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Table of Contents


Page 1

WORKERS’ LEGAL TOOL KIT

INTRODUCTION

When the unexpected occurs it is hard to think through all of the steps to take in response. We have been asked to prepare this book as an outline for working men and women to help them protect their rights and the rights of their families. While the information provided has been verified, space limitations make it impossible to list all of the exceptions and conditions that may apply in any given circumstance and the law can change at any time. In short, this handbook should be viewed as a starting point for guidance. The lawyers at Cohen, Placitella & Roth welcome any questions and you should feel free to contact us, or your attorney, should you have any questions or need any additional information about your specific circumstances.

The Law Firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, PC only provides legal advice after it has entered into an attorney-client relationship, which this booklet specifically does not create. Only after having entered into a written, signed agreement with the Law Firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, PC will an attorney-client relationship have been created. It is imperative that any action taken be done on the advice of counsel. Because every


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case is different, the descriptions of awards and cases previously handled are not meant to be a guarantee of success.

ABOUT THE FIRM

DRIVEN BY DEDICATION

For over four decades, the lawyers at Cohen, Placitella & Roth have brought an unwavering commitment and dedication to the legal representation of individuals and families devastated by injury or death caused by unsafe products, professional malpractice, negligent and reckless misconduct.

ADVOCATES FOR WORKERS & THEIR FAMILIES

We represent workers and their families who have been injured through no fault of their own. This includes workers and their familes who are hurt on or off the job.

FOCUSED ON EXCELLENCE

LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® annually reports C/P/R’s peer rating- the highest AV®-—”a testament to professional excellence.” Since the inaugural U.S. News & World Report ‘Best Law Firms’ edition in 2010, C/P/R has been rated by its peers as one of the top tier class action, personal injury and mass tort law firms in the country.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INJURED AT WORK –REPORT THE ACCIDENT

You should give notice of your work-related injury, illness or disease to your employer as soon as possible, even if you have not missed work. You must tell your employer that you were hurt or injured, and that the injury was caused while you were working. If you have to call your job


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and report that you are disabled from a work-related injury, you must tell your employer that you were hurt at work. It is not enough to tell your employer that you are ill and cannot come to work.

If you believe that you need medical treatment and your supervisor refuses to send you to a doctor, you should seek treatment on your own. It is generally better to see a physician who is Board Certified in the specialty for which you seek treatment. (It would be best if the physician also works in New Jersey so that the doctor would be able to testify in court in the event medical testimony is necessary in your case.) MAKE SURE TO TELL THE DOCTOR HOW YOU WERE INJURED AT WORK.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION – HOW, WHEN, AND WHY TO RETAIN AN ATTORNEY

The sooner you consult with an attorney, the better. Even if you decide that you do not want to proceed with a Workers’ Compensation case, it is wise to speak with an attorney.

In New Jersey, there is a two-year statute of limitation that applies in Workers’ Compensation cases. This means that a formal claim petition must be filed within two years of the date of injury or the date of last payment of compensation, whichever is later. In cases of occupational illnesses, for example, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, or hearing loss, the claim petition must be filed within two years from the date the worker first became aware of the condition and its relationship to employment. IF YOU CANNOT WORK WHILE RECOVERING FROM AN “ON THE JOB INJURY’ YOU ARE ENTITLED TO BENEFITS FOR THE PERIOD YOU ARE OUT OF WORK.

The laws of New Jersey provide that you are entitled to Temporary Workers’ Compensation Benefits for the period that you are: (1) Not able to work, even at a light duty position; AND (2) under active medical treatment. Temporary Workers’ Compensation Benefits start after the seventh day that you are unable to work at which time you will receive


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70% of your lost wages going back to the first day that you are out of work. In 2013, the maximum temporary workers’ compensation benefits is $826.00 per week. These benefits are not taxable income.

DISABILITY BENEFITS

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits is an amount of money to compensate you for the loss of function you have suffered from the work related disability. This loss of function is sometimes identified by a percentage of the loss of function of the specific body part injured. The particular percentage of the award in your case will depend upon many things, including the amount of time you were out of work, how the injury impacts your ability to perform your job and how it affects your personal life.

If your injury is profound and prevents you from working, you may be entitled to permanent total disability benefits for the rest of your life.

Workers’ Compensation benefits are not taxable income and are usually paid over a period of time. Most cases are resolved in about one to three years after treatment is completed.

The attorneys’ fees in contested Workers’ Compensation cases are contingent, thus, there are no attorneys’ fees if you do not win. There is no retainer agreement to sign and only a Workers’ Compensation judge can award an attorneys’ fee. The fee will be no more than 20% of your award.

SIGNING DOCUMENTS

It is important that you not sign any document that you do not fully and completely understand. Furthermore, you should always verify anything told to you by the adjuster handling your workers’ compensation case with a qualified Workers’ Compensation attorney. Always have a workers’ compensation document explained fully to you by an attorney. Signing the wrong document could result in suspension of benefits to which you are entitled while you are still disabled.


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SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY

You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability if you cannot work.

You should apply for Social Security Disability where you live. If you live in New York or New Jersey, it may be advisable to retain an attorney from the beginning of your Social Security Disability case.

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you must be considered totally disabled from performing any substantial, gainful work and you must be disabled or expected to be disabled for at least 12 months. The Social Security Administration (SSA) may consider other sources of income, such as Workers’ Compensation benefits, in determining the amount of a disability entitlement.

Your local Social Security office will supply all necessary applications and provide assistance in completing all forms for Social Security Disability.

FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT

BASIC LEAVE ENTITLEMENT

FMLA requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the following reasons:

MILITARY FAMILY LEAVE ENTITLEMENTS

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Eligible employees with a spouse, son, daughter, or parent on active duty or call to active duty status in the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation may use their 12-week leave entitlement to address certain qualifying exigencies. Qualifying exigencies may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative childcare, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions, and attending post-deployment reintegration briefings.

FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered service member during a single 12-month period. A covered service member is a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty that may render the service member medically unfit to perform his or her duties for which the service member is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or is in outpatient status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.

BENEFITS AND PROTECTIONS

During FMLA leave, the employer must maintain the employee’s health coverage under any “group health plan” on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work. Upon return from FMLA leave, most employees must be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms. Use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of an employee’s leave.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Employees are eligible if they have worked for a covered employer for at least one year, for 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and if at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.

DEFINITION OF SERIOUS HEALTH CONDITION

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A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that either prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employee’s job, or prevents the qualified family member from participating in school or other daily activities. Subject to certain conditions, the continuing treatment requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than 3 consecutive calendar days combined with at least two visits to a health care provider or one visit and a regimen of continuing treatment, or incapacity due to pregnancy, or incapacity due to a chronic condition. Other conditions may meet the definition of continuing treatment.

USE OF LEAVE

An employee does not need to use this leave entitlement in one block. Leave can be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary. Employees must make reasonable efforts to schedule leave for planned medical treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the employer’s operations. Leave due to qualifying exigencies may also be taken on an intermittent basis.

SUBSTITUTION OF PAID LEAVE FOR UNPAID LEAVE

Employees may choose or employers may require use of accrued paid leave while taking FMLA leave. In order to use paid leave for FMLA leave, employees must comply with the employer’s normal paid leave policies.

EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITIES

Employees must provide 30 days advance notice of the need to take FMLA leave when the need is foreseeable. When 30 days notice is not possible, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable and generally must comply with an employer’s normal call-in procedures.

Employees must provide sufficient information for the employer to


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determine if the leave qualifies for FMLA protection and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave. Sufficient information may include that the employee is unable to perform job functions, the family member is unable to perform daily activities, the need for hospitalization or continuing treatment by a health care provider, or circumstances supporting the need for military family leave. Employees also must inform the employer if the requested leave is for a reason for which FMLA leave was previously taken or certified. Employees also may be required to provide a certification and periodic recertification supporting the need for leave.

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES

Covered employers must inform employees requesting leave whether they are eligible under FMLA. If they are, the notice must specify any additional information required as well as the employee’s rights and responsibilities. If they are not eligible, the employer must provide a reason for the ineligibility. Covered employers must inform employees if leave will be designated as FMLA-protected and the amount of leave counted against the employee’s leave entitlement.

UNLAWFUL ACTS BY EMPLOYERS

FMLA makes it unlawful for any employer to:

ENFORCEMENT

An employee may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor or may bring a private lawsuit against an employer. FMLA does not affect any Federal or State law prohibiting discrimination, or supersede any State or local law or collective bargaining agreement which provides greater


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family or medical leave rights.

YOUR RIGHT TO FILE A LAWSUIT

While you have a right to file a workers’ compensation case, in most instances, you cannot sue your employer even if they did something wrong that contributed your injury because they are protected by the workers’ compensation laws. However, you may be able to sue someone other than your employer. In fact, a single incident will frequently result in both a workers’ compensation claim, and a personal injury case. This is important because personal injury cases allow the injured worker to obtain money for damages not otherwise payable under the workers’ compensation laws. For example, workers’ compensation will only pay for an injured worker’s pre-approved medical expenses,disability, and approximately two-thirds of the worker’s average wages. It does not compensate an injured worker for pain and suffering, 100% of lost wages, and employer contributions to retirement plans. Rather, these damages can only be recovered in a third party personal injury lawsuit.

Accordingly, if someone other than your employer is responsible, or even partially responsible, for causing your injury or disease, you may be able to sue that person or company and recover money in addition to your workers’ compensation payments. The liable party can vary depending on the circumstances of the accident. It may be driver of the car that struck you, the manufacturer of unsafe equipment, the distributor of unsafe chemicals, the contractor/vendor working on your employer’s premises who created the dangerous condition, or the contractor at the job-site whose conduct resulted in an injury. The key to finding a liable party, and recovering money in addition to workers’ compensation benefits, is to understand that in the United States all workers are entitled to perform their job in a safe environment that is free from dangerous equipment, and careless workers.

Morever, your employer will be happy that you are able to collect


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personal injury money from the third party who caused your accident. Why? Because your employer (or insurance company) will get back some of the money it spent for your treatment, lost time and permanent disability, thereby reducing their workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

DANGEROUS EQUIPMENT, MACHINERY AND TOOLS

Workers are exposed to dangerous equipment, machinery and tools virtually every day, but use this equipment because their jobs depend on it. Dangerous equipment comes in all shapes and sizes: the 40 ton hydraulic press at the metal fabricating shop; the industrial forklift in the warehouse; the handheld grinding wheel at the construction site. No matter what type of machinery, equipment and tools a worker is using, it should be designed in a safe manner. If you are injured while using a product that malfunctioned, is unsafely designed, or is unsafe because it lacked proper warnings, you may be able to recover money damages for your injuries.

Every year thousands of workers are injured in accidents caused by machines and equipment that are unsafe. Many of these injured workers have successfully brought lawsuits against the designers, manufacturers and distributors of the unsafe equipment, collecting large sums of money for their injuries and damages. Such lawsuits not only allow the injured workers to recover full and fair compensation for their injuries, at the same time these lawsuits force the designers, manufacturers and distributors to implement changes, thereby preventing future injuries.

YOU MAY HAVE A CASE EVEN IF YOU THINK YOU DON’T

Many injured workers never consult a lawyer about their accident because workers’ compensation payments began automatically after filing a claim, and they think they cannot sue. Injured workers oftentimes blame themselves for the accident, or blame a co-worker who they think they cannot sue.


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In addition, even if a co-worker contributed to the accident you may still have a case. Your negligence, your co-worker’s negligence, or your employer’s negligence does not prevent you from filing a third party lawsuit. The focus is on the equipment, machine or tool, and whether it could have been designed to eliminate or reduce the condition that caused your injury.

COMMON MYTHS ABOUT THIRD PARTY LAWSUITS
MYTH 1: There was a sticker on the machine warning me not to put my hand in that moving part so I don’t have a third party suit.
FACT: Warnings are a last resort, and if the machine should have been designed to eliminate the hazard, or guarded against, then you may have a product liability suit against the machine manufacturer.
MYTH 2: My co-worker removed the guard from the machine that injured me, so I don’t have a third party case.
FACT: Guards should be interlocked so that if it is removed from the machine for cleaning or maintenance, the machine can not work until the guard is put back in place. Machine designers have known this since the 1800s, and understand that some employers remove guards or barriers to speed up the work.
MYTH 3: The machine I was injured on was fifty years old, and I am sure they didn’t have safety devices back then.
FACT: Although safety devices are more common today, the concepts of machine safety and guarding of moving parts on machines have been around for over 150 years.
MYTH 4: The machine I was injured on was brand new. It was very sophisticated, and must have contained the state of the art safety devices.

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FACT: Just because something is new and sophisticated does not make the machine safe. Sometimes the equipment is so sophisticated that the designers spend all of their time trying to figure out how to make it work efficiently, and ignore safety standards.
MYTH 5: If I file a lawsuit against the sub-contractor whose employee injured me, my employer will fire me.
FACT: A civil lawsuit has nothing to do with your relationship with your employer. Sometimes a supervisor or co- worker will threaten that your job may be in jeopardy if you pursue a civil lawsuit case against a company your employer regularly does business. However, this type of retaliatory conduct is strictly prohibited, and should not be a consideration when evaluating whether to file a lawsuit.
MYTH 6: If a file a lawsuit, my workers’ compensation benefits will stop.
FACT: You may receive workers’ compensation benefits, and pursue a third party lawsuit at the same time. A lawsuit will not stop, delay or interfere with your workers’ compensation benefits.

ASBESTOS RELATED INJURIES

Beginning in the 1930s, the use of asbestos in industry and construction increased dramatically. Asbestos was incorporated into tens of thousands of products including construction materials, brakes, ovens, electrical panels, heat and electric generating equipment, piping, gaskets and even ironing board covers and cigarette filters. Before OSHA was enacted in 1972 it was almost impossible to work in heavy industry or construction and not be at risk of asbestos exposure.


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Asbestos exposure can cause a scarring of the lung disease known as asbestosis, pleural disease, lung cancer, Gastrointestinal cancers and mesothelioma. These diseases may take up to 40 years to develop from the time of first exposure. Mesothelioma is particularly worrisome as it takes very little asbestos exposure to cause this disease. Mesothelioma may develop not only in workers but in family members who lived in households contaminated with asbestos brought home on clothing or from asbestos products used in the home.

If you or someone you love is diagnosed with an asbestos related injury you may be entitled to significant compensation from the manufacturers and suppliers of asbestos.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

Most physicians are caring and careful practitioners who do a great deal of good for their patients. However, there are times when doctors practice below accepted standards and cause severe injury or even death. When a physician's negligence causes injury to a patient, the patient is entitled to compensation for the related physical and economic harms. If you are the victim of medical malpractice, you are entitled to bring a civil suit to recover these damages. Common cases of malpractice include improperly reading an x-ray or mammogram leading to a delay of diagnosis of cancer, surgical errors which cause injuries to internal organs and/or death, birth injuries where a physician negligently delivers a child causing severe brain injury or other problems.

EMPLOYMENT LAW

There are several laws in New Jersey that protect employees from discrimination and other wrongful acts of employers. These laws create rights separate and apart from any rights you have from a collective bargaining agreement. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination


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(“LAD”) protects employees from discriminatory treatment at work in terms of terminations, demotions and other negative treatment. In addition, the LAD prohibits “hostile work environments” which means your employer must take action to prevent and rectify any environments where employees are subjected to discriminatory comments and/or harassment on account of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, physical condition, etc. The LAD provides for money damages in terms of wage loss and emotional harm if an employer discriminates.

There are other laws which act to protect employees as well such as the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). CEPA prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee because the employee makes a complaint or opposes unlawful or wrongful acts by the employer. The FMLA provides that employees are to get 12 weeks off of work for a serious medical condition affecting the empoloyee or a close family member, or birth of a child. These laws provide damages to employees when the employers violate these laws.

These are just some of the laws that protect employees in New Jersey outside the collective bargaining framework. We encourage you to investigate your rights if you believe you have been wrongfully treated at work.

LAWSUIT STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

The law imposes a time limit within which you must file a lawsuit or forever forfeit your legal rights. In New Jersey, the time limit is two years from the date of the incident or accident giving rise to the claim. For injuries that are not immediately apparent, the statute of limitations is two years from the discovery of your injury and when you knew or should have known of the possible relationship to the fault of another. If a public or governmental entity is involved, the law requires notice to that entity within 90 days of any accident or injury. How the statute of limitations


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applies to your individual case is beyond the scope of this booklet and requires a meeting with your lawyer to analyze your specific facts and circumstances. Thus, it is imperative that if you were hurt at work or elsewhere that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible to make sure you do not lose your right to fair compensation.

SELECTING THE RIGHT NURSING HOME & YOUR FAMILY’S LEGAL RIGHTS

One of the most difficult decisions that families face concern loved ones that can no longer care for themselves. For many people, nursing home care is the only viable alternative. Not every nursing home is the same. There are many things to consider when making a decision concerning what facility is best for your family. One of the most important issues to consider is a facility’s history of quality care. In this regard, there are three things you can do before making a final decision.

1 - Research the Nursing Home - There is much publically available information you can access to check the nursing home’s safety record and how it compares with other facilities in your area. Helpful websites include www.medicare.gov (Nursing Home Compare), www.NJ.gov/ooie/ (New Jersey Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly) and http://web.doh.state.nj.us/apps/healthfacilities/fsSearch.espx (New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services). These websites include valuable information regarding the nursing home’s ownership, facility size, the nursing home’s compliance with resident safety regulations and records of resident/family Complaints.

2 - Tour the Nursing Home - Visiting and touring the nursing home and speaking with staff that will be responsible for your loved one’s care is an important part of determining whether the facility is the “right place” for your family. Speak with the Nursing Home Administrator & Director of Nursing. Ask them questions about the staff to resident ratio, the staff’s specific training to care for the elderly, whether the nursing home can


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meet your loved one’s needs (e.g. dementia, physical therapy, nutrition), rules for attending physicians – so you will know if your loved one’s doctor will be able to see them at the nursing home, and the facility’s record for resident care violations on yearly State inspections.

3 - Speak with Your Family’s Doctors and Caregivers – While gathering the information above, speak with your family member’s doctors, visiting nurses and other caregivers. They will make sure you know your loved one’s needs and often have specific information about local nursing homes.

Unfortunately even the best research in selecting a nursing home does not guarantee quality care. Even with all the regulations in place, there is no substitute for ongoing monitoring by concerned family members to insure loved ones are being treated properly. Pressure ulcers, malnutrition, falls, broken bones and unexplained injuries are signs of nursing home abuse and neglect – that the nursing home is not doing its job. When this occurs you have the right to speak with those in charge of your loved one’s care, complain to them and demand that they do better. You can also file Complaints with the New Jersey Department of Health and the New Jersey Ombudsman’s Office so it can conduct a full investigation. These agencies’ duty is to help protect the elderly.

Those who suffer injuries and death from nursing home neglect and abuse are also entitled to compensation. New Jersey’s Nursing Home Responsibilities and Resident’s Rights Act exists to protect nursing home neglect victims and their families, deter nursing home misconduct and hold them legally accountable when they do not provide care within accepted standards that complies with the law. If you believe a loved one has been harmed by the wrongful conduct of another we are here to help you.


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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT AUTO INSURANCE

Selecting the right coverage to protect your family is extremely important. Selecting the proper insurance covrage is not only important to protect your family if you are sued but also impacts your rights in the event you or a family member injured in an auto accident. Unfortunately in New Jersey the laws are somewhat confusing. Below we se forth information that will help you make good decisions to protect yourself and your family.

PROTECT YOURSELF ANDYOUR FAMILY. COMPULSORY AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE.
Q. Am I required to purchase an automobile insurance policy?
A. Yes. The law requires the owner of every automobile registered or principally garaged in the State of New Jersey to purchase an automobile liability insurance policy.
Q. What happens if I do not purchase an automobile insurance policy?
A. If you do not purchase insurance, you will be subject to civil and criminal penalties including fines up to $5,000, community service, loss of license and imprisonment. In addition, if you are injured while operating an uninsured automobile, you will not be permitted to recover any economic or non-economic damages from the careless driver who caused the accident, even if you were not at fault.
ALWAYS PURCHASE INSURANCE FOR YOUR CAR. TYPES OF POLICIES:
STANDARD OR BASIC POLICY
Q. What choices do I have when I purchase or renew my automobile insurance policy?
A. You are required to choose either a Standard Policy or a Basic Policy.

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Q. What is a Standard Policy?
A. A Standard Policy provides liability coverage to protect your assets (your property and your Income) if someone makes a claim against you. This is the amount of money that your insurance company will pay to someone who is injured by you, by a resident family member or by the driver of your car. In addition, a Standard Policy provides uninsured motorist coverage if you or a resident family member are injured by a driver who is uninsured.
Q. What are the policy limits for a Standard Policy?
A. The minimum liability and uninsured motorist limits under a Standard Policy are $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident for bodily injury and $5,000 for property damage. However, you may purchase higher limits of liability and uninsured motorist coverage up to a single limit of $500,000.
Q. Should I purchase a Standard Policy?
A. Yes. A Standard Policy provides the best insurance coverage to protect your assets if you are sued and to provide compensation to you and your resident family members if you are injured.
ALWAYS BUY A STANDARD POLICY.
Q. What is a Basic Policy?
A. A Basic Policy provides minimal coverage:
    A Basic Policy does not provide liability coverage if someone makes a claim against you for a bodily injury.
    A Basic Policy provides only $15,000 of medical expense benefits if you or a resident family member is injured (up to $250,000 for brain or spinal cord injury.)
    A Basic Policy does not provide uninsured motorist coverage if

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    you or a resident family member are injured by a careless driver who is uninsured.
    A Basic Policy does not require your insurance company to provide you with an attorney to defend you if you are sued, even if you are not at fault for the accident.
Q. Should I purchase a Basic Policy?
A. No. A Basic Policy does not provide adequate insurance coverage to protect your assets if you are sued and does not provide adequate compensation to you and your resident family members if you are injured.
NEVER BUY A BASIC POLICY.
MEDICAL EXPENSES
Q. Does the Standard Policy provide coverage for medical expenses?
A. Yes. The Standard Policy provides medical expense benefits (PIP) coverage which includes medical expenses up to $250,000 per person per accident. You may elect to purchase less coverage in the amounts of $15/50/75/150,000; however, if you do, you may not have enough insurance to obtain all of the medical treatment you need or to pay for all of your medical bills.
PURCHASE $250,000 OF PIP MEDICAL EXPENSE COVERAGE.
Q. Who pays my medical bills if I also have health insurance coverage?
A. If you are injured in an automobile accident, your automobile insurance is primary and will pay your medical bills. You may elect to make your health insurance primary; however, your health insurance plan may not provide coverage for automobile accidents and may not cover all of your family members. Also, some of your bills may not be paid because of deductibles and fee schedules.

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ELECT PIP PRIMARY. DO NOT ELECT HEALTH CARE PRIMARY.
CLAIMS FOR PERSONAL INJURIES
Q. If I am injured, can I make a claim or file a lawsuit against the careless driver who caused the accident?
A. If you purchase a Standard Policy, you are required to elect a “lawsuit option” that will determine if you have the right to make a claim. You must select either the “limitation on lawsuit” option or the “no limitation on lawsuit” option. If you purchase a Basic Policy, you are assigned the “limitation on lawsuit” option.
Q. What is the “limitation on lawsuit” option?
A. threshold”) eliminates the legal rights of yourself, your spouse and any children who reside with you to make a claim for monetary damages or to file a lawsuit against a careless driver unless you sustain one of the following types of injury:
    Type 1 – Death
    Type 2 – Dismemberment
    Type 3 – Significant disfigurement or scarring
    Type 4 – Displaced fractures
    Type 5 – Loss of a fetus
    Type 6 – Permanent injury (when a body part has not and will not heal to function normally)
Q. What is the “no limitation on lawsuit” option?
A. The no limitation on lawsuit option (also known as “no threshold” or “zero threshold”) permits you to make a claim or to file a lawsuit against a careless driver for any and all personal injuries.

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Q. Who benefits if I purchase a policy with the “limitation on lawsuit” option?
A. The careless drivers who cause accidents will benefit because they may have no responsibility for your economic loss or your personal injuries. The insurance companies who provide coverage for careless drivers will benefit because they may not have to pay any monetary damages for your injuries.
CHOOSE THE “NO LIMITATION ON LAWSUIT” OPTION.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

TYPES OF COVERAGE
Q. How can I protect myself and my family if we are sued?
A. A Standard Policy provides liability insurance with minimum limits of $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident if you or your family are sued. You should purchase additional coverage to protect your assets.
Q. How can I protect myself and my family if we are injured by a careless driver who is uninsured?
A. A Standard Policy automatically provides coverage for injuries caused by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver in the amount of $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident. You should purchase additional coverage up to the amount of your liability coverage.
Q. How can I protect myself and my family if we are injured by a careless driver who is insured but does not have adequate coverage?
A. The amount of your recovery from a careless driver may be limited by the amount of liability insurance purchased by that driver and by the owner of the vehicle. You should purchase underinsured motorist coverage up to the amount of your liability coverage.

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WARNING: You must specifically name all resident relatives, employees and all other drivers as “named insureds” so that they receive uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that you have purchased for yourself.
UMBRELLA POLICIES
Q. Can I purchase other insurance protection in addition to automobile insurance?
A. Yes. You can purchase a personal catastrophe liability umbrella at a reasonable cost that will provide you with additional coverage if a claim is made against you or any resident family member for injuries sustained by another person.
PURCHASE A PERSONAL CATASTROPHE LIABILITY UMBRELLA WITH LIMITS OF $1 MILLION AMOUNT OF COVERAGE
WARNING: You must specifically name all resident relatives, employees and all other drivers as “named insureds” so that they receive uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that you have purchased for yourself.
UMBRELLA POLICIES
Q. How much coverage do you recommend?
A. The law requires the owner of every automobile registered or principally garaged in New Jersey to purchase an automobile insurance policy with liability limits and uninsured motorist limits of $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident. However, insurance companies are required to offer coverage up to at least $250,000/500,000 split limits or $500,000 single limits. Most insurance companies offer the following choices:

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SPLIT LIMITS SINGLE LIMIT
$15,000/30,000 $35,000
$50,000/100,000 $100,000
$100,000/300,000 $300,000
$250,000/500,000 $500,000
PURCHASE LIABILITY COVERAGE AND UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE WITH SINGLE LIMITS OF $500,000 OR THE HIGHEST LIMITS THAT YOU CAN AFFORD.
Q. How do I select the type and amount of coverage that I want to purchase?
A. You will receive a Coverage Selection Form with your application for a new policy or with the renewal of an existing policy. You must sign the form and return it to your insurance agent or insurance company. You should discuss your choices with your insurance agent or your attorney.
Q. What is NJAJ?
A. The New Jersey Association for Justice, Inc. (NJAJ) is an organization of over 2,000 attorneys who represent citizens who are injured in accidents. In addition, NJAJ represents the interests of accident victims in hearings before the Legislature, Executive agencies and the Judiciary. If you are injured in an accident, you should contact a member of NJAJ for Safe legal advice.

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AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE CHECKLIST
YES NO TYPE OF POLICY
X Standard Policy
X Basic Policy
POLICY LIMITS
X Liability Coverage ($500,000 single limit or the highest limits that you can afford)
X Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage ($500,000 single limit or the highest limits that you can afford
PIP MEDICAL EXPENSES BENEFITS
X Medical expenses of $250,000
X Medical expenses less than $250,000
X PIP (Auto Insurance) Primary
X Health Care Primary
LAWSUIT OPTION
X No limitation of Lawsuit Option (No Threshold)
X Limitation on Lawsuit Option (Verbal Threshold)

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WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE IN A CAR ACCIDENT

If you find yourself in a car accident, there are some important steps you can take to make the insurance and potential litigation processes that will ensue afterwards go more smoothly. Ultimately, consulting with experienced counsel as soon as possible is the best way to cut through the red tape of the insurance industry and to make sure your rights are well protected in the event litigation is necessary.

Here are some simple things to keep in mind:

STAY CALM: Whether you caused the accident or it was caused by someone else, staying calm is most important. Getting upset or agitated at the other driver will just make matters worse and will not help you get the attention you may need.

CALL 911: Whether a serious or minor accident, call 911 before you speak to the other driver(s) involved. If medical attention is required, this is crucial. Even if the accident is minor, you will want a police report for your insurance company.

GET INFORMATION: Calmly, without discussing who hit whom or who was at fault or what happened, ask the other driver(s) for his or her name, address, insurance information (insurance company name, policy number, and phone number), and write down the make, model, and license plate (number and State) of the other vehicle(s) involved. If the other driver(s) will not voluntarily provide such information, wait for the police to arrive and do not engage in any further conversation until they do arrive. If you notice other witnesses in or around the accident scene, see if you can get their names and numbers.

TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS: If you are able, use your cell phone or a camera to document any vehicle damage and any injuries, as well as the scene of the accident.

DO NOT ADMIT OR DENY FAULT: Discuss the factual circumstances of the accident only with the police and your insurance company. Do not apologize or admit to or deny anything, even to the police. Just relay the facts of the accident as you recall them. You will need to do the same with your insurance company.

ACCEPT MEDICAL ASSISTANCE: If you are hurt and the paramedics, police or firefighters ask if you need or want medical assistance, accept it. Let them take you to the hospital to get checked out to make sure you are ok or to get treated immediately if you are injured. Often, the extent of injury from an auto accident is not immediately known to you. Your adrenaline is pumping and your pain threshold is elevated. If one of the emergency responders thinks you need medical attention, listen and accept it. Better to be safe than sorry in this regard.

CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY: As soon as it is safe, convenient, and feasible to do so, call your insurance company to report the accident. Do not wait more than 24 hours to do this if possible. As when you speak to the first responders or other parties at the accident scene, do not admit or deny fault. Just report the facts of the accident as you recollect them.

CALL YOUR EMPLOYER: If you are in an accident while in the course and scope of your work or while in a work vehicle, call your employer immediately to notify them of the accident and to inquire about any medical facility or doctor you are to see, workers’ compensation benefits should you be required to miss work for any extended period of time, and what else your employer needs to know.

CALL AN ATTORNEY: Call us if you are in an accident so we can give you additional important advice and to make sure your rights are properly protected whether you caused the accident or someone else did. The sooner you seek the advice of counsel, the easier the days, weeks, months, and perhaps years ahead will be regarding the aggravation that is sure to follow any car accident. You may reach us at Cohen, Placitella & Roth at 1-888-375-7600.


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WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE IN A WORK ACCIDENT

If you find yourself in a work-related accident, there are some important steps you should take to protect yourself, your employer, and others who may also be involved. Ultimately, consulting with experienced counsel as soon as possible is the best way to make sure any claim or rights you have are protected.

Here are some simple things to keep in mind:

STAY CALM: Staying calm will allow you to keep your wits about you to get help you need and to make sure you don’t make matters worse.

CALL 911: Whether a serious or minor accident, call 911 if necessary to get medical attention or assistance you may need.

GET INFORMATION: If you are injured by a machine or vehicle or product, try to get and record the name, make, model, and serial number or other identifying information of the thing that was involved in your accident or injuries to help determine later whether there is a third party other than your employer or a co-worker responsible for your accident. If someone else hurt you by their carelessness, make sure to get the name and phone number of the other person if you are able. If there are any witnesses, try to get their names and numbers as well.

TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS: If you are able, use your cell phone or a camera to document any injuries, as well as the scene of the accident and whatever was involved in causing or contributing to your injuries.

ACCEPT MEDICAL ASSISTANCE: If you are hurt and the paramedics, police or firefighters ask if you need or want medical assistance, accept it. Let them take you to the hospital to get checked out to make sure you are ok or to get treated immediately if you are injured. Often, the extent of injury from an accident is not immediately known to you. Your adrenaline is pumping and your pain threshold is elevated. If one of the emergency responders thinks you need medical attention, listen and accept it. Better to be safe than sorry in this regard.

NOTIFY YOUR EMPLOYER: If you are in an accident while in the course and scope of your work or while in a work vehicle, call your employer immediately to notify them of the accident and to inquire about any medical facility or doctor you are to see, workers’ compensation benefits should you be required to miss work for any extended period of time, and what else your employer needs to know.

CALL AN ATTORNEY: Call us if you are in an accident so we can give you additional important advice and to make sure your rights are properly protected whether you caused the accident or someone else did. The sooner you seek the advice of counsel, the easier the days, weeks, months, and perhaps years ahead will be regarding the aggravation that is sure to follow any car accident. You may reach us at Cohen, Placitella & Roth at 1-888-375-7600.


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IT DOESN’T COST YOU ANYTHING TO CONSULT A LAWYER

At Cohen Placitella and Roth, we represent injured workers without any up-front fees or costs. We will represent you on a “contingent basis.” This means that if there is no recovery against a third party, you owe nothing. If there is a successful recovery against a third party, you will pay a fee based on a percentage of your recovery. The costs will be advanced by our firm during the lawsuit and reimbursed if there is a recovery.

If you have been injured on the job, you should consult with a lawyer about the possibility of a case in addition to your workers’ compensation. There are time limits for bringing a lawsuit, so you should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Waiting too long could mean the destruction of important evidence, or the disappearance of an important witness. In some instances, waiting too long after your accident will mean that you can no longer sue anyone for your accident.


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Attorney Bios

STEWART L. COHEN

Whether in the courtroom or the community, Stewart L. Cohen has worked relentlessly as an advocate on behalf of his clients for over thirty years. Mr. Cohen has achieved seven-figure and higher recoveries for scores of his clients over the course of his career.

Mr. Cohen is a shareholder in the firm, focusing his practice on complex civil litigation, including medical malpractice, workplace accidents and class actions. His skill as a trial lawyer has resulted in a long record of successes including a "Top 100 Jury Verdict in the United States" reported in 2005, and "Top 20 Recovery" in New Jersey reported in 2009. His clients have included: children catastrophically injured at birth because of substandard medical care; the victims injured by "one of the most dangerous roadways in America" as reported by the Philadelphia Daily News; construction workers injured by unsafe equipment and unsafe job practices; and the class of all investors in the Chiquita Banana Corporation in a shareholder derivative action against the Board of Directors who had funded the actions of Columbia's top paramilitary group Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) which resulted in the deaths of thousands of victims.

Through his pursuit of novel and complex cases, Mr. Cohen has made it possible for victims of professional and corporate negligence to successfully recover for their injuries, including: the ability of organ donors to hold a hospital responsible for failing to inform them of the risks of surgery; the ability to hold a state agency liable for money damages for wrongful death; and, the ability to hold a drug manufacturer responsible for fraudulent marketing practices.


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CHRISTOPHER M. PLACITELLA

Christopher M. Placitella is a shareholder in the law firm and an accomplished trial lawyer with a nationwide reputation as one of the country's leading legal authorities on mass tort, class actions, and asbestos- related diseases. He represents individuals injured by defective products

and drugs, toxic substances, and environmental damage.

Mr. Placitella is dedicated to working on behalf of victims of corporate misconduct, and this dedication has helped shape the direction of the firm and its values. A problem-solver by nature, he has devoted his career to helping change people's lives and obtaining justice for his clients.

Mr. Placitella has developed an award-winning reputation for his commitment to those who have been harmed due to the wrongful conduct of others. His professional integrity and personal commitment to his clients and his community have provided him with local, regional and national recognition for his work and service. He is continuously recognized by his peers for his contribution to mass tort litigation.

As a member of the plaintiffs' bar, Mr. Placitella is known for helping to establish a national asbestos litigation group dedicated to successfully and effectively representing individuals suffering from asbestos-related diseases and their families.


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HARRY M. ROTH

Harry M. Roth is a shareholder in the law firm and is widely regarded for his superior handling of complex civil litigation including medical negligence, medical malpractice, product liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, and pharmaceutical cases. He has been has been selected by his fellow lawyers as one of the Best Lawyers in America®.

Through jury verdict and settlement, he has achieved a number of multi-million dollar results in professional liability and product liability cases.

Mr. Roth also represents individuals, government entities, and companies seeking to recover for economic loss or property damage as a result of the wrongful conduct of others.

Mr. Roth was appointed to serve on the Disciplinary Board Committee of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania from 1994–2000, is a frequent lecturer on public safety, health issues, and the law and is actively involved in supporting causes which directly impact the health and well being of individuals as well as the community.


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JONATHAN A. SAIDEL

Jonathan A. Saidel is a member of the firm and served as Philadelphia’s City Controller for sixteen years (1990-2006). Mr. Saidel specializes in class action litigation, real estate consulting and represents individuals and corporations with large tax liabilities before cities, states, and the federal government.

Mr. Saidel came to the firm after a successful career as the City Controller of Philadelphia where he won local and national plaudits for reforming and professionalizing the Controller’s Office. He is lauded for his dedication during that time to fiscal discipline along with his proposals of innovative ideas which contributed to growth within the city of Philadelphia. His work culminated in the publication of the widely praised book, “Philadelphia: A New Urban Direction,” which is still used as a guidepost for effective government and corporate governance and is required reading in many colleges and universities.

Mr. Saidel also served as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Fels School of Government from 2000 to 2005 and as an adjunct professor at Drexel University’s MBA Program in 1999 and 2002.


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Disclaimer

The law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, PC only provides legal advice after it has entered into an attorney-client relationship, which this website specifically does not create. Only after having entered into a written, signed agreement with the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, PC will an attorney-client relationship have been created. It is imperative that any action taken be done on the advice of counsel.

To the extent the information on this page may be interpreted as a LEGAL ADVERTISEMENT before making your choice of attorney, you should give this matter careful thought. The selection of an attorney is an important decision.