Caregiver and Home Health Aide Injury Lawyers

Caregiver and Home Health Aide Injury LawyersCaring for those who need assistance is a noble task, requiring patience as well as responsibility. In a growing industry tied to healthcare, assisted living and personal care is often tailored towards the elderly and the disabled. Those who most need the services of others do not always behave rationally, however, resulting in injury to those who care for them.

If you were injured during your employment as an assisted living aide, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Many people choose to care for a loved one, whether it be a spouse, child, or family member, usually in their own home. Even if you were providing your services free of charge, under New Jersey law, you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Asserting your rights as a home healthcare worker can be difficult due to the nature of the workplace you are working in. At Livingston DiMarzio, our caregiver injury lawyers have successfully prosecuted cases similar towards yours. When it comes to the fragile relationship between a caregiver and the patient, made even more so if the patient is a family member or friend, it is important to understand that filing a claim is in no way an insult towards your patient. Keep in mind that you are a priority as well, and to maintain that you will need to maintain your health and financial freedom.

Why do Home Care Aides Need Workers’ Compensation?

At one point, the industry of home health aides was the fastest growing sector of the economy. In fact, the injury rate in home care settings is up to 50 percent higher than their hospital counterparts.[1] Home health aides can get injured for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Assault – Caregivers can get assaulted by patients who may or may not be dealing with an underlying condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, which precipitate personality changes and behavioral abnormalities. Patients with dementia may unpredictably show agitation, unusual, and aggressive behavior towards an undeserving victim. This includes verbal abuse and assault, as well as being sexually inappropriate.

Patients with dementia may exhibit irrational behavior because they are upset or in pain, triggering various types of assaults, such as:

  1. Hitting
  2. Punching
  3. Scratching
  4. Hair-pulling
  5. Biting
  6. Throwing things

It is important to understand how the patient is feeling to prevent or mitigate these episodes.

  • Dog or other pet attack – Oftentimes, the patient will have a pet such as a dog or cat in their home that can attack an intruder such as yourself. You may sustain lacerations or other wounds because of this type of attack.
  • Lifting or Handling Patients – Lifting a dependent can be a stressful task, and many caregivers suffer musculoskeletal disorders because of this. Sprains and strains are common during these difficult tasks. It is important to use tried methods, such as bending and lifting with the knees, not at the waist.
  • Slip and fall accidents – When a home is neglected, slip and falls become more likely for home care aides. Lots of clutter, a pet running under you, or a spill can precipitate this injury.
  • Infection – Working directly with people risks contracting any infections the patient may have. The likelihood of this can increase if the patient encounters people who may have an infection at a hospital or medical facility.

Conditions that May Elicit a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Unpaid Home Health or Nursing Aides

There are certain situations that would apply towards your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits if you are an unpaid personal care assistant caring for a loved one. These include:

  • Your loved one was injured during his/her employment.
  • Your loved one has applied for and is receiving workers’ compensation benefits for their injury while you are providing at-home care services.
  • The workers’ compensation board has decided that at-home caregiving is necessary for them to be able to live without risking further injury.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance has neglected their responsibility in providing a home health aide, or has delayed in sending one, so you undertake the responsibility yourself.

As a nursing assistant, our firm recognizes that you may have a career that you had to put on the side to care for a loved one. This means that your income may have been reduced, as well as any career advancements put on hold. Our experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers take this into account and work hard to make sure you are entitled to the financial freedom you deserve.

Example of Successfully Prosecuted Claim

Milford Manor Nursing Home

A medical assistant was assaulted by a patient, suffering injuries to her neck. Although the petitioner had prior cervical injuries for which she had been awarded compensation, Craig Livingston was able to win an award containing 100% of total and permanent disability. After a full trial with several expert witnesses, the plaintiff will receive contributions from the Second Injury Fund for life after an award of $63,860 over a pay period of 270 weeks.

Second Injury Fund

If you were injured as a personal care assistant and can no longer work because of your injuries, you may be eligible for lifetime benefits from the Second Injury Fund. To qualify, you must have been previously injured before your second, work-related injury, or have had a pre-existing, permanent-partial disability. This first injury does not have to be work-related.

Injured as a Home Health Aide? Call Us Today

At Livingston DiMarzio, our home health aide injury lawyers make sure that your side of the story is told. Whether you have been caring for a loved out of kindness or necessity, or your injury as a caregiver in someone else’s home has left you unable to work, we work with you every step of the way to make your life easier. We know it can be difficult to move on after life-changing events. That is why we are compassionate towards you and your loved ones. To schedule a free confidential consultation today, call the experienced workers’ compensation lawyers in Nutley, New Jersey or contact us online.

[1] Malugani, M. (n.d.). Safety Tips for Home Healthcare Workers. Monster Career Advice. Retrieved March 12, 2022, from https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/safety-tips-for-home-health-workers

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