NJ workers injured on the job have the right to receive workers’ compensation to cover the costs of medical treatment, wage loss and other compensation, depending on the specifics of the situation. It does not matter whether you contributed in any way to the cause of the accident. Workers’ compensation will pay you regardless of how the work-related injury occurred. This is the law. And it protects workers, but also limits the amount of money they may receive as a result of an injury at work.
Third-Party Accident Claims — Negligence and Suing for Compensation
Workers’ compensation in New Jersey generally will not allow a worker to sue an employer or a coworker for other damages related to the workplace injury. However, if a third party contributed to the cause of the accident or if employer negligence was involved, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation in addition to your separate workers’ compensation benefits.
Even if you contributed in some way to the cause of the accident, this does not bar your potential recovery of compensation in a personal injury claim against your employer. New Jersey has what is called a comparative negligence law, the “51 percent rule.”
The Comparative Negligence 51 Percent Rule
This 51 percent rule means that in any third-party claim in New Jersey, both your role and the defendant’s role will be reviewed. For example, even if a flaw in the design of the machinery you were operating caused the accident, the way that you operated the machinery will also be evaluated for contributory cause. In some cases, the cause of the accident could be a combination of both the injured person’s actions and the defendant’s actions.
You must be evaluated and considered to be less than 51 percent at fault to recover compensation for injuries and other accident-related damages. If, for example, a person is found to be 20 percent negligent in a third-party personal injury claim involving an employer, and the settlement is $200,000, then the compensation settlement package would be reduced by 20 percent. The injured party then would receive a settlement of $180,000, minus attorney’s fees.
If the accident has rendered you unable to return to full-time employment, you probably can anticipate costs stemming from the injury going forward for the rest of your life. A recovery from a personal injury claim can help pay the costs of medical treatment and other damages related to the injury, including pain and suffering.
Contact an Experienced PA and NJ Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Attorney
Find out more about how to protect your rights after suffering a work-related injury. To discuss your concerns with an experienced workers’ compensation and personal injury attorney, please call the Law Offices of Adam M. Kotlar, in Cherry Hill, NJ, or in Feasterville, PA, at Local # :(856) 751-7676. You may also fill out our online intake form.