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Workers’ comp. claim denied due to pre-existing condition?

You’re a butcher at the local WalMart. One day as you are carrying a loaded tray of meat back to the freezer, you slip down in a pool of coolant from a leaking refrigerator. When you fall, you are dismayed to learn it’s your right knee that bore the brunt of the fall.

That’s the knee with the ACL that took a direct hit in a high school football game tackle. It was surgically repaired more than 10 years ago, but this newest fall has significantly re-damaged your old injury. You try to file for workers’ compensation but WalMart denies your claim, alleging you never told them of your pre-existing condition.

Do you have recourse?

You do indeed. Your legitimate workplace injury aggravated the pre-existing injury that was previously repaired many years ago. Had it not been for the fall you suffered at work, your surgically-repaired knee would still be serving you quite well at this point.

A similar situation played out in another state’s appeals court — Hyatt Regency Crystal City v. Spencer, Court of Appeals of VA, No. 1007-10-4, 1/25/11. The plaintiff was a cook at a hotel who was injured in a fall in the men’s room. When he sought workers’ compensation benefits, the hotel chain giant blocked his efforts to gain compensation because he had previously sought treatment for an injury in the same location.

The case wound through the courts but the man eventually prevailed and the injury was ruled compensable.

Denied claims more common than people realize

Not every employer will deny a legitimate claim, but it happens more often than it should, with pre-existing injuries cited often in the denials. They try to argue that were it not for that initial injury, the claimant would otherwise be fine.

That is simply not the case for many injuries. For instance, an injured right knee can easily be re-injured in a fall many years after the original injury was surgically corrected. Ditto for a broken wrist on the dominant hand, as that would typically be the arm thrust out automatically to break a fall.

Was your workers’ comp complaint denied?

If your employer denied your legitimate workers’ compensation claim due to a pre-existing condition, don’t take that as your final answer. A Tom’s River workers’ comp. attorney can appeal your denial and get you the compensation you seek.

Family mourns loss of three at hands of underage drunk driver

For residents in New Jersey, the three-day Memorial Day weekend is supposed to be a time to honor and remember the lives of those who died while serving in the nation’s military. Unfortunately for some people, it ends up becoming a marker of other tragedies and losses. This is likely to be the case for a family in New Jersey who lost three of its members in a single accident over this weekend this year.

Nine relatives were travelling together from New Jersey to Niagara Falls for the holiday weekend according to NJ.com. In their vehicle were four adults and five children between the ages of four and 14. When in an intersection along a stretch of Route 20A about 30 miles from Buffalo, the were abruptly hit by a drunk driver who failed to stop at the stop sign when coming from the other direction.

The impact resulted in two women being thrown from the vehicle even though they were wearing seatbelts at the time. The women were an adult daughter and her mother. Both were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. One of the children in the vehicle was the four-year-old little girl of the mother and grandmother who died at the scene. That little girl was taken to a hospital but died as well.

The remaining children were all injured and required hospitalization. They include two other four-year-olds, a 10-year-old and a 14-year-old. The other two adults also required transport to the hospital. The drunk driver was 20 years old and now faces multiple criminal charges.

 

Why do people still text and drive?

In New Jersey, plenty of dangers exist on the roads. Distracted driving is an umbrella term for many of them, including one that has gotten quite a lot of press lately. This is texting while driving, an issue that some professionals are saying will one day surpass the dangers of driving under the influence.

Despite knowing that distracted driving is risky, CBS News claims that many people continue texting while driving despite the dangers. They also ask a critical question: why exactly do people still do it if they know it’s dangerous?

The answers are surprisingly varied. Some people feel as though they are expected to answer texts and messages immediately, no matter what they are doing. This can be for business matters or even just for personal acquaintances. Others fear they are missing out on things if they aren’t constantly checking their phone. Some admit to having an addiction to texting, while others claim that texting or checking the phone is simply a force of habit.

Perhaps alarmingly, a number of drivers who admit to texting also believe that their ability to focus on driving is not impaired by doing multiple things behind the wheel. This is despite many studies proving otherwise, showing that even one second without your eyes and attention on the road can be enough to lead to a fatal crash.

If you were harmed in a crash caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Consider seeking the opinion of an attorney if you would like to know where to take your case next.

Drowsy driving is linked with dangerous outcomes

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 800 people were killed in 2017 because of drowsy driving. Yet, many people still do not realize how dangerous drowsy driving can be.

Falling asleep at the wheel can obviously lead to accidents. However, driving while tired can be dangerous even if you do not fall asleep at the wheel. When you are tired, you may be less attentive to the road, you may have a slower reaction time and you may have a reduced ability to make good decisions. These are some of the same impairments you would have if you were driving drunk.

Know when you are too tired to drive

You may be too tired to drive if you are yawning or blinking frequently. Also, you are probably too tired to drive if you keep missing your exit, if you catch yourself drifting from your lane or if you have a hard time remembering the past few miles driven.

Although everyone should be able to recognize when they are too tired to drive, some drivers may have a higher risk for drowsy driving than others. Drivers with a higher risk can include:

  • Commercial drivers
  • Shift workers
  • People with untreated sleep disorders
  • People who use medications that make them tired

Take steps to prevent being drowsy when you drive

The best way to prevent drowsy driving is to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. However, if you still feel tired after a full night’s sleep, you may benefit from talking to your doctor. You could have an undiagnosed sleep disorder, or your medications could be making you drowsy.

If possible, try to avoid driving late at night or early in the morning during your body’s natural sleep period. If you work a late shift, consider having someone give you a ride home.

Drowsy driving can be a danger to you and to others on the road. However, by getting enough sleep and taking other appropriate steps, you can help reduce your risk of being involved in a drowsy driving accident.

Hearing loss America’s most common workplace injury

Listen up, those of you who work in moderately loud work environments across New Jersey: You face an especially high risk of work-related hearing loss, and there are things you and your employer should be doing to protect your hearing. At Rosenberg, Kirby, Cahill, Stankowitz & Richardson, we recognize that hearing loss has become a widely prevalent problem for America’s workforce, and we have helped many people whose hearing suffered as a result of their work environments pursue appropriate recourse.

According to USA Today, work-related hearing loss has become so common across the United States that it is now the most frequent work-related injury experienced by American employees. In fact, about 22 million American workers undergo exposure to dangerous noise levels every year, and this costs the nation about $242 million annually in hearing loss-related workers’ compensation costs.

While common sense may tell you that your risk of suffering work-related hearing loss increases alongside the decibel level in your work environment, research shows that this is not actually the case. Instead of those who work in the loudest environment facing the highest risk of work-related hearing loss, it is actually those who work in settings that are “moderately loud” who face the most substantial hearing loss risk. Why?

Typically, those who work in extremely loud work settings know the risks associated with prolonged exposure to loud noise, and because of this knowledge, they are more consistent when it comes to wearing ear protection while at work. In moderately loud work environments, though, the risks are less obvious and not as well-documented, and this can lead workers in these environments to “take their chances” when it comes to protecting their hearing. You can find out more about workers’ compensation issues on our webpage.

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