claim is that an attorney can identify any additional parties that may bear liability and pursue a third-party personal injury claim against that defendant on your behalf. Being able to calculate your full amount of actual legal damages and negotiate settlements are particularly important skills for an attorney to have when pursuing a third-party claim, because these cases allow you to pursue damages not covered by workers’ compensation benefits claims.
A legal consultation with an experienced law firm costs nothing. Under Console & Associates, P.C.’s No Fee Promise, you’ll pay nothing upfront for legal representation throughout the course of your claim. Our affordable workers’ compensation lawyers only get paid when you do, and if we’re not successful in getting you a settlement, you owe nothing for our legal services.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is often more challenging than an injured employee would expect. Having a lawyer on your side makes the process simpler and provides a built-in resource for claimants when the insurance company tries to question your eligibility for benefits or if the doctors approved by your employer don’t seem to be taking your injuries seriously. When you have the option to approach this claim with experienced legal representation on your side at no upfront cost, why would you put yourself through the hassle and frustration of trying to secure a workers’ compensation settlement on your own?
Taking advantage of a free legal consultation can help you develop a better understanding of a worker’s rights following an injury on the job and learn what to expect from the workers’ compensation claims process. There’s no obligation to hire an attorney if you don’t want to, and you can get your questions answered by an experienced legal professional who knows what they’re talking about.
Call (866) 778-5500 today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Console & Associates, P.C.
An experienced workers’ comp attorney is more reliable than an online workers’ compensation settlement calculator tool, especially if your claim includes long-term or permanent disability benefits or a third-party personal injury case. When a lawyer has helped thousands of injured workers, they develop insight into, for example, the differences between average workers’ compensation settlements for back injury and workers’ compensation shoulder injury settlements.
The workers’ compensation lawyers who get results are thorough and meticulous in all aspects of handling claims like yours. An attorney for workers’ compensation matters will undertake any necessary investigations to identify any additional responsible parties and prove that your injury occurred at work, as well as fight for a settlement that covers all legally compensable damages.
In many states, workers’ comp claims filed with your employer and their insurance company do not award pain and suffering benefits. However, third-party work injury claims in which you are alleging negligence on the part of someone other than your employer can include payments for pain and suffering.