Occupational Illness and Workers’ Compensation

Illness-and-Workers'-Compensation

When you’ve suffered a traumatic injury in the course of your employment in New Jersey, you have a right to seek benefits through a workers’ compensation claim. There are typically only two requirements—that you sustain an injury and that the injury be work-related. But what if you’ve developed a medical or physical condition, or contracted an illness, because of your work. There’s good news—that’s customarily covered by workers’ compensation, too.

As a general rule, workers’ compensation benefits are available for diseases or illness that are brought on or caused by the work environment. This includes any illness caused by exposure to harmful or toxic substances, such as chemicals, silicates, dust or asbestos. Workers’ compensation can also be available for certain conditions caused by stress in the workplace, including heart disease, high blood pressure and psychological challenges (depression, anxiety or panic attacks).

Proving that an Illness is Work-Related

In some circumstances, it can be a relatively straightforward process. For example, if you’ve contracted cancer and there’s a well-established medical link between that cancer and some substance that’s prevalent at your place of employment, the proof can be easy. However, if you have developed what’s known as an “ordinary disease of life,” the proof can be more challenging. With conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems and even some cancers, you’ll likely need significant medical evidence pointing to work conditions.

Pre-Existing Illness

Just because your illness predated your employment does not mean you can’t receive workers’ compensation benefits, but you will likely have more difficulty proving that the disease was work-related. For example, if you were diagnosed with lung cancer before you started work, but were in remission, you may still be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits if you can establish exposure to a substance known to cause lung cancer.

Contact Mallon & Tranger

Don’t ignore a personal injury, regardless of how insignificant it may seem. We offer a free initial consultation to anyone in New Jersey who has been a victim of a personal injury. For a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

The Causes and Treatment of Burn Injuries

Treatment-of-Burn-Injuries

When you’ve suffered a serious personal injury, it can bring your life to a standstill. There’s nothing, however, that compares to the pain and suffering that comes with a serious burn injury. Not only can you experience excruciating physical pain from the burn itself, but you may have substantial scarring or disfigurement, destruction or damage to nerves, impaired flexibility or mobility and even psychological consequences of the accident. It’s also customary to require extensive physical therapy or rehab after a serious burn injury.

According to the American Burn Association, burn injuries remain one of the leading causes of unintentional death and injury in the country, with nearly half a million people suffering burn injuries over a five year period. While 97% of burn victims survive, they often face life-long physical challenges.

The Causes of Serious Burn Injuries

Statistics indicate that most burn injuries are sustained in the home. Serious burns are less likely to be the result of exposure to an open flame than as a result of proximity to heat or exposure to electrical current. Scalds are another common source of serious and catastrophic burn injuries.

Treating a Burn Injury

To effectively treat a burn injury, the first thing doctors need to do is remove damaged or burned skin. When the burn is relatively minor, this will help speed healing, allowing skin to regenerate. However, even if the skin grows back, it may feel or look different, and may not have the elasticity it had prior to the burn.

In the case of a serious burn, your skin may not be able to regenerate on its own. In such a situation, you may need a skin graft, where healthy skin is taken from another part of your body and attached to or grafted on to the damaged area.

Contact the Attorneys at Mallon & Tranger

We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered any type of loss or injury as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another person. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Neptune Township Agrees to Release Sexual Harassment Investigation Report

Investigation Report

Township commissioners for Neptune Township, New Jersey have voted to release a secret report that documented the municipality’s investigation in 2013 of allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination within the township’s police department. The announcement came as township officials faced mounting criticism and scrutiny, as well as legal requests pursuant to lawsuits filed against the township.

The report was ordered by the township committee in 2013 after two female police officers alleged sexual harassment and discrimination. Those officers—Sergeant Elena Gonzalez and Sergeant Christine Savage—both settled their lawsuits, but subsequently filed new actions, alleging that the sexual harassment had not stopped. Citing the unwillingness of township officials to address the allegations of sexual harassment, Officer Gonzalez resigned in April, 2017. A third officer, Kyheem Davis, has also filed legal action against the township, saying he was the victim of retaliation when he publicly corroborated the allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination against Gonzalez and Savage.

Critics of the township say the report was completed and submitted to the township in January, 2014, but township committee member never voted to accept the report, thereby keeping it from becoming a public document. Attorneys for three officers filed subpoenas requesting a copy of the report in 2016, but the court denied the request, saying the document was covered by attorney-client privilege.

The report, prepared by Gregory K. Turner Investigations and Consulting, included interviews with more than 30 witnesses and concluded that there was no harassment directed specifically at either of the female officers. It did indicate that one of the male officers in the department repeatedly pointed his genitals in the direction of female officers and made noises like he was firing a gun.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been the victim of sexual harassment, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Your Options after a Construction Site Injury

Construction Site Injury

It’s well-known that working in the construction industry is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Whether it’s the malfunction or breakdown of tools, machinery or heavy equipment; a fall from a ladder or scaffold, or from an upper level; or injuries sustained from a falling object, the injuries can be serious. There are often options when you’ve suffered a work-related injury on a construction project:

  • Workers’ compensation—Your employer is required to provide workers’ compensation benefits for any injuries caused by company negligence or the carelessness of co-workers. With a workers’ compensation claim, you’ll get a fixed amount of benefits (up to 2/3rds of your average weekly wage) for any time when you cannot work. You may also be entitled to a lump sum settlement or long term benefits for a permanent disability.
  • Negligence by unrelated third parties—If your injuries were caused in part or in whole by someone other than your employer or a co-worker, you can file a lawsuit in civil court seeking damages. There are, however, advantages and disadvantages to this approach. A major advantage—you won’t be limited to the damage amount available through a work comp claim. The disadvantage—it can take months or years for the case to be resolved, and you won’t see anything until it is.

Third party negligence claims can be based on a variety of legal theories. Often, on construction sites, machines and power tools malfunction, providing the legal basis for a product liability claim. If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by someone unrelated to your employer, you can seek damages in a negligence lawsuit.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been injured in the workplace, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Workers’ Compensation—When Your Employer Alleges Independent Contractor Status

Workers' Compensation

When you’ve suffered an injury on the job, and it seems clear that your employer was responsible, it can come as a surprise when the workers’ compensation insurance company initially denies your claim. It’s important to understand that your employer and the insurer both have a vested interest in paying you as little as possible to settle your claim. One of the more frequent defenses that many employers will use is the allegation that you weren’t really an employer, but were actually an independent contractor and should have had your own workers’ compensation insurance.

The first and most important thing to understand is that you are not an independent contractor simply because your employer alleges that you are. In fact, you may even have a contract that states you are an independent contractor, but still be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits as an employee. The Workers’ Compensation Board will attempt to determine the actual nature of your work relationship, applying a number of criteria to determine your status, including:

  • The flexibility of your schedule
  • The degree to which the company determines or directs when, where and how your work is done
  • The amount of training the company provides you
  • The extent to which you are integrated into the business operations of the company
  • The requirement by the company that you perform all the work (as opposed to sub-contracting it)
  • The length or continuity of your relationship
  • Whether or not the company specifies the order in which work gets done

Another thing to remember—you can’t be denied workers’ compensation benefits just because you are an undocumented worker. Typically, there are only two requirements—that you be working for the company and that you suffer injury while on the job.

Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at Mallon & Tranger

We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered a needless injury. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

New Jersey’s Dog Bite Law—Liability and Defenses

Dog Bite Law

A dog is man’s best friend—most of the time. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than four million Americans are bitten by domesticated canines every year, and almost a million of those bites develop some type of infection. New Jersey law imposes what is known as “strict liability” on dog owners, making it easier for victims to recover for their injuries. But there are also specific defenses dog owners may raise.

The Concept of Strict Liability

Under the legal theory of strict liability, the customary requirement in a personal injury lawsuit—that you prove negligence by the defendant—does not apply. Instead, New Jersey law holds that, if the dog bite victim was on public property or was legally on the dog owner’s property at the time of the attack, you only need to show that you were bitten and demonstrate who owned the dog, and that person will be responsible. Accordingly, the courts don’t care if the dog had previously attacked others or if you had any knowledge that the dog was vicious.

Once you establish who owned the dog, that the dog bit you, and that you were either on public property or legally on the owner’s property, you have a right to recover damages for all injuries and property damage.

The concept of strict liability, though, generally applies only to bites, maulings or other attacks by a dog. If a dog chases you into the street and you are hit by a car, the strict liability statute probably won’t apply. In such a circumstance, you would need to file a lawsuit based on negligence.

Defenses to a Dog Bite Lawsuit

There are a number of instances where a dog owner may escape liability:

  • Where the victim was not legally on the property—As a general rule, a trespasser cannot recover damages for injuries caused by a dog attack.
  • Provocation—The New Jersey courts will look at the degree to which the injured person was responsible for the attack. For example, if the victim intentionally provoked or taunted the dog, and the court determines that was the primary cause of the injury, the plaintiff may be prevented from recovering damages.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been the victim of a dog bite or animal attack, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 8773200692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

What to Do When You’ve Suffered a Brain Injury

Suffered a Brain Injury

The human brain is an amazing organism, but it’s also pretty delicate—there’s a good reason it’s encased in the hard shell of the human skull. Often, even a minor jolt to the brain can cause cognitive dysfunction—more than a million people seek medical treatment every year for brain injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). When you’ve sustained a brain injury, there are specific steps you need to take to protect your legal interest.

Get the Medical Care You Need

This is always your first priority. The sooner you seek medical attention, the better your chances of recovery. Furthermore, you minimize the risk of an intervening accident, which might give defense counsel a basis for denying liability.

Hire an Experienced Attorney

Brain injury claims are among the most complex cases to litigate, with highly specialized legal and medical issues. You need a lawyer who understands the causes of brain injury as well as all the potential medical consequences. Your attorney will help you determine whether you have a claim and the legal basis for a lawsuit. In most instances, that claim will be based on allegations of negligence. You’ll need to show that the defendant (the party being sued) had a legal obligation to use a certain level of care and failed to do so; that the accident was a result of that failure; and that you suffered injury as a result of the accident.

Gather and Preserve Evidence

As soon as possible, you want to start compiling evidence to support your claim. When your head is clear, you should write down as much as you can recall about what happened. If there were witnesses, get their contact information—name, phone number, e-mail address, street address—so that your attorney can easily contact them. If possible, take pictures of the scene of the accident, of any injuries you suffered, and of any damage to your personal property.

Contact Mallon & Tranger

Don’t ignore a personal injury, regardless of how insignificant it may seem. We offer a free initial consultation to anyone in New Jersey who has been a victim of a personal injury. For a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Protecting Your Recollection of What Happened in an Accident

Woman neck hurt after car crash

When you are involved in an accident, chances are good that you’ll replay the events over and over in your mind, like a video that keeps looping. You may think you’ll never forget exactly what happened. You may be surprised then, when you’re in a deposition a year later, that everything seems less than clear. It happens to all of us—that’s why it’s a good idea to sit down in the immediate aftermath of events and take notes about what you recall. But you don’t want to just sit down one time and try to remember everything—our brains don’t function very well that way. The better strategy—keep a journal and make notes any time you remember something from the accident. Here are the important things to write down:

  • What happened—This is something that you’ll want to do as soon as possible, perhaps even on the scene, provided you have received all the medical attention you need. Don’t limit yourself to the accident and ensuing events. Note where you were going, why you were going there, who was with you, what time it was and what you did immediately before the accident—this can be an effective way to trigger clear memories in the future.

    Include notes about anything you saw or heard in the moments before the accident, and exactly what you felt at the time of the accident. Also include any comments you heard others make about the accident and get names and contact information for those people, if possible.

  • Your injuries—Keep a journal of everything you see and feel physically in the days, weeks and months following your accident. Make certain to note anything that seems different or out of the ordinary. Don’t focus on the obvious injuries—broken bones or lacerations—and ignore or forget about the seemingly minor injuries. A soft tissue injury can have more long term consequences that a fracture.
  • Economic or other types of losses—Keep receipts for any expenditures related to your injury, from doctor’s bills to repair bills for your car. Keep track of any time lost at work, any changes you had to make on the job to accommodate injuries, or any personal activities you’ve had to forgo because of your injuries.

Contact the Attorneys at Mallon & Tranger

We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered any type of loss or injury as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another person. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-780-0230 for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Uber Struggling to Address Sexual Harassment Reputation

Sexual-Harassment-Reputation

On February 19, 2017, Susan Fowler, a 26-year-old woman who had worked as a reliability engineer at Uber, then industry leader in ride-sharing, published a blog entitled “Reflecting on One Very, Very Strange Year at Uber,” documenting a culture of sexual harassment, coarse language and aggressive sexual predation by men at the company. In her essay, she provided details of a string of messages her manager sent her the first day on the job, including one telling her he was “looking for a woman to have sex with.”

Fowler, who, after one year, quit what she thought would be a dream job at the tech company, says that she took screen shots of the messages and reported her manager to human resources, expecting that they would take action against him. Instead, she was told (falsely, it turns out) that because it was his first offense and he was a high performer, nothing would be done. She was then told that she could either ask for a transfer to another team or expect a bad performance review. She says the rampant sexist behavior decimated the female ranks in the engineering department at Uber, leaving just 6% of the staff female.

In the months following Fowler’s blog post, then CEO Travis Kalanick came under significant scrutiny for his role in fostering the sexually hostile environment. For example, in an interview with GQ, Kalanick famously talked about the company this way “Yeah, we call that Boob-er.” Kalanick initial went on indefinite leave, but subsequently resigned after shareholders demanded he leave. He remains on the company’s board of directors.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been the victim of sexual harassment, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

What Is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?

Emotional-Distress

Under the law, you can seek damages for an injury that is intentionally caused, or one that results from carelessness or negligence. As a practical matter, nearly all personal injury claims are based on a legal theory of negligence. In addition, it’s generally easier to recover for tangible losses, such as wages and income or medical expenses. The law does, however, allow you to pursue compensation for less tangible injury, such as emotional distress. One of the more prevalent claim involves an allegation of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

What Is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?

To constitute intentional infliction of emotional distress, the defendant’s actions must meet the following tests:

  • There was extreme or outrageous conduct
  • Intentionally or recklessly taken
  • That caused severe emotional distress

If the severe emotional distress leads to bodily harm, the defendant will also be liable for damages related to that injury.

Extreme or Outrageous Conduct

As a general rule, the conduct necessary to constitute intentional infliction of emotional distress must be more than merely offensive—it must exceed all reasonable concepts of decency or civility. While ordinary insults typically don’t rise to the level of outrageous conduct, they might when the perpetrator knows that the victim has a unique susceptibility to emotional distress. For example, if the defendant knows that the victim’s child was killed in a car accident, repeated statements about children dying in motor vehicle accidents may be considered outrageous conduct.

Intent or Recklessness

The person causing the emotional distress must act with knowledge or purpose, or with what is considered a deliberate disregard for the consequences of his or her actions.

Severe Emotional Distress

Typically, to successfully prosecute a personal injury claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiff must show that no reasonable person should have to endure the outrageous conduct. Whether or not that has been proven is up to the jury.

Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger

To learn how we can help you if you have been injured in the workplace, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.

Our Office Locations

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Freehold

86 Court Street,
Freehold NJ 07728

Telephone: 732-780-0230
Fax: 732-780-5002

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250 Washington St
Toms River NJ 08753

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3247 Route 88
Point Pleasant NJ 08742

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