Workplace Catastrophic Injuries
A work-related injury may be as simple and temporary as a sprained ankle that completely resolves in a week or two, or it may be as permanent and devastating as a spinal cord injury resulting in quadriplegia. Regardless of how the accident happened or how badly a worker is injured, one thing remains the same. Under New Jersey law, the employer is responsible for the worker’s medical care, temporary disability benefits, and, if applicable, permanent disability benefits. With rare exceptions (such as employees of the federal government who perform their duties in New Jersey), every employer in the state is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance that covers employees who are injured during the course and scope of their employment. At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our New Jersey catastrophic injury lawyers have handled many different types of work-related injury cases in various occupations and job settings.
The term “catastrophic injury” is used to describe an accidental injury that is so severe in nature as to render the victim unable to perform gainful work for the remainder of his or her life. Often, an injury to the brain or spinal cord is involved, leaving the worker with a devastating degree of permanent functional disability. Traumatic brain injuries, paraplegia, quadriplegia, or amputations may occur due to an accident at work. The worker may also be left with a susceptibility to other medical problems like pneumonia or cardiovascular complications.Understanding How Workers’ Compensation Claims Are Handled
A workers’ compensation case begins with the filing of notice. Generally speaking, if an accident is of a nature such that an employee is catastrophically injured, the employer is going to become aware of it very quickly in most cases. This is different than, for example, a repetitive stress injury like carpal tunnel syndrome, which the employer may only discover if the employee reports that he or she is having symptoms such as pain, tingling, or numbness in the hands or wrists. Still, our catastrophic injury attorneys advise New Jersey employees to formally notify an employer of a claim within the time allowed by law. The employee is entitled to medical treatment at the employer’s expense, although the employee may be limited to certain “company doctors” who are on the panel of physicians supplied by the workers’ compensation insurance company.
In catastrophic injury cases, the employee will likely never be gainfully employed again, so he or she may be able to receive both temporary total disability and permanent total disability benefits. While their entitlement to such benefits may seem obvious, it is not unusual for the employer or its workers’ compensation insurance company to deny a claim, even in a catastrophic injury case. The employer may argue that the employee’s injury happened somewhere other than at work or that the injury is not as severe as the worker claims. Medical testimony can be crucial in a workplace catastrophic injury case, and assertive legal representation by a New Jersey catastrophic injury attorney can play a key role.Seek Legal Advice Concerning a Workplace Catastrophic Injury
Medical care for a catastrophic injury is likely to involve staggering expenses, and round-the-clock care may be required. It is very important that the employee’s legal rights be carefully protected at each stage of the process during a workers’ compensation case involving a catastrophic injury. Consulting legal counsel as soon as possible after such an injury is a wise course of action, even though pursuing legal action may be the last thing that the family wants to handle at the moment. In some cases, a third-party claim against someone other than the employer may also be a possibility, and it is important that a full investigation be made as soon as possible. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury on the job, the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will be glad to talk to you about your case. Call us at (800) 999-0897 or contact us online to set up an appointment with a catastrophic injury lawyer in New Jersey. We assist people in communities such as Freehold, New Brunswick, Toms River, Jersey City, Plainfield, Trenton, Newark, Paterson, and the surrounding areas of Monmouth, Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, Union, Mercer, Essex, and Passaic Counties.