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Can I file a lawsuit for my workplace injury?

Like a personal injury claim, a workplace injury or illness may be the caused by a negligent or intentional act of injured party, the employer or other employees. When a person is harmed in a non-work-related incident, they have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit for recovery of compensation for their injuries and damages. However, workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for work-related injuries.

The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law designates the Division of Workers’ Compensation with the exclusive original jurisdiction. Exclusive jurisdiction means only a certain court, agency or other governing body can hear a case or claim for a particular subject. Governing bodies with original jurisdiction hear cases or claims for the first time. Therefore, the Division is the only governing body that an employee may file a claim to hear their workers’ compensation issues.

Although the worker’s compensation claim has the elements of a traditional personal injury lawsuit, with a hearing and judge, the two are not the same. The victim can sue for lost wages, pain and suffering, and future damages in a personal injury action. In a worker’s compensation claim, an injured worker cannot sue the employer for economic or emotional damages unless the employer’s intentional acts caused the employee’s harm. The injured party’s fault in the incident is treated differently in a personal injury lawsuit and worker’s compensation claim. In a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party’s court judgment may also be reduced if they contributed to the incident. However, an injured employee may still receive workers’ compensation even if they caused or contributed to the injury or illness.

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The highly competent lawyers at Petrillo and Goldberg represent clients with personal injury claims, workers compensation claims, slip-and-fall cases and automobile accident victims. We work for you, and take our job of getting the best possible results for you seriously.