Working in construction is dangerous. In fact, many data sources say that it is the most dangerous occupation in the United States. Our attorneys represent construction workers in New Jersey who have been injured in job site accidents, and we know that many workers have concerns about what might happen to their employment after they get injured on the job.
While this is a complicated subject, the basic rules are fairly simple. In this article, our attorneys explain (i) construction workers’ legal rights after on-the-job accidents in New Jersey, and (ii) the steps you can (and should) take to protect your legal rights if you have been injured on the job.
Can You Be Fired If You Get Injured on the Job?
If you are a construction worker in New Jersey, there is a good chance that you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Not all construction workers are covered, but many are. If you qualify, you can file a claim for benefits, and your employer cannot fire you based on the fact that you exercised your statutory right to secure benefits for your job-related injury.
New Jersey Law Prohibits Retaliation in Employment
This is referred to as “retaliation,” and it is illegal under New Jersey law. The retaliation provisions of New Jersey’s workers’ compensation statute also prohibit employers from taking other adverse employment actions against employees who file for workers’ compensation. For example, your employer cannot cut your hours or assign you to a less-desirable job site, and it cannot deny you benefits that are offered to your coworkers based on the fact that you filed for workers’ compensation.
Employers Can Terminate Injured Employees for Legitimate (Non-Retaliatory) Reasons
However, filing for workers’ compensation does not guarantee you a job when you return from being out of work. If your employer has a legitimate reason for terminating your employment, it can do so while you are out on workers’ comp. For example, if a major project ends and the company no longer needs as many employees, it can lay you off, and doing so will not constitute retaliation.
In appropriate circumstances, construction companies can also fire injured construction workers “for a cause.” For example, if you got hurt because you were being reckless or you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your employer may have grounds to terminate your employment immediately. In order to determine whether your termination is lawful or constitutes illegal retaliation, you will need to review the facts of your case with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer.
What Should You Do to Protect Your Legal Rights after a Construction Accident?
In order to protect your legal rights after a construction accident in New Jersey, you should hire an attorney to help you file your workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to help you take all of the necessary steps to collect the benefits you deserve, including:
- Documenting the Cause of the Accident. While workers’ compensation provides “no-fault” benefits for injured workers, you still must be able to prove that you got injured on the job. Your attorney can help you gather and present the necessary documentation in order to prove your claim for benefits.
- Filing Your Claim on Time. You only have a limited amount of time to file your workers’ compensation claim, and filing promptly can help provide protection in the event that your employer attempts to terminate your employment.
- Proving Your Medical Treatment Needs and the Effects of Your Injuries. Your attorney can help ensure that you receive appropriate medical treatment and that you receive full coverage for the costs of diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.
- Making Sure You Receive Maximum Disability Coverage. In addition to medical benefits, if your injuries prevent you from working while you are getting authorized medical treatment, then you are entitled to wage replacement (or “temporary disability”) benefits as well.
- Determining If You Have a Claim Outside of Workers’ Compensation. If you are not eligible for workers’ compensation, then you will need to determine if you have grounds to file a personal injury claim against your employer. Additionally, even if you are eligible for workers’ comp, it is possible that you could have a third-party claim that you could file to secure additional compensation.
Are You Entitled to Financial Compensation for Your Construction Accident?
Were you injured in a construction accident in New Jersey? If so, our workers’ comp attorneys can help you recover your losses and protect you against retaliation, if necessary.
Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo has been consistently recognized as one of New Jersey’s leading firms in the area of Workers’ Compensation. The workers’ comp attorneys at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo have a wealth of experience handling construction accident cases, as well as many other types of workers’ compensation claims.
There are no upfront fees to cover. Our attorney fees are actually set by the Workers’ Compensation Court and are ONLY paid after the lawyer is successful in obtaining benefits for you. By law, the fee cannot exceed 20% of your recovery.
Although the system is designed to have the court review every case to be sure that the insurance company compensates you properly, you must retain a lawyer to file a Petition arranging for judicial review. Without a skilled New Jersey workers’ comp lawyer to file the Petition, you will receive whatever the insurance company decides to voluntarily pay; the court system will not be involved.
As many of our clients will attest, having New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys from Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo by your side can be invaluable. We encourage you to check out the many client testimonials our clients have provided.
Our experienced NJ work injury attorneys are always available to talk with you and provide additional information on workers’ benefits, wage claim, workplace injury, wage loss, and workers’ compensation settlement.
To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a skilled workers’ compensation attorney at Petro Cohen as soon as possible, call us at 888-675-7607 or tell us about your accident online now.