Comp Bar Estops Suit by Flagman Sent Into Traffic With Only a Sign

, New Jersey Law Journal


Injured laborers keep pushing the envelope for a degree of employer negligence egregious enough to surmount the workers' compensation bar, and the courts keep pushing back.

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What's being said

  • Lewis Burton Coe, Attorney

    Workers compensation law in our State is still WORKER oriented meaning it is very fair and generous to the employee. All of us [on both sides] who do this work know of many cases where the worker was just plain stupid, juvenile, clearly negligent or not following rules and still received medical care, wage loss substitute and money for permenant injury from the employer's carrier.

    One of my favorite "war stories" is one I call, "residuals of a mosquito bite". The employee (essentially a janitor at a fancy car dealership) was told told clean out an overgrown expanse of shrubbery. While doing the job he received numerous insect bites. They itched and the employer would not send him to a doctor. The man scratched the itch. This went on for a few days when his dirty and greasy hands eventually caused the now raw welts to become infected. Thereafter he suffered severe blood poisoning to the point where extended hospitalization was necessary in order to save his life.

    While the employee (who btw didn't wear long work pants when doing the gardening) could have practiced better hygiene, the point is how generous and fair to the worker our system is. The more we try to wring that very last dollar out of the system in the name of advocacy the more likely we may find someday that we have killed the golden goose.

    Let's not forget the abuses of the PIP arbitration system about 10 years ago when it was file a claim, get money, and get a good fee. Whether you call it greed or abuse that system had to change and it did. Don't let this happen to Workers Compensation in New Jersey. If we make it more expensive to do business here, then we will make it easy for the employer to consider doing business elsewhere. I , for one, don't have a problem with the holding in the Van Dunk case.

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