Some Work-Related Injuries Are Sudden
When many New Jersey workers hear the term “work-related injury,” they naturally contemplate a sudden, traumatic incident – falling from a ladder, cutting a finger with a circular saw, or the sudden flare up of pain in the low back from lifting a heavy object. Indeed, those sorts of injuries are all too common. They are also generally compensable under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation law.
Other Injuries Can Take Years to Become Evident
But there’s another type of injury – one that cannot be so easily identified or isolated to a particular time or occurrence. It’s the sort of WEAR and TEAR™ that occurs in the body – particularly the low back, neck or shoulders – of a cocktail server or banquet attendant who labors for years in an Atlantic City casino. Lifting heavy trays, slowly putting them down – no single movement causes significant damage to the worker; it’s the accumulation of thousands of movements over time that does the damage.
It may develop over the course of numerous months or years, but it’s the sort of slow, gradual, but very real trauma to the wrists and hands of a secretary or data entry person who labors at a desk each day. It’s the sort of consistent, pounding, micro-trauma felt in the body of a heavy machinery operator who works at construction projects. The effect that these sorts of gradual injuries can have on the body is every bit as real, every bit as debilitating, as the sudden, visible, forceful trauma experienced in a traumatic accident.
The Adjuster Will Likely Deny Your Claim
The trouble is, if you talk to an insurance adjuster about a gradual, WEAR and TEAR™ injury, you may quickly be shrugged off. He or she will say something like, “We can’t pay a claim like that; it’s just part of the ordinary aging process.” The adjuster may even point you to a New Jersey statute, N.J.S.A. 34:15-31, which provides, in part, that “deterioration of a tissue, organ or part of the body … due to the natural aging process thereof is not compensable”.
You think to yourself, “Wait a minute, over time, the piece of heavy equipment wears out and the employer has to pay to replace it. Why shouldn’t the same rules apply to the worker who gets worn out through years of diligent, loyal service?”
Many WEAR AND TEAR™ Injury Claims Can Be Successful
The good news is that, in many cases, a diligent worker who has devoted years, or even months to an employer – or to an industry under a number of employers – can recover workers’ compensation benefits, including medical care, for the slow, insidious, WEAR and TEAR™ to a spine, to hands, or to some other part of the body.
You Work Hard; Now Let Us Work Hard For You!
If you have suffered from a gradual, WEAR and TEAR™ injury from your workplace activities, you may well have a valid workers’ compensation claim that can provide relief. While these sorts of gradual or repetitive trauma claims are not always easy to establish, at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo, we have both the skill and experience required. We have helped many hard-working folks just like you.
Call or contact us for a free consultation. Talk with a hard-working New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer to find out how to recover money to pay for your medical treatment, physical therapy, and lost earnings. We can be reached by phone at 888-675-7607 or you can complete our online form. We look forward to discussing your situation with you.