Workers' Compensation Eligibility in NJ
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Who is Eligible for Workers' Compensation?
New Jersey workers who are injured on the job have the right to pursue and receive financial compensation for their medical bills and a portion of their lost wages. New Jersey law requires employers who are not covered by federal programs to obtain workers' compensation coverage to protect their employees in the event of an injury, illness or death. Therefore, anyone who has had their claim denied or who has been told that they are not eligible for benefits, would be well advised to research their legal options.
The experienced New Jersey workers' compensation lawyers at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. help protect the rights of injured victims and their families. We understand that a work-related injury can drain the victim and his or her family emotionally and financially. If you have been injured on the job, please contact us to find out how we can help you get back on your feet.
New Jersey Workers' Compensation Law
The law clearly states that all New Jersey employers must obtain workers' compensation coverage. Even employers from out of state who operate a business in New Jersey must have workers' compensation coverage for their employees. Only federal employees such as postal workers are not covered by workers' compensation because the Federal Employees' Compensation Act protects them.
If you are unclear about whether or not you are covered through workers' compensation benefits, you have the right to ask your employer directly. By law, your employer must post and maintain a notice about workers' compensation in a conspicuous place on the worksite as well as in an official form that serves as proof of coverage.
Eligibility Requirements in New Jersey
Workers' compensation is a "no fault" insurance program. But there are certain eligibility requirements that workers must meet in order to qualify for workers' compensation benefits. First and foremost, in order to be eligible for workers' compensation, it must be determined if the injury arose out of and in the course of the employment.
If the injury is determined to be "compensable" in nature, the injured worker will be entitled to full workers' compensation benefits. If the injury results in lost time from work, the employee could receive monetary benefits through workers' compensation as well. This benefit is based on 70 percent of the employee's base salary at the time the injury occurred. If the worker's injury resulted in permanent disability, he or she could receive monetary compensation as well.
Defining a Work-Related Injury
In order to qualify for workers' compensation benefits, the injury must have occurred as a direct result of the worker's employment. A work-related injury is defined as an "injury, which occurs out of and in the course of employment." The law defines "course of employment" as when employees are in their place of work, during the hours they are expected to be there and engaged in doing the task they were employed to do. However, this does not necessarily mean that the employee would have to be at the employer's office or premises at the time of the injury. The worker could be, for example, traveling to or from appointment or doing work at other places designated by the employer. A worker who is injured while working overtime also qualifies for workers' compensation benefits.
An Injury Must Have Occurred
To receive workers' compensation benefits, the accident in question must result in bodily injury to the worker. Workers' compensation is not meant to cover property damage that occurs as a result of the incident. The injury for which an employee makes a compensable claim must be the direct result of the accident the employee sustained on the job. Also, under New Jersey's Workers' Compensation Statute 34:15-17, the injury cannot be compensable unless the employer is notified within 14 days that the injury occurred. The worker will not be compensated until the employer is properly notified about the incident and the resulting injuries.
Types of Benefits
You should receive financial compensation for all of the medical bills you accumulate after suffering an injury on the job. This should include compensation for your initial diagnostic tests as well as your future medical treatment and care. Also, you should receive a portion of your lost wages. Wage reimbursement may include:
- Temporary total benefits: You can receive a portion of your lost wages as long as you are unable to return to work because of your injuries.
- Permanent partial benefits: Support may be available for a part of your wages if you are able to return to work in only a limited capacity.
- Permanent total benefits: Compensation is also available for individuals who will never again be able to return to work because of permanent injuries that makes working impossible.
Protecting Your Rights After a Work Accident
Many injured workers are not offered fair compensation for their losses. Workers who are involved in a dispute with their employer may file a claim petition or an application for a hearing with the Division of Workers' Compensation. Legal guidance is often needed to prove that the injury or illness was work related and to establish the severity of the injuries suffered.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries on the job or if you have lost a loved one in a workplace accident, please contact the experienced NJ workers' comp eligibility attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. to obtain more information about your legal rights and options. Please call us at (609) 240-0040 for a free and comprehensive consultation and case assessment.
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