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Somerville Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

New bill increases workers' compensation coverage for amputations

A measure that was passed by the Assembly in December was recently signed into law. With this, its sponsors, Assembly Democrats Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling, aim to provide more compensation for New Jersey workers who have lost limbs in work-related accidents. They noted that this is long overdue because workers' compensation had hardly been updated during the past 40 years.

Although workplace accidents that cause amputation are infrequent occurrences, employees who lose limbs should be adequately and fairly compensated. According to the sponsors of the bill, previous rates of compensation did not provide nearly enough benefits for amputation victims. They say the increases in benefits over past years have been insignificant and not nearly enough to make up for the severity of the injuries.

Workers' compensation: Sheet metal causes serious injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation into a workplace accident on a New Jersey work site. A workers' compensation claim will likely follow a recent construction site accident. A 59-year-old construction worker was a member of a construction crew working on a site behind the headquarters of the Franklin Lakes Fire Department. Reportedly, the man was a firefighter in Newark, and Hackensack previously.

Not many details were provided about the incident. According to a spokesperson, it occurred at approximately 8:40 a.m. on a recent Wednesday. Under the circumstances yet to be determined, a large piece of metal struck the worker. Emergency workers arrived, and the seriously injured construction worker was airlifted to a medical center.

Unexpected car accidents can have serious outcomes

Injuries can change a person's life in ways that most people do not expect. While pain is often the first repercussion that pops into people's heads, injuries can also lead to high medical bills, lost wages due to being unable to work, loss of abilities and other hardships. As a result, when injuries result from car accidents, it is common for injured parties to seek compensation.

Multiple people could be considering pursuing recompense after a car accident in New Jersey. Apparently, the incident involved one vehicle and multiple pedestrians outside a grocery store. According to reports, the driver of an SUV lost control of the vehicle, and it ended up going in reverse. As a result, the vehicle pinned multiple people to a gate in front of the grocery store.

Winter driving presents special hazards

New Jersey drivers often have to contend with weather-related hazards like snow and ice. The recent tragic highway pile-up in neighboring Pennsylvania illustrates how quickly a routine drive can turn deadly.

Below are some tips for New Jersy drivers to avoid these deadly types of multi-vehicle highway accidents.

School sued after student suffers severe animal bites

A former student of a high school in another state and her parents filed a lawsuit against the school, alleging negligence. As in New Jersey, there are laws in place to hold dog owners or other negligent parties responsible for animal bites. In this case, the defendants are the priest, campus minister, the high school, and several other parties who were involved in scheduling volunteers to visit senior citizens as part of a Meals on Wheels project.

Reportedly, the plaintiff suffered severe injuries when she delivered a meal to the home of an 83-year-old woman in 2017 when the plaintiff was 17 years old. This was after the student was offered the opportunity to volunteer during the summer months. The defendants supervised the volunteers in this community project, but the plaintiffs claim that the defendants failed to investigate the safety of the homes where meals were to be delivered.

Potential high for premises liability claims in winter months

Property owners must take all reasonable precautions to protect employees, patrons and guests against hazards that could cause slips and trips. This is a significant responsibility, particularly during New Jersey winters. Anyone who suffers injuries in a fall while visiting a supermarket, shopping center, hotel, office complex, manufacturer, apartment or other property with access to the public might have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit.

Any property owner is expected to implement an appropriately planned snow and ice removal strategy, failing which might be evidence of negligence if any visitors to his or her premises are injured in falls. Such negligence could include hazards like uneven or dimly lit surfaces and slopes. While calcium chloride and other chemicals are widely used and highly effective for melting ice, they can cause slippery conditions in entranceways, especially where pedestrian traffic is high. Stockpiled snow can reduce visibility, and when it occurs near walkways, the melting snow can create slippery conditions.

Snow squalls significantly increase risk for car accidents

Amid the recent heavy snowfalls in New Jersey's center parts, safety authorities cautioned drivers about the hazards posed by snow squalls. According to the National Weather Service, snow squalls are short-lived, intense bursts of exceptionally heavy snowfalls. When they occur, the risk of car accidents is significantly higher.

Road safety authorities say snow squalls, accompanied by strong, gusty wind can cause dangerous whiteouts with almost zero visibility. Wind speeds can reach up to 30 mph. Along with heavy snow that produces slick conditions on the roadways, maintaining control of a vehicle can be challenging.

Common causes of slip-and-fall accidents in office buildings

If you work in an office building, you're not likely to have many concerns about your safety and well-being. However, just because you work in a relatively stable environment doesn't mean you can't suffer an injury.

Slip-and-fall accidents in office buildings are all too common. Here are some of the many causes:

  • Wet floors: There are many reasons why a floor may become wet, ranging from rain water tracked in from outside to a recent cleaning. A wet floor is a slippery floor, so adequate notice must be given.
  • Excessive use of polish or wax: Even if a small amount of polish or wax is applied, it can still result in a slippery surface. Just the same as a wet spot, the display of warning signs is a must after the application of polish or wax.
  • Uneven surfaces: For example, if there's an abnormally uneven surface between hard flooring and carpet, the transition can act as a trip hazard.
  • Carpet bulges or tears: Carpet has the potential to wear out over time, thus resulting in bulges, tears and worn spots. All of these conditions can catch your foot, which increases the risk of a slip-and-fall injury.
  • Debris: From a soda can to a newspaper, you never know what will end up on the ground. Any type of debris, no matter how small, can act as a trip hazard.

Cumulative trauma from repetitive work could end your career

Quite a few people mistakenly think that workers' compensation benefits only apply to those who have suffered a traumatic injury in the workplace due to a catastrophic accident. While those hurt due to employee mistakes or machinery failures should obviously receive workers' compensation benefits, so too should workers who develop injuries over a protracted period of time.

Small over-extensions and minor injuries can add up over time, as can the muscular and skeletal strain of repeating the same tasks for hours every day. Workers who have been in the same position for many years may one day discover that doing their standard tasks is now painful. These individuals may have cumulative trauma, also commonly known as repetitive motion injuries.

5 workplace hazards that cause most workers' compensation claims

New Jersey employers are responsible for keeping their workers safe and healthy on the job. Unfortunately, many employers disregard many federal or state safety standards because of the misguided belief that compliance might affect the bottom line. Learning more about the safety hazards that cause most injuries could help workers to mitigate those dangers and stay safe with no need to file workers' compensation claims.

One of the most frequent causes of serious, life-changing or even fatal workplace injuries is the lack of fall protection. Anyone who works on overhead platforms, elevated work stations or above holes in walls, floors or roofs must be equipped and know how to use fall-arrest gear. Scaffold-related injuries are often caused by falling objects, poorly constructed scaffolds that collapse or workers who slip or trip while working on them. Hazardous chemicals and communication protocols are often violated by the failure to provide relevant safety training, storage and labeling requirements and steps to take in emergencies.

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