New Jersey Workers' Compensation Lawyers
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Filing a Workers' Comp Claim
If you have suffered a workplace injury or occupational disease (a chronic ailment that occurs as a result of occupational activity - e.g. Black lung disease in coal miners), you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer∗. Instead, you must go through the workers' compensation program in order to obtain compensation for damages. Workers' comp is a benefit system that virtually guarantees medical care and paid time off for employees who are injured on the job. It operates on a "no fault" basis, meaning neither an employer nor an employee can be held liable for a work-related injury or occupational disease. This serves to protect the employer from costly litigation and the employee from denial of medical care and other benefits. Law requires that most employers take out a workers' compensation insurance policy from an independent insurance company.
Workers' comp may be designed to assist workers in their time of need, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. Complications may arise during the claims process that lead to inadequate benefits or denial of benefits all together. If you have encountered obstacles that are preventing you from getting the workers' comp coverage you are entitled to, please get in touch with the experienced New Jersey workers' comp lawyers at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. We can discuss your case and explore the options that are available to you in a free, comprehensive consultation. Call us today at (609) 240-0040.
If a worker suffers injuries from an on-the-job accident, he or she may be eligible for workers' compensation coverage.
Who is Covered by Workers' Comp in NJ?
If a worker suffers injuries either from a one-time on-the-job accident occurrence or through repeated exposure to damaging forces from his or her duties or work environment, then he or she may be eligible for workers' compensation coverage. However, he or she must be an employee, not an independent contractor. Many factors go into deciding whether you are an employee or independent contractor, including the rate of pay, the location and time in which you perform your job duties, tax deductions, and more.
What are the Different Types of Benefits Workers' Comp Offers?
The benefits you may receive through workers' comp may be divided into five broad categories:
- Medical Care: This will cover any medical treatment, prescriptions, and hospital stays deemed necessary for your injury. The bills for these services will be paid by your employer’s insurance provider or by your employer directly if they are self-insured. Your employer will be given the authority to choose who you receive your medical care from unless it’s an emergency or they are unfairly refusing treatment.
- Temporary Disability: If your injury requires you to take time off of work, this will cover a portion of your lost wages. You are eligible to receive these benefits as long as you are getting medical care and unable to work. Payments will end when you are either released to resume work or it has been determined you’ve reached maximum medical improvement.
- Permanent Disability: Your injury may cause you to be debilitated for the long term. If so, this will provide financial support for you and your family. Permanent disability is disbursed in weekly payments for 450 weeks. After this time, benefits may be extended if you can prove that you are still incapable of returning to work or earning a living.
- Supplemental Job Displacement: If your injury has taken away your ability to perform your old job and your current employer cannot offer you alternative work options, then you may receive training for a new job through this benefit. This will allow you to learn the skills necessary to obtain work in a different occupation. Education must be received at a state-approved or accredited school.
- Death: If you lose your life due to a jobsite accident, your family may receive financial aid through this benefit. A judge will decide how the weekly payments are to be disbursed among your dependents. Children are considered dependent until the age of 18, or 23 if they are in school full time. Your employer will also be held accountable to pay for your funeral expenses up to $3,500.
What Obligations Must NJ Employers Meet?Your employer must maintain workers' compensation coverage for all of his or her employees. He or she must also cover the premiums without taking money out of any employee's wages. When a worker is injured on the job, the employer must provide him or her with the appropriate claim forms within one work day. Once the forms have been completed, the employer must send them to the claims administrator. New Jersey employees have the right to receive up to $10,000 for medical coverage.
How to File a Workers' Compensation Claim in New Jersey
The following steps are vital to ensuring you receive workers' comp benefits after an on-the-job accident:
- Notify your employer of your injury as soon as possible.
- If you need medical treatment, you should make that request to your employer immediately.
- Your employer (if he or she is self-insured) or his or her workers compensation insurance will investigate your case and determine whether you are eligible for workers' compensation benefits.
- If your employer will not report your accident to the workers' compensation insurance carrier, consider contacting the carrier directly. You also have the option of filing a claim with the Division of Workers' Compensation.
- Before contacting the Division of Workers' Compensation, try to obtain your employer's insurance information. Proof of your employer's insurance coverage should be displayed at the place of business in a prominent location. If proof of insurance is not posted, contact: Compensation Rating & Inspection Bureau at 60 Park Place, Newark, NJ 07102. You may also visit the NJCRIB website.
- People who have experienced workplace injuries, but have been determined ineligible for workers' compensation benefits may be entitled to file New Jersey workers compensation lawsuits. You can file a lawsuit with the Division of Workers' Compensation.
∗Note: Only very specific circumstances allow you to file a lawsuit directly against your employer. You may sue your employer if he or she harmed you intentionally (intention in these cases is defined very narrowly), or if he or she does not carry workers' compensation insurance when it is required.
Suing Third Parties After a Workplace Accident in New Jersey
Workplace accidents may involve a third party, in which case, you may sue the third party for damages in addition to filing a workers' comp claim. For example, if you used a defective product to perform your job duties and were injured because of it, you may file a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the product. Another example would be getting into a car accident while delivering a pizza. In this case, you could file a third party claim against the motorist who crashed into you.
Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. Provides Legal Guidance to NJ Workers
Seeking satisfactory workers' compensation benefits can be overwhelming, especially during the difficult time you are attempting to recover from your injuries. As legal professionals, we are experienced in representing personal injury cases efficiently and effectively. At Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., our NJ workers' compensation lawsuit attorneys make it a point to treat our clients with the compassion and respect that they deserve. Call us at (609) 240-0040 for a free consultation today and find out how we can help you.
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