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Vineland Legal Issues Blog

Did the insurer deny your workers' compensation claim?

A work injury can occur in a variety of ways. Perhaps you didn't even realize you had hurt yourself until you woke up the next day -- or weeks later -- in pain. On the other hand, maybe you drove straight from work to an urgent care facility for stitches. In a worse scenario, emergency responders carried you from the workplace in an ambulance, or even a helicopter.

In the midst of your recovery, there is the process for claiming workers' compensation insurance. This benefit pays for your medical expenses and lost wages in exchange for your right to file a lawsuit against your New Jersey employer to recoup those losses. However, it is not always easy to get the benefits you need, and a denial of your claim could result in serious hardships for your family.

Personal injury: Elderly man, young girl injured in wreck

Surviving a head-on collision can be a traumatizing experience, particularly for the elderly. Recovery times might be longer, and some victims may never be able to realize a full recovery in wake of their injuries. Regardless of age, those who have been seriously harmed in a car wreck usually seek compensation through a personal injury suit.

A 74-year-old New Jersey man was recently injured in a head-on collision. According to police, a 34-year-old woman was driving a vehicle with her three children as passengers. For reasons that are yet unclear, she drifted out of her lane, across the center line of traffic, and into the path of the elderly man's oncoming vehicle. Neither driver was apparently able to avoid the resulting collision.

Why you should be estate planning right now

The beginning of the new year is often an excellent time to review estate plans and perform any necessary updates. While estate planning maintenance can occur at any time of the year or after any number of significant life changes, many people in New Jersey find the flipping over of the calendar year to be an ideal opportunity. Not only do people often feel refreshed after the holidays, but the beginning of the year often prompts people to consider what is truly important to them.

One of the most overlooked areas of change are beneficiary designations. These designations can change more frequently than some people might expect, and the birth of new children, a new marriage, a death in the family and more can all necessitate change to these important designations. Reviewing and updating these regularly can help prevent any confusion or potential conflict in the future.

The basics of mediation

Going through the court system might seem like the obvious option for couples who are ready to end their marriages, but there is another option to calling it quits. Rather than have a dragged-out legal fight, mediation might be a better choice for some New Jersey couples. Mediation is usually quicker, cheaper and easier than more traditional options.

Mediation is a form of conflict resolution that gives divorcing couples the opportunity to work out their own issues. This process is typically guided by a neutral, third-party mediator. However, this individual does not make any decisions for the couple, but instead helps facilitate the conversation.

Estate planning tips for New Jersey readers

In the New Year, many New Jersey readers will start with their resolutions. Promises to lose weight and get healthy are great, but it is also beneficial to resolve to review estate planning documents or start with this important process. The start of a new calendar year offers a great opportunity to ensure affairs are in order and a person has the necessary legal and financial protections needed.

If a person does not have an estate plan, it is beneficial to take this step, regardless of income or the size of a person's estate. Estate planning is not only for the wealthy, but it is also for those who want control of what will happen to their possessions, their pets and even their medical care in the future. Basic initial steps for those without estate plans include identifying goals, considering potential beneficiaries and learning about estate taxes.

Workers' compensation: Amazon workers exposed to bear repellent

New Jersey hikers might expect a slight possibility of being accidentally sprayed with bear repellent while in the woods, but few people expect this situation to occur at work. A group of warehouse workers were unfortunately injured in that exact situation. Depending on their injuries, they might be eligible for workers' compensation.

An automated machine located in a New Jersey Amazon warehouse recently punctured a can of bear repellent. Hundreds of employees work in the area where the concentrated repellent leaked, exposing many of them to the danger. However, Amazon reported that the warehouse was not fully evacuated. Apparently only the affected area was shut down.

How does New Jersey family law handle alimony?

People in New Jersey often worry about their financial stability after a divorce, and understandably so. Whether individuals are cutting their household income in half or taking on part of the marital debt, most people simply want to be certain that they will not come out of an unhappy marriage and into an unhappy financial situation. Under state family law, some divorcees can expect to receive alimony -- commonly called spousal support -- which can help bridge any financial gaps.

While alimony does not factor into every divorce, it does play an important role in many people's lives. Those who left the workforce or accepted lesser positions to focus on caring for children can usually expect to receive support. Similarly, someone who simply earned significantly less than their ex but became accustomed to a certain standard of living may also expect alimony to come into play.

In estate planning, communication is key

Creating an estate plan is for the loved ones who will be left behind after a death. Therefore, it is important to consider not only a person's own wishes, but how those choices might affect their family. New Jersey residents should pay careful attention to the details of their estate planning and be sure to communicate important choices with their loved ones.

It is common for people to base many of their choices on family hierarchy, but this approach does not work for selecting the correct executor. Being an executor requires impeccable organizational skills, responsibility, and unwavering ethics, so choosing the oldest child or closest friend is not always a good idea. Instead, individuals should carefully select their executor based on ability, and then communicate the reasons behind that choice with loved ones.  Understanding why a person trusts their executor may help others trust them as well.

What Type of Injuries Qualify for Workers' Compensation?

Severe catastrophic injuries at work are not the only claims to be made in Worker's Compensation.  Many employees suffer smaller injuries that put them out of work, require medical treatment, and result in a permanent impairment of a body part. In these cases, workers' compensation is also there to help.

In general, workers' comp covers every type of work-related injury. This could range from a sprained ankle due to a fall, a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome due to long-term office work, or lung cancer due to long-term chemical exposure.  The range is wide -- even seemingly minor injuries can leave you unable to work, which then can leave you unable to pay your bills.

Could mediation be right for you?

Feel worried about having an intense, legal throwdown in a New Jersey courtroom? Luckily, your divorce does not have to go that way. Both mediation and arbitration provide effective alternatives to drawn-out legal disputes and can help you and your soon-to-be ex reach an agreeable divorce settlement more quickly than other methods.

Although sometimes used interchangeably in popular media, mediation and arbitration are not the same process. In mediation, a third-party mediator facilitates the dispute resolution process for you and your ex. He or she will help you work together to reach an agreement that you find mutually acceptable, although you may still choose to have an attorney on your side.

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