In New Jersey, federal protection is not as important on account of the strong State measures to eradicate the cancer of discrimination in the workplace. This is mostly included in the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. In New York, where the State law is not as strong, employees generally look to federal law for protection. The significant distinctions between the employment laws of New York and New Jersey are included in the Garbar published article. The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (“ADAAA”) prohibits discrimination based on disability. It is applicable to businesses with 15 or more employees.
Damages available under the ADAAA are the same as the damages available pursuant to Title VII. The statute permits back pay, front pay, compensatory and punitive damages. Like Title VII, the compensatory and punitive damages are capped. The ADA was amended in 2008 and went into effect January 1, 2009. One of the primary reasons for the amendment was due to judicial interpretation of the ADA. Similarly to Title VII and the ADEA, federal courts generally do not act favorably toward employees who bring cases of discrimination. Federal court judges, often times, favor businesses and corporations. This is something an aggrieved employee should bear in mind when considering filing a lawsuit in federal court pursuant to Title VII, the ADEA or the ADA.
Nevertheless, the legislature acted and created the ADAAA which significantly expands the protections offered to aggrieved employees with disabilities. The ADA originally defined a disability as: (i) having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (ii) having a record of such an impairment; or (iii) being regarded as having such an impairment. While the definition has generally not changed, the interpretation of the definition has significantly changed. As a result, and as interpreted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) in its regulations, a much more broader view is now required with respect to the definition of a disability and the major life activities (and major bodily functions) which, under the definition, would be considered substantially limited.
Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. Major bodily functions include, but are not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
Do I need an attorney if I've already been offered a settlement?
The offer you received from the insurance company is almost certainly less than what you are entitled to, by a significant margin. Insurance companies, just like any other business, are structured to maximize their own profits, and in addition to offering a minimal amount in any settlement, they will also commonly employ aggressive tactics against claimants like you to discourage requests for full compensation. We can not only advise you of what your case is really worth, but also provide skilled representation to help you recover damages.
How much is my case worth?
Each personal injury case is unique, and your attorney will consult with you in detail to help you determine the full value of your claim. In any fair settlement, you should expect to receive enough money to cover all your medical bills, from emergency treatment at the scene of the accident to rehabilitative care to help you fully recover. Claims of this nature should also cover the amount of income you will lose due to the injury from missing work or inability to perform on your job, as well as compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced.
How long will it take to resolve my case?
A variety of factors will play into how long it takes to get your insurance settlement, from the availability of evidence to support your claim to how cooperative the insurance company is and how effectively you can prepare your case. At our firm, our legal team takes every case seriously and we will do everything possible to achieve a successful resolution for you. We will also keep you informed throughout the entire process about what you may be up against and how long you can expect your case to take.