Posted on

A Win for Injured Workers

On January 21, 2020 Governor Phil Murphy signed The New Jersey Collection Practices Bill. This bill will provide important protection for workers’ compensation claimants by prohibiting health care providers from reporting certain workers’ compensation medical charges and past due medical bills to collection and credit agencies.

The Collection Practices Bill is a critical improvement to the state’s workers’ compensation system, and one which protects injured workers and their families from facing additional financial strains if they have a pending workers’ compensation cases – a time when they are most likely to experience hardships created by limited income, mounting expenses, and uncertainty about their futures.

Posted on

A “High” Achievement for Injured Workers

Companies in New Jersey have to pay for the medical marijuana of employees receiving worker’s compensation, state judges said in January 2020.

Worker’s compensation judges in recent years have sided with medical marijuana patients, including a 2018 decision ruling that Freehold Township had to reimburse an injured employee’s marijuana prescription. But a Superior Court decision released Monday should put to rest employers’ arguments that medical marijuana reimbursements violate federal law.


“To deprive petitioner of the only relief from the constant pain he has experienced for almost 20 years would eviscerate the principles and goals of the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act,” Superior Court Judge Heidi Willis Currier wrote in the three-judge panel’s precedent-setting decision backing Vincent Hager, who was injured in 2001 when a dump truck dropped concrete on him.

The judges also rejected M&K Construction’s arguments that it should be treated like private health insurers, which are not required to reimburse for medical marijuana, and that marijuana is not a reasonable or necessary pain remedy.

Since his injury at age 28, Hager spent years getting a series of lumbar surgeries that were unsuccessful at relieving his pain. He also was prescribed numerous addictive opioid pain medications, including Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Valium and Lyrica.

In 2016, his doctor prescribed marijuana, which Hager said relieved some of his pain and allowed him to get off opioids.

Even with the marijuana, Hager — who cannot work and lives with his parents — can only bear to stand half an hour or an hour at a time.

The court opinion noted that he is prescribed 2 ounces a month at a cost of $616.

Marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug, meaning that federal law considers it one of the worst drugs with no legitimate medical purpose. But that is not true: 33 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico have medical marijuana programs. New Jersey’s 2010 medical marijuana law cites copious research backing marijuana’s medicinal benefits.

A medical expert who testified for the company argued that Hager should be able to deal with the pain, saying: “Unfortunately, sometimes people have pain.”

The worker’s comp judge in 2018 found that “unacceptable as inhumane and contrary to the law.”

“This court concludes that, if the only choice […] is between opioids and marijuana, then marijuana is the clearly indicated option,” the worker’s comp judge said.

The judge in the Freehold Township case had a more forceful argument for marijuana, saying that opioids were “killing people.”

Currier’s opinion this week said that that the state’s medical marijuana act was not in conflict with federal law because the state law does not prevent federal authorities from prosecuting marijuana crimes. The decision also noted that M&K Construction’s fears about being prosecuted were unfounded because Congress has prevented the Justice Department from interfering with state medical marijuana programs.

The decision also pointed out that reimbursing a medical marijuana patient does not require a company to break federal law by possessing, manufacturing or distributing marijuana.

Posted on

February 2020: A Month of Highway and Train Accidents

NEW JERSEY TRANSIT- A Newark-bound NJ Transit train crashed into a tractor-trailer in a crossing that has long been deemed dangerous by some. The incident took place in Middlesex. and impacted the Raritan Valley train line. Though the collision left a trail of debris, the truck driver and the 340 passengers on board the train were uninjured.

WOODBRIDGE – A New Jersey man died in a weekend Garden State Parkway crash involving a car and a tractor-trailer. Emmanuel Emeana, 36 of Piscataway died earlier this month after crashing into the back of the truck. Emeana was exiting off Exit 129 in Woodbridge and merging onto Route 9 southbound when his Lexus ES hit the truck. Emeana later died.

EAGLESWOOD – A 37-year-old Barnegat man has been identified as the victim of a fatal car crash on Forge Road near Tanglewood Drive, according to the New Jersey State Police. There were no other occupants in the car and no other vehicles involved in the crash. The incident happened about 5:55 p.m. on Saturday February 22, 2020 as the Chevrolet Geo was going west on Forge Road. The vehicle left the right side of the county highway and overturned, which resulted in the occupant being ejected from the car.

Posted on

Right to Remain Silent

BEWARE: If you have been Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident, DO NOT speak to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company!

When people are involved in an auto accident, the adverse insurance company will often call them like a vulture lying in wait within a day — sometimes even hours of the accident and try to record your words or coerce you into a settlement. As an attorney working in the field for many years, I have seen and heard clients advise me of statements insurance adjusters have made that both shock my conscience and violate countless laws. However, that does not stop them from providing you with information that is incorrect in an attempt to discourage you from getting attorney to advise you of your rights

If you have been in injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is always best to consult with an attorney right away. Do not hesitate to do so. Here at the Law Offices of Gregg A. Williams, there is no charge to give us a call and see what your rights are. There is nothing to lose.

Many people attempt to handle their accident on their own, without the advice or guidance of an experienced attorney, which will almost always be detrimental.

The other driver’s insurance company works for them, not for you! They may contact you, have you describe your injuries, and then offer you compensation for it. Do not accept it!

If you have been in an accident, do not verbally discuss your injuries with the other driver’s insurance company. Do not give a recorded statement over the phone to the other insurance company.

And most definitely, do NOT sign any documents they send you, even and especially if they are offering you money.

If you have been injured in an accident, call The Law Offices of Gregg A. Williams today, and one of our experienced attorneys will give you the best advice and guidance—for free!

Posted on

Amusement Park Injuries: Important Safety Regulations and Reporting Requirements

With the opening of the New Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park at American Dreams Mall and the soon-to-open waterpark at the new Rutherford, New Jersey mall, its important to keep in mind that if the attractions at such amusement parks are not operated, monitored and maintained in a reasonable manor there is an increased risk of accidents and injuries.   

There are two main categories of amusement park rides: fixed-site and mobile.

Fixed-site rides are permanent and are not moved from location to location, such as the American Dreams amusement parks, Six Flags Great Adventure or Morey’s Pier.

Mobile amusement rides travel from place to place, such as rides that you find at carnivals and county fairs. 

Additionally, there are some amusement rides that are classified as inflatable amusement attractions, such as moon bounces and inflatable slides; these types of attractions are not governed under any safety regulations in New Jersey.    This does not mean that if you are injured on such attractions, that you do not have a case. It simply means that there have been no state regulations specifically addressing these rides and therefore common law negligence would apply. 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the national governing authority that regulates mobile amusement park rides. While the CPSC is responsible for setting the safety standards as well as overseeing and investigating injuries at mobile parks, the commission does not conduct inspections of every carnival or fair. The lack of inspections at such events becomes an even bigger concern when paired with the fact that the implementation of these safety standards is voluntary, not mandatory.

 

Unfortunately, the CPSC also does not have the power to regulate or inspect fixed-site amusement rides. In fact, there are no federally-regulated safety measures for amusement rides that are classified as fixed-site. While some states enforce safety regulations for fixed-site rides, there is no national standard for safety. The exclusion of fixed-site rides from the CPSC’s authority is often referred to as the “Roller Coaster Loophole” and has become quite a controversial issue for safety regulation. Many times, these fixed-site rides are not held to the same level of maintenance and safety inspections as those of carnivals and mobile rides. This is especially concerning in New Jersey, as many of the parks that we love and visit with our families are fixed-site amusement parks. When the authority to regulate fixed-site rides was taken away from the CPSC in the 80’s, the responsibility fell on the state and local governments.

In New Jersey, fixed-site amusement park regulations are governed by the Carnival and Amusement Ride Safety Act (CARSA), N.J.S.A. 5:3-31, et seq. (1975). This act established an annual safety inspection program for fixed-site rides, through which rides that pass inspection are given a green sticker and those that have not are given red stickers. Additional safety regulations governed by the Carnival and Amusement Ride Safety Act include:

  • Fixed-ride manufacturers must have their rides certified before it can be sold for operation in New Jersey
  • Owners of fixed-site rides must register each ride with an annual permit, which requires annual as well as random operational inspections throughout the year
  •  

Parks and operators must ensure the rides are safe and has the appropriate restraints, inspections, maintenance, supervision, and instructions for riders. In the case that an employee fails to properly secure a rider, does not post the necessary safety instructions, or does not maintain a ride correctly, then he or she may be held liable for any injuries that result. Amusement parks in New Jersey can also be held responsible for actions of their employees.  This type of legal claim would be for negligence, and the case would need to prove that the defendant did not take the proper safety precautions or was negligent in being careful about the safety of riders, and that this negligence caused the injury.

Examples of these cases of negligence include:

  • Not adequately warning riders of the risks involved with a ride, even if there are marked signs
  • Failing to safely maintain equipment or inspect the rides
  • Failing to train the ride operators sufficiently
  • Failing to warn riders that have certain conditions, such as a heart problem, that they should not go on a ride
  • Not operating the ride correctly
  • Giving incorrect instructions to riders

Reporting Requirement for Injuries at a New Jersey Amusement Park

In the unfortunate event that you or your loved one is injured at an amusement park in New Jersey, your first step is to get medical treatment. The next extremely important step is reaching out to a qualified legal team for help. If you have been injured in one of these situations, the State of New Jersey requires you to provide the amusement park with a written notice that includes all of the pertinent details of the incident within 90 days of the incident. This is why it is extremely important to seek legal help to avoid losing your option to pursue a claim for your injuries.

Here at The Law Offices of Gregg A. Williams, we recommend that you speak with an experienced amusement park personal injury lawyer on our team prior to speaking to any representatives on behalf of the amusement park.

Posted on

Monroe Township: Accidents and Safety–Monroe Adds Emergency Vehicles for Safety

      

Monroe takes public safety seriously! The Monroe Township Police Department has added two new emergency response vehicles to its fleet, one for traffic control and the other for emergency medical services. One of the current EMS vehicles has answered about 1,200 calls per year and an astonishing 208,000 miles in response to emergencies throughout Monroe. As a proud resident of Monroe, Certified Civil Trial Attorney, Gregg A. Williams, is impressed with the enhanced safety measures performed by his hometown.

Posted on

“Sami’s Law” to Provide Increased Protection Uber/Lyft Passengers

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation requiring ride-sharing services to show additional identification after the March 2019 brutal murder of a University of South Carolina student police say got into the car of an Uber impersonator.

“Sami’s Law,” which will take effect in March 2020, will mandate that rideshare drivers to comply with the following regulations:

  1. Display two identifying marks on the front windshield and the rear window of their vehicles;
  2. Rideshare companies will be required to create two copies of a unique barcode passengers can scan with their smart phones to confirm their driver’s identity;
  3. Rideshare companies must issue two credential placards for drivers to place on the passenger and driver side rear windows. The placards will contain a driver’s name, photo, and their license plate number.

Per New Jersey’s version of the law, rideshare drivers who fail to comply with requirements will be subject to a $250 fine. Any rideshare company that does not implement mandatory measures may also have their operating permits suspended or revoked.

If you have any question regarding your rights as a passenger in a ride sharing car service, it is best to contact our personal injury lawyers today!

Posted on

$350,000 Settlement For Client Injured In An Accident With A Tractor Trailer

Gregg Williams recently obtained a settlement at mediation for a client who was injured on his way to work when his vehicle was struck by a tractor trailer. Our client had severe preexisting degeneration in both his neck and back before the accident. The accident aggravated our clients degenerative arthritis causing increased neck and back pain and requiring him to undergo laser spine surgery. The truck’s insurance company alleged that our client would have received the surgery regardless of the accident.

Posted on

Umbrella Injuries on Labor Day Weekend

With Labor Day Weekend fast approaching everyone is excited about end of summer barbeques, picnics, and spending the long holiday weekend down the shore. Whether on the beach, or having lunch at your favorite outdoor restaurant, umbrellas are everywhere you look. While seemingly harmless, umbrellas are often left unsecured, unlocked, or otherwise erected in an unsafe manner. When this occurs the umbrella is susceptible to becoming airborne when hit with a gust of wind. Data from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) indicates that more than 31,000 people were treated in hospitals for umbrella injuries between 2008-2018. US Senator Robert Mendez from New Jersey has asked for regulations to make umbrellas safer such as requiring them to have printed warning labels. Our firm has handled numerous cases where a victim was struck by an unsecured umbrella. If this happens to you call our Attorneys at 732-514-6635.

Posted on

What are YOUR RIGHTS AS A PASSENGER in a Motor Vehicle Accident

  • File a Claim against the Driver’s Insurance

If the driver who was driving the vehicle that you were a passenger in were at least in part at fault for causing the motor vehicle accident, you have the legal right to file the claim against the driver’s insurance policy. This allows the passenger to receive financial compensation for the injuries that he or she incurred in the accident.

  • Filing a Claim against the Other Driver’s Insurance

If the other driver is at fault, you can pursue a claim against the other driver’s insurance coverage.  If that other driver is partially at fault then you can pursue a claim against both his insurance and the insurance carrier of the vehicle in which you occupied.  

  • Through your own insurance for uninsured or uninsured motorist coverage

If the at fault driver or drivers are uninsured or underinsured to compensate you for your injuries, then you have the right to file a claim against your own insurance company.  If this is for underinsured motorist coverage, then this claim would be in addition to claims brought against one or both at fault drivers.   For a more detailed discussion of your underinsured and underinsured motorist coverage see our blog dedicated to this topic.  As well as contact us at 732-514-6635. 

  • Contact a Certified Civil Trial Attorney Today!

If you were injured as a passenger in a automobile accident, contact us for a consultation to find out which legal options may be available to you after your accident. We will review your claim during a free, no obligation consultation to help you find out if may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party.