Camden County Leisure and Hospitality Lawyers
Nearly 700,000 people are employed in various Camden, New Jersey businesses – and over 50,000 of these people work in the leisure and hospitality industry. Tourism is big business in Camden and surrounding New Jersey communities, and many leisure and hospitality employees are proud to show off the place they call home.
Leisure and hospitality businesses have been booming in Camden County in 2023. That’s good news for workers seeking to grow their careers in this industry – but it also increases the risk of on-the-job injuries. Occupational illnesses also pose risks to the health of Camden’s leisure and hospitality professionals.
New Jersey workers’ compensation provides support for employees who are injured on the job. If you’re facing a workplace injury or occupational illness, talk to an experienced attorney at Petrillo & Goldberg today.
Leisure and Hospitality Injury Statistics
The leisure and hospitality injury sees more than its fair share of workplace deaths and serious injuries each year. In 2021, the rate of injury and work-related illness in the leisure and hospitality industry was 2.9 cases for every 100 workers, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For every 1000 labor and hospitality workers in 2021:
- 29 workers were injured on the job.
- 14 workers needed to take at least one day off work, restrict their work duties, or change to a lighter-duty job.
- 10 workers had to take at least one day off work.
- 4 workers needed to switch jobs or faced restrictions on the work they could do.
Between 2017 and 2020, an average of 260 leisure and hospitality workers suffered fatal on-the-job injuries nationwide. Millions more experienced injuries that didn’t claim their lives, but that did cause serious or even permanent disabilities.
The Most Common Leisure and Hospitality Worker Injuries
The leisure and hospitality industry covers a wide range of activities and roles – which means a wide range of opportunities for workers to face injury risks. Some types of injuries in this industry are more common than others, however.
The most common on-the-job industries for leisure and hospitality workers include:
Slips, trips, and falls.
Slip, trip, and fall incidents are the most common source of injury in the leisure and hospitality sector. Employees may slip on spills or walkways that aren’t properly cleared of ice and snow. They may trip on unsecured rugs, uneven flooring, broken steps or tiles, or clutter. Any slip or trip may lead to a fall.
For chefs, kitchen staff, and waitstaff, slip and fall incidents can be especially dangerous. These workers may spill hot oil, food, or drinks on themselves or others as they fall, which can result in severe burns. A slip or trip in a kitchen could also expose a worker to sharp knives, hot stovetops or ovens, or other hazards.
Lifting and hauling.
Leisure and hospitality workers are often called upon to lift and carry items, from trays of food or drinks to bedding and cleaning supplies.
Injuries related to lifting and hauling objects are the most common injuries reported throughout all industry types. As a result, many federal and state regulations now require employers to find ways to reduce the risks to human health posed by repeated lifting and hauling. These risks include strains, sprains, and repetitive stress injuries.
Exposure to harmful substances.
Hospitality and leisure workers go to great lengths to keep venues clean and sanitary for visitors. In the process, they’re often exposed to harsh cleaning chemicals and other hazardous substances. These substances can cause tissue damage, dermatitis, and other injuries and illnesses.
Chefs and kitchen staff face a much higher than average risk of injuries from knife use. A knife may slip while cutting food items, resulting in cuts to the hands or other body parts. Other knife-related injuries and accidents may occur.
Because sharp knives are essential to kitchen work, kitchen staff cannot be entirely protected from the risks that knives pose. Instead, safety measures must be taken to help these workers avoid or minimize the risk of injury.
While these are the most common types of injuries, they aren’t the only injuries leisure and hospitality workers face. Overexertion, exposure to extreme temperatures, being struck by objects, and muscle or bone injuries from twisting into awkward positions to clean or maintain items can also occur. Together with fall injuries, these categories account for over $2.81 billion in injury-related expenses annually, according to Liberty Mutual Insurance.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance. It protects employees who experience injury or illness on the job by providing benefits to cover the costs of an injury or an occupational illness.
Nearly all New Jersey businesses are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance or to self-insure their employees.
Workers’ compensation is a form of “no-fault” insurance. If an employee qualifies for coverage, that coverage is provided, no matter who was at fault for the injury. In exchange, the employee gives up the opportunity to bring a lawsuit against their employer.
Employees may be able to file a third-party lawsuit, however, if someone other than the employer was at fault for the injury. For instance, if a hospitality worker is injured when the airport shuttle they’re driving is hit by a drunk driver, the hospitality employee may be able to bring a claim against the drunk driver in addition to seeking workers’ compensation benefits. Similarly, a kitchen employee injured by a defective kitchen appliance may have a claim against the maker of the appliance. Talk to an experienced Camden County workers’ compensation attorney if you think you may have a third-party claim.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The first step in any workers’ compensation claim is to notify the employer of the injury and seek medical treatment. For severe injuries, notification and seeking medical treatment may happen together – for instance, if your boss is the one who calls an ambulance. For other injuries, it’s important to tell your employer as soon as you realize your injury or illness may be work-related.
Workers’ compensation in New Jersey offers five different types of benefits:
- Medical benefits. Medical benefits cover the costs of medical care related to your workplace injury or illness. These benefits must cover all “necessary and reasonable” care, including doctor and hospital visits, prescription medications, and items like braces or splints.
- Temporary total disability benefits. These benefits replace part of your usual wages if your injury or illness keeps you out of work for more than seven days. They’re calculated according to a formula included in New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws.
- Permanent partial disability benefits. Even after your injury has healed, you may face disabilities or limitations. Permanent partial disability benefits help make up the difference between what you could earn at work before and what you can earn with the limitations you have.
- Permanent total disability benefits. If an on-the-job injury or illness leaves you unable to work at all, permanent total disability benefits offer support.
- Death benefits. The most severe workplace injuries result in death for those that suffer them. If death occurs, the employee’s surviving spouse or dependents are eligible for death benefits through workers’ compensation insurance.
While all of these benefits are available under workers’ compensation, not all injured employees need all five categories of benefits. If your injury heals fully, for example, you may not need permanent benefits.
Talk to an Experienced Camden County Leisure and Hospitality Attorney Today
Workers’ compensation is intended to make it easier for employees to get the support they need after an on-the-job injury or illness. When an employer or insurer decides to dispute your claim for benefits, however, what might have been an easy process becomes more complicated.
New Jersey allows injured employees to file their own claim petition or application for an informal hearing with the state Division of Workers’ Compensation. Navigating this process can be tough if you have little or no experience with it, however. When you’re struggling to recover from a serious injury or illness, filing your own workers’ compensation claim may be out of the question.
Other challenges may make your claim even more complicated – and make it even harder to succeed without experienced help. Workers’ compensation benefits aren’t available to everyone who currently works in New Jersey’s hospitality and leisure industries. Workers’ compensation does not cover independent contractors, for example, who are typically expected to carry their own coverage or to self-insure. Gig workers may also not be covered by workers’ compensation.
Even if workers’ compensation doesn’t apply, you may still have the right to bring a compensation claim. Don’t try to navigate this complex system alone – reach out to someone who can help.
If you’ve been injured on the job in the leisure or hospitality industry, don’t wait: Talk to the legal team at Petrillo & Goldberg today. Our experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys will help you understand your legal rights and pursue the compensation you deserve. We work on contingency, so we charge no fee unless we win – and you may pay little or nothing out of pocket. Reach out to us today for a free and confidential consultation.