Workers’ Compensation FAQs
CONSTRUCTION SITE ACCIDENTS, WORKPLACE AND INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS
1. When am I considered to be at work?
When you are at your employer’s place of business or when you are off the premises for the purpose of your employer, you are considered to be at work.
2. I heard that you can’t sue your employer, is that true?
In New Jersey you can only sue your employer if you can prove that the employer acted intentionally or with such reckless malice that injury was likely. Generally, the statutes and courts through case law provide that an employee recovers through the workers’ compensation insurance carrier and can only pursue his/her employer in extreme cases as noted above. This is a particularly complex topic and should be thoroughly discussed with your attorney.
3. If I am hurt at work, what damages can I recover?
You can recover your lost wages, medical bills, and a scheduled disability award through the Workers’ Compensation Act. You can also recover damages if someone other than your employer is responsible for your injuries, for example, a defective product, a negligent general contractor, unsafe premises, etc.
4. Can I file a lawsuit against a co-employee for negligence?
No, a co-employee is protected by the Workers’ Compensation Act in much the same way as your employer is protected and cannot be sued in most cases.
5. If I am injured at work, do I have to see a doctor that my employer chooses?
If you are injured at work you will need to see doctors on behalf of the workers’ compensation carrier if you wish to have them pay your bills. However, in certain situations you can see a doctor of your choice. You should thoroughly discuss your rights with an attorney in this complicated area.
6. I was hurt on a dangerous machine at work. Can I be found at fault for using the machine even if my boss told me to use it?
Generally, no. In New Jersey the Supreme Court ruled that an employee is not negligent for the happening of an accident when he is working at his/her assigned task. However, any fault on your part will be considered by a jury when they are deciding what the legal cause of your injury was.
7. Who pays my medical bills if I’m injured at work?
Your employer’s workers’ compensation policy pays all medical bills associated with an injury that arises at work. They may also have to pay lost wages and other damages.
8. Should I fill out a report at work?
Yes, it is a very good idea to fill out a report to document the incident as well as documenting your version of the facts. This may also trigger an investigation into the safety of the product or premises on which you were injured. It is also a good idea to contact an attorney immediately in order to protect all your rights which may include an OSHA investigation and preservation of evidence among other things.