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Hurt on the Job Due to Snow and Ice?

With the weather we have encountered throughout this winter, many people may be wondering about their legal rights, should you be hurt on the job as a result of all of the snow and ice on the ground. First and foremost, should you be hurt as a result of, and during the course of, your employment, you remain entitled to the basic rights afforded by the New Jersey Workers' Compensation Act.

This means, should you be in need of medical treatment as a result of your incident, your employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier is responsible to provide you with reasonable and necessary medical treatment to attempt to cure your injury. You should request this medical treatment from your employer. This may create a necessity that your employer contact its insurance carrier.

Further, should your treating physician indicate that you are temporarily unable to work, or unable to work at full capacity, you may be entitled to temporary disability benefits. These would also be the responsibility of your employer through its insurance carrier.

Keep in mind, you should not go out and seek medical treatment for these injuries from your own doctors. Your employer's carrier is responsible to provide same, and has the opportunity to choose which doctors with whom you can treat. However, should treatment not be afforded to you, you may have the opportunity to undergo treatment with a physician of your choosing. It is important that you are aware that there are procedures to insist that the workers' compensation carrier provide you with the reasonable and necessary medical treatment and temporary disability benefits in place which may necessitate a Motion be filed before the Court.

Furthermore, should you have permanent residuals from your injury; you may be entitled to permanency benefits as a result of your injury. It is necessary that you appear before the Workers' Compensation Court to accept these benefits. This may also necessitate a trial before the Court.

With all of that, you may have an action against the entity charged with the snow and ice removal that caused your injury. It is important that you determine who that entity is. Should the snow and ice removal be the responsibility of your employer, it is likely that the only action you have afforded to you is through the New Jersey Workers' Compensation Act.

However, should the snow and ice removal be the responsibility of an independent entity, there may be an opportunity to take action against that entity, should it have been negligent in doing so. It is important to keep in mind, if there is an action and recovery against a separate entity for its negligence, your employer's workers' compensation carrier is entitled to a portion of what was paid to you and on your behalf to be returned to it.