Being involved in a car accident might seem to be an impossibility for many in Toms River. Most may trust that their own solid driving skills (which may include defensive driving techniques) will help to avoid collisions. While there may be logic in that line of thinking, it should also be remembered that people cannot control the actions of others, and all it may take is a slight show of negligence by one person on the road to cause an accident that ultimately involves multiple people.
A recent multi-car collision that occurred in Rochelle Park serves as a stark reminder of this. Two vehicles (a tractor-trailer and a Honda Civic) collided on a state highway, following which the tractor-trailer struck a center divider which shot chunks of concrete that struck an approaching vehicle. The occupants of that car escaped, while the truck driver refused to accept any medical care. The four occupants of the Honda Civic all suffered injuries, yet all were reported as being in stable condition (despite one of them being ejected from the vehicle in the collision).
While an investigation into the accident is still ongoing, authorities did issue the truck driver multiple citations. The cited infractions included following too closely, careless driving and attempting to execute an unsafe lane change. On the surface, each of these actions may seem to be minor things (and certainly not indications of bad intentions). Yet they do demonstrate how small acts of carelessness can produce potentially catastrophic results on the road. Oftentimes, the expenses associated with such results can be massive, requiring accident victims to seek added compensation on top of their insurance reimbursements. Such compensation might be easier to secure if one has the experience and expertise of an attorney to rely on.
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 53 percent of adults report they or someone in their household has a pre-existing condition. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation can be denied to employees who need it the most. If your pre-existing condition is aggravated at work, you may struggle with pain and suffering, medical bills and other issues: Are you able to be compensated?
Why some employers turn down claims
A pre-existing condition is a medical condition or injury that is present before you start employment. This is a common defense for employers who don’t want to pay out.
For example, a few years back, you slipped on ice during your shift. You received workers’ compensation, then completed surgery and physical therapy. Now you are working for a new company and you reaggravate your old injury while performing your new job. You have a right to seek workers’ compensation. They may argue that your injury happened before they hired you, even though the aggravation of the injury occurred during your employment with them. What if your claim is denied by your current employer?
Why you deserve compensation
Simply put, if the work accident caused aggravation of the prior condition, then what is aggravated should be covered. Your employer is responsible for what was aggravated by an accident that happened during your employment. It is up to the doctor to clarify the extent of your aggravation.
Next steps to pursuing workers‘compensation
A work-related injury that overlaps with a pre-existing condition is more complicated to claim. To place faith in an insurance provider for compensation is not always enough. If an insurer denies your claim due to your pre-existing condition or injury, you have a right to take that case to court. A good first step is to give a statement to the insurance company with the help of legal counsel. From there, many people find success in receiving workers’ compensation with a doctor’s testimony and strong evidence.
Construction work is a dangerous job in New Jersey. In fact, it ranked as the second-most-deadly job in the state in 2016, according to news site NJ.com. Some 177 construction workers were killed on the job that year, with drivers of heavy trucks and tractor-trailer trucks the only category with a higher fatality rate, 250. In comparison, the third-most-dangerous occupation was the category of laborers and freight, stock and material movers, which claimed 73 workers that year.
New Jersey follows the national norm when breaking down the causes of fatalities, with roadway accidents the leading cause, followed by falls, slips and trips. Additional causes included contact with objects and equipment and exposure to harmful substances. Most often, upper body injuries were the most common occurrence.
Along with having a high fatality rate, the construction industry is also a top place for non-fatal accidents. To improve safety in the workplace, company officials should refrain from blaming workers for the accidents and look at the incident from a different perspective. A Rutger’s University professor suggests examining the system failures that led to the accident and redesigning the workplace, as well as procedures and production processes, to eliminate incidents.
ConstructConnect offers an example for preventing slips and trips. Along with individual workers taking extra precautions around uneven surfaces, there should be safety procedures that call for the immediate cleanup of spills or garbage. Walkways should never be used to store items, even temporarily, as that could prove a hazard, especially on higher surfaces where falls are possible. Requiring non-slip boots and shoes is another measure that companies can take.
These and additional safety measures are also part of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s guidelines. If these measures are not being enforced, workers can contact OSHA and request an investigation while remaining anonymous.