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Samuel J. Perez Joins Javerbaum Wurgaft as an Associate in the Springfield Office

By JW Law

Samuel J. Perez attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey as a recipient of the James Dickson Carr scholarship and focused his studies on Political Science and Communications. After graduating from Rutgers in 2004, Sam attended Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey where he graduated in 2007. While at Seton Hall Law, Sam interned at the Union County Public Defender’s Office where he represented individuals that did not have the financial means to hire private counsel after being charged with a crime.
After receiving his Juris Doctorate degree from Seton Hall Law, Sam clerked for the Honorable Dennis V. Nieves, J.S.C. in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Criminal Part, Middlesex County. Since clerking, Sam spent many years working on cases from a variety of practice areas including municipal, criminal, family, workers’ compensation and personal injury. His efforts were recognized in 2017 when he was named as one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2017” in the area of personal injury.

As an attorney, Sam’s driving passion has always been making the law accessible to his clients. From the initial client consultation all the way through trial, Sam takes pride in dealing with all aspects of his cases as well as making himself available to his clients. Sam is conversational in Spanish and is an active member of the Middlesex County Bar Association as well as the New Jersey Association for Justice.

David Wikstrom’s $2.7 million settlement for a man who lost his arm in a sausage manufacturing plant accident was highlighted in the “Ten More Awards Worth Noting” sub-section

Attorney David Wikstrom’s $2.7 Million Product Liability Settlement Recognized in New Jersey Law Journal’s Special Section

By JW Law

 

Date: May 2017

 

Attorney: David Wikstrom

 

Award: $2.7 Million

 

On August 28, 2017, the New Jersey Law Journal published its annual “Top 20 Personal Injury Awards of the Year” special section, which identifies the largest reported personal injury awards for the year. Attorney David Wikstrom’s $2.7 million settlement for a man who lost his arm in a sausage manufacturing plant accident was highlighted in the “Ten More Awards Worth Noting” sub-section. The $2.7 million settlement was one of the thirty largest settlements or jury verdict awards in New Jersey for the period of August 20, 2016, and August 21, 2017.

The case:

In 2013, Tulio Martinez-Carassco, an employee of Ronell Management was hired to clean food preparation equipment at Premio Foods in Hawthorne.

Martinez-Carassco was working on a large mixing and blending machine which included large metal paddles spinning around a large bowl to mix sausage filling. As he reached under the bowl with a hose to spray down the discharge door at the bottom of the mixer, he slipped causing his hand to be pulled into the mixer. As a result, his left, nondominant hand was severed from his arm. The doctors were unable to reattach the severed arm surgically and had to perform an amputation below his elbow.

The lawsuit named Premio and included products liability claims against Apache Stainless Steel, the machine’s manufacturer. The suit also named Ronell claiming that “the workers’ compensation bar to recovery should not apply because Martinez-Carassco was directed by his employer to clean the mixer with the paddles turning, posing a substantial certainty of injury,” Wikstrom told the Law Journal.

The suit claimed that two separate safeguard devices designed to prevent the paddles from spinning when the discharge door was open, were bypassed and disabled. “One such device required the user to access a control panel several feet away and depress two buttons simultaneously for the paddles to function with the discharge door open” Wikstrom added.

Apache contended that the mixing machine was built with proper safeguards, but Martinez-Carassco contended that the design did protect against certain misuses, according to Apache’s attorney.

The attorneys said a 2003 email from Premio to Apache demonstrated that Premiohad disabled the safeguards and was aware for the ten years leading up to the accident that the machine was being operated without guards.

The parties settled two days before trial through mediation. Premio agreed to pay $2.5 million; Ronell and Apache, $100,000 each for the damages.

 

 


New Jersey Attorney David Wikstrom’s $2.7 Million Product Liability Settlement in NJLJ Annual “Top 20 Personal Injury Awards of the Year” Section

The takeaways:

Workplace injuries are among the most common grounds for personal injury claims. According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 New Jersey’s private industry employers reported 72,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses, resulting in an incidence rate of 2.7 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers.

Martinez-Carassco case, said Wikstrom, demonstrates the importance of workplace safety.

How to protect yourself from workplace injuries?
• Never take a risk that is outside your safety protocol. Most construction accidents can be avoided if the worker a) follows Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety protocols
and b) follows the safety protocols of the general contractor.
• Always use your safety equipment. If you feel you need more safety equipment, ask your safety foreman.
• Never work on machines that have safety guards dismantled or bypassed. The safety guards on machines are designed for the safety of the worker.

Even when companies take appropriate workplace safety precautions, accidents happen. How employers respond to these accidents can make all the difference.

In most cases, employers, insurers, and their lawyers tend to use deceptive tactics to avoid paying compensation to the injured worker. Some of them include: blaming the victim for the accident, denying claims altogether, delaying the legal proceedings, using out of context recorded statements, refuting the cost of treatment and advising the victim to see the company doctor.

Having an experienced lawyer by your side from the very beginning can help you successfully challenge the strategies and arguments employers and insurers use to avoid paying the compensation you deserve. Javerbaum Wurgaft’s Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation attorneys know precisely how employers and insurance companies work, what strategies they use and how to tackle them effectively.

“Defense attorneys in product liability and workplace safety cases often try to blame each other or the plaintiff as the cause of the accident. As attorneys for the plaintiffs, we combat these arguments utilizing experts and government documents and standards such as from OSHA,” added Wikstrom.

[Read Related: Recognized for $4.65 Million Combined Settlement in Drunk Driving and Dram Shop Claims]

Javerbaum Wurgaft Attorney Jorden Pedersen Scores for Contractors Injured Abroad

By JW Law

Everyone who signs up to serve their nation in the military recognizes that duty includes risks. But people may not realize that private contractors working for the military also face risk of serious injuries or death.

And at times, corporations and insurance companies unfairly deny worker compensation, medical treatment or disability payments to the civilian contractors injured or killed abroad.
In a recent case, an American accountant was killed working for a company hired by the U.S. military to provide payroll services in Turkey. He was moving a piece of exercise equipment into his apartment when the building’s elevator malfunctioned. The contractor’s widow was denied compensation on the grounds that his death was supposedly “not work-related.”

She turned to Jorden “Nick” Pedersen of Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom Sinins P.C., who specializes in helping private contractors killed or injured abroad while on the job for the U.S. government.

Pedersen filed a claim under the Defense Base Act (DBA), a little-known law that creates a worker-compensation system for federal contract employees working overseas. DBA, is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act which is seldom used.

What is defense base act

“There could be 50 firms around the country doing it,” Pedersen recently told Super Lawyers, which has published an article highlighting Pedersen’s expertise. “I can only say with accuracy that there are very few firms in the country that handle this type of work.”

Super Lawyers Magazine article: Bases Covered.

“We are pleased to help those who risk their lives abroad, doing important work,” added Pedersen, who has been practicing for over 40 years.

“Nick is an exceptional attorney whose skill and unique specialty are a large part of why he represents hundreds of civilians injured overseas,” said Eric Kahn, managing partner at Javerbaum Wurgaft.