It can be difficult to think clearly about protecting your rights in the aftermath of a serious accident. You may be more concerned about treating the injuries that you experienced, worried about when you will be able to return to work, or dealing with head injuries that make it difficult to think clearly at all.
Although your immediate health and safety are always of paramount importance, once your immediate needs are addressed, it is important to think carefully about how you efficiently and effectively alert your employer to your workplace injury and preserve your workers’ compensation claim. These four steps will help you to accomplish this goal.
Collecting Evidence in Cape May Court House
In the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to think calmly about what has occurred. But if possible, anyone who experiences a slip and fall injury, whether at work or elsewhere, should do their best to collect evidence about the scene of the accident as close as possible to when the accident occurred.
Conditions can change quickly, especially in a workplace environment, which is why it is important to try to capture the scene so that it represents the conditions at the time you fell. For example, is there an uneven surface or cracked step that caused your fall? If so, you will want to take pictures of that. If there was a spill, you will also want to try to get evidence of the liquid on the floor.
Documenting lack of signage, lack of sufficient lighting, and other dangerous conditions can also go a long way toward helping to prove your workers’ compensation claim. As the claimant, you bear the burden of showing your injury occurred on the job. Photographic documentation or other evidence can go a long way toward establishing your claim.
Look for Witnesses
In addition to collecting objective evidence of your accident, it can also be helpful to have the live testimony of individuals who watched your slip and fall happen. For example, if you fell because of another employee’s carelessness or because of a temporary obstacle on the floor, you may not be able to capture this with a photo. But a witness in the area at the time can testify that the fall occurred.
In most instances, getting the name and contact information of the witness and talking briefly with them about what they observed can be sufficient at the time. If their testimony is later needed, you can reach out to them to facilitate that process. If, however, you have reason to believe the witness may move away, be unavailable, or become uncooperative, you may want to try to secure a written or recorded statement as soon as possible. An attorney can assist you with this process.
Notify Your Employer
After you have dealt with your immediate medical needs and collected any urgent evidence that you need to collect, you should notify your employer about your accident as soon as possible and let them know that you have a workers’ compensation claim.
This will preserve your claim and ensure that you do not run out of time. It will also get the workers’ compensation process started so that you can get compensation for your medical treatment and time out of work.
Reach out to a New Jersey Attorney to Protect Your Rights
Before or after you have alerted your employer to your workers’ compensation claim, you should reach out to an experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to get further advice on your legal rights.
In the aftermath of an accident, many insurers will try to reach out to an employee immediately to get their statement about what occurred. The questions that the insurer may ask you or the information they may request is often targeted toward giving the insurer a basis to deny your claim. Before you provide any information to an insurance company, you should first consult with an attorney.
A workers’ compensation attorney can also help you negotiate with the insurance company and develop the evidence necessary to support your claim. Particularly where the cause of your slip and fall may be unclear or there were no witnesses available, strategizing with an attorney can be very helpful.
In the State of New Jersey, every worker is entitled to workers’ comp benefits regardless of the size of the employer or the length of time the employee he or she has been employed. In fact, you are eligible even on your very first day of employment.
To make sure that you receive all of the benefits that you rightfully deserve, we strongly recommend contacting a competent New Jersey work injury attorney who will serve as an advocate for you and help guide you through the entire process. Regardless of which attorney you choose, you should never be asked to pay fees up front. 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.
There are three benefits associated with workers’ compensation, which many people do not realize. These three benefits are temporary disability benefits, medical treatment, and permanent partial disability. All too often, injured employees leave money on the table because they are not aware of the full scope of benefits. When you work with our experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers, we will work hard to be sure you receive all of the benefits that you deserve.
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 a New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer from Petro Cohen by your side can be invaluable. We encourage you to check out the many client testimonials our clients have provided.
At Petro Matarazzo Petro Cohen, our workers’ compensation attorneys are available to assist you at every stage of the workers’ compensation process – whether immediately after your fall or when your claim has already been denied. For more information, contact us online or at (888) 675-7607.