June 23, 2011

Learning More About Toxic Chemical Inhalation Injuries in New Jersey Workplaces

The inhalation of toxic chemicals at a New Jersey workplace can result in serious injuries or even death. The consequences of toxic inhalation include damage to the lungs, vomiting, chest pain, confusion, seizures, and in the most serious cases, organ damage and death. Dangerous chemicals that can commonly be found in workplaces include benzene (rubber and oil plants), manganese (welding), asbestos (older buildings), and vinyl chloride (industrial plants). Anyone who has suffered an injury from toxic exposure in New Jersey would be well-advised to seek representation from a skilled attorney that has experience handling similar cases.

Toxic exposure injuries can occur suddenly as the result of an on-the-job accident or they may occur slowly over time. It is the obligation of employers, property owners, and contractors to provide safe workplaces for New Jersey workers. When someone begins to suffer symptoms of toxic chemical inhalation, they should report their injuries to their employer right away and then seek prompt medical attention.

Seeing a doctor right away will not only increase the victim's chances of a full recovery, it will also help prove the extent of injuries suffered and create a medical record. Often, someone filing for workers’ compensation benefits may have a difficult time proving they did not seek medical attention right away for injuries sustained.

The work injury lawyers in Princeton at Lependorf & Silverstein help victims who have suffered due to toxic chemical exposure and other workplace accidents receive the financial support they need. Our attorneys provide no-cost case evaluations at 609-240-0040 to anyone injured on-the-job in New Jersey. Call us today to find out how we can help you and your family navigate the complex legal system and obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve.

March 8, 2011

Seek Medical Treatment Immediately Following an NJ Workplace Injury

Any New Jersey worker injured on the job should report the incident right away to their employer. It is also important to seek medical attention immediately following the incident to increase the chances of a full recovery, as well as to establish the extent of the injuries suffered. Workers’ compensation insurance companies all have different requirements and restrictions when it comes to filing claims, so it is critical that you examine your legal rights and options with the help of a knowledgeable workplace accident lawyer.

It is natural for you to be comfortable seeing your own doctor when you are injured; however, your work may not accept their diagnosis. If your employer is going to be held responsible for your workplace injury through workers’ compensation benefits, they may want to have a say in which doctor you see and what treatments you are offered. Many workplaces have a list of approved doctors available to their employees in case of an accident.

With the assistance of a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney, injured workers may even be able to get a second opinion covered by their employers insurance. This may be a complicated process and a lawyer may be needed to ensure that the victim’s rights are protected. The rights of an injured New Jersey worker include compensation for medical bills related to a workplace injury and partial compensation for time spent away from work during the recovery process.

The work injury lawyers at Lependorf & Silverstein help the injured workers of New Jersey receive the compensation they rightfully deserve. We help our clients obtain adequate workers’ compensation benefits so they can recover and return to work. If you or a loved one has been injured in an on the job accident in New Jersey, please call us at 609-240-0040 for a free consultation and comprehensive claim evaluation.

October 21, 2010

New Jersey Farming Accident Kills Two Workers, Injures One

A tragic farming accident occurred on a farm in southern New Jersey on October 12, according to WPVI-TV Philadelphia.

New Jersey State Police claim the farm accident occurred when a chute on a combine being operated by three men struck overhead power lines. The machine then caught fire. One man was pronounced dead at the scene and a second man died at the hospital. A third man was flown to a hospital in Chester. His condition is unknown.

According to the National Safety Council, agriculture is the most dangerous industry in the country. Injury rates for farm workers are the highest among children aged 15 and under and adults over 65. Most farm accidents involve either livestock or machinery. What makes farming injuries particularly deadly is that most farms are not located near a hospital, and the delay in reaching a hospital can mean the difference between life and death for a farm worker who has suffered injuries in a farming accident.

There are some safety precautions that farmers can take to minimize hazards. Operator’s manuals for farm equipment should always be read and instructions should be followed. Equipment should routinely be inspected. Discuss safety hazards and emergency procedures with workers. Precautions should be taken to prevent employees from becoming trapped or suffocated. Always take advantage of farming safety equipment.

New Jersey workers who are injured on the job are usually entitled to New Jersey workers’ compensation, which can pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. If you have been injured in a New Jersey workplace accident, you should seek competent legal representation to review your options with you. Call the skilled New Jersey on the job accident attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein today at 609-240-0040.

September 20, 2010

Work Injury Doctor Evaluation

In order to pursue a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey, it is necessary to establish that the injury claimed was sustained during the course of one’s employment. It is also necessary to establish that the injury claimed is permanent in nature.

Many employees allow their workers’ compensation carrier’s physicians to determine if the injury claimed is indeed permanent in nature. An injured worker can improve his or her chances of recovery by retaining an attorney.

On September 7, 2010 a New Jersey Appellate Division panel of Judges, in the case entitled Collette v. South Jersey Transportation Authority, ruled that the injured worker’s doctor that was retained by her attorney was more credible in fixing the nature and extent of permanent disability than the company physician. Thus, the lower court’s award of 33.5% of disability was upheld by the Appellate Division Judges. In this case, the injured worker injured her shoulder and the injury required surgery.

If you have been injured during the course of your employment, you may increase your ability to maximize your New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits if you seek counsel to assist you. The New Jersey work injury accident attorneys Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. can counsel you and advise you of your rights. Contact an attorney at the Princeton, New Jersey law firm of Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. to discuss your rights. If the injury you sustain at work is indeed permanent, it is in your best interest to maximize your recovery. Let the Princeton, New Jersey workers’ compensation law firm of Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. fight for your rights.

February 11, 2010

Cause of CT Power Plant Explosion under Investigation

An investigation was launched on February 8, 2010 for determining the cause of a recent explosion at a Middletown, Connecticut power plant that killed at least five people and injured a dozen or more others. Based on a northjersey.com story, the huge explosion of the under-construction power plant occurred on February 7, 2010 at 11:15 a.m. and was so massive that residents heard and felt the boom as far as 20 miles away. Approximately 50 to 60 people were in the area at the time of the blast, and while hospital officials have not released the conditions of all of those injured in the power plant explosion, the report mentioned that one pipefitter injured in the explosion suffered a broken leg and wounds ranged from minor to very serious.

Construction for the 620-megawatt power plant was almost complete prior to the explosion. It was being built to produce energy mainly using natural gas, which, according to the report, accounts for almost a fifth of the nation’s electricity. The Connecticut Fire Marshalls and Colorado members of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, which investigates industrial chemical accidents, are currently working together in determining exactly what happened. The explosion took place while workers for the O&G Industries construction company were purging a gas line and clearing it of air.

Continue reading "Cause of CT Power Plant Explosion under Investigation" »

February 9, 2010

Worker Dies after Exposure to Poisonous Gas Phosgene from Chemical Plant Leaks

A chemical plant worker in DuPont, West Virginia has died from exposure to phosgene that took place on January 23, 2010, according to a money.ca.msn.com article. The federal Occupation Health and Safety Administration stated that inspectors are examining a series of leaks that shut down the eastern Kanawha County plant and caused the employee to die. The plant was closed temporarily due to three leaks being reported; however, one leak went undetected for an entire week. The plant is currently reviewing operating procedures and there are no pressing plans to begin production.

Phosgene is a colorless gas that, as demonstrated in this particular incident, can be extremely dangerous because its odor may not be noticed and symptoms of exposure are usually gradual to appear. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who have been exposed to an unsafe amount of phosgene are typically observed by doctors for up to 48 hours since it may take that long for symptoms to develop or re-emerge. Some delayed effects of phosgene exposure may include difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, coughing up white to pink-colored fluid as a sign of pulmonary edema, or heart failure. While most individuals who survive phosgene exposure experience a full recovery, many of those affected develop emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Continue reading "Worker Dies after Exposure to Poisonous Gas Phosgene from Chemical Plant Leaks" »

December 24, 2009

Gas Station Explosion Injures Construction Worker

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) provides particular rules and regulations for employers and contractors to follow when teaching employees how to handle and work near flammable and combustible liquids. These safety standards are elaborate and should be enforced, monitored, and maintained to the best of employee and employer ability in order to prevent incidents of explosion or fire and subsequent burn injuries, lung damage, or other serious injury.

An explosion took place recently at a former gas station located on the corner of Vauxhall Road and Millburn Avenue. According to reports, a contractor was cutting tubular metal barriers with a gas-powered saw when sparks set off lingering gasoline vapors in underground tanks. The worker and two others were treated by fire department personnel at the scene of the explosion. The worker was transported to a local hospital with shock symptoms and possible internal injuries which were said to be non-life threatening. The two other hurt individuals suffered minor injuries.

The blast shattered storefront windows at two neighboring businesses, Center Cleaners and Livingston Mart, but no other injuries or structural damage to additional businesses or residents resulted as a consequence.

Continue reading "Gas Station Explosion Injures Construction Worker" »

December 15, 2009

New Jersey Resident Killed On the Job in Alaska

A 59-year-old New Jersey resident was recently killed in an accident at Prudhoe Bay’s North Gas Injection Pad in Alaska on November 18, 2009. According to the Anchorage Daily News, the North Slope worker was a BP contractor who worked for MISTRAS Group Inc., a Princeton Junction, N.J.-based outfit in charge of evaluating the structural integrity of energy and industrial infrastructure.

A BP spokesman said that when the fatal accident took place, the man was working on a pipeline inspection crew, marking locations to be examined in a future routine inspection down an elevated line on the gas injection pad. Even though at least one other worker was on the gas injection pad, the BP contractor was by himself at the time of the incident. It appears that the 59-year old worker’s pickup truck rolled up against him and the pipeline, pinning him despite there being no reason as to why or how the truck ended up in such a position. After the other worker along the injection pad found him, he called for help and a medical response team responded to the scene shortly thereafter, declaring the worker dead. The extent of his injuries was not discussed.

Continue reading "New Jersey Resident Killed On the Job in Alaska" »

December 4, 2009

Two Workers Injured in Power Plant High Pressure Accident

An electrical power plant in Marion, Texas owned by P.S.E.G., a New Jersey-based company, was the site of a high pressure accident which injured two workers on November 19, 2009. According to a woai.com article, this isn’t the first time a P.S.E.G. plant has been the site of an accident reflecting possible safety violations. Apparently in 2005, an employee died after falling from a bucket truck, and recently this summer, P.S.E.G. received a fine of over $7,000 for violating polices related to first aid, medical services, and failing to make available adequate eye and face protection for workers.

As far as the recent incident in Marion, a spokesperson for P.S.E.G. said that while crews were doing maintenance on a generator as a pressure test was being conducted, a small door (manway) blew off after compressed air inside was released. After the door was forcefully projected, it struck the two contract workers employed by Sulzer Ltd. The article mentioned that one of the workers was hit in his chest and the other man endured facial lacerations. Both men were reported to be conscious, able to move their limbs, and were taken to local hospitals. There is no doubt that an investigation will be conducted in order to determine the exact cause of this high pressure accident and who should be held accountable.

Continue reading "Two Workers Injured in Power Plant High Pressure Accident" »

November 2, 2009

Lift Accident Kills Operator, Injures Three

A recent article from philly.com reported on a serious lift accident that resulted in the death of a 41-year-old aerial-lift operator, and caused three others to be injured. According to the article, one of the injured victims, a 75-year-old woman, filed suit on October 19, 2009 against Masonry Preservation Group, Inc., (MPG) of Merchantville, N.J., and First Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania for the October 12, 2009 incident.

All injured victims were taken to local hospitals to receive treatment; however, the aerial-lift operator was pronounced dead at Hahnemann University Hospital. A witness to the accident reported that the lift operator using an aerial lift to fix loose masonry on First Presbyterian Church when the large wheel of the lift platform ran over a fiberglass and cement TV-cable box embedded in the sidewalk. Consequently, the heavy weight of the lift busted the cover of the cable box, significantly diminishing the lift’s stability, ultimately causing the lift to slowly fall. The falling lift collided with a streetlight, as well as a section of the roof of a nearby apartment building, and landed on a Verizon truck, all while the lift operator was still fastened to the bucket.

The 75-year-old woman who is pursuing litigation has been said to do so because she suffered a fractured vertebrae in her back, which is an injury that holds an unpredictable grasp on her future. The impact of the 125-foot boom that broke her left arm, crushed her elbow, and fractured her vertebrae, may cause permanent injury in the days to come. Her attorney stated, “from both a physical and emotional standpoint, her injures are substantial.”

Continue reading "Lift Accident Kills Operator, Injures Three" »

October 1, 2009

Workers' Comp Extends to Weight Loss Surgery

A much debated issue surrounding workers’ compensation and weight loss surgery has raised many questions regarding what an employer should and should not be expected to pay when an employee is injured on the job. A ruling in Indiana last month by the state’s workers’ compensation board decided in a 4-3 decision that a cook’s employer will in fact have to pay for his lap-band weight loss surgery in addition to a back surgery. The injured worker’s employer argued that they should not have to pay for his weight loss surgery because he was already overweight before injuring his back at work. The lap-band surgery may cost the company $20,000 to $25,000.

The reason behind the board’s decision is that the 380-pound worker’s back operation will not actually serve its purpose of relieving serious pain unless he first has surgery to lower his weight. This is not a case of an employee trying to trick his employer into paying for weight loss surgery rather than paying for it himself. If the employee hadn’t been accidentally hit in the back by a freezer door while at work, he would not have suffered severe back pain requiring surgery in the first place.

According to the report, the president of the National Workrights Institute in Princeton, N.J. stated, "This kind of situation will happen again ... and employers are undoubtedly worried about that." It should be interesting to see whether or not employers demonstrate a noticeable hesitance in hiring workers with health problems that could potentially jeopardize their company’s finances if a work-related injury ensues.

Continue reading "Workers' Comp Extends to Weight Loss Surgery" »

September 17, 2009

Woodbridge Township Construction Accident Kills Worker

A 26-year-old Edison man was killed on August 11, 2009 during a bridge construction accident in New Jersey. The man was hit on the head at the Conrail freight crossing on Blair Road in Avenel by a 1,500 pound steel plate that fell about five or six feet after slipping from its chains while being lowered by a back hoe. The man was found unconscious and bleeding at the bottom of a trench at the construction site and, though first responders performed CPR, was later pronounced dead at the hospital. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration official reported to the scene and it is unknown at this time as to why the steel plate’s chains came loose.

Construction workers have one of the most dangerous jobs in our country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2007 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, even though construction industry deaths are on the decline, the construction industry continues to be responsible for the most deaths sustained by employees in the private sector. Based on the report, the 5 percent drop in construction fatalities occurring from 2006 to 2007 (1,239 to 1,178) was about the same as the decrease for all fatal work injuries.

Continue reading "Woodbridge Township Construction Accident Kills Worker" »

September 10, 2009

Montgomery Township Construction Accident Injures Roof Worker

A mycentraljersey.com article reported that a 35-year-old construction worker fell 30 feet from a Montgomery Township home as he was working on its roof. Investigators at scene said that the worker fell after trying to adjust scaffolding attached to the exterior of a second-story window. He was found lying on the ground on top of construction debris, and was conscious when emergency personnel arrived. The construction worker is said to be in stable condition, but fractured both his neck and femur during the fall. Further investigation into the construction accident in New Jersey is still being conducted by the Montgomery Township Detective Bureau and OSHA.

Construction site fall injuries can lead to paralysis, brain injury, spinal injury, and even death, especially when scaffolds, towers, tall buildings, roofs, or ladders are involved. Being injured in a construction accident not only inflicts catastrophic injuries that can take years to recover from, on top of the extreme amount of pain and suffering one feels during the accident, but creates financial burdens as well, particularly those costs brought on by the accident, such as medical bills and physical therapy fees that can pose difficult for victims and families to successfully manage.

Continue reading "Montgomery Township Construction Accident Injures Roof Worker" »

September 1, 2009

North Hanover Employee Suffers Serious Burn Injury

It was reported in a phillyburbs.com article on Tuesday August 11, 2009 that an employee at Central Power & Light suffered serious burn injuries in New Jersey at a utility substation. A captain with the Plumsted Township Fire District and New Egypt Emergency Squad said the worker suffered burns on close to 50 percent of his body. Apparently, the employee was repairing electrical fixtures when the burns ensued, which more than likely resulted in electrical burns. However, it has not been made public as to how the worker’s injuries came about.

After being treated at the scene by firefighters and paramedics, the injured worker was transported in critical condition by helicopter to the burn center at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. No one else at the substation was injured or suffered any burns. The incident caused approximately 19,000 customers in North Hanover, Springfield, New Hanover, Plumsted, and Pemberton Township, to be without power for over an hour. An investigation by North Hanover police and Jersey Central is ongoing, according to officials.

Employers are required by law to create and maintain safe working environments, and are responsible for properly training employees on how to operate machinery, handle chemicals and toxins, and perform any other work-related tasks. Injuries on the job may result in minimal rehabilitation, or can require lifelong treatment, depending on the degree of the accident. If an employee sustains an injury while on the job, he or she may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to receive monetary payment to help cover the costs of medical bills, recovery treatment, loss of wages, or other expenses associated with the on the job injury.

Continue reading "North Hanover Employee Suffers Serious Burn Injury" »

August 13, 2009

Worker Killed On the Job After Falling into Vat of Chocolate

The Associated Press in Camden reported that a July 8 on the job accident in New Jersey in a prominent chocolate-making facility led to the death of a worker knocked into a mixing vat by a blade used to separate products for making a variety of confectionary items.

According to reports, several co-workers attempted to put an immediate stop to the machinery, but were ultimately unsuccessful at saving the 29-year-old victim. The reports further stated that this individual was a temporary worker at the facility.

This story, which was picked up by sources like the New Jersey Herald Online, illustrates the complexities of unfortunate situations like these where safety equipment fails to minimize risk or provide solutions for an accident in a food production setting where “economy of scale” mixing and processing machinery introduces specific risks to an industrial area. The risks presented by this kind of equipment are common in many industrialized settings, including both farms and raw production facilities and processing plants. The pressure to move large amounts of products sometimes leads to a lack of focus on safety equipment and training where tragic results can occur.

Situations like these are sometimes further complicated by the outsourcing regularly done by large food production companies, and by the role of temporary or “unhired” workers in a plant or facility. The emergence of different tiers of worker status in a plant or industrial facility can mean that unraveling the specific responsibilities of the parent company, the subsidiary and the outside hiring firm can be complicated and require professional assistance by attorneys or others skilled in fact-finding.

Continue reading "Worker Killed On the Job After Falling into Vat of Chocolate" »

July 30, 2009

New Jersey Government Looks at Worker Injuries

The state of New Jersey’s Department of Health and Senior Services Department has unveiled a program, now a year in operation, to monitor what’s going on with worker injury and fatality. The Occupational Health and Surveillance Program is designed to get the word out to the relevant agencies and analysts about various types of workplace injuries in the state.

Here’s how it works according to the New Jersey Health Department’s detailed website. The program collects data on injuries directly from the hospitals by accessing demographics from hospital staff with proper release procedures. Then analysts identify where the main problems seem to be coming from, and work with local employers to create safety solutions that will effectively bring down the number of on the job injuries in New Jersey.

The program also conducts educational initiatives and gives information to the press and to public awareness agencies. In addition, the surveillance program produces news resources to keep the public eye on what is a critical problem, not just in New Jersey, but everywhere—the proliferation of volatile materials and possible illnesses in the workplace.

Some of the conditions that the OHSP has identified as priorities include silicosis, exposure to heavy metals, and “workplace asthma.” Workplace asthma is a condition brought on by exposure to some compounds in a workplace, and professionals are trying to determine exactly what substances are leading to asthma in a large population.

Continue reading "New Jersey Government Looks at Worker Injuries" »

July 21, 2009

New Jersey On-the-job Accident Injures Three Workers

Three workers suffered on-the-job injuries in New Jersey in Hackensack when the aluminum ladder they were adjusting contacted a power line outside a building. According to an Associated Press news report, a chiropractor who was driving by stopped to help one of the workers whose heart had stopped. The worker resumed breathing after the chiropractor gave him chest compressions for about 90 seconds. All three workers are in stable condition although they suffered burns to their hands and feet.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5.7 million injuries and illnesses reported in private industry workplaces during the year 2000. These on-the-job injuries can be minor or major, ranging from accidents involving burns, falls and electrocution. Many of these incidents can also be fatal.

Injured New Jersey workers are usually covered by worker's compensation insurance, which the state's business are required to carry under New Jersey law. New Jersey worker's compensation ensures that employees who are injured on the job are given the necessary care and money they need to maintain their lifestyles without fear of financial failure in case of a serious on-the-job injury.

Continue reading "New Jersey On-the-job Accident Injures Three Workers" »

June 16, 2009

Railroad Worker Dies after Being Struck by Tractor Trailer

A 53-year-old railroad employee, who was repairing damage from an earlier accident in Middletown died after he was hit by a truck. According to this news report in the Bucks County Courier Times, the man was killed at Big Oak and Township Line roads when a tractor-trailer carrying Keebler cookie products struck him while making a sharp right turn. The worker was apparently crouched down to repair the wiring to the train crossing lights when the large truck made a right turn and struck him.

Local officials told the newspaper that this intersection has been the scene of many accidents. The worker was reportedly wearing all the proper safety clothing including his white helmet. There were also orange cones in the area to warn motorists about the work in progress. Authorities say the driver of the tractor trailer saw the worker, but had not realized that he had hit him. He stopped immediately. The worker died from massive chest and leg injuries.

If you are injured while on the job, you will be entitled to New Jersey workers compensation benefits. If a worker suffers fatal injuries, his family will be eligible to receive workers compensation benefits. However, these benefits are hardly enough to compensate a family for the loss of their primary wage earner.

It is important for the families of deceased workers to contact an experienced New Jersey wrongful death lawyer with a successful track record of handling workers compensation issues and third party claims. In some cases, a third party (other than an employer), can be held liable.

A skilled New Jersey personal injury attorney from Lependorf & Silverstein can help you through this complex legal process and help you secure the compensation you rightfully deserve. Call us today for a free consultation.

June 11, 2009

Construction Accident at 9/11 Site Injures Worker

An ironworker at the Sept. 11 memorial construction site in New York was hospitalized with hip and arm injuries after he fell 20 feet while at work, according to this Associated Press news report. Guido Castro was apparently on a break when he slipped on metal decking and fell one level. Castro was wearing a safety harness, but it was not hooked because he was taking a break. Castro suffered shoulder, hip and arm injuries. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is investigation this on the job injury.

Every year, thousands of construction workers are killed or seriously injured while working at various construction sites. In New York and New Jersey, where high-rise construction goes on all the time, fatalities and injuries from falls are extremely common. These construction workers face a terrible risk of injury or death every single day they wear their hard hats and go to work. New Jersey construction accidents occur even though state and federal regulations require owners, general contractors and sub-contractors to implement a variety of safety measures.

Construction workers who are injured on the job would be well-served to seek skilled legal representation to make sure their legal rights are protected and to ensure that they have someone on their side protecting their financial interests. Injured workers in New Jersey are covered by state workers compensation benefits, but that is hardly enough to compensate these workers for the types of injuries they suffer. There is potential for more compensation, especially where there is negligence on the part of a third party – and often, that is the case. The skilled New Jersey workers compensation attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein are experienced in work related accidents and personal injury claims. We can help you receive New Jersey workers compensation benefits as well as reimbursement for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and future loss of wages. Call us today for a free consultation.