Emotional Distress and Monetary Compensation in New Jersey

Emotional distress is a type of mental health temporary disorder or anguish experienced due to an incident caused on purpose or by negligence.

Emotional Distress and Monetary Compensation in New JerseyThe court accepts emotional distress as a personal injury that can be eligible for compensation by filing a civil lawsuit. You would need to provide sufficient evidence or proof that someone else is responsible for causing your emotional distress or trauma to validate your claim.

In most scenarios, for an emotional distress claim to be approved, you would be required to have sustained physical injuries due to an incident. However, cases of victims suffering emotional distress damages have recently been deemed valid, even if there is no evidence of physical harm or visible injuries.

Is Emotional Distress Considered Part Of A Claim?

Insurance coverage will cover a portion or all of the damages, depending on the liability determined for each case. Still, there are sometimes left-over out-of-pocket expenses that you also need to consider and honor. You can quickly calculate how much income you have stopped receiving or paid out towards fully recovering from an injury or accident by just adding up receipts, medical bills, invoices, and pay-stubs.

Yet other expenses are less obvious and trickier to predict. When the injury extends to mental wellbeing, it is far more difficult to calculate how much you will require to invest in the future to make a full recovery. When is it advisable to file for monetary compensation to recuperate from emotional grievances in New Jersey?

There are two widespread scenarios:

Emotional and Physical Distress (Pain and Suffering)

Whenever a car accident or slip and fall are due to negligence, the mental health and emotional injuries caused by the event will usually fall under the “non-economic” damages portion of the insurance coverage, which would, of course, include what is known as pain and suffering. No limit or highest rate (“cap”) has been established in New Jersey regarding the total amount of damages you deem suitable.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED)

In New Jersey, if another party deliberately provokes a scenario to cause you an emotional wreck, it is thus classified as an unlawful act or tort known as IIED or “Intentional infliction of emotional distress.” However, negligence is easier to prove in court than this tort. In the case of Buckley v. Trenton Saving Fund Society, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed that to presume another party as liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the injured subject is obligated to prove one of the following:

  • The other party performed a reckless or intentional action to cause emotional distress.
  • The other party’s actions were “so flagrant in character, and so severe, as to surpass any possible limits of decency, and therefore considered heinous, and ultimately intolerable in a civilized community.”
  • The other party’s actions caused emotional distress,
  • The emotional distress experienced was “far greater than what any reasonable person is expected to endure.”

Contact our Woodland Park, NJ Pedestrian Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers for a Free ConsultationEmotional and psychological harm, such as but not limited to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are as equally detrimental and disabling as physical injuries. Stress-related symptoms such as feeling overwhelmed, fatigue, poor problem-solving, social withdrawal, changes in behavior, feelings of sadness, loss of emotional control, and frustration are a few of the many ways in which PTSD may affect your life and therefore be eligible for monetary compensation.

Contact our Woodland Park, NJ Pedestrian Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one have suffered from extreme emotional distress caused by somebody else’s intentional act or negligence, talk to an experienced New Jersey personal injury compensation lawyer who can assist you in better comprehending and exploring your legal options.

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, our experienced team of attorneys is ready to stand in your corner.  If you live in Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and the greater Mercer County area.  You can call us at 609.528.2596 or contact us through our online contact form.

Disability Discrimination in the Workplace in New Jersey

Discrimination by an employer or a potential employer because of a disability is prevalent across the country, even though it is illegal.

When dealing with matters of employer discrimination, it is important to take on the issue at the state level, because federal protections for employees’ rights in the workplace are not as strong as state protections in New Jersey. In other states, such as New York, where state protections are not as strong, plaintiffs look to federal regulations to fight their employment discrimination claims in court.

What are state laws applying to discrimination policy?

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination states that it is against state law to discriminate or otherwise harass someone in the workplace on the basis of race, nationality, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, breastfeeding, disability, marital or domestic partner status, family status, genetic information, age, or liability for military service. While this applies to employment – it is illegal to limit hiring practices based on any of the above or discriminate once a person is already a company employee – it also applies to New Jersey housing, places of public accommodation, credit, and business contracts.

What are federal laws regarding discrimination?

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) federally prohibits discrimination based on disability for companies with 15 or more employees. If a company is charged with discrimination based on disability, according to the ADAAA, the employee can seek damages equal to those available under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, its 1977 Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. 1981), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which provide for compensatory damages in the case of intentional violations of Title VII. Such compensatory damages could include back pay, front pay, and other compensatory and punitive damages. However, while there are a broad range of protections for employees under federal law, a precedent has been set that federal court judges often side with businesses and corporations as it regards employee discrimination, and an individual charge brought to the federal court for such an offense may be dropped.

What is legally considered a disability?

According to the original Americans with Disabilities Act, a disability is defined as

  • a physical or mental impairment greatly limiting capacities or major life activities
  • having the record of such an impairment, or
  • being regarded as having such an impairment.

Over the decades, the legal jargon regarding what constitutes a disability has not changed much, though its interpretation in court has greatly shifted. Due to this shift, the courts see disability under a much broader spectrum, as well as its interpretations of the major life activities and bodily functions that are limited by disability, as noted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC reiterates that ‘major life activities’ include, but are not limited to, the capacities to

  • Care for oneself
  • See
  • What is legally considered a disability?Hear
  • Eat without the support of tubes
  • Sleep a reasonable amount
  • Perform manual tasks
  • Stand up
  • Walk with or without support
  • Lift light objects
  • Bend the joints of the body
  • Speak clearly
  • Breathe without the support of a device

Bodily functions whose absence of function would be considered disability include

  • How to file a complaint with the New Jersey CourtsImmune system function
  • Digestive function, including the bowels and urinary function
  • Brain function
  • Nervous system function, which could include post-traumatic stress that affects the proper functioning of the nervous system
  • Circulatory system function, as well as all heart-related issue
  • Endocrine system function, including the balanced operation of the hormones
  • Reproductive function

How to file a complaint with the New Jersey Courts

A complaint of disability discrimination in the workplace will need to be filed with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR). Upon filing a complaint, the DCR will investigate the complaint and determine whether there is or is not probable cause to support your allegations. If the Director of the DCR finds that the investigative process affirms probable cause for a claim, your case will proceed to the Office of Administrative Law, whose judge will issue a finding. The Director of the DCR will review the Administrative Law Office’s review and either adopt its ruling or overturn it. During this process, it is imperative that you have the legal support of an experienced attorney.

Disability Discrimination Attorneys Serving Clients in Mercer, Middlesex, Bucks and Philadelphia Counties

At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our team is experienced in ensuring the rights of our clients in Trenton office, Princeton, Lawrence, Hamilton, New Brunswick, and across Mercer County in all matters of disability discrimination in the workplace.

To schedule a consultation with an experienced member of our firm today regarding your case, please call us at (609) 528-2596 or go online to schedule a free, no-risk consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

What if my employer wants me to sign an agreement after an accident?

Experienced Attorneys Advising Clients on work-related agreements in Hamilton, Trenton, Levittown, Ewing, and across Mercer County Area

What if my employer wants me to sign an agreement after an accident?If you have been injured at work, your employer may want you to sign an agreement.  Never sign an agreement without speaking with an attorney, no matter how favorable the agreement sounds or how much pressure you are facing from an employer.  

Every day, people wake up and head to work to earn a living for their families and themselves.  Most people work because they have no choice and need income to survive. If you cannot work, it is almost impossible to financially survive and the impact upon your personal life can be devastating. An accident at work can destroy your financial and personal life. 

Accidents/Injuries at Work

Unfortunately, work-related injuries and accidents happen all the time. Whether you work in an office or work on a construction site, you are susceptible to accidents and corresponding injuries.  For example, if you work in an office, you can slip and fall and break a bone and thus need time off of work for recovery and medical treatment. Similarly, if you work in a factory, it is possible for a machine to malfunction and cause you to lose a finger or limb.  In some cases, you can be injured while driving in a work vehicle or become involved in a car accident on company time. After the accident occurs you may be approached by your employer to settle the claim.

Pressure by Employers to Settle a Claim

The accident and injuries are devastating, not only because you have pain, but also because you may not be able to work and are facing increasing pressure to settle a claim with your employer.  Your employer may approach you and offer to pay you a settlement if you sign an agreement. Unfortunately, you and others may feel compelled to sign the agreement out of fear of losing your job or because you need the money.  Do not sign the agreement without speaking to an attorney

Why would my employer ask me to sign an agreement?

Why would my employer ask me to sign an agreement?Your employer is without a doubt in the business of making money, not giving out money.  He wants to protect his own interest in the company and limit his exposure to paying out large sums for injuries.  Keeping this in mind when offered an agreement to settle for injuries sustained on the job will help you understand that he does not have your best interests in mind. Only you have your best interests at heart in the situation.

Even if your employer has insurance, the insurance company, like your employer, is in the business of making money, not spending it.  Therefore, insurance companies and employers alike want to limit their exposure to claims. To do so, they often offer up small sums to cap their ultimate financial exposure related to a work-place accident.  Similarly, while your employer may have insurance, he knows that the higher the payout on a claim or being involved in litigation will expose him to higher premiums and litigation costs against him and his business.  

The Agreement seems favorable to me – Why shouldn’t I sign it?

Simply put, you have no way of knowing whether an agreement is favorable unless you take it to an attorney.  Attorneys have the knowledge and experience needed to carefully evaluate your injuries and the proposed agreement.  

Consult our Trenton Work Injury Injury Attorneys for answers todayAdditionally, you do not know what medical treatment may be necessary or how you will be impacted by your injuries in the future.  What seems like a simple injury can turn out to be more serious over time. Say for example that you cut your finger at the joint while at work.  You go to the hospital and the doctor says that it is a simple fix and that only stitches are needed. Your employer offers you a thousand dollars to cover the bill and to forego any future claims.  Unfortunately, after several months, you notice that you have no feeling in your finger and that it locks into place causing a lack of mobility and severe pain. You can no longer do your job because absolute precision utilizing your hand is necessary. After seeing another doctor, you find out that you severed a tendon and that there is permanent nerve damage and surgery is needed.  You would not be able to recover anything from your employer because you signed that agreement. 

Consult our Trenton Work Injury Attorneys for answers today

Our attorneys at Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson will review your claim and correspond with your employer and insurance company.  We will take the burden from you and get the compensation needed. To learn more about the potential for financial compensation through a personal injury claim, please contact us online or call our Mercer County NJ offices today at (215) 337-4915 for a free and confidential consultation.

Women’s Mental Health and Work-Related Injuries

Workers Compensation Attorneys Helping Women Affected by Gender-Related Work Issues in Princeton, Ewing, Hamilton, Pennington and across Mercer County, NJ

Women’s mental health and its effect on Women’s Work-Related InjuriesThough there have been many studies that have addressed work-related injuries, the role that gender plays in work injuries was the subject of a study conducted by the Colorado School of Health’s Center for Health, Work, and Environment on the Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The study found that women who suffer from depression, psychological distress, anxiety, and fatigue are much more likely to suffer work-related injuries. Moreover, the study found that these health factors significantly affected women’s risk of injury but that men’s risk was not significantly affected. This means that employers and employees must take special care when addressing women’s psychological issues and their connection to workplace safety.

Depression, Anxiety, and Fatigue in the Workplace

Though depression, anxiety, and fatigue were contributing factors to a heightened risk of injury for women, once again, the same could not be said of men who participated in the study. Based on this research one can conclude that ensuring the safety of workers calls for an approach that involves health, well-being, and safety. Programs instituted by employers that are aimed at preventing injury should take into account workplace conditions along with worker psychological health.

Men vs. Women Mental and Behavioral Health at Work

Furthermore, the researchers at the Colorado School of Health also found that women were more likely to report issues concerning mental and behavioral health. According to the study, these conditions are a sign of the increased risk of suffering a work injury. Approximately 60 percent of women who have suffered a work injury also reported that they had a behavioral health problem prior to their injury. Though men suffered more work-related injuries overall, these injuries were usually not connected to behavioral health problems. Only 33 percent of men reported having a behavioral health condition, such as poor sleep or anxiety, prior to their work injury.

More research is clearly necessary in order to fully understand the reasons for the differences in women’s and men’s risk of work-related injuries. However, a consideration that all employers should take into account is that irrespective of gender, workers who have previously suffered an injury are more likely to be injured again.

Common causes of Woman’s Work-related Injuries

Common causes of Woman’s Work-related InjuriesDepartment of Labor Statistics data shows that of the approximately 128 million working-age women (16 years of age and older) in the US, 57.2% have full- or part-time jobs, compared to 34% in the 1950s. In fact, female employees represent approximately 45% of all work hours. This increase in participation has translated into more work-related injuries.

Although women are injured at work less often than men, some safety incident types are disproportionately more frequent for women. In addition, women face some unique workplace health and safety issues that must be addressed by organizations.

The most common causes of workplace injuries for women include:

  • Roadway accidents: Though not much can be done about risks such as weather conditions and other drivers on the road, it is critical that all transportation workers, particularly commercial drivers, receive regular roadway safety training to improve their skills and be prepared for any situation they may encounter. However, the psychological and emotional health of all drivers should be taken into account by employers.
  • Falls, slips, and trips: These types of incidents often occur in indoor settings where women are more likely to work. The training employees to be more aware of their surroundings and exhibit greater caution on the job can reduce the frequency of these avoidable injuries by improving their safety behaviors.
  • Being struck by an object or equipment: Women who work in industries with greater natural hazards such as construction and manufacturing must be provided with adequate training to operate and work around heavy machinery/equipment, including following all safety rules and guidelines to prevent adding unnecessary risk to already dangerous jobs. It is also critical for women who work in environments that deploy heavy machinery or objects to maintain alertness at all times. Depression, fatigue and other psychological issues can have a direct effect on alertness and thus increase the risk of injury.

Get in touch with our Trenton Workers Compensation Attorneys Today

At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our attorneys are extensively experienced in workers’ compensation law across Princeton, Ewing, Hamilton, Pennington, and across Mercer County, New Jersey, including representing female workers who have been injured as a result of their work. We take pride in representing all our clients with understanding and compassion.

You have several options at your disposal to schedule a consultation with a member of our team today regarding your injury on the job; you can fill out the online contact form call at (215) 337-4915 or you also visit our office at 194 South Broad Street Trenton, NJ 08608to learn more about how our workers’ compensation team and how we can assist you.

Workers’ Compensation in the “Gig” Economy: Contractors Left Without Protection

Workers Compensation Attorneys Serving Clients in the “Gig” Economy in Princeton, Ewing, Hamilton, Pennington and across Mercer County, NJ

The prevalence of companies contracting with individuals while not classifying them as employees is on the rise as the “gig” economy takes off. The most well-known gig workers these days are contractors for taxi companies and delivery services such as Uber Eats, but the number of non-employee workers is enormous and rising.

There are pros and cons to working for hire, as is the case with many things. Gig workers are especially fond of their flexibility and the fact that they are in control of their schedule and availability, for the most part. These contracted workers are a loose branch of the company, and in many respects, that is positive for both parties; however, the effect of not joining a company as an employee impacts the welfare of these contracted workers in an adverse way and plays to the benefit of the employers in loosening their legal and financial responsibilities for the safety of the gig workers.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Unlike a company’s employees, its contracted workers are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. According to New Jersey law, an employee or their dependents can receive payment, called workers’ compensation, for any injury or death that occurs as a result of their job throughout the course of their employment there, including loss of wages, medical treatment, and even permanent disability payment.

As wages have risen yearly, so have workers’ compensation payouts. The number of workers’ compensation filings has remained relatively steady over the past decade, but the number of claims having been reopened has risen substantially by year, according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development statistics.

New Jersey law protects employees who work for uninsured companies in case they are injured on the job through the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Uninsured Employers Fund, but this protection does not extend to non-employees. So what if you are a contracted worker for a company – what rights is the company legally obliged to provide you? Read on to learn more about the nature of an independent contractor’s legal relationship with its employer.

Does Workers’ Compensation Apply to the Independent Contractors?

The gig economy took off in the past decade with a dual purpose: workers wanted increased flexibility and the opportunity to work at their leisure. Employers wanted to lower labor costs. Both sides received what they were hoping for, but the real benefit went to employers, who side-stepped responsibilities such as health insurance, paid leave, and workers’ compensation for employees.

In the absence of responsibility for covering such things as social security and workers’ compensation for their gig workers, many companies have exploded revenues without feeling the kickback of support for the contracted workers whom they hire to do their on-the-ground work. Yet this, according to current national law, is legal, and that companies are taking advantage of individuals’ desire for gig work over employment is a natural byproduct of the move toward entrepreneurial mindset among workers.

The National Employment Law Project released a report in 2016 calling for the extension of workers’ compensation benefits to contractors, specifically because of the dangers faced by gig workers such as taxi drivers and bicycle deliverers, and because companies that hire these types of workers often include incentives encouraging working during dangerous conditions.

Consult our Trenton Workers Compensation AttorneysIn 2016, the National Employment Law Project published a paper that advocated that gig workers receive workers’ compensation, especially since occupations such as taxi drivers and bike messengers are among the most dangerous. In fact, companies that employ such gig workers often provide incentives for them to work in inclement and dangerous weather conditions. While a shift in independent contractor’s rights has not been seen at a national level, there are changes being made that reflect an expansion of support for gig workers. In New York, the state requires a fare surcharge that finances a “Black Car Fund,” which offers benefits to all for-hire transportation workers whether or not they are employees.

Consult our Trenton Workers Compensation Attorneys

At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our attorneys are extensively experienced in workers’ compensation law across in Princeton, Ewing, Hamilton, Pennington and across Mercer County, New Jersey, including representing independent contractors who have been injured as a result of their work, as well as traditional employee support for temporary and permanent injury and death claims. To schedule a consultation with a member of our team today regarding your injury on the job.

You can fill out the online contact form to schedule a meeting at our offices in Trenton New Jersey or contact our Mercer County offices today at (215) 337-4915 to learn more about how our workers’ compensation team and how we can assist you.