Construction workers have the largest share of workplace injuries and fatalities across New Jersey, with those working in New York City at even greater risk of being hurt on the job. If you’re a New Jersey construction worker, it’s vital that you understand the state workers’ compensation system as well as your right to file a personal injury lawsuit. Our construction injury lawyers explain the basics of work injury benefits and how to pursue additional compensation by holding a third party responsible for your injuries.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Injured Construction Employees
The New Jersey workers’ compensation system was created to provide immediate medical and wage loss benefits to injured employees without the need to file a lawsuit. Once you report an injury to your supervisor, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer will cover all doctor-authorized medical expenses related to the accident. This includes hospitalization, rehabilitation, prescriptions, and other reasonable medical treatment.
If your construction injury causes you to miss more than seven days of work, you are entitled to wage-replacement payments backdated to the day your accident occurred. Wage benefits are calculated using a percentage of the amount of average weekly wages you were earning before the accident.
Workers’ compensation benefits should continue until your injuries are fully healed, and you can return to work, or you reach a point where your condition is unlikely to improve with further treatment.
If you have fully healed from a construction injury but cannot return to work, you may be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits for permanent disability. The amount you could receive depends on what parts of your body are injured and whether you can perform some work (permanent partial disability) or cannot return to employment at all (total permanent disability).
Permanent total disability benefits are also based on the amount of your average weekly wages and can be paid for a maximum of 450 weeks. While you may be able to extend these benefits, you will need your doctor to attest that you are still totally and permanently disabled.
Filing a Construction Injury Lawsuit After a Work Accident In New Jersey
Most New Jersey workers are prohibited from filing a personal injury lawsuit against their employers if their employer has provided workers’ compensation benefits. However, this protection does not extend to parties other than the employer that could be wholly or partly to blame for causing your construction injury. It will take a thorough investigation to determine whether you could have a third-party lawsuit against someone other than your employer, so it’s essential that you contact a New Jersey construction accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Some negligent third parties that could be legally liable for a New Jersey construction accident include:
- Construction site owners. Construction sites present numerous risks and dangers to those working on them, making it crucial for owners and managers to ensure the safety of their employees. Unfortunately, when an owner is negligent in addressing known hazards, they potentially open themselves up to liability if workers are injured on the site.
- Architects and engineers. Architects have a duty to design safe structures, while engineers should take extensive care when creating detailed plans to ensure the finished building is secure. Design professionals face potential repercussions if their errors or recommendations play a part in injuring a worker.
- Contractors. Contractors are responsible for maintaining a safe working environment per Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. This duty includes warning workers of known hazards and identifying any conditions that could cause harm. If contractors fail to follow OSHA guidelines (such as failing to train employees or install fall protection systems), they could be held responsible for a construction accident.
- Equipment manufacturers. You could hold the manufacturer liable if your injury was caused by a malfunctioning power tool or defective machinery. However, you will have to show that the equipment had a defect that made injuries more likely, such as flimsy eye protection, inadequate safety guards, or failed ladder locks.
Learn Your Options After a New Jersey Construction Work Injury
The construction injury attorneys at Hofmann and Schweitzer aggressively protect the rights of employees and subcontractors who were hurt by the misconduct of a general contractor, property owner, equipment manufacturer, or another negligent party. Call us today at 800-362-9329 to have us explain your next steps at no charge to you, or read our FREE guide, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.