How Do I Know If I’m Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
There are two primary factors to consider in determining whether you might be covered by workers’ compensation. First, you must be an employee of the company that you are seeking workers’ compensation benefits from. Second, your injury must have occurred in the course and scope of your employment. However, even if you meet both factors, you might still not be covered by workers’ compensation. For example, there are certain industries whose workers are excluded by state or federal law from workers’ compensation benefits, such as agricultural workers. In addition, if you intentionally or recklessly injure yourself on the job, you may be disqualified from workers’ compensation benefits.
Does an Employee Continue to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits if He or She Returns to Work?
Sometimes. If you return to work, you can still receive reasonable and necessary medical treatment for your work-related injury or illness. However, if you are receiving partial wage replacement benefits, and the benefits you receive plus the income you earn from returning to work causes your income to exceed pre-injury levels, you will not be entitled to wage replacement benefits. However, if you return to work but for fewer hours than you worked prior to your injury/illness, you may still be entitled to a lesser amount of wage replacement benefits.
Can an Employee Receive Workers’ Compensation No Matter What?
Although workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system, meaning that benefits are paid to an injured employee without the need to make a determination of fault, an employee can be disqualified from benefits if it is determined that he or she intentionally or recklessly injured themselves. For example, if the employee got into a work-related accident because he or she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the employer may be entitled to deny benefits.
Can an Employee Recover Workers’ Compensation for Injuries Sustained Outside the Workplace?
Generally speaking, an injury is compensable under workers’ compensation if it “arises out of” and occurs “within the scope of employment.” This means that an injury may still be work-related even if it does not occur on the employer’s premises. For example, an employee who is required to drive between the employer’s sites during the workday may have a motor vehicle accident deemed a work-related accident. Or if an employee is required to undertake overnight travel and is injured at the hotel where he or she is staying, the employee’s injury may be deemed work-related. However, not all work-connected activities may lead to an injury being deemed work-related. For example, driving to and from work at the beginning and end of the workday is generally not considered within the scope of employment for workers’ compensation purposes. Or, if you are driving between your employer’s sites and you decide to stop off along the way for lunch, if you are injured while on the way to or at lunch, your injury may not be deemed to be work-related because it occurred during a “diversion” and not in the course and scope of your employment.
Contact a Nutley Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your New Jersey Workplace Injury Case
A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although New Jersey workers’ compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the workers’ comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Birkhold & Maider, LLC represent clients in Essex County, Hudson County, Mercer County, Union County, and all across New Jersey. Call (973) 947-4670 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation about your work injury case. Our main office is located at 189 Franklin Ave., Ste. 1, Nutley, NJ 07110, and we also have offices in Hamilton.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.