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Lawnside New Jersey Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Law Blog

Work-related pain could be a precursor to serious back injuries

Back injuries and pain are a big problem in many workplaces here in New Jersey and the rest of the nation. Even seemingly minor pain in the workplace can be an indicator that something worse lurks on the horizon.

Many workers ignore back pain, attributing it to a simple side effect of labor. However, leaving this pain unaddressed can mean significant back injuries later that take employees away from their jobs. A much wiser approach to work-related back pain is to seek a medical opinion. This allows you and your doctor to rule out serious back injuries and to develop a plan to help you manage pain and keep your back injury-free.

Trucker distractions that contribute to truck accidents

New Jersey vehicle accidents involving large commercial trucks and small automobiles rarely turn out well for the smaller vehicle and its occupants. Even if those in the smaller vehicle survive the truck accident, they will likely suffer serious or catastrophic harm. Remaining safe and injury-free is a goal shared by truckers and other drivers alike, yet crashes still occur, resulting in physical and financial hardships for the victims.

In a time of growing awareness about the dangers associated with truck accidents, many want to know why these crashes continue to injure innocent victims. In many cases, distraction behind the wheel is the answer. Truckers are not immune to distraction, even when they keep safety in mind. Common trucker distractions aside from cell phone use include the following.

Are you working in an unsafe environment?

As an employee, you have certain rights that an employer may not violate, at least not without consequences. When most individuals think of work-related injuries, they imagine an accident on a factory floor or a slip-and-fall accident in an unsafe workspace. However, employers often pressure workers to continue to perform their jobs in unsafe conditions, and these employers may face significant legal action for doing so.

Many of us face struggles with work in light of the current viral outbreak, and in many cases, individuals who might otherwise complain about work conditions are simply glad to have a job. While it is important to remain grateful for our blessings, difficult times do not completely remove the obligations of employers to employees.

AAA survey reveals general unease about self-driving cars

While self-driving cars are far from becoming an everyday reality, automakers are worried about the public's ideas regarding them. A January 2020 survey from AAA found that an overwhelming majority of U.S. adults are uneasy about self-driving cars. New Jersey residents should know that only 12% of respondents said they would feel safe in one. Moreover, 28% said they don't know what to think about such cars.

Most respondents wanted more public information and news items on self-driving cars. Fifty-seven percent, for example, said they want a clear understanding of who would be held liable in a crash with a self-driving car. Fifty-one percent wondered what laws would make the cars safer while 49% expressed concern about the cars being hacked.

Workplace safety may improve if OSHA publicizes violations

From 2009 to 2017, OSHA had a policy where it would issue a press release identifying those companies that commit a serious enough violation of its workplace safety standards. It was hoped that the press releases would educate other employers and deter them from making the same errors. New Jersey residents may wonder if the policy, which was discontinued by President Trump in 2017, was ever effective.

An economist from Duke University conducted a study showing that the policy was, indeed, effective. The study was based on the simple question of whether those companies in the vicinity of a penalized workplace saw any change in the number of their own safety violations. It turns out that a press release helped decrease violations among similar workplaces in a five-kilometer vicinity by a startling 73%.

Concerns arise over bill to let teen truckers travel interstate

New Jersey allows drivers as young as 18 to obtain a CDL, but it limits those CDL holders under the age of 21 to travel within the state. The same goes for all states with the exception of Hawaii. Now, a bill has been introduced that may do away with this limitation and allow all truckers to travel interstate. A hearing held in February 2020 has explored the concerns with this bill.

The bill, known as the DRIVE-Safe Act, was introduced in February 2019. It specifies that truckers under 21 would undergo a probationary period before being allowed to drive interstate. This period ends once they complete 400 hours of driving, at least 240 of which are to be accompanied by another CDL holder at least 21 years of age.

Head-on crashes: Significantly dangerous and debilitating

A head-on collision could lead to significant injuries or death. This kind of collision is one of the worst that you can be involved in.

Why? Both your vehicle and the other party's vehicle may hit at full speed from opposite directions. That impact is going to be much more significant than one where you're hit from behind or from the side.

An overview of workers' compensation benefits

All employers in New Jersey are required to have workers' compensation insurance so that workers who are injured on the job can file for benefits under the workers' compensation program. The benefits themselves may vary based on the extent of the injuries; the following is just an overview of what they may cover.

First, the benefits will cover all medical expenses relating to the injury, including the cost of treatments, prescriptions and travel to and from the hospital. To reimburse victims for the income lost during their physical recovery, the program can then provide temporary disability payments. These do not cover all lost wages but, on average, two-thirds of the victim's weekly gross pay and are paid out every two weeks.

How CMV drivers can prevent drowsiness on the road

A great many truck accidents that occur in New Jersey and across the U.S. are the result of drowsy driving. Fatigue is a hazard that's built into the trucking industry, so to speak, but this is not to say that truckers cannot avoid it. They can do so if they follow the tips below.

The first tip is to achieve a sufficient amount of sleep. Not only that, but truckers should also try to avoid driving during those periods when the body is naturally tired. They include the hours between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. and between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Second, truckers should eat healthy and eat regularly. Third, it's best to avoid drowsiness-inducing medications. If they still feel drowsy after a long sleep, they may want to see a doctor; it could be a sleep disorder.

Why is trucker fatigue such a big issue?

Fatigue is a major problem for anyone who drives a vehicle, but it can be devastating for a person who drives for a living. Long haul truckers face a unique problem when they are trying to deal with fatigue. They have loads that need to be delivered to clients in a timely manner, so they might not feel able to just stop when they need to.

It is imperative that trucking companies operate in a manner that enables trucker to get sleep when they need it. The impacts of sleep loss are similar to those of alcohol, which is troubling. A person who has two nights in a row in which they get five hours of sleep will become impaired. If the person is awake for 24 hours, they will be impaired in a manner equivalent to a person with a blood alcohol concentration of .10%.

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