New Jersey Workers’ Compensation & FELA Claims Lawyers
For most people, being left unable to do their job as the result of a work-related injury means a lot more than just losing a paycheck or two: in many cases, it can mean an uncertain and frightening future. It can be very difficult to receive authorization by your employer to see a doctor or to receive your wage loss benefits. Our lead attorney, Todd Leonard, fights to make sure you receive all of the benefits you are entitled to following a work-related injury, including medical treatment, lost wages, and just compensation for your injuries. Todd is Certified by The New Jersey Supreme Court as a Certified Civil Trial Attorney and is a member of the New Jersey Committee on Safety and Health (NJ COSH), an organization comprised of lawyers, doctors and unions, “working together to protect the rights of injured workers.”
The New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers of Todd J. Leonard Law Firm have been fighting for more than 25 years to protect injured workers’ rights and we understand the difficulties and hardships our clients face following a workplace injury. We work hard to provide outstanding representation on our clients’ workers’ compensation cases.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Benefits
As a resident of the state of New Jersey, you are entitled to receive benefits under the provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act. If you are eligible, you may receive benefits for:
- Medical – medical expenses and future health care costs are covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance
- Temporary disability – typically you may receive 70 percent of the wages or salary you were earning before your injury, up to a limit set by New Jersey statute
- Permanent disability – benefits for permanent injuries are based on a formula for determining the percentage of your disabilities
There are many misconceptions about filing a workers’ compensation claim. Often, the injured employee is concerned that if they file a claim, the company will terminate their employment, or there will be some form of retaliation or retribution against them. However, the law clearly protects the injured employee from such actions.
For more answers to your questions about workers’ comp benefits and how to apply for them, contact our experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits lawyers at the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm today. We will also evaluate the facts of your case to see if there is an outside company or individual who may also be responsible for your injuries.
Third Party Injury Claims
If you were injured by an individual or entity other than your employer while performing the duties of your job, you may be able to obtain additional compensation through a third-party claim. Attorney Todd Leonard has been protecting the rights of clients throughout New Jersey for over 25 years. If you were injured on the job, you may also have a third-party claim, and should contact our Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who has extensive knowledge, legal skills, and experience.
It is not terribly uncommon for job-related injuries to have a third party that is also responsible for the injuries. In these circumstances, you can file an additional claim or lawsuit against the other party or company that caused your injuries and/or disabilities, as well as continue your claim against your employer. In these claims, you can also receive monies for pain and suffering and other losses sustained that are not recoverable under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
What is a third party claim?
Your first line of action in any workplace injury is to report it to your employer and initiate a workers’ compensation claim. That is your right under state law. Workers’ compensation benefits, however, don’t generate full compensation in regards to your lost wages or for such non-economic damages as pain and suffering. If you have a valid third party claim, you can obtain additional compensation.
At the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm, our New Jersey worker’s comp attorneys can review and evaluate your workplace accident or injury to determine all of the sources available to you for a claim. If the pursuit of a third party claim is a valid option, our firm will take the necessary legal steps to help you recover the maximum compensation you truly deserve in addition to filing a worker’s compensation claim.
Examples of Third Party Claims
Many types of workplace injuries could involve a third party claim, such as snow and ice accidents where a deliveryman slips on icy areas while working, or a sales representative is rear-ended due to icy streets while driving to a sales appointment. Other examples of third party claims include injuries caused by defective equipment such as tools, ladders, earth movers, or defective vehicles or vehicle parts—as in delivery trucks, dump trucks, garbage trucks, company cars, and more. These involve product liability claims. Also, some of our clients are exposed to dangerous or deadly fumes or vapors and asbestos and these all can potentially constitute a third-party claim as well.
Third party claims may also stem from premises liability, such as injuries sustained at construction or industrial sites due to negligence on the part of another contractor, a slip and fall while in the course of one’s employment due to a dangerous condition left unhandled by a property owner, or a dog bite suffered by a deliveryman due to a careless pet owner. For those workers who drive as part of their work duties, any type of traffic accident caused by the negligence of another may be grounds for an injury claim through auto insurance—either through one’s own insurance policy or the at-fault driver’s.
Obtaining Benefits Following a New Jersey Workplace Injury
Being hurt on the job can result in a multitude of different issues, including:
- Obtaining authorization for treatments, such as surgery
- Temporary disability (wage loss)
- The nature and extent of any permanent injuries
- Disability and dependency claims
Our team of experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers know effective ways to thoroughly investigate work-related cases and make sure all the required documentation is submitted in a timely manner that guarantees you obtain all the worker’s compensation benefits you are entitled to receive after being hurt on the job.
If you feel the workers’ compensation carrier is not providing you with the proper treatment, our firm has significant experience in fighting for your rights to obtain the medical treatment you need and are legally entitled to.
The Process of Obtaining Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you are injured on the job in New Jersey, you are entitled to receive the following benefits:
- All your medical treatments, including surgery and vocational rehabilitation, will be paid as long as you go to an authorized doctor from your employer’s insurance company. Medical benefits include all necessary and reasonable medical treatment, prescriptions, and hospital treatment. Your employer and/or its insurance company has a right to designate which medical doctor is authorized for your care and treatment.
- If you are out of work, you are entitled to temporary disability which is 70% of your wages, up to the workers’ compensation maximum benefit amount. This benefit is calculated at a rate of 70% of the worker’s average weekly wage, not to exceed the statutory maximum rate or fall below the statutory minimum rate established annually by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development. These wage loss benefits will continue until the worker has returned to work, has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) or has reached the statutory 400-week maximum.
- You are entitled to receive a permanency award for any permanent injury you sustained as a result of your work-related injury. This can be in terms of permanent partial benefits based on the functional loss. These benefits will be paid weekly and are due after you exhaust your temporary disability benefits payments. Our team of New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers will obtain all your treatment records upon your discharge from medical care and then send you to doctors to be evaluated to determine the nature and extent of your permanent injuries.
- When an injury or illness related to your employment results in total permanent disability, weekly benefits are initially meant to last a period of 450 weeks. If the injured worker remains totally and permanently disabled beyond the initial 450 weeks, the benefits will continue. The benefits a worker receives for total disability are paid weekly and are based on 70% of the average weekly wages earned, not to exceed the statutory maximum or fall below the statutory minimum.
- Death benefits, also known as dependency benefits, are available in cases where the injury or accident results in the death of the employee. These benefits include funeral expenses up to $3,500. Also, the weekly benefits are 70% of the wages of the deceased worker, not to exceed the statutory maximum.
For you or your family to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you must give timely notice of your claim to your employer. It is also important for you to be aware that you are not entitled to receive any money for your pain and suffering or your loss of future earning capacity.
The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) was created by Congress in 1908 to introduce safe working standards to the railroad industry and protect the rights of railroad workers injured on the job. Any employee working for a railroad employer is protected by FELA and can seek damages for injuries incurred because of employer negligence.
To have a valid FELA claim, you need only prove that your employer had a portion of fault in the accident that led to your injuries. Even if you were partially responsible for your injuries, your claim is still valid, though the amount of your comparative negligence may be deducted from your settlement. The process of obtaining benefits under FELA involves your employer—or the railroad company under which your employer operates—discussing the reasons for your injury, including who was at fault, with your New Jersey FELA claim attorney. A settlement of your claim will be discussed and negotiated; if a settlement cannot be reached, the claim turns into a FELA lawsuit.
Damages in a FELA Claim
Train accidents are the type of disasters that cause victims unwarranted emotional trauma as well as long-term physical pain. If you were injured as a result of your employer’s negligence, you can obtain restitution for:
- Past and future medical treatment
- Past and future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Wrongful death
While offering similar protections to workers’ compensation, a FELA claim is specially reserved for railroad workers and must prove that a railroad employer caused injuries through their negligence—this differs from the no-fault based system that workers’ compensation abides by.
Speak with a New Jersey Workers’ Compensation and FELA Claims Lawyer
Contact the New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys at the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm to speak with a member of our team who is hard-working and dedicated to helping you get maximum compensation. There are never any legal fees incurred unless we obtain a recovery for you. Our counsel fee will be set by the Workers’ Compensation Judge and it is usually 20% of your recovery. However, the judge oftentimes will not have you pay the entire 20% legal fee and it is common that your employer will also pay a percentage of the counsel fee awarded.
All initial consultations are free of charge and are kept strictly confidential, and we provide Spanish bilingual legal services. Call us at (973) 920-7900.