Workers’ Compensation is a system created by the New Jersey Legislature that provides benefits to workers who are injured, or who contract an occupational disease while working. The injury can occur due to a specific accident, or due to the ongoing wear and tear caused by the regular duties of the job. The benefits include medical care, temporary disability payments, and permanent partial or permanent total disability for a resulting permanent injury. In the event of the death of an injured worker, benefits are payable to the family of the worker. Benefits may be paid voluntarily, but in most cases it is necessary to have a lawyer apply to the Workers’ Compensation Courts in order to receive the maximum relief available by law.
Virtually every worker who performs services for wages is covered by the law. If injured, the worker should notify the employer as soon as possible, but not later than ninety (90) days from the date of the accident. The notice may be given to the Supervisor, Personnel office, or anyone in authority at the employer’s place of business. Notice need not be in writing. If the worker needs medical treatment a request should be made to the employer as soon as possible. If an employer refuses to provide medical services, and/or temporary disability for time lost from the job due to the injury or condition, the injured worker should seek the services of an attorney who will file a formal claim petition, and a Motion for medical and temporary benefits with Division of Workers’ Compensation. Attorneys are prohibited by law from charging a fee in advance for such services. Fees will be fixed by the court only if a compensation award is made at the end of the case.
It is important to know that there is a two year statute of limitations. A formal claim petition must be filed within two (2) years of the date of the injury or the last payment of compensation, whichever is later. Medical treatment authorized by the employer is considered a payment of compensation.
In the case of an occupational illness, or “wear and tear” case, the Claim Petition must be filed within two (2) years from the date that the worker first became aware of the condition and its relationship to employment.
After the claim is reported, the employer or the employer’s insurance carrier will investigate the claim. If the claim is found compensable, they will pay for the necessary and reasonable medical treatment, loss of wages during the period of rehabilitation, and when documented, benefits for permanent disability.
Permanent disability is a payment to compensate the injured worker for whatever loss of physical function comes as a consequence of the work related injury, illness, or disease. It is a payment of money after all of the medical treatment is over and in addition to the payment for wages lost while the injured worker is re-cooperating from his injury. You need to use a lawyer to obtain the maximum amount of these permanent disability benefits.
Workers' Compensation benefits are paid no matter whose fault the accident is. The only thing that matters is whether the medical condition was caused or worsened by employment. If the incident was the fault of someone other than a co-employee, the worker may also have the right to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for the injury in addition to receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
The Workers’ Compensation Statute prohibits the employer from discharging or discriminating in any manner against an employee because an employee has claimed, or has attempted to claim Workers’ Compensation benefits or has testified or is about to testify in a workers’ compensation case.
In the event of a job related accident, illness disease or medical problem feel free to contact us for a no obligation consultation.