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Important Alert for New Jersey Uber Passengers & Drivers

A New Jersey bill has been signed into law that will regulate ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft in the Garden State. This new law, known as the Transportation Network Company (TNC) Safety and Regulatory Act, includes some important info that effects both drivers and passengers.

Here’s the top things you should know:

Insurance Coverage for Uber Passengers Injured in Accidents

In the past, auto insurance companies have told ride-share passengers injured in accidents that their personal policies would not cover them. Under this new law, every passenger will now be covered. As New Jersey accident lawyers, this part of the law is something that will be a big help for our clients and all New Jersey ride-share passengers.

Under the new law, passengers suffering from accident injuries when riding in an Uber or Lyft vehicle will now have medical coverage. This policy will provide up to $1.5 million in coverage for passengers that are injured.

Anyone that has ever been injured in an accident knows how quickly medical bills can pile up. Whether it’s a severe back or neck injury, traumatic brain injury, bone fractures or any other accident-related injury, the cost for treatment can be substantial.

As New Jersey accident lawyers, our clients have had to undergo MRI’s, physical therapy and several other treatments to help them recover. These bills add up quickly and it is good to know passengers of Uber and Lyft will now have the necessary coverage to help them get the proper care for their injuries.

New Jersey Uber & Lyft Drivers – Mandatory Background Checks

Another key aspect of this new law is that all New Jersey Uber, and other ride-share, drivers must now undergo a driving and criminal background check. “Drivers would be banned from employment by a ride sharing company if they had been convicted of homicide, sexual assault, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, reckless driving and possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance.” (NJ.com)

Are These Background Checks Enough?

While these mandatory background checks are a step towards safer ride-sharing experiences, critics don’t feel it is enough. These critics think that the new law should have required drivers background checks to include fingerprinting rather than just name checks. Fingerprinting would provide more thorough records and put Uber drivers on a level playing field with New Jersey’s chauffeurs.

Uber has argued that riders submitting feedback on their drivers is basically a form of ongoing safety checks, but that sounds like some corporate spin from where I’m sitting.

While fingerprint checking is something that should happen sooner rather than later, this new law is still a step in the right direction. The insurance coverage for passengers will allow people with major injuries to get the care they need and deserve.

 

Elizabeth, New Jersey Uber Accident Injury Lawyers

We give personal attention to all of our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call us today at 908-352-2323. If you prefer contacting our accident lawyers via email, please click here.

Our car and truck accident injury lawyers serve clients throughout New Jersey. This includes the cities of Newark, Elizabeth, Union and Jersey City. We cover Morris, Bergen, Hudson, Union and Middlesex counties. Our accident lawyers have offices in Elizabeth, New Jersey and in New York City.

Medical Marijuana, Workers’ Comp & 84 Lumber

84 Lumber Company – The Commercial

For those readers that saw this year’s Super Bowl, I’m sure you enjoyed a game that will be talked about for years to come. In addition to the classic comeback by New England, many people have also been talking about one of the commercials that aired during the game. The commercial from 84 Lumber Company was certainly one that got a lot of attention, and in this writer’s opinion, was the top commercial from the game.

For those that missed the 84 Lumber Super Bowl commercial, the full version is below (note only the first 1:30 aired during the game).

 

84 Lumber was also in the news recently here in New Jersey for something different and that is the topic of today’s blog….

84 Lumber, Workers’ Comp, Medical Marijuana and a New Jersey Worker

A New Jersey man that was injured while working for 84 Lumber will have his medical marijuana paid for by his employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. This was the ruling issued by a New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Judge, in what appears to be the first decision of its kind in our state according to nj.com.

The 84 Lumber worker first suffered a hand injury while working for one of the company’s New Jersey locations back in 2008. In 2012, he was awarded a settlement covering his hand injury. At the time of the 2012 settlement, the worker was receiving prescriptions for a number of painkillers, including Oxycodone tablets and lidocaine patches. However, when these medications were not relieving his pain, the worker was referred to another doctor.

This new doctor that the worker was referred to was licensed to prescribe medical marijuana. He diagnosed the worker with neuropathic and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) of the left hand. This doctor thought that the injured worker would be an ideal candidate for medical marijuana since the treatment has proven successful for neuropathic pain.

Has a new precedent now been established when it comes to New Jersey workers’ compensation law?

This is certainly the question being asked by New Jersey employers, New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers, workers’ comp insurance companies, and of course, the state’s workers. The short answer is that time will tell, but here’s a few bullet points related to the subject (we find that readers appreciate bullet points) :

  • The recent decision is not necessarily binding on other courts because it is a Division level court decision. However, it will be carefully studied by other judges around New Jersey since there are so few decisions when it comes to medical marijuana for workers’ comp treatment.
  • from the judge’s ruling “the effects of the marijuana, in many ways, is not as debilitating as the effects of the Percocet. The pharmacy records show that, ultimately (Watson) was able to reduce his use of oral narcotic medication.” With the nation’s painkiller epidemic, this part of the decision is critical as alternatives to narcotic medications will certainly be getting a closer look in the coming years.
  • The price of one ounce of medical marijuana ranges from $425 to $520 for an average of $489 in New Jersey (plus sale’s tax).  At those prices, New Jersey’s medical pot is the most expensive in the nation. (NJ State Health Dept.) Without payment through workers’ comp insurance, it is unlikely that many New Jersey workers will find this treatment affordable.

Stay tuned for future updates here on our blog.

Elizabeth, New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Our workers’ comp lawyers give personal attention to all of our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured while working , call us today at 908-352-2323 or send us email by clicking here to evaluate your case.

Our workers’ compensation lawyers serve clients throughout New Jersey, including the cities of Newark, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Hackensack, and Morris, Bergen, Hudson, Union and Middlesex counties. Our New Jersey Lawyers have offices in Elizabeth, New Jersey and New York City.

At Mintz & Geftic, WE WILL FIGHT FOR YOU!

Sources:

NJ.com

Philly.com

Wage Theft & WalMart: Truck Drivers Win Lawsuit

Walmart & Wage Theft – Score one for the little guys!

A federal jury ruled that Walmart intentionally failed to pay hundreds of truck drivers in California the minimum wage. The jury in this wage theft lawsuit awarded the workers $54 Million in damages.

In addition to the $54 Million in damages awarded, Walmart might also be on the hook for additional penalties. The retail giant could wind up owing the truck drivers $150 Million, according to one of the wage theft lawyers representing the workers.

The court ruled that Walmart violated the law when it did not pay its truck drivers for certain tasks. These unpaid tasks included the drivers waiting in line to load or unload their cargo, having to spend time filling out mandatory paper work (trip slips) and washing and fueling their trucks.

What is Wage Theft and What Are Your Rights?

Wage theft is an illegal practice of not paying workers for all of their work. Examples include the following:

  • violating minimum wage laws
  • not paying workers for overtime or forcing workers to work off the clock
  • not allowing workers to take meal and rest breaks
  • forcing workers to work through break time
  • taking workers’ tips

One more common example is employee misclassification. Employee misclassification occurs when employers improperly label workers as independent contractors, rather than employees. In addition to being a common wage theft technique, this practice also allows businesses to avoid covering their employees with workers’ compensation insurance.

While this recent lawsuit involving Walmart occurred in California, workers are being victimized by wage theft every single day around the country. In New Jersey, it is important that workers understand their rights.

New Jersey workers that are victims of wage theft may be entitled to recover multiple years of back wages. In addition, employees are entitled to bring actions on behalf of their co-workers in court as class actions or collective actions.

 

Mintz & Geftic – Recent Success

In 2016, Mintz & Geftic’s Bryan H. Mintz, along with co-counsel, obtained a $1.5 million settlement against a New Jersey food distributor alleging violations of New Jersey’s Wage & Hour laws.  That case involved allegations that truck drivers for the food distributor worked more the forty (40) hours per week with no overtime pay.

If you think that you or a loved one might be the victim of wage theft, please contact our wage theft lawyers today. We can provide a free consultation and help you understand all of your options.

 

 

Elizabeth, New Jersey Wage Theft Lawyers

Our lawyers give personal attention to all of our clients. If you or a loved one might be a victim of wage theft, call us today at 908-352-2323. You can also send us email by clicking here to evaluate your case.

Our workers compensation lawyers and wage theft lawyers serve clients throughout New Jersey. This includes the cities of Newark, Elizabeth and Jersey City. Our lawyers serve clients in Morris, Bergen, Hudson, Union and Middlesex counties. We have offices in Elizabeth, New Jersey and New York City

 

Thanksgiving: Best and Worst Times to Travel

The cold air has settled in, the last of the leaves are falling from New Jersey’s trees, the Giants are playing well and the Jets are thinking about next season….it must be the week of Thanksgiving!

Getting the chance to spend quality time with loved ones while enjoying some turkey and pumpkin pie always makes this week a joyous time. However, as New Jersey’s premier car accident law firm, we at Mintz & Geftic also know that holiday weekends bring about some of the most hazardous conditions on our roadways. This Thanksgiving will certainly be no exception according to most travel and auto accident experts.

AAA Travel is projecting that nearly 1.25 million New Jersey residents are planning a Thanksgiving trip of at least 50 miles. With 48.7 million people expected to travel across the country–the country is expecting the highest travel volume since 2007.

While this number includes people choosing to fly to visit family for the holiday, driving is still the primary choice for most New Jersey drivers. In fact, more than 89 percent of all travelers are expected to travel by car, meaning 1.1 million New Jersey drivers will be taking to the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway and our other roadways in the coming days.

Best and Worst times to Drive on Thanksgiving Weekend – New Jersey Accident Lawyers

The following is a breakdown of expected traffic for each day of the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. This data incorporates reports from both Google Maps and Waze.

Tuesday: Peak traffic from 4-8 p.m. Huge increase in usage starting from 1 p.m. until the end of the day, fewer users than usual in the morning.

Wednesday: If you need to leave on Wednesday, hit the road around 6am to avoid traffic delays. Peak traffic is from 3-7 pm, but large increase in drivers starting from 11am through the end of the day.

An increase of 63% in accident alerts from Waze Users on this day. This includes rear-end collisions, serious injury accidents, truck accidents and other crashes due to the increased traffic.

Thursday: Driver behavior and car accident reports similar to a weekend day and not a work day.

Friday: Driver behavior and car accident reports similar to a weekend day and not a work day.

Saturday: Per Google’s data, this is the worst day to return home after Thanksgiving. Their traffic data indicates Saturday at 4pm is the busiest time, where traffic jams and accidents are increased.

Sunday: Worst day to travel after Thanksgiving according to Waze. They report that traffic jams increase by 240 percent and both car accident and truck accident reports are increased.

Monday: If people can take Monday off, traffic volume is much lighter waiting the extra day and traveling on Monday.

Bottom-line, avoid traveling Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday if at all possible. Otherwise, please travel safely and always remember to Put Down the Cellphone

We wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels this weekend!

 

Elizabeth, New Jersey Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers

Our New Jersey Accident Lawyers give personal attention to all of our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, truck accident or bus accident, call us today at 908-352-2323. You can also send us an email by clicking here.

Our New Jersey car accident injury lawyers serve clients throughout New Jersey and New York, including the cities of Newark, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Hackensack, and Morris, Bergen, Hudson, Union and Middlesex counties. We have offices in Elizabeth, New Jersey and New York City.

Our Elizabeth, New Jersey accident lawyers represent clients who are suffering with serious injuries. This includes those  with traumatic brain injury, multiple fractures, spinal cord injury, burn injury and other personal injuries as a result of an accident. Please contact us today for a free consultation so we can help evaluate your case.