The Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury

The Difference Between Workers' Compensation and Personal InjuryWhen a person is injured at work, very often one of two (or both) avenues to financial compensation are available to them: a workers compensation claim and/or a personal injury claim. The two are not mutually exclusive, and while you usually can not sue your own employer if you are injured while working, injury victims can still file personal injury claims against other negligent third parties.

However, there are significant differences between the two types of injury claims, namely the requirements to secure compensation, and the type and amount of compensation that can be secured.

At The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff we bring our years of understanding  to personal injury and worker’s compensation law, focusing on working not only with our clients, but with their family as well. Our firm has extensive experience securing full and fair compensation in personal injury as well as worker’s compensation claims of all kinds for injury victims in towns across Morris County and Sussex County towns, including Hopatcong, East Hanover, Dover, Netcong, Parsippany, Florham Park, Chatham, Mt. Olive, Denville, Newton, Morristown, and more

Workers’ Comp and Personal Injury Requirements Dover NJ

Though very similar on the surface there are several important legal differences between workers compensation and personal injury claims.

The largest and possibly most important difference between personal injury and worker’s compensation is that a personal injury claim is based on fault and a workers’ compensation case isn’t. To recover damages against someone for a car accident, a slip and fall, or indeed any type of negligence claim, the other person must have been negligent.

Fault is necessary in a Personal Injury Case

In any personal injury case fault is a necessary element.  Without clear fault due to recklessness or negligence there can be no personal injury restitution.  In essence you must be injured, and that injury must be proven to be due to the negligence of another party.

As a hypothetical example, if a delivery driver is injured in a common traffic accident then that worker may possibly file a workers compensation claim if the accident occurred while they were working. However if a delivery driver is involved in an auto accident while working with a drunk driver or otherwise negligent driver, then that negligence can be grounds for a personal injury case against the the negligent driver as well as a workers compensation claim if the accident occurred while the driver was working.

Another example may be if an employee is the victim of an assault and battery while working that causes them to miss time at work.  In this situation both a workers’ compensation as well as a personal injury claim may be warranted.

No Fault Necessary in a Workers’ Compensation Case

With workers’ compensation claims, any employee injured on the job is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, with some very limited exceptions. Workers’ compensation requires not specific fault or negligence. It is not necessary to prove that your employer or your co-workers did anything wrong in order for you to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Even in the event that your own negligence caused your injury, you are still entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Parsippany NJ Injury Claims Attorney

Another distinction between personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims is a difference in damages that can be awarded.  A personal injury claim or lawsuit entitles compensation to pain and suffering damages, while a workers’ compensation claim does not. In a personal injury claim or lawsuit, you have the right to recover all of the damages that you have suffered. This may include lost earnings, lost earning capacity, medical bills, future medical expenses, permanent impairment, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life among other things. In fact in a personal injury lawsuit, “pain and suffering damages” often represent 2-5 times the medical expenses incurred by the injury.

However in a workers’ compensation case, you are only allowed to receive weekly compensation, permanent impairment benefits, medical bills, and rehabilitation costs.  While these costs are often substantial in the case of a serious injury, workers’ compensation will never include a pain and suffering component.

Contact Our Morristown Injury Claims Lawyer Today

Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation attorney Michael P. Burakoff is proud to protect the legal rights of clients injured on the job or due to the negligence of others across Morris County, Sussex County, Chatham, Andover, Florham Park, Dover, Hopatcong, Morristown, Netcong, and all of Northern New Jersey. Our small firm size allows us to offer personalized and highly effective legal service.

For a free and confidential consultation regarding your accident, your injuries, and your possible financial compensation through a workers compensation claim, please contact us online or give us a call at our Morristown or Newton offices by dialing (973) 520-0525 today.

Pool Accidents and Injuries in Sussex and Morris CountySummer is always a time of fun and play.  During our enjoyment of the sunny months many types of accidents can occur such as motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and even slip and fall injuries. However, when we are relaxing with our family and friends at the poolside we often feel safe and without worry. This lack of care and caution can be dangerous and even deadly.

According to The National Safety Council (NSC) drowning is the second leading injury-related cause of death in children under the age of 15. Shockingly there are an average of 7,000 drowning deaths each year in The United States. The Centers for Disease Control reports, children between the ages of 1 and 4 are most at risk, and the majority of these drownings take place in home swimming pools. Despite being the location of countless fun family gatherings and parties, pools can be very dangerous places, and there are strict regulations in place regarding pool safety for a reason.

In today’s article, we will discuss William’s Law, and how this law can help people and families who are injured when these swimming pool regulations are not properly observed in Sussex County, Morris County and the rest of New Jersey.

William’s Law Attorney Mount Olive NJ

In February 2010, New Jersey legislators passed the pool safety laws known as William’s Law.  Among the many regulations outlined in this legislation are terms for pools, their surrounding structures, and the behavior of pool owners. Our Mount Olive pool safety attorneys recommend that every pool owner is compliant with the following state standards:

  • A “Swimming Pool” is considered to be any structure containing water of eighteen (18) or more inches in depth or eight (8) feet or greater in width. This includes swimming pools,ponds, non-portable spas, hot tubs, fountains, as well as other bodies of water
  • Swimming pools are obligated to be enclosed by a four sided fence or other type of barrier
  • Gates or other openings leading to the pool area must have self closing and self latching openings

To be sure that your pool is up to code,  please view the state pool safety laws or contact a qualified Sussex County or Morris County attorney.

Netcong NJ Pool Injury Accident Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been injured or died in a pool accident New Jersey’s Williams law can be used by an experienced Netcong attorney in order to get legal restitution for you and your family in the form of a personal injury claim or a wrongful death suit.

A successful William’s Law claim will require you and your attorney to prove:

  1. An accident occurred when, where, and how you say it did, and that this accident directly lead to injuries.
  2. The injuries have resulted in specific damages to life (medical expenses, lost income, physical and emotional pain and suffering).
  3. The accident, and resulting injuries, were the result of the pool owners lack of compliance to the stipulations for pool safety put forth by William’s Law i.e. improper fencing.

To adequately prove each of these elements, our Morris County William’s Law lawyers will often work with investigators, engineers and other experts to establish fault on the part of the pool owner. We will also work with your treating physicians to document the nature and extent of all injuries and disabilities that were sustained. Combined with our own knowledge of personal injury and wrongful death law we will work hard to put together a clear picture of what happened, how injuries occurred, and why another party is responsible for those injuries.

Contact A Morristown Swimming Pool Injury Attorney Today

Since 1976 William’s Law attorney Michael P. Burakoff has served clients from local Sussex County and Morris County communities like Newton, Parsippany, Dover, Denville, Rockaway, Morristown, Florham Park, Chatham, and all of Northern New Jersey. Our firm is known for our skill in recovering substantial financial compensation for our clients and their families. Attorney Burakoff will take the time to work individually with each one of his clients to deliver the highest quality and personalized legal service.

For a free and confidential consultation regarding your potential for financial compensation through a wrongful death personal injury claim, please contact us online or call our Morristown or Newton office by dialing (973) 520-0525 today.


Injuries from Poor Security Attorney Dover NJ

Injuries from Poor Security Attorney Dover NJPersonal injury claims can result from a wide variety of accidents. Many injury claims are filed following things like car accidents, truck accidents, slip and fall accidents, and injuries on poorly maintained properties.

However, one type of claim many are not aware of are personal injury claims filed due to poor or negligent security. Places such as malls, parking lots, shopping centers, and even government buildings are responsible for the safety of visitors to the premises. While these places have no control over certain types of violence and crime, they do have control over others.

Security cameras, guards, and even things like metal detectors and other screening services are all available to be deployed on these properties, and when business fail to do so, or fail to maintain the level of security expected of such locations, then parties who are injured as a result may be able to recover compensation for their injuries through a negligent security personal injury claim.

In today’s article, we will discuss the most common type of negligent security injuries, and discuss how victims can file for and secure compensation through a personal injury claim.

Common Negligent Security Injuries in Morris County

If you have been injured due to an attack, robbery, criminal assault, or even a rape on commercial or government property, it is important that you discuss the incident with an experienced Morris County personal injury attorney in order to determine whether or not your injuries were the result of poor or negligent security.

For example, “negligent security” may be in play when:

  • Security cameras are broken or improperly monitored
  • Security personnel were not performing adequate patrols, or otherwise lax in their responsibilities
  • The property reasonably should have employed security personnel, but did not
  • Poor lighting in an area led to insufficient security
  • Weapons were smuggled through security checks, and caused injury

Of course, this list is far from final, simply the most common examples of negligence in security which can lead to injury on the property.

Recovering Compensation for Injuries Resulting from Poor Security

Parsippany NJ Personal Injury Lawyer

As with any kind of personal injury claim, you and your Parsippany personal injury attorney will need to be able to prove the following three elements in order to ensure a successful recovery:

  1. You sustained injury on the premises
  2. Those injuries have caused damages to you and potentially your family, potentially including medical expenses, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering
  3. Your injuries were sustained due to the negligent or inadequate security measures employed by the premises owner

Of course, each of these elements sounds relatively simple on paper, but in practice are anything but. Proving negligence, proving the full extent of the damages you have suffered, and ultimately securing a fair and accurate settlement or verdict can often require the experience and guidance of a personal injury attorney.

Contact A Negligent Security Accident Lawyer with Offices in Morristown and Newton NJ

At The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff we have extensive experience recovering full and fair personal injury compensation for clients and their families in towns across Morris and Sussex County, including Dover, Parsippany, Newton, Netcong, Hopatcong, Morris Plains, and the surrounding communities.

Attorney Michael Burakoff strongly believes in working closely with not only his clients, but their families as well. This is because he understands just how stressful an accident and the resulting injuries can be, and the precarious financial position they can place many families in.

To speak with Michael Burakoff and our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your injuries resulting from poor or negligent security measures, or any other kind of accident caused by the reckless or negligent actions of a third party, your options for making a personal injury recovery, and how exactly we can help you and your family, please contact us online, or through either our Newton office or our Morristown office at (973) 520-0525.

Denville NJ Pain and Suffering Compensation LawyersThe lives of accident victims and their families can be changed in an instant. For those who suffer serious injuries such as brain injuryspinal cord injurypermanent disability, or even wrongful death, it is possible to recover damages beyond mere reimbursement through a successful personal injury claim. Perhaps the most common and the most valuable form of compensation in personal injury cases is that of pain and suffering. Many victims are entitled to financial consideration to compensate for both the physical pain and the emotional suffering to which they were exposed as a result of an accident.

Today, our personal injury attorneys will be defining pain and suffering compensation for personal injury cases, discuss how it is calculated, and much more.

Denville, NJ Pain and Suffering Compensation Lawyers

Our Denville pain and suffering compensation lawyers understand that there are two types of damages awardable through personal injury claims: economic and non-economic. Simply put, victims are entitled to both straight one-to-one reimbursement for incurred expenses AND additional considerations which are meant to protect victims, punish wrongdoing entities, and compensate for the undue suffering of the victim and their families.

Economic or Compensatory damages may include:

  • Medical expenses such as doctor’s bills, ambulance fees, rehabilitation costs, hospital bills, and more
  • Lost wages for work that was missed in the past, present, and projected into the future
  • Property damage which was sustained as the result of the injurious accident

Non-Economic or Non-Compensatory damages may include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional Anguish
  • Wrongful Death
  • Loss of Companionship
  • Loss of Consortium
  • Punitive Damages

How is Pain and Suffering Calculated in Morris County?

As mentioned previously, pain and suffering compensation has the potential to make up the highest percentage of an overall personal injury settlement or verdict. That is due to the way damages are calculated in New Jersey. In the majority of cases, pain and suffering is determined using a calculation based on your incurred medical expenses. This can include all expenses which you have incurred or may incur in the future. At this point, it is a matter of your Morris County personal injury attorneys proving the severity of your injuries.

The amount by which your medical bills will be multiplied is heavily dependent on the severity of your injuries. For example, let us look at two scenarios where the same accident led to different injuries, and therefore a different pain and suffering settlement.

Susan and Janine are both injured in car accidents. They both have medical expenses in the amount of $10,000. Susan has suffered a sprained neck and several lacerations, which are expected to fully heal. Janine has suffered multiple fractures which has led to a permanent disability. In these cases, Susan’s medical bills may be multiplied by a smaller number between one (1) and three (3) whereas Janine’s bills will be multiplied by five (5), ten (10), or even more. Due to the nature of their injuries, Janine may be entitled to $100,000 in pain and suffering while Susan may only walk away with $10,000.

Injured in a Serious Accident? Contact a Morristown Personal Injury Attorney Today

At The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff, P.A.our legal team works with the families of accident victims, not just our clients. We believe that this dedication to the attorney-client relationship allows us to deliver more personalized and ultimately more high quality legal service for those who have been injured in serious accidents. Attorney Burakoff has decades of experience serving local Morris and Sussex County communities such as Hopatcong, Morristown, Newton, Netcong, Roxbury, Mt. Olive, Rockaway, and all of Northern New Jersey. Our attorneys have secured multiple million dollar settlements and verdicts for our local clients and we will work hard to make sure you and your family get the financial support you deserve.

For a free and confidential consultation regarding your accident, injuries, and personal injury claim, please contact us online or through our Morristown or Newton, NJ offices today by calling (973) 520-0525.

If your vacation plans this year include a cruise, remember that the chances of being a victim of a crime don’t disappear when you leave port. You may actually be more vulnerable.

Last year, almost 100 crimes were reported by cruise lines. Over two-thirds of those were sexual assaults. Of course, these could be just a small fraction of the real numbers.

An even more disturbing statistic is that one-third of assault victims are minors. That’s according to a 2013 congressional report.

One attorney whose clients are solely victims of cruise ship crimes backs up that statistic. He says that of the 100 sexual assault cases he’s had in more than two decades, about 35 of the victims have been children.

The attorney notes that people are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault aboard ships in part because there’s “no police authority that takes charge of these cases and the FBI is not interested in the problem. He says that “the FBI is not going to get on an airplane or boat and go out to a ship where a crime occurs on international waters.”

That’s if the crime is even reported to authorities. Sometimes the alleged perpetrators work on the ship. One case involved a security guard. One teen says she was molested by a trainer. Since private security companies are hired by cruise lines to protect their passengers, their employees may not be motivated to take action.

The attorney says that cruise lines and the agencies that work for them don’t do adequate, if any, background checks before hiring employees. He says it’s easy for people to obtain a certificate designating that they have no criminal record, whether they do or not.

Another problem with prosecuting these crimes is often lack of evidence. Preserving a crime scene on a ship miles out to sea can be difficult. Further, witnesses go back home after their cruise, which could be anywhere in the world.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a sexual assault or other crime on a cruise ship, it’s essential to pursue the matter with the cruise line and all appropriate law enforcement agencies. If you believe the cruise line didn’t take proper security precautions or employees didn’t handle the matter as they should have, it’s wise to determine what legal action you can take to hold the company responsible.

Source: New York Daily News, “Sexual assault victims on cruise ships are often minors,” Megan Cerullo, June 30, 2017

As the holiday weekend nears, everyone needs to remember that they must keep their property in good shape so that guests aren’t injured. This includes all property owners from commercial property owners to homeowners.

When someone is injured on another person’s property, the injured person might opt to seek compensation for the injuries. This is something that can be unexpected, but it is often the only way for the injured person to avoid financial ruin that would be the result of the injury.

There are many different types of accidents that can occur on someone’s property. From a slip-and-fall accident to a falling object accident, all of these can cause harm to an innocent party.

We know that nobody is going out this weekend expecting to be injured while they are trying to celebrate the holiday. If this does happen, it can throw a wrench in the festivities.

It is important for a person who is injured on another person’s property to seek medical care for the injuries they suffered. Not only is this smart from a health standpoint, it is also a good idea if you think that you might seek compensation. The medical records can tie your injury to the accident. These records can also show the extent of your injuries, which can help with your claim.

We understand that this is all a lot to think about while you are trying to heal. Taking time to heal is important, but make sure that you take action quickly as you don’t want the statute of limitations to expire before you file your claim.

A judge has determined that a New Jersey woman who sued Wal-Mart after a metal rack fell on her can have her case re-heard. The woman, who was injured at a Turnersville Wal-Mart in 2010, lost in a jury trial against the retail giant.

The woman claimed that she was injured when a display of clothing, which an engineer testified weighed over 150 pounds, fell on her. She was taken to the hospital after the incident, complaining of pain in her arm. After am MRI, she was diagnosed with ulnar neuropathy. A spinal cord simulator was implanted in her several years later to relieve the pain she said she continued to experience. One of the doctors who testified on her behalf said that her injuries would likely cause her permanent pain.

During the original trial, attorneys for Wal-Mart argued that the woman’s symptoms resulted from “underlying physical and psychological conditions” or other injuries. The company’s medical expert testified that she was magnifying the extent of her symptoms.

The jury may have also been persuaded by the fact that she said she couldn’t recall whether her cart had struck the rack or what portion of her body was struck by it. Although two people were with her when the incident occurred, neither testified at the trial. No employees witnessed the incident.

The plaintiff and her attorneys objected to the doctor’s testimony that her account of the incident reflected “somatization,” or “a process where individuals describe experiencing symptoms of various types that are not accompanied by objective findings and interpretations.” They argued that this testimony by the doctor, whose specialty is neurology and not mental health, harmed her credibility and prevented her from getting a fair trial.

The appellate court ruled, “We conclude that the expert’s opinions on symptom magnification were improperly admitted and that plaintiff was sufficiently prejudiced by that ruling to be entitled to a new jury trial on all issues.”

Personal injury cases are often a battle between medical “experts.” However, if one of these “experts” testifies outside of his or her field of practice, it can be argued that the witness prejudiced the jury against the plaintiff and that, at the very least, that plaintiff should have another chance to seek justice.

Source:, “New trial ordered for woman who claimed injury at Wal-Mart,” Matt Gray, April 18, 2017

If you have been the victim of a violent crime and/or a robbery, you may be able to hold the business where it happened liable. Owners of certain businesses, like bars, are responsible for hiring qualified bouncers or security guards to help protect their customers.

Property owners are also responsible for ensuring the safety of those who enter their buildings or even their parking lots. If a business becomes aware that its property is unsafe, such as if there have been assaults or break-ins to vehicles, it has a responsibility to upgrade its security.

On the other hand, security guards are limited in the actions that they can take if they remove a customer from the premises. They are not to use excessive force or injure them.

If you’ve been the victim of a crime because of inadequate security at an establishment or have been injured by a security professional, you have the right to hold the business liable so that you can seek compensation for your injuries and other damages.

At the Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff, PA, we represent people who have suffered injuries due to lack of adequate security or security guards who acted inappropriately. This can include insufficient lighting, lack of security patrols and failure to provide video monitoring.

We provide free initial consultations, so if you believe that you may have a case against a business, a property owner and/or an individual, we can provide guidance. It never hurts to see what your legal options are. We invite you to find out more about our firm and our practice areas on our website.

Residents are hunkering down as winter storms bear down on New Jersey. The forecast is calling for arctic blasts and snowfall coupled with tropical storm-force winds. In the words of one forecaster, “A lot of winter [is] coming at you fast.”

With the entire state under a hazardous weather outlook issued by the National Weather Service, it’s a good time to review the liability of businesses and individuals regarding accidents on their premises.

Failing to maintain one’s premises in a safe manner that is free of hazards can open property owners and managers up to potential claims for damages and/or litigation. Commercial properties should follow risk management strategies to ensure the public’s safety.

But individual homeowners bear liabilities as well. Failing to clear your sidewalk of snow and ice can result in claims filed against their homeowner’s insurance policies, potentially driving up the cost of those policies. Frequent claims could even result in exclusions or dropped coverage.

Hazards can include, but are not limited to:

— Uneven surfaces

— Slippery surfaces

— Changes in surface elevation

— Holes

— Wet surfaces from bad drainage systems, weather and spills

— Poorly lit transitions on walkways

Property owners who fail to keep up with maintenance tasks like de-icing sidewalks and parking lots and shoveling snow from entrance ways can find themselves named as defendants in premises liability lawsuits filed by injured claimants.

If you were injured on another person’s property due to their negligence or failing to maintain their premises, you may not be responsible for paying all of those medical bills yourself.

Source: Travelers, “Premises Security and Liability,” accessed Dec. 16, 2016

If you overindulge at this year’s holiday party and wind up injured in an accident, is your employer who threw the party liable for your injuries?

It turns out that here in New Jersey they might. The state’s social host liability laws hold hosts liable for their guests’ injuries resulting from “negligent operation of a vehicle by a guest” if that guest is visibly intoxicated.

When work and play collide in a quasi-office setting, the area is a bit murky. Was the crew quaffing a few drinks around the water cooler on the last work day before the holidays, or was this a more organized, catered affair at a venue? That could be pertinent to any litigation, as an impromptu celebration may be perceived not to have management’s blessing.

The key factors here will be did those in charge of throwing the party, i.e., the employers, fail to act lawfully or reasonably, which then caused the employee to get hurt? Could they have taken further steps to protect this person from harm, such as stopping the flow of booze sooner, arranging for Uber or a taxi to take him or her home? All of these points can, and should, be addressed by the plaintiff’s attorney once litigation is initiated.

This holiday season, as always, it’s important to be responsible for your own alcohol consumption and remember to eat before and while drinking. But if you get hurt and believe that negligence on the part of your employer contributed to your injuries in a collision, you may wish to seek a legal remedy.

Source: Findlaw, “Injured at an Office Party: What Are Your Legal Options?,” accessed Nov. 04, 2016

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