How Does Workers’ Compensation Work in NJ?
May 25, 2020
Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state. In New Jersey, the law requires all employers, other than Federal employers, to carry workers’ compensation coverage or an approved self-insurance program. An employer cannot escape this requirement based on the number of employees they have. The only workers excluded from coverage are those who work as independent contractors and are not considered “employees.” The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act (NJSA 34:15-1 et seq.) is a no fault insurance program that provides coverage for injuries and occupational illnesses occurring on and from the job:
What Can Workers’ Compensation Cover?
- Medical Benefits: (except for emergency treatment or if the injured employee is denied treatment, the employers and carriers select the doctor);
- Temporary Total Benefits: (70% of gross weekly wages at the time of the injury, up to a maximum established annually by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development);
- Permanent Partial Benefits: (% of certain “scheduled” loss involving arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, eyes, ears, or teeth or “non scheduled” loss involving the back, heart, lungs, etc.);
- Permanent Total Benefits: (70% of the gross weekly wage for 450 weeks but subject to reduction thereafter for wages earned during employment); and
- Death Benefits: (payment of benefits to dependents of workers who have passed away as a result of their employment)
Injured workers must provide immediate notice to their employer who will alert the insurance carrier (no later than 90 days after injury). This notice does not need to be in writing. The insurance carrier will file a First Report of Injury within 21 days of receiving notice of the accident. Within 26 weeks after the worker returns to work or has reached maximum medical improvement, the Subsequent Report of Injury will be filed with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Public Policy of No Fault Workers’ Compensation and Automatic Entitlement to Benefits
The public policy behind workers’ compensation is to protect employees who are injured on the job regardless of fault. This means that someone injured on the job does not need to wait to bring a lawsuit to receive compensation for injury. However, the trade-off is that persons injured at work cannot file a civil lawsuit for pain and suffering unless they can prove an intentional action or inaction that caused the injury.
Disputes as to the Entitlement to Benefits
Some of the most common disputes to the entitlement of benefits include:
- Whether or not the injuries have occurred on and during the course of employment
- Duration of medical treatment
- Temporary benefits (after seven days)
- Injuries occurring during lunch or while traveling to and from work
- Discharging or otherwise discriminating against an injured employee who seeks to file or attempts to file a claim
Division of Workers’ Compensation
In these situations, the injured employee must file a formal Claim Petition or Application for an informal hearing. There is a two (2) year limit to file a claim (statute of limitations) from the date of injury or date of the last payment.
As per workers’ compensation law, attorneys cannot charge a fee in advance for services and will be fixed by the Court only after compensation has been awarded. Therefore, it is essential for you to work with an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of New Jersey workers’ compensation law and iscommitted to obtaining results for injured employees.
Contact a Rochelle Park Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your New Jersey Workplace Injury Case
A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the Workers’ Comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys at the Epstein Law Firm, P.A. represent clients in Hackensack
Paramus, Englewood, Fair Lawn and throughout New Jersey. Call (201) 380-7687 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation about your work injury case. Our main office is located at 340 West Passaic Street, Rochelle Park, NJ 07662.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.