It’s mandatory in New Jersey that all employers not covered by federal programs offer some form of compensation to injured workers. Learn more about these regulations and how you can file a claim if you’ve been hurt.
Have you been injured in the workplace? If so, you’re not alone. The National Safety Council tells us just how common workplace injuries are, with one taking place every 7 seconds – that’s over 4.5 million every year. This is where workers’ compensation comes into play.
New Jersey has had workers’ comp laws in place since 1911 and is still working toward a healthier, safer state for workers by 2020. For more insight on workplace injuries and workers’ rights, we recommend the Bureau of Labor Statistics and OSHA for the most comprehensive and up-to-date information.
Understanding New Jersey Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation covers occupational illness or disease as well as accidents, and insurance coverage is mandatory for employers in New Jersey. Workers are eligible for coverage if they have been unable to work or sustained an injury in the course of employment. Workers’ Compensation provides for loss of wages, medical expenses and payment for the injury itself. Under New Jersey regulations:
- Your employer or their insurance provider has the right to select the health care provider that treats your injury. Your employer may allow you to select your doctor, but it is required that all necessary medical treatment must be approved.
- If illness or injury renders you unable to work but you are expected to recover, you are entitled to temporary income payments. If your injury causes impairment of bodily function or permanent disability, you could also be entitled to a permanent disability award.
- When Workers’ Compensation is provided, workers cannot bring a civil action against their employer for pain, suffering or other damages.
- If a worker dies, then medical, hospital and funeral expenses will be paid (up to $3,500 for funeral expenses). Their dependents will also receive death benefits based upon the prior financial support provided by the worker to his or her family. Children who are full-time students are dependent until age 18 or 23. A child who is physically or mentally disabled may be eligible for further benefits.
- Workers’ Compensation awards are not taxed.
How to File a Claim in New Jersey
You should immediately report any workplace injury to your manager or supervisor, or within a reasonable period of time. Waiting one week or more to report the injury may complicate the claim and benefits. The reporting does not have to be in writing, as long as you bring it to the proper supervisor’s attention. Proper reporting may be vital in helping your case later. A responsible employer will work with you to resolve the issue.
It’s not uncommon for an employer to offer a financial settlement to close the claim. We recommend you consult with an attorney before you accept any amount. It may be tempting, but it could also affect your rights and financial recovery.
Most of the time, a formal claim, called a claim petition, must be filed with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. This process is made much easier when you work with an attorney.
Having a law firm behind you can also help if you feel you are being unfairly discriminated against for filing a claim or have lost your job as a result – both of which are illegal under New Jersey law.
Put Our Decades of Experience to Work For You
Employers and insurers often exhaust every possibility to avoid accepting any responsibility. A rejected injury claim is distressing at a time when you don’t need any more discomfort. New Jersey may have already paid over $18 million in combined compensation and medical fees in 2019, but one look at the data shows that more than half of all cases and claims were rejected.
Our firm actively investigates your workplace to support your claim, gathering all possible evidence and speaking to co-workers or onsite witnesses. We work closely with medical professionals to form a complete picture of your injury case, ensuring you get the proper medical care and all the financial compensation you’re entitled to.
We have more than 100 years of combined experience in representing injured or ill workers. We can also represent you in third-party lawsuits if your injury/illness was caused by the negligence of someone other than an employer or co-worker.
Your health and well-being are as important to us as getting you the best possible financial settlement. Contact us with the details below to set up a convenient appointment.
Andrew R. Bronsick and Joseph Discenza are Certified as Certified as a Civil Trial Attorneys by the Supreme Court of New Jersey Board of Attorney Certification. All new clients receive a free consultation, so don’t hesitate to contact us online or call at 973.327.6611.