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April 21st, 2017

Financial Compensation in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey Work Injury Lawsuit

Work Accident Injuries in PA & NJ Result in Major Financial Losses

Work accident injuries in Pennsylvania and New Jersey result in major financial losses, from both the employer’s perspective, as well as the employee’s perspective. According to recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, over half of all work accidents in Pennsylvania and New Jersey result in days lost from work or job transfers/work restrictions.  The most recent data available (2015) shows that in Pennsylvania, out of 100 work accidents, about 54 will result in either days lost from work or a job transfer/work restriction. In New Jersey, that number is slightly higher. Out of every 100 work accidents, 60 will result in days lost from work or a job transfer/restriction.

Serious injuries often cause permanent disabilities that affect the ability to return to the same job. A construction worker who can easily lift 50 pounds may find that he is unable to lift even 10 pounds after suffering major spinal injuries in a work accident. When this occurs, a construction worker will not be able to return to the same job. He may be forced to find work with a pay cut. For a union worker, the difference in pay may be substantial. A union carpenter earning $50,000 per year may only be able to find a job that pays $30,000 per year.

Related: Employer Responsibility for a Work Accident

Workers’ Compensation Benefits & Filing an Injury Lawsuit

work injury law firm construction site-minAfter a work accident happens, the worker will usually file a workers’ comp claim. Under Pennsylvania and New Jersey workers’ comp laws, an injured worker can receive medical treatment. Depending on the injuries, there are other types of workers’ comp claims including death claims and specific loss claims for injuries to body parts such as eyes (blindness) or ears (hearing).

In addition, an injured worker can receive indemnity, or wage loss payments. However, the payments are capped by statute. For example, in Pennsylvania, an average worker will receive no more than 66% of their average weekly wage, up to a max of $995 per week. In New Jersey, the average worker will receive up to 70% of their average weekly wage, up to a max of $896.

The max weekly wage amounts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey cause financial hardships for anyone who makes a workers’ comp claim. For example, a worker in New Jersey who earns $1500 per week is injured in a fall accident at work. The injuries result in a 4 month absence from work. During that time, the injured worker can only receive a max of $896 per week. That’s only about half of the individual’s weekly wage.

The reality is that workers’ compensation benefits are limited, in terms of making the worker whole, from a financial standpoint. However, a work injury lawsuit can result in financial compensation. What most workers don’t know is that they have the legal right to file both, a workers’ comp claim and a work injury lawsuit. That’s because workers’ comp benefits are completely separate from work injury lawsuits. This is something most injured workers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey don’t know, or by the time they figure it out, it’s too late. Statute of limitations laws in both states will prevent an individual from filing a lawsuit if they wait too long. In most situations, a work injury lawsuit must be filed within 2 years of the date of the accident.

Financial Recovery in a Work Accident Lawsuit in Pennsylvania or New Jersey

There are a variety of financial compensation claims which can be made in a work accident lawsuit in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. They include claims for actual economic losses like medical treatment bills, out of pocket expenses and lost wages. Out of pocket expenses include household help, lawn care, child care, etc. When presenting economic loss claims, the evidence is fairly simple. All receipts, bills, paystubs, etc., are presented.

In addition, an injured worker also has the right to be compensated for their pain and suffering, the physical pain and mental or emotional anguish caused by an accident and injuries.

There is no way to determine the value of someone’s pain and suffering without evaluating how the injury impacted the person’s ability to live their life. That’s because physical injuries affect people differently. Two people who suffer the same injury can have totally opposite reactions. In addition, permanent symptoms also affect pain and suffering. For example, an office worker who falls down a flight of stairs and breaks their ankle suffers a permanent injury. The individual has decreased range of motion and cannot walk long distances. For someone who was a marathon runner, the long-term impact will be quite serious.

Visit our law library for more information about work injury lawsuits in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Pennsylvania & New Jersey Work Accident Law Firm

Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan handles work accidents throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Our lawyers are licensed in both states and have the resources to handle complex work injury cases. Call for a free consultation.

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