According to the State of New Jersey Department of Health, every year more than 4,000 New Jersey workers require hospital treatment for injuries sustained on the job. Workers’ Compensation is an insurance program that every employer is required to carry for their employees. It provides for medical treatment, wage replacement and temporary or permanent disability compensation for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. If a worker is fatally injured on the job, death benefits may be available for their dependents.
Workers’ Compensation is a “no-fault” program which means workers injured on the job are generally entitled to benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident. These laws are designed to help injured workers obtain needed compensation for injury-related medical expenses and lost wages without the burden of having to prove their employer was negligent. In exchange for this benefit, workers are banned from filing a civil suit against their employer for pain and suffering or other damages. An exception to this is if the act that caused the worker’s injuries was intentional.
Any employee who is injured on the job is eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. It does not matter if the worker is employed part-time or full-time or if the employer is a large corporation or a privately owned small business. Domestic and farm workers are also covered under New Jersey Workers’ Compensation law as are some independent contractors. Certain independent contractors can also be defined as employees and therefore qualify for Workers’ Compensation according to the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act, in contrast to the narrower view of independent contractors taken by the IRS. For clarification on independent contractors and Workers’ Compensation benefits, contact a qualified Monmouth County Workers’ Compensation lawyer.
Workers who are injured at work or while carrying out a work-related task, even off-site, will most likely be covered by Workers’ Compensation. This is true even if the injury was the worker’s fault. Exceptions to this are work injuries sustained while the employee was under the influence of illegal substances, or injuries resulting from horseplay or practical jokes.
Not all injuries are the result of a singular event or accident. Repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome can develop in workers whose jobs require them to do the same repeated motions for prolonged periods. Likewise, occupational illnesses or diseases that develop over long periods of time as a result of job-related exposure to toxic substances may also be compensable under Workers’ Compensation.
Common work injuries include:
If you are injured in a work-related accident, report your injuries immediately to your employer. New Jersey does not require that notice be given in writing, it is enough to notify your manager, personnel office, or proper authority at your place of work. Although you have 14 days to do this, it is best to report an injury as soon as possible so that if you decide to file for benefits, your employer and the insurance company do not question the authenticity of your claim.
Work injuries requiring emergency medical treatment should be handled right away and your bills should be covered by Workers’ Compensation. However, non-emergency treatment should be cleared with your employer. This is because New Jersey law gives the employer or the insurer the right to choose the treating physician.
After you have reported your injuries to your employer, he or she must notify their insurance company and file a report of injury with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD). The insurance company will decide whether to accept or deny your claim. Workers whose claims are accepted will be paid wage loss benefits and their medical treatment will be covered.
Should a claim be denied, the worker can challenge the decision through a formal claim petition or an application for an informal hearing with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Your employer is prohibited by law from any retaliatory action against you if you file for Workers’ Compensation benefits. While you are not required to have an attorney represent you, it is highly recommended. Having an experienced and dedicated Workers’ Compensation lawyer on your side will greatly improve your chances of having your claim accepted. He or she will also work to ensure that the financial impact of your injuries or illness is properly assessed.
Although you can file a Workers’ Compensation claim on your own, the process is time consuming and compensation can vary depending on the circumstances of your case. The experienced Monmouth County Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. will fight to make sure you receive the maximum allowable benefits for your case. If your injury was a result of negligence by someone other than your employer, you may also be eligible for damages from third-party claim. Consultations are free so call us today at 732-493-9400 or contact us online.
Our Ocean Township office serves clients in Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County, as well as those in the communities of Colts Neck, Rumson, Deal, Monmouth Beach, Little Silver, Freehold, Manalapan, Marlboro, Howell, Jackson, Asbury Park, Middletown, and Holmdel, New Jersey.