Types Of Workers’ Compensation Injuries
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Single Event Injury
Worker’s compensation law in New Jersey recognizes two types of claims which encompass all work-related injuries. The first type is a single event episode. For instance, a hospital worker may be lifting a patient, and during the course of lifting, that patient feels a pop in his or her back. That is a single event incident that is recognized by the law in New Jersey and worker’s compensation benefits are allowed to be given to that particular unfortunate employee.
Occupational Related Workers’ Compensation Claim
However, many times a worker experiences an injury that does not occur as a result of one specific event but occurs over a period of time due to the nature of the work that’s being performed by the employee. A classic example of this is that has resulted in many worker’s compensation claims over the years is that masons work on their knees laying brick and concrete for extended periods of time, and as a result of doing that same type of job eight to ten hours a day, five to six or seven days a week, over the course of months and years, the knees simply give way. Those types of workers have required knee procedures or surgeries. Another classic occupational-related claim is an office staff worker using his or her hands repetitively 40 hours a week for years and, as a result, develops carpal tunnel syndrome from typing.
There is no difference whatsoever in how the law treats single event accidents and longer duration occupational claims. An injured worker who suffers an injury from either one of those instances is entitled to all the same benefits. These workers are entitled to have their medical care provided for and paid for by the worker’s compensation insurance company. They are entitled to wage replacement benefits if they’re unable to work for a period of time, and they are also entitled to get an award for any permanent injury at the end of their claim once they’ve finished their treatment.
It is not uncommon for orthopedic injuries involving the neck or the back, such as herniated discs, to appear not due to one particular event, but due to a course of events over a period of time. For instance, a warehouse worker whose normal job requires him or her to lift, to bend, to climb ladders, or to pick product for an extended period of time over the course of many years will develop disc injuries in the neck or the back which require treatment. The pain management, medication management, or sometimes surgery that they would require would be covered under the protections of New Jersey worker’s compensation laws.
New Jersey Respiratory Injury Workers’ Compensation Claims
Another type of worker’s compensation claim related to occupational exposure has to do with breathing or respiratory function. There are many types of jobs in New Jersey for which people work in hazardous conditions. A good example from years gone by would be in the asbestos injury. Workers in the construction and automotive trades were required to deal with breathing in asbestos for extended periods of time. These individuals were entitled to worker’s compensation benefits. In the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, those types of injuries are relatively common, especially in New Jersey because there are refineries in the northern parts of our state. Pharmaceutical industries in the northern parts of our state require employees to work in closed environments, dealing with rather hazardous and regulated chemicals. Many times someone will have a respiratory claim as a result of these work conditions.
Permanent Injury Claims
The final benefit that is available to injured workers in New Jersey is an award for their permanent injury. At some point in time, an injured worker is released from medical care. In the best-case scenario, he or she has been healed by the treating doctor or doctors. However, there may also be residual injuries to the injured worker, but the doctors have said there is nothing more that can be done with modern medicine to cure that person’s injury or injuries. At that point in time, the injured worker will be evaluated by certain doctors who have expertise in finding and providing estimates of disability. The injured worker will be sent to a doctor on behalf of his attorney and also to a separate doctor on behalf of the employer’s attorney. Those doctors will then examine the injured worker, review the medical records and prepare reports indicating what they believe the percentage of disability is for the body part or parts that were injured in the workplace accident or occupational exposure. Those percentages then correspond to a dollar amount which is paid over a period of time dependent upon what the percentage of disability is.