Workers' Compensation for First Responders in New Jersey
Proudly serving all of New Jersey
Police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and other first responders can't choose the calls they respond to, no matter how dangerous they may be. We witnessed that on September 11th, 2001 when 411 public servants perished in one day. No, first responders rush toward dangerous situations all the time, jeopardizing their safety to save others. The people of New Jersey recognize the role these heroes play in our state, but, unfortunately, the governor does not.
In early 2016, Governor Chris Christie vetoed the Thomas P. Canzanella Twenty First Century First Responders Protection Act for the second time. This bill would've made it easier for first responders to get workers' compensation benefits by automatically awarding them when an injury occurred on the job. As the law currently stands, the first responder has to prove they were injured on the job. If the Thomas P. Canzanella Twenty First Century First Responders Protection Act had passed, the burden of proof would be on the employer to prove the first responder WASN'T hurt on the job.
If you're a first responder and feel that your occupation caused you injury through things like exposure to communicable diseases, inhaling of smoke, stress, etc., you deserve to get workers compensation. Unfortunately, the system is not on your side. For this reason, it is vital that you get sound legal representation when seeking workers compensation benefits. The NJ workers' comp attorneys at the Princeton offices of Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. appreciate the jobs that police, firemen, and other first responders do and consider it their mission to help them get the benefits they deserve. Call (609) 240-0040 for a free consultation.
While first responders may have a hard time getting workers compensation benefits for conditions they're exposed to on the job, they do have the option of making a premises liability claim against a property owner if conditions on that property causes them injury. All property owners, whether it's a business or a private home, have a duty of care to maintain reasonably safe premises. Failure to do so can make the property owner liable for any injury an unsafe condition on their premises might cause. For instance, suppose a paramedic or EMT arrives at a house to aid someone who's suffering what they perceive to be a heart attack. But, the owner of the house hasn't scraped off or salted the ice on their front steps. If the paramedic slips on the icy steps and breaks their hip, they have the option of suing the homeowner on the basis of premises liability.
In the event that a first responder is injured due to an unsafe condition on a property, they may seek compensation from the property owner for any of the following damages, above and beyond the benefits they receive from workers' compensation:
- Current medical bills
- Future medical bills related to their injury
- Costs of physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Household and vehicle modifications to accommodate their injury
- Permanent injury or disability
- Emotional trauma and mental anguish
- Lost wages
- Loss of career or earning capacity
- Reduced earning capacity
- Hedonic damages for loss of joy of life
In the unfortunate event that a first responder is fatally injured due to an unsafe condition on a property, their family can sue the property owner for any of the following wrongful death damages:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering of the deceased before they died
- Loss of future income
- Loss of future benefits, such as medical benefits and retirement benefits
- Loss of love, affection, companionship, guidance, marital consortium, etc.
- Loss of services the deceased had performed, such as childcare, bookkeeping, household and vehicle maintenance, etc.
As a first responder, you save lives at the expense of your own safety. In the event that you are injured while performing your duties, there's no reason why you should suffer financial losses, as well. This is why you need qualified NJ worker injury lawyer representing you. The legal team at the New Jersey offices of Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. will consider it an honor to represent the interests of America's first responders and will fight to get them the settlement they deserve. Call Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. at (609) 240-0040 to schedule a free consultation.
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