The Limit To “Stacking” Injuries To Multiple Body Parts in New Jersey

In New Jersey, petitioners’ attorneys will often attempt to improperly “stack” injuries to multiple body parts in order to obtain greater settlements for their clients. However, “stacking” is subject to numerous longstanding limitations. One of such limitations is that in order to “stack” injuries to multiple body parts, said injuries must have resulted from a single underlying accident.

The concept of “stacking” injuries has long-existed in New Jersey workers’ compensation law. Stacking’s inception dates to the 1984 case of Poswiatowski v. Standard Chlorine Chemical Co., 96 N.J. 32,1475 A.2d 1257 (1984). In that case, the Supreme Court of New Jersey indicated that in instances where a worker has suffered injuries to multiple body parts, Judges of Compensation must “treat the individual as a whole.” This means that the Supreme Court of New Jersey determined that when affixing the extent of disability suffered by a given worker, workers’ compensation courts must determine the cumulative impact that each of the injuries had upon said worker.

The Court in Poswiatowski continued that “[t]he overall extent of disability is not to be determined merely by mechanically adding up the separate and fractional parts, but should be determined as an overall percentage of permanent disability produced by the separate injuries after they have been considered collectively with due regard to their cumulative impact.” Therefore, judges should not separately calculate the weekly benefits for each of several concurrent disabilities at the weekly rate applicable to each disability. The Poswiatowski decision continues that a petitioner’s weekly benefits for each assigned injury should be calculated based upon the cumulative number of weeks awarded.

The ruling in Poswiatowski is clearly favorable to petitioners as it enables injured workers to receive substantially higher benefits payments via aggregation of injuries to multiple body parts. In a nut shell, Poswiatowski forwards the legislative intent that the most severely injured workers should be significantly compensated.

However, the Court in Poswiatowski dictated clear limits to the concept of “stacking.” In particular, the Court indicated that stacking applies only in cases where a petitioner has suffered injuries to multiple body parts resulting from a single accident. In its purest terms, the aforementioned means that petitioners cannot “stack” injuries to separate body parts that occurred as the result of separate accidents — even if each of the injuries occurred while the petitioner was employed by a single employer.

Continue reading The Limit To “Stacking” Injuries To Multiple Body Parts in New Jersey

Post-Webinar Video: Evaluating Claims for indemnity Exposure in New Jersey

Here is the post-webinar video from our most recent presentation, “Getting the Most from your IMEs” from our New Jersey workers’ compensation webinar training series.

Subject: New Jersey, Workers’ Compensation Law, Exposure, Indemnity, Permanent Residual Disability, MMI, Negotiating
Date Presented: November 28, 2016
Presenter(s): Joe Jones, Esq. Partent in the Lois LLC New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Practice
Run time: 20:42

How to attend these webinars live and ask questions.

Join us for our monthly webinars on New York and New Jersey workers’ compensation law. One Session, offered at 12:00EST on the “Fourth Monday” of the month.

Register here: 12:00 EST Session

Archive of prior presentations is here.

Schedules and Information.

Handout materials are provided in advance of each session. The webinar courses follow the “life cycle” of a claim and correspond to chapters in the Workers’ Compensation Handbooks offered by the Firm.

Upcoming Webinars

Detailed syllabus and schedule available here.

These webinars are also available as a podcast (on iTunes).

Disclaimer:

This webinar is not legal advice! The materials presented by this webinar/podcast and any affiliated website are for informational purposes only and are not offered as legal advice as to any particular matter. No viewer/listener/reader should act on the basis of these materials without seeking appropriate professional advice as to the particular facts and applicable law involved. The materials are not represented to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. Opinions presented by this video/podcast are the opinions of the author.

Neither the use of this web site nor the transfer of information to or from this web site shall create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between Greg Lois, the presenter in the video/podcast, or LOIS LLC and any person. You should not send any confidential information to this web site until after you have entered into a written agreement for the performance of legal services.

Emergency Room Opioids?

Opioids is one of the hottest topics in the workers’ compensation arena. As a result of the epidemic across the country, the New York Workers’ Compensation Board has implemented new procedures to address opioids. You can locate our recent articles about opioid abuse, requesting a weaning program with the assistance of the Non-Acute Pain Medical Treatment Guidelines, and the recent Board Bulletin released by the Workers’ Compensation Board that reiterates a growing need to stop the proliferation of long-term opioid use. Continue reading Emergency Room Opioids?

Appellate Division Rules Misrepresentations by the Claimant to an IME Is Sufficient for Fraud Finding

In New York, pursuant to Workers’ Compensation Law § 114-a (1), a claimant may be disqualified from receiving workers’ compensation benefits “[i]f for the purpose of obtaining compensation . . . or for the purpose of influencing any determination regarding any such payment, [he or she] knowingly makes a false statement or representation as to a material fact.”    A fact is “material” if it is “significant or essential to the issue or matter at hand,” and it need not be demonstrated here that claimant received compensation to which he was not otherwise entitled or that he did not sustain a compensable injury (Matter of Losurdo v Asbestos Free, 1 NY3d 258, 265 [2003].

Recently the Third Department of the New York Appellate Division entertained an appeal in which the claimant was disqualified from receiving future benefits and forced to pay back past benefits as a result of violating Workers’ Compensation Law § 114-a, therefore committing fraud.  The case, Matter of Poupore v Clinton County Highway Dept. 2016 NY Slip Op 03037 was decided on April 21, 2016.  In this case, the penalty imposed by the Law Judge and the Board Panel was upheld on appeal.

Continue reading Appellate Division Rules Misrepresentations by the Claimant to an IME Is Sufficient for Fraud Finding

Explainer: The Standard of Review in a New Jersey Workers’ Compensation case

Appeals from workers’ compensation courts are directly to  the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division. R. 2:2-3.  The standard for review of a decision of a Judge of Compensation in most instances is governed by Close v. Kordulak Bros., 44 N.J. 589 (1965). In Kordulak, the Supreme Court held that the standard of review for decision rendered by the Division of Workers’ Compensation is:

whether the findings made could reaosnable have been reached on sufficient credible evidence present int he record, considering the proofs as whole, with due regard to the opportunity of the one who heard the witnesses to judge of their credibility and []with due regard also to the agency’s expertise where such expertise is a pertinent factor.”

Id. at 599. Continue reading Explainer: The Standard of Review in a New Jersey Workers’ Compensation case

Post-webinar video: Evaluating Claims for Permanency Exposure in New York

Here is the post-webinar video from our most recent presentation, “Evaluating Claims for Permanency Exposure in New York” from our New York workers’ compensation webinar training series. Attorney Greg Lois discusses trial and settlement of Schedule Loss of Use and Loss of Wage Earning Capacity claims in New York workers compensation matters.

Subject: New York, Workers’ Compensation Law, LWEC, SLUs
Date Presented: November 21, 2016
Presenter(s): Greg Lois, Esq.
Run time: 33:12 Continue reading Post-webinar video: Evaluating Claims for Permanency Exposure in New York

Defending Employers