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Is My Injury Job Related?

New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney explains how injuries must arise out of the scope and in the course of employment

At the Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg, we advise our clients that to collect workers’ compensation benefits, their injury must be job related, though it’s not always clear what job related means. Courts have held that the injury must “arise out of your employment” and occur “in the scope” and “in the course” of employment. Do the circumstances of your injury fit this technical language?

Arising out of employment — This means that work-related activity must be a major contributing factor, such as lifting boxes causing a back strain or typing triggering carpal tunnel syndrome.

In the scope — The activity that was the contributing factor in your injury has to be something that an employee with your job would be expected to do. A receptionist who shoots herself with a nail gun must explain how that activity fits her job description.

In the course — The injury must occur while you are working. Break time injuries fall into a gray area. Regularly scheduled breaks in designated areas are generally covered.

Common challenges to proving an injury was job related

At the Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg, we encounter many injury scenarios that test the limits of the definition of “work related.” Examples include:

Social events — Company-sponsored social events are tricky, because the employer would argue that parties and softball games convey no benefit on the company and are strictly for the benefit of the employees. Employees, however, tend to think that attendance is expected, so these events are part of the job.

Commuting — Your travel from home to work is generally not covered by workers’ comp, because that activity conveys no benefit on your employer, but there are several exceptions. Travel from your regular workplace for an off-site meeting is covered, as are errands for the boss on the way to or from work.

Traveling — Business trips are covered; however, if you’re a traveling salesperson with no true worksite, you are covered when traveling directly to or from a sales call, but not for time spent deviating from the direct route.

Prohibited conduct — You may still collect workers’ comp benefits for your injuries even if your own misconduct was a contributing factor. The decision may ride on whether your employer knew of the misconduct prior to your accident and, though it was technically against the rules, did not discourage or discipline employees who participated.

Pre-existing conditions — If you have a pre-existing condition, and can prove that your regular job activities worsened it, you may be covered. The key may be to show that the previous injury had cleared up and your work activity caused a recurrence.

If your case falls into any of these gray areas, you truly need capable representation from an experienced workers’ comp attorney. The Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg provides diligent care whether you’re filing a claim for the first time, appealing a denial or trying to reach a disability settlement.

Contact our experienced workers’ comp attorneys to discuss your job-related injury

Act now to protect your rights to workers’ comp benefits for your job-related injuries. The Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg assists injured workers in Bergen County and throughout northern New Jersey. To schedule a free consultation, contact our dedicated and compassionate attorneys online or by calling 201.371.5276. Se habla español.

BlogDog Bites

New Jersey Dog Bites — Civil and Criminal Remedies

Dog bites send some 368,000 victims to hospitals nationwide every year. Fortunately, most dog bites don’t cause fatal injuries, but they can result in serious damage to nerves and tissues. Some dog bites cause permanent disfigurement as well as emotional and psychological trauma.

Two male pit mixes recently attacked a 49-year-old Plainfield man as he rode his bicycle down a residential street. The dogs ran from a porch through an unlatched gate and bit several parts of the man’s body, including his calf, ankle, forearm and buttocks. Paramedics treated his wounds at the scene and then transported him to the hospital. The humane society took the dogs until the court issues an order. If the court deems the dogs vicious based on their history of attacking people, the humane society could be ordered to euthanize the dogs.

Criminal assault by animal?

Some owners train their dogs to attack other people. New Jersey lawmakers introduced a bill to criminalize assault by animal. Under Bill A1717, you are guilty of fourth-degree assault if you purposely use an animal to intimidate a person. If the dog injures a person, it is a third-degree crime. If the dog injures a police officer, it’s a second-degree crime.

Take legal action and get compensation for injuries

Criminal charges against dog owners are separate from civil penalties the owners face for injuries caused by their dog. New Jersey laws hold a dog owner legally liable even if the dog has not previously exhibited a propensity to bite people.

Dog bite survivors can seek financial compensation for:

Medical expenses
Physical therapy
Lost wages
Mental anguish
Physical pain
If you or a loved suffered a dog bite injury, contact a New Jersey dog bite attorney before agreeing to any settlement of your claim.

Traffic Offenses

Effective Defense to Reckless Driving Charges in New Jersey

Bergen County attorneys protect accused drivers from excessive charges
At five penalty points, a reckless driving charge is a serious violation in itself and a devastating addition to other charges, such as speeding or DWI. A reckless driving conviction can lead to an immediate license suspension, burdensome fines and staggering insurance increases. In some cases, a two-month jail sentence is possible. If you’re facing a hearing for reckless driving, it is vital to have an experienced defense attorney with you in court. At the Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg, we’re ready to fight for a dismissal or a reduction in charges to save you money and preserve your driving privileges.

New Jersey’s burden of proof for reckless driving charges
The text of New Jersey’s reckless driving law, N.J.S.A. 39:4-96, reads:

“A person who drives a vehicle heedlessly, in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving and be punished by imprisonment in the county or municipal jail for a period of not more than 60 days, or by a fine of not less than $50.00 or more than $200.00, or both.”

The statute requires the prosecution to prove a mental state bordering on deliberate endangerment of others. Yet, very often officers write a reckless driving citation along with a speeding ticket when the facts don’t support such a conclusion, forcing prosecutors to use scant evidence to convince a judge that additional punishment is warranted. Our attorneys use their trial experience to challenge the state’s case and expose weaknesses in the evidence. For drivers with otherwise clean records, we’ve had great success negotiating these five-point traffic violations down to careless driving, which is a two-point violation, or getting the ticket dismissed altogether.