Workplace accidents often leave victims unable to return to work, either for a limited recovery period or on the basis of an ongoing disability. For these workers, medical bills can begin to pile up, and the only relief might be a lawsuit.
While Workers’ Compensation often restricts your right to sue, there are many ways around these rules that would still allow you to file a lawsuit for your damages. While you might not be able to sue your employer directly, our attorneys can still help you hold the proper parties liable and help you get compensation for your workplace injuries.
For a free case review, contact Legal Care New Jersey’s workplace accident lawyers today at (732) 838-9769.
Proving Fault in a Workplace Accident in Elizabeth, NJ
To file a lawsuit for a workplace injury, you must file it against a party that actually caused your accident. In many cases, workplace injuries are not actually caused by your employer, so filing a claim against them will not work. Additionally, injury lawsuits against employers are usually blocked under New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation laws. Instead, our workplace accident lawyers will look for valid third parties to hold liable in your case.
Often, various parties can be held liable for the mistakes and negligence they commit, including the following examples:
Many people are hurt at work because of a car accident. In these cases, the driver can be held responsible for the crash and the injuries you faced, even if those injuries were work-related. This is the most common cause of injury for truckers and other transportation workers, but it is also a common cause of injury for roadside construction crews, roadwork crews, and line workers. Other people who drive as part of their job – such as plumbers or landscapers driving out to a job site – could also be injured in a car accident and sue the at-fault drivers.
However, there are additional restrictions as to when you can sue under NJ’s auto insurance laws, so make sure to consult with a lawyer about your right to sue in these cases as well.
Many people are injured at work because of defective products and gear. Power tools, appliances, and machinery could have problems with their designs or manufacturing that make them unsafe to use. Safety gear and other PPE products could also have manufacturing or design problems that make them less effective, leading to injury or exposure at work. When dealing with a defective or dangerous product, you can often sue the manufacturer of that product rather than the employer that provided it to you. This would also allow lawsuits when the product was one you purchased on your own.
Customers, Clients, and Patients
Many workers are injured by the people they serve at their jobs. In many of these cases, the cause of injury is assault. Waiters being assaulted by diners, retail workers assaulted by unruly customers, and nurses assaulted by patients can all sue these individual assailants for assault and battery.
The term “clients” could refer to people who hire independent contractors. Under New Jersey law, these parties fill the same role as an “employer” in many cases, and even independent contractors might be treated as “employees” if they perform the same kind of business as the client that hired them. However, you can often sue clients that are not hiring you as part of their own business, such as a painter suing a homeowner that hired them and negligently loaned them a broken ladder. There are specific legal tests in New Jersey to determine whether you count as an employee for insurance purposes and thus lose your right to sue.
If your job takes you to other locations where you are injured in an accident, you might be able to sue the property owner for an unsafe premises. If that property owner is a separate party from your direct employer, you might be able to hold them liable for things like structural collapses, railing collapses, electrocution, falls from heights, slip and falls, and even dog bites that occur on their property because they failed to make the place safe for workers.
Employees typically cannot sue their co-workers under Workers’ Compensation rules for work-related accidents, as other workers are an extension of the company you work for. If you work with contractors, you might not share an “employer” in a legal sense, and you might not work for them as an “employee” either. This would allow you to sue them or their subcontractors for injuries they cause. Again, questions of whether workers are properly classified as independent contractors or not under NJ law might come into play in these cases as well.
Damages for Workplace Injuries and Accidents in Elizabeth, NJ
If you were hurt at work, you might be entitled to some damages under your employer’s insurance policy. However, these damages often cover only part of the damages you face from lost wages, and there might be restrictions on which doctors you can use to get medical expenses covered. Many injured workers accept these payments quickly to help them afford day-to-day expenses and cover needs like groceries and electric bills while they file a lawsuit, but a lawsuit could ultimately entitle you to additional damages that insurance would never cover.
Insurance typically covers lost wages at only a portion of their full value, but a lawsuit can help you recover the rest of the full value against the at-fault party. Additionally, medical expenses should be covered in a lawsuit regardless of who treated you, as long as the treatment was reasonably related to the accident and resulting injuries.
The biggest area of damages that you can get for a work injury lawsuit but not through insurance is for pain and suffering. These damages cover the emotional, mental, and physical experience of being injured as well as the experience of living with the injuries and going through the recovery process. These damages are separate from the financial damages related to an accident.
Call Our Elizabeth, NJ Workplace Injury Attorneys Today
For a free review of your injury case, call Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769 to speak with our workplace injury lawyers.