New Jersey Permanent Disability Lawyer
Permanent Disability & Workers' Compensation
A worker, who has devoted many years to an entire career only to suffer a debilitating injury as a result of a dangerous working environment, deserves to at least be compensated in order to receive some degree of normalcy in return. Although many injuries sustained while on the job are not life-threatening and can be easily treated, a handful of workplace injuries are much more demanding and may require years of rehabilitation, if not causing an employee to cope with permanent disabilities for the remainder of his or her life. Fortunately, employees who suffer permanent disabilities due to a work accident may qualify to obtain permanent disability compensation.
Workers' Compensation Disability Classifications
The Rules of the New Jersey Division of Workers' Compensation are very intricate and classify different disabilities in various ways. Most commonly, permanent disability will be associated with any condition that interferes with your heart, hearing, spine, limbs, brain, or vision. However, the workers' compensation system determines the difference between partial and total permanent disability.
Partial Permanent Disability
Partial permanent disability occurs when an employee can still perform some job duties, but may require vocational rehabilitation or a job change in order to remain employed. For example, workers who have suffered work-related hearing loss or carpel tunnel syndrome may qualify for partial permanent disability benefits under workers’ comp. These benefits will be based on the percentage of loss suffered.
Total Permanent Disability
Total permanent disability means that you are entirely incapable of returning to any job under any conditions, and is usually seen under the circumstances of paralysis, amputations, brain injury, and many other situations. Under these conditions, the injured worker may receive payments based on 70% of his or her gross weekly wage at the time the injury or illness occurred. If the worker qualifies, these payments will continue for approximately 450 weeks, or for as long as the total disability exists.
Partial Temporary Disability
After a workplace injury, an employee may still be able to work in some capacity during the recovery period, but not in the same position or for the same pay earned prior to the injury. In such a case, the employee may be given lighter duties or part-time work and still receive some workers’ compensation benefits to compensate for the difference in pay, adjusted by the amount the employee is earning. When fully recovered, the worker can return to the former position and pay schedule.
Total Temporary Disability
Serious injuries do occur in the workplace, particularly in the construction and the industrial fields. Many workers are able to fully recover from workplace injuries and eventually return to their formerly-held positions- but while they are recovering, they are entirely unable to work. When this happens, total temporary disability benefits provide approximately 70% of the worker’s gross weekly wages during the recovery period.
Effects of Permanent Disability
Permanent disability is often responsible for causing a distressing psychological change for a worker who used to clock-in five days out of every week. Alongside the stress of financial loss, a worker who has recently sustained a permanent disability will need extensive medical support and rehabilitation to cope with the realities of their life-long condition. In a permanently injured worker's efforts to come to grips with his or her new life, workers compensation is usually sought to assist in providing financial compensation to help pay for a variety of demanding costs associated with permanent disability.
How to Apply for Permanent Disability Compensation
If you have been injured on the job, inform your employer as soon as possible. Your employer will notify its workers’ comp insurance carrier, and the insurance company will complete a "First Report of Injury" form and submit it to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. This begins your workers’ compensation claim. If your claim is allowed (meets all requirements under state law), you are eligible for benefits, including medical treatment and partial compensation for your lost wages.
If your injuries have caused permanent impairment, once your doctor determines that you have reached maximum medical improvement, your doctor will assess the level of impairment and give you a permanent disability rating. At that point, your temporary disability benefits end and your benefits for partial or total permanent disability will begin.
For partial permanent disability, your permanent disability rating will determine the amount of your benefits. In the state of New Jersey, when the eyes, ears, hands, arms, feet, and legs are injured, disability ratings are determined based on a schedule.
If you are found to be totally disabled (unable to work in any job), your wage compensation benefits will amount to approximately 70% of your average weekly wage at the time of injury, subject to certain caps and minimums. Benefits will continue for a period of at least 450 weeks and can be continued if your condition does not resolve, and you are unable to work.
Claiming workers’ comp benefits you are entitled to receive should be an easy, cut-and-dried process, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in your corner after a serious workplace injury can help ensure that you receive the full range of benefits you and your family will need.
Contact a NJ Permanent Disability Attorney at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C.
To ensure that your rights as an injured worker are protected so that you obtain the full compensation that you deserve, you need a skilled New Jersey workers' compensation lawyer with years of experience handling personal injury and workers compensation litigation. At Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., our dedicated and knowledgeable attorneys are highly familiar with permanent disability workers' compensation and other legal elements of work-related injuries.
Your recovery is too important not to contact an attorney who is more than willing to defend your rights and help you receive compensation for pain and suffering, loss of wages, medical bills, physical therapy, and much more. Contact Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. at (609) 240-0040 for your free and confidential consultation.
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