Month: February 2018


Can I Still Sue if I Signed a Waiver?

The activities your children participate in daily can result in injury. It is not uncommon for a school-sponsored or public activity to require parents to sign a waiver before allowing your child to participate. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of parents who insist that other parents sign waivers for kids to take part in play dates or birthday parties. You may wonder whether such documents are legally binding. Can you really sign away your children’s rights to receive compensation if they suffer an injury?

Waivers have limits in New Jersey

Parents commonly labor under the misconception that once they sign such a waiver, they cannot bring a claim for any subsequent injuries regardless of whether the injuries were caused by someone’s negligence. Under New Jersey law, injury liability waivers are generally enforceable if:

They do not adversely affect the public interest.
They do not involve a public utility or common carrier.
They do not grow out of unequal bargaining power.
They are not unconscionable (i.e., shockingly unfair).
The party that is seeking the waiver owes no legal duty to the waiving party.
Never assume that a waiver you signed is enforceable. If you or someone you love suffered an injury because of someone else’s negligence, consult a New Jersey personal injury lawyer who can evaluate your case and determine whether you have a viable claim.

Workers Compensation

Do Workers Compensation Benefits Cover Preexisting Conditions?

Recent reports indicate that as many as half of Americans younger than 65 suffer from a preexisting condition that insurance companies cite to either deny or limit health benefits. Indeed, some workers compensation carriers have a pattern of denying claims on the ground that the injured worker suffers a preexisting problem. Injured workers should not accept such denials. While prior health conditions can complicate your claim for benefits, they do not necessarily prevent coverage.

A workers compensation preexisting injury is different

The meaning of “preexisting” under New Jersey workers compensation law is quite different than in other insurance contexts. Typically, preexisting means something that existed before the event at issue. For example, if you suffered back pain prior to a work-related accident in which you injured your back, then your medical insurance might preclude you from receiving full medical benefits. For purposes of a workers compensation claim, however, preexisting conditions are those in which a new work injury aggravates a prior work injury involving the same body part or parts.

Preexisting work injury condition aggravated by the current injury

If your new injury aggravates an injury from a previous work place accident, then your benefits can be reduced slightly to account for the prior claim. Your employer should pay for your medical treatment related to this new work-related injury and for temporary disability benefits if you are unable to work.

Preexisting condition unrelated to prior work injury

Some preexisting conditions stem from people’s natural aging processes or a prior injury unrelated to work. If your current work injury aggravates a non-job-related preexisting condition, workers compensation may still cover you to the extent that your worsened condition can be attributed to the new work-related injury.

Preexisting condition unaffected by current work injury

If your current work injury does not affect your preexisting condition, then it should have little or no impact on your claim for benefits. Your private insurance should continue coverage for your treatment of your preexisting condition, and your employer should cover your medical bills related to your work injury.

A New Jersey workers compensation attorney can help you determine whether you should complete a claim for an aggravated condition or a new workers compensation claim.