Many people want to know what their rights are when they get hurt in the course of employment. Workers’ compensation is an interesting area. Workers’ compensation pays for an injury that occurs in the course of your employment as long as you are in the course of your employment. They pay temporary benefits, they pay your medical, and you can also get a measure of compensation based upon the fact that you have some permanent injury that’s left as a result of the injury, notwithstanding the fact that you’ve been treated for it.
However, that’s only part of the situation in workers’ compensation. If you’re on the job and you’re injured because of someone else’s negligence not related to your employer, you can’t sue your employer. If someone else is negligent, such as another contractor or an owner or controller of the property where you happen to work (who is not your employer), you have the right to make a negligence claim against that individual or company. In that case, you can demonstrate the person exposed you to an unreasonable harm, and that you were injured by that unreasonable harm. You can collect pain and suffering, you can collect economic damages, and you can collect future loss in terms of loss of earning capacity. These are all examples of things you can collect through the negligence claim.
You have to keep in mind though, when you’re dealing with workers’ compensation and negligence, they’re intertwined. They’re intertwined in the sense that if you collect money in the negligence claim, you must reimburse your employer. Keep in mind, your employer’s paying you whether anyone is negligent or not, so if you’re able to recover from someone who caused the employer to pay you, then you have to reimburse them. That’s called your employer’s workers’ compensation lien. That has to be satisfied.
The intricacies of the workings between the workers’ compensation lien and the recoveries in negligence are confusing and they are technical. Sometimes it takes a great deal of finesse in negotiating liens and in dealing with the adjusters and those responsible for collecting those liens. It is important when you find that you are injured in an incident that involves workers’ compensation and involves a liability action, such as a construction accident, it is important that you consult a personal injury lawyer who has some experience and who has handled such cases in the past. It is to your benefit.
The law firm of Mattleman, Weinroth & Miller, P.C., is composed of experienced personal injury attorneys throughout the state of New Jersey. Please contact the office for a free initial consultation and get any questions answered regarding your specific case.