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Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Workplace Injury

Can You Get Civil Damages in Addition to Workers’ Comp?

Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Workplace InjuryUnder New Jersey law, most employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees. There are only two exceptions—where the employer is covered by a federal program or has been approved to be self-insured (in which case the employer pays benefits directly to the injured worker).

Because of the prevalence of the workers’ compensation system, there’s a misperception that, when you’re hurt on the job, your only recourse to recover lost wages, medical expenses, and other losses is through a workers’ comp claim. In limited circumstances, however, you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court seeking damages for an injury sustained on the job. Here’s how it works.

Workers’ Compensation Claims in New Jersey

New Jersey workers’ compensation law was enacted to streamline the claims process for injured workers and help employers more effectively manage the financial consequences of workplace injuries. Workers can start receiving benefits within weeks, and employers don’t have to worry about sympathetic juries returning inflated damage awards.

Workers’ compensation law, however, only covers injuries caused by the carelessness or negligence of an employer or coworker. In those instances, workers’ comp provides the only source for reimbursement of losses.

Third-Party Claims in Workplace Accidents

When a workplace accident is caused, in whole or in part, by the wrongful actions of someone other than your employer or a fellow employee, you are not limited to the benefits provided by a workers’ compensation claim. Instead, you can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. In fact, you can file a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim at the same time, though you can’t recover for the same losses in both proceedings. For example, if your medical expenses are paid by workers’ comp, you can’t recover them again in a personal injury lawsuit.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. We are currently communicating with clients by phone, text message, and videoconference. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

Remedies Other Than Workers’ Compensation

Third-Party Claims After a Work-Related Injury

Remedies Other Than Workers CompensationIn New Jersey, when you’re hurt or contract an illness on the job, you have a right to seek workers’ compensation benefits. The benefits available through a workers’ comp claim cover reasonable and necessary medical expenses, and can serve to replace lost income. You may, however, have other losses not covered by workers’ compensation. Can you seek compensation for uncovered expenses in other legal proceedings?

Third-Party Claims for Injuries at Work

The workers’ compensation laws are designed to provide a streamlined claims process when losses ae caused by the carelessness or negligence of an employer or co-worker. If, however, your injuries are also caused in part by the wrongful acts of a third party (unrelated to your employer), you may seek damages in a civil suit filed in court. In fact, you can simultaneously file a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit. You may not, however, recover twice for the same losses. For example, if medical expenses are paid through your workers’ comp claim, you can’t recover for those same medical costs in a personal injury lawsuit.

There are a number of situations where you may have a valid third-party claim:

  • Motor vehicle accidents that occur during the course of employment—You can seek damages in court from at-fault drivers, provided they are not co-workers or your employer.
  • Injuries caused by a defectively designed or manufactured product—You can sue the company or individuals who designed or built the product.
  • Injuries caused by workers on an adjoining jobsite—This applies most often to situations involving construction-site-injury claims.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. We are currently communicating with clients by phone, text message, or videoconference. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

Was Your Injury Work-Related, Part II

Business Travel

Was Your Injury Work-RelatedAs we set forth in the first blog in this series, there are only two requirements to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey. First, you must have been hurt or become ill, and second, the injury or illness must have occurred while you were on the job or been caused by events that occurred while you were performing work-related tasks. In many instances, it’s obvious whether your injuries were work-related, but there are some circumstances where it may not be as clear.

Injuries Sustained While Traveling for Business

If your job requires you to travel, whether periodically or on a daily basis, situations can arise where you may or may not qualify. As a general rule, if you are injured while traveling for work, you’re eligible for workers’ comp benefits. For example, if you’re driving to a client’s office for a meeting, or headed to the post office to mail work-related items, you’re entitled to benefits for any injuries sustained. You generally can’t get workers’ compensation for injuries suffered during your commute or while taking lunch off the premises. However, if you pick up food for others at the request of a supervisor, or engage in work-related tasks while on the road (for example, delivering a package or buying office supplies), any injuries sustained while engaged in those work-related activities are covered.

If you attend conferences, workshops, seminars or conventions for work, the following rules generally apply:

  • Injuries sustained on your way to and from the conference, or while traveling to and from conference events while there, are covered.
  • Injuries suffered in essential activities while at a conference—going out for dinner, attending sessions, etc.—are covered.
  • Injuries suffered while engaging in wholly personal activities—going to a health club, visiting Disneyland or other tourist attractions—are not covered.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. We are currently communicating with clients by phone, text message, or videoconference. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

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