NJ workers injured while at work are eligible to file workers’ compensation claims per NJ worker’s compensation law. Workers’ compensation provides several benefits:
- medical benefits,
- temporary total benefits,
- permanent partial benefits, and
- permanent total benefits.
In many work place injuries, workers also have claims against other parties in addition to workers’ compensation claims. Many injured workers think that if they are injured at work, their only recourse is to file workers’ comp claims. Many workers do not know they may have other claims. If the accidents are caused by negligent parties other than the employer, injured workers may also file personal injury lawsuits against them.
Consider the following situation: An office worker walks to the copier to do a copying job when he trips over a ladder on the floor. As it turns out, the ladder is being used by an electrician hired by the building management to perform some rewiring for new light fixtures. The ladder should have been placed against the wall, but for some reason, the contractor leaves it laying on the floor.
The worker does not see the ladder, trips and falls over the ladder. As a result, he fractures his wrist after his wrist lands on the ladder. He needs to get medical treatment. He cannot work for several weeks because he cannot use his hand.
Because his trip and fall accident happened while he was at work, he files a NJ workers’ compensation claim and receives medical benefits and lost wages.
In this situation, the worker can also file a trip and fall injury lawsuit against the electrician for his negligence. In order to prevail in a NJ trip and fall accident lawsuit, the injured party has to prove that the liable party was negligent, and the party’s negligent acts caused the injured party’s accident and damages.
It can be argued that the accident was caused by the electrician’s negligence in placing a ladder where people often walk, creating a tripping hazard. Therefore, the office worker may be able to recover pain and suffering from the contractor, a damages claim not recoverable in a NJ workers’ compensation claim.
Pain and suffering varies from person to person. A healthy individual may recover faster from his broken wrist compared to an individual who has arthritis. He may not have as much pain as the individual with arthritis and may need less physical therapy. Therefore, the amount of pain and suffering damages an injured worker may recover will depend on the facts of each case.
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Philip T. Ciprietti offers free consultations to injured workers and will explore all of the legal options injured workers may have after work related accidents. 800.281.8695
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