Exposure to Second Hand Smoke and Workers' Compensation
By Michael Gorny, Esq.
A recent decision by the New Jersey Division of Worker’s Compensation illustrates how varied injuries in the workplace can occur, sometimes without the injured worker even realizing it. In Pulejo v. Middlesex County Consumer Affairs, the petitioner, Frank Pulejo Jr. worked in a Middlesex County government office from 1976 until 1997. Mr. Pulejo was never a smoker and had no family members who were smokers. However, at his office, Mr. Pulejo was surrounded by smokers, some of whom chain smoked throughout the workday. Three years after his retirement, Mr. Pulejo was diagnosed with lung cancer. After hearing testimony of multiple experts and using several scientific studies, the Worker’s Compensation Court concluded that Mr. Pulejo’s injuries could be attributed to his working environment, making him eligible to receive benefits.
Unfortunately for Mr. Pulejo, he did not seek the advice of a Worker’s Compensation attorney in time and despite the Court finding that he his exposure to co-worker’s second-hand smoke was a compensable injury, he did not file the case before the statute of limitations, resulting in his case being dismissed.
If you have any injury or illness that you believe may be related to work, or even if you are unsure if it is related to work, it is important that you contact a Worker’s Compensation attorney as quickly as possible to discuss whether you are entitled to benefits.
Call today for your free consultation 800-709-1131 and speak with a NJ Workers’ Compensation Attorney. Don’t delay.