Public Employee Workers’ Comp
The stresses on public employees are great enough these days without the added concern of an on-the-job injury. Yet, many city, county and municipal workers suffer work-related injuries every year all across the Garden State, as well as throughout the nation. Unfortunately, a percentage of those injury accidents lead to immediate or subsequent death, which can spell financial tragedy for the worker’s family, who are already suffering emotionally in the wake of such a devastating personal loss.
Just as in the private sector, not all public employees are exposed to significant injuries on-the-job to be worried about serious potential harm. However, being hurt or killed while performing more hazardous municipal and state government jobs is always a possibility for a certain segment of this workforce. Police and public safety officers, firefighters, public works personnel, highway and road repair workers, and even public transportation employees can face significant or even life-threatening hazards during the course of their daily activities.
City, county and state workers can often suffer job-related injuries and illnesses at higher rates than their private sector counterparts. In fact, for some occupations, studies suggest that local government may lag behind industry in its effort to keep employees safe. Because cities and other municipalities throughout the Garden State employ a large number of people, it is important to realize that improvements to worker safety can only serve to benefit those individuals and the public at large.
Yet, fatal on-the-job accidents continue to take the lives of public employees. The professional workers’ comp death claim lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall know that no matter who the employer of record is, fatal job-related accidents can have a negative effect on a family’s finances when a breadwinner dies while on the job.
Regardless of whether the victim of an on-the-job death is a city clerk, office manager or roadway engineer, the loss of any loved one can turn a family upside-down emotionally and financially. Our law firm’s death claims specialist, Daniel Santarsiero, Esq., has a deep understanding of New Jersey’s workers’ compensation statutes and can assist your family in getting through the death benefit claims process.Fatal Government Workplace Accidents
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that nearly 5,000 workers die nationwide from unexpected and often preventable workplace accidents every year. Many of those lives could have been saved if proper safety regulations were observed and enforced. When it comes to fatal trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall incidents, more than one-third of all on-the-job accidents make up this category.
Our professional legal team is ready and willing to assist victims’ families following an unexpected on-the-job death of a government employee. Death benefits through New Jersey’s workers’ compensation insurance program can help to make up some of the victim’s lost income, but families can easily suffer financially if the deceased worker was the primary household breadwinner.
In such instances, our attorneys can investigate the circumstances of the accident and determine whether a third-party wrongful death lawsuit should be pursued. Just as with private industry, there are some governmental entities that may ignore important safety regulations, often to the detriment of those public workers and their family members.
The following Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) standards are just a handful of the many regulations that can end up being overlooked or actively ignored by department heads and supervisors, and thus can end up putting public employees at greater risk of injury or death one the job:
- Protection from falls on worksites (OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1926.501)
- Communication of hazards found in the workplace (OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1910.1200
- Worksite scaffolding use and maintenance (OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1926.451)
- Ladder usage (OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1926.1053)
Since workplace slip- and trip-and-fall accidents are the most common causes of serious personal injuries and even fatal accidents in the workplace, government agencies must ensure that public employees are able to perform their jobs in a safe and hazard-free workplace. This includes being certain that worksites include preventative measures that help to protect employees from falling off overhead platforms, catwalks, overpasses and similar structures.
A slip-and-fall accident when working high above a concrete or asphalt roadway can mean certain death for a city, country or New Jersey state roadway worker. City and municipal building inspectors face a variety of tripping hazards on construction worksites and older apartment buildings. Whether one is a public or private employee, state and federal safety regulations should be in force in order to reduce the risk of falling off of platforms and scaffolds, or through holes in floors.
Construction and worksite operators are obligated to keep the working environment safe for their employees. The OSHA requires that companies provide certain provisions for on-site fall protection — at specific elevations — as shown below:
- General industry (4 ft.)
- Shipyards (5 ft.)
- Construction sites (6 ft.)
- Longshoring operations (8 ft.)
While there may be an assumption of greater safety when working as a government employee, research indicates that workers in state and local government jobs may experience a higher rate of injury and, as a consequence, occasional fatalities leading to death. Therefore, while employees may work in the same industry category, conditions and management of individual workplaces can often vary to a large degree. For example, some studies have shown that state-run nursing homes and residential care facilities register some of the highest injury and illness rates. This can greatly affect hospital and nursing staff, due to a large array of hazards encountered on the job (common causes of accidental injury and death include slip-and-fall, infection from exposure to blood or bodily fluids, as well as needle punctures).
Although prevention is one of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of fatal injuries on the job, worker safety can often be compromised by employer negligence or the negligent actions of other workers or supervisory management. The legal team at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can assist widows and other qualifying survivors in recovering the workers’ comp death benefits following the unexpected job-related death of a loved one.
Under New Jersey workers’ compensation law, family members of deceased workers can qualify for monetary compensation in the wake of a loved one’s death. Our skilled attorneys understand the serious implications to a family when the life of a primary breadwinner is cut short by employer negligence. Besides the loss of love and companionship, lost income and unexpected hospital expenses and funeral costs can be devastating for a many families living paycheck to paycheck.
If your family has recently lost a loved one due to a work-related accident while in the employ of a local municipality, city or state government department, we highly recommend you contact our offices. Place a call to Mr. Santarsiero at (800) 999-0897 so that we may arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. If you decide to take advantage of our services, we will fight for your rights on a contingent fee basis; in other words, no legal fees will be charged to you unless we recover compensation on your behalf.
Our workers’ compensation death claims lawyers can guide you through the process, as well as advise your family on potential third-party actions where circumstances allow. Please don’t delay — your future and the well being of your family could depend on the compensation that you rightly deserve.