Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) December 06, 2019 – An Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey considered a judge’s denial of an employee’s applications to modify a workers’ compensation settlement award and found sufficient evidence to support the rejection.
A New Jersey statute permits an employee to file an application to reopen a formal workers’ compensation award or an order approving a settlement. The employee must file the application within two years of the last workers’ compensation payment. The employee must show their incapacity increased after the award or settlement.
A man injured his back on October 16, 2009, and December 11, 2009. He and his employer settled the claims for 66.67 percent partial permanent disability. The employer received a credit of 27.5 percent for the man’s preexisting condition.
On June 15, 2013, 15 months after the approval of the settlement, the employee filed applications for modification of the award. He testified that his back pain and disability became worse after the settlement. The man relied on the testimony of two experts, an independent medical examiner and an expert in neurology and neuropsychiatry. The employer introduced reports of the treating physician who performed the man’s spinal surgeries.
The medical examiner testified that the man’s permanent disability was 90 percent in 2011 and increased by 20 percent in 2014. During cross-examination, the employer’s attorney questioned the doctor about his 2011 examination, which demonstrated restrictions on the man that were worse than at the 2014 examination. The injured man’s other expert stated that his percentage of disability was the same in 2011 and 2014.
A workers’ compensation judge dismissed the employee’s applications for modification. The judge found no objective medical evidence to corroborate his subjective complaints of pain. The judge compared the treating physician’s 2012 and 2014 clinical examinations of the man and concluded that the range of motion tests did not show a substantial worsening of his back condition.
In a decision released on April 10, 2018, the Appellate Division found the evidence sufficiently supported the judge’s decision.
An exception to an employee’s right to reopen a previous award is when the settlement waives the employee’s right to future benefits. For example, a Section 20 settlement providing for a lump sum will contain a waiver provision.
If a medical condition becomes worse after a workers’ compensation award or settlement, employees may be able to reopen their case and get more benefits. It is best talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer at Petrillo and Goldberg at 856.249.9295 or visit https://www.petrilloandgoldberg.com.
Petrillo & Goldberg Law
6951 North Park Drive
Pennsauken, NJ 08109
19 South 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
70 South Broad Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096
- Workers’ compensation for worker who contracted Legionnaires’ Disease
A Pennsylvania court ruled that a man who became disabled after developing Legionnaires’ Disease, is entitled to workers’ compensation and medical benefits. Shawn Gillen said he contracted Legionnaires’ Disease as a result of exposure to contaminated water while he was performing his job responsibilities at Nestle USA Inc. According to court records, Gillen was stationed […]
- Settlement of labor law accusations against six South Jersey gas stations
According to their U.S. Labor Department, the proprietors of six South Jersey gas stations will pay over $460,000 to employees who worked 70 hours per week for an amount below the minimum wage, and received no compensation for overtime. USA Gas station owners Prabhit Singh and Harbir Piar were alleged to have violated the department’s […]
- Governor Christie says he will approve back pay for furloughed workers during government shutdown
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he would approve legislation to restore compensation for workers who were laid off when the state government was shut down. This marked the second shutdown in the history of the state. A representative from his office said he does not possess the authority to do this on his own. […]
- Long wait for survivor benefits for the spouse of volunteer
Following the death of Scott Danielson, a member of the Lakeland Ambulance Squad and Andover Borough Councilman, his wife was left with a number of financial setbacks. Although it has been a year and a half since her husband’s death, she has yet to receive survivor benefits from the state. Shortly after her husband’s death, […]
- Settlement in retaliation suit grants city employee $75K
A city worker who claimed he was demoted and terminated after filing two workers’ compensation claims for injuries sustained at work has settled his lawsuit against Galloway for $75,000. Frank Chamberlain stated he received negative reviews from his supervisors and many disciplinary notices after he filed the second workers’ compensation claim in 2011. The suit […]