When you go to work, you expect certain safety standards to be met. You might, by the nature of your job, understand that there are some risks with what you do, but you never expect to be abandoned by your employer and left to face serious injuries.
In many injury cases, you cannot file a lawsuit directly against your employer, but you could nonetheless be entitled to substantial financial compensation for what happened to you. Getting that compensation might require help from an experienced attorney.
Contact Legal Care New Jersey today for a free review of your case with our workplace accident lawyers by calling (732) 838-9769.
Common Causes of Workplace Accidents in Paterson, NJ
Injuries can happen in all sorts of workplace accidents and in all sorts of workplaces. In many cases, the injuries fall into one of the “big four” categories that OSHA tracks as the most common causes of injury: electrocution, caught in/between injuries, falls from heights, and injuries from being hit by objects. Electrocution injuries can happen in all sorts of jobs, not just electrical or construction jobs. Injuries involving being caught in a machine or between machines, vehicles, or materials can also occur in a wide range of jobs, especially machinist or manufacturing positions. Falls from heights or being hit by dropped, thrown, or moving objects can also happen in many different industries and many different ways.
Other injuries are also quite common, even though they do not make this list. For example, injuries from lifting and carrying can affect an office worker moving a box, a warehouse worker moving a crate, or anyone in between. Slip and fall accidents can happen in any industry, whether from dangerous conditions in your workplace or the necessary conditions of your job.
Auto accidents, repetitive stress/strain injuries, and back injuries are also quite common injuries across industries.
Occupational illness is not usually caused by one singular workplace accident, but dangerous conditions or exposure to certain chemicals and substances at work can cause illnesses. This can include things like lung diseases from exposure to silica or asbestos, cancer, and more.
Suing for Workplace Accidents in Paterson, NJ
New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation laws usually prohibit lawsuits against your employer or boss for injuries sustained in the course of your job. Instead, you can file these cases as insurance claims, and potentially get compensation for medical bills and lost wages. However, only part of your wage loss damages can be covered through these claims, and no damages will be paid for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages. This often means you will want to find grounds for a lawsuit to get full compensation on top of whatever insurance might cover.
While insurance is a no-fault system, you do need to prove fault in a lawsuit. This means finding a party that you can legally hold responsible. Under N.J.S.A. § 34:15-8, you can actually sue your employer if they caused your injury through “intentional wrongs.” That means things they did on purpose, such as punching you, but also includes some instances of recklessness or gross negligence, like injuring you with a collapsing shelf that they knew was too wobbly and dangerous to be safe.
You could also potentially prove fault against another party other than your employer. This means that you can sue third parties for accidents such as car crashes, spills, and dropped objects. You can also sue the manufacturer of gear or equipment you used at work if that product was defective or dangerous. This is common in cases involving defective safety gear and PPE or cases where a power tool or machine has defective safety mechanisms, resulting in a serious accident at work.
Lastly, the restrictions on lawsuits only apply if there is an employer-employee relationship between the parties. This would seem to mean that independent contractors are allowed to sue, but New Jersey’s definition of “employee” is quite broad.
Generally speaking, all workers are going to be considered employees for purposes of Workers’ Compensation and lawsuits, meaning they cannot sue. The only workers who can be properly classified as independent contractors need to prove that they are really a separate business entity and are not under the alleged employer’s control as to the time, place, and manner of their work, and that they do different work than the employer’s business, among other factors.
For example, a construction firm that hires contractors to do construction work under their individual names is likely to have those workers treated as employees. In contrast, a law firm that hires an individual contractor working under the name of an LLC to install a door would likely not be considered the contractor’s employer.
Damages for Injured Workers in Paterson, NJ
As mentioned, if you file your case as a lawsuit instead of relying upon your employer’s insurance to get your damages paid, you could be entitled to higher damages. In a lawsuit against someone who injured you, you can usually claim any and all economic and non-economic damages related to your injury lawsuit, while an insurance claim would cut off non-economic damages and reduce some of the economic damages.
Economic damages usually come in the form of medical bills and lost wages. However, you can also claim compensation for any other expenses and lost money you faced because of the accident.
Often put under the umbrella of “pain and suffering,” non-economic damages pay you back for the damages that have no monetary value attached from a receipt or bill. This can include things like emotional distress, mental anguish, and more. These damages are often quite high and should not be disregarded in a workplace accident claim.
Call Our Paterson Workplace Accident and Injury Lawyers Today
For a free review of your case, call (732) 838-9769 to speak with Legal Care New Jersey’s workplace accident lawyers today.