Those statistics are astounding and sad. These injuries and illnesses can occur from something as simple as a motor vehicle accident to as complex as exposure to harmful substances. Many of them are due to equipment/machinery, falls, other employees, chemicals, burns, explosions, gases, electrocutions, tools, resulting in nerve damage, lung injuries, amputations, fractures, blindness, scars,shoulder, knee, or ankle injures such as sprains or overuse damage, loss of hearing from the loud noises on construction sites or failure to wear hearing protection while using machinery like a jack hammer Paralysis and other spinal cord injuries, especially from falls Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the experience of a traumatic accident, such as when fellow workers are also injured or killed Toxic exposure to chemicals, such as from welding jobs Head or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) often from falls or having objects dropped on a worker on the job.
As a result of these injuries and illnesses, workers' lives are devastated; their source of income may be compromised, and anxiety and depression may occur, all affecting their their family and other relationships. Many times Workers Compensation benefits are inadequate to pay the medical bills and loss of wages. The "permanency award" finally received is usually an insult, compared to the seriousness of the injury or illness. Consequently, a once productive, income producing worker, may now be required to apply for social security, or use either their pension or other source of savings, if any.
Unfortunately, a potential source of financial recovery for these workers is overlooked: claims against third parties. Most people realize that, under most circumstances ( and there are exceptions), an employee cannot sue his employer or co-worker worker injuries sustained on the job. However, many potential claims against third parties are overlooked and not pursued. Third-party claims can result in financial recoveries for the worker, or their family, significantly larger than that received from a workers compensation claim.
What do I mean by a third party? If there was a car accident, the other driver. If a co-worker, was that co-worker actually a co-worker or working for another contractor at the time? If injured due to a machine, the manufacturer of the machine. If lung damage, the manufacturer of the chemicals, etc... These claims against manufacturers can be based upon the machine, tool, chemical or other item being improperly designed (e.g. lack of safety guards or shields), or it not containing appropriate warning labels. The list of possible claims is too large to list here. The bottom line is that any serious injury or illness sustained at work, should be immediately investigated for the possibility of a third-party claim to inspect whatever caused the injury or illness and preserve it for future use in the claim.
I've represented numerous clients throughout New Jersey who were seriously injured at work and recovered substantial damages for them, by pursuing a third party claim on their behalf.
If you, someone you know or love has been injured at work, or possibly sustained a work related illness, call my office for a free consultation Toll Free at: