The legal world has a well-earned reputation for sometimes using complex words or phrases to describe a situation when a simpler phrase might work just as well. Truth be known, however, the opposite is also true. Lay people sometimes utilize relatively common, straightforward, everyday phrases to describe complex legal issues and in doing so, they can miss important legal points.
Take, for example, a common phrase used by lay people in workers’ compensation law: The term “hurt on the job.” In most cases, a worker who “is hurt on the job” is entitled to reasonable and necessary medical care related to the injury, and also some sort of payment geared to the loss of his or her income. There are situations, however, when being “on the job” isn’t quite enough.
Consider the Following Hypothetical
For years, an office worker has been advised by his physician to lose weight and get more exercise. Unfortunately, he often forgets to take his medication for hypertension and his physician has indicated that he is borderline diabetic. Were the office worker to sustain a heart attack while working quietly at his desk, a court might well determine that his cardiac event was not related to his employment. While his heart attack did occur “on the job” – he was sitting at his desk at the time he felt the chest pains – “being on the clock” isn’t always enough since a medical expert might indicate the attack might just as easily have occurred while the worker was at home.
Time and Place is Only Part of the Picture
Generally, therefore, showing that an injury occurred during the “time and place” of the workday isn’t usually enough. One must also show that the injury arose out of some risk that is inherent in the employment.
Injury Must Also “Arise From” the Employment
In order for an injury to be said to “arise from the employment,” the job must ordinarily place the worker at some increased risk of injury. There are many, many examples of such an increased risk. Consider any of the following:
- Suppose the office worker was under considerable strain, due to a work-related deadline.
- What if the worker felt legitimate pressures due to an upcoming performance review?
- What if business conditions had resulted in many days of long hours?
- What if the less-than-fit office worker was called upon to do some unusual heavy lifting?
- Instead of an employee with a desk job, consider a construction worker required to work in the hot sun or the cold rain. Environmental conditions can cause an injury or death to “arise” from the employment.
Many Sudden, Traumatic Injuries Meet the Two-Step Proof Requirement
In many cases, where the employee suffers a sudden injury due to some sort of trauma – a slip and fall, being hit by a piece of machinery, being involved in a work-related auto accident, and the like, it is not terribly difficult to show the necessary causal connection between the work and the injury. But, there are many cases in which things aren’t so clear. In such cases, a worker ordinarily cannot recover without the help of a skilled, aggressive workers’ compensation attorney.
You Work Hard; Now Let Us Work Hard For You!
Not all claims are easy to establish, but at Petro Cohen, P.C., we have both the skill and experience required to give you the greatest chance of recovery. 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 by completing our online form. We look forward to discussing your situation with you.