Frequently Asked Questions about New Jersey Workers’ Compensation
If you’ve been injured on the job in New Jersey, it is critical that you understand how New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system functions and what your rights and options are under the system.
How Long Do I Have to Report My Work-Related Injury?
You are expected to report a work-related injury to your employer as soon as possible after your injury occurs. Of course, you may not realize that you have suffered an injury for a couple of days. Thus, it is best practice to notify your employer of any incident that might have caused you to suffer an injury within 14 days of the incident.
How Do I Notify My Employer about My Injury?
Typically, you would notify your direct manager or supervisor that you have suffered an injury; you could also inform someone in a higher level of management, or your employer’s human resources department. You can verbally notify your employer about your injury, although your employer may have you fill out forms for it to send to its workers’ compensation insurer or to the state.
How Long Do I Have to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
If you need to file a claim with the state to seek workers’ compensation benefits (such as if your employer refuses to file your claim with its workers’ compensation insurer), you have two years from the date of your injury, or two years from the date of last compensation payment if you are challenging the termination of your workers’ compensation benefits by your employer.
If you are filing a claim for a work illness, you must file your claim within two years of the date that you became aware that your illness was work-related.
What Is the “First Report” Form?
A “first report of injury or illness” form is an incident report that must be filed by your employer within seven days of a work-related injury, illness, or death. The report provides objective details about the incident that caused the injury/illness/death along with information about workplace conditions that may have caused the incident.
What Kinds of Benefits or Compensation Can I Receive from Workers’ Compensation?
If your workers’ compensation claim is accepted, you can receive benefits such as:
- Payment of reasonable and necessary medical treatments for your work injury or illness
- Partial wage replacement
- Disability payment
- Death benefits
Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits for a Work-Related Illness?
Yes. Workers’ compensation benefits are available if a worker contracts an illness or disease due to the workplace environment or job duties.
Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation If I Was at Fault for My Workplace Injury?
Yes. Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system. That means a worker is typically entitled to benefits so long as his or her injury or illness was work-related, regardless of how it may have been caused.
Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation for an Injury That Was Made Worse by a Workplace Accident?
Yes, although you may need to prove (typically through medical evidence) that your injury or medical condition was made worse by a workplace incident or conditions in the workplace.
What Kinds of Benefits Does Workers’ Compensation Pay to the Family of a Deceased Worker?
The surviving spouse and children of a deceased worker may be entitled to wage replacement benefits, subject to a maximum amount; other family members may also be entitled to collect from wage replacement benefits if they were financially dependent on the deceased worker. The family of a deceased worker can also receive up to $3500 in reimbursement of funeral and burial expenses.
Can I Use My Own Doctor for My Treatment?
Typically, your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer will have its own medical management care provider organization that oversees workers’ compensation claims, so you will be required to see a health care provider selected by that organization to have your medical expenses covered by workers’ comp.
What Do I Do If My Employer Denies My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
First, you will want to confirm why your employer has denied your workers’ compensation claim. Many claims are denied for lack of sufficient information, or your employer may be denying that you are an eligible employee or that your injury or illness is work-related. You should speak with a workers’ compensation attorney to determine what to do after your claim has been denied by your employer.
How Long Does It Take to Start Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Medical treatment benefits begin immediately after you report your injury. If you are entitled to wage replacement or disability benefits, it takes approximately 14 days to begin receiving checks.
What Happens If I Am Permanently Disabled by a Workplace Injury?
If you are disabled from returning to work, you may be entitled to receive 70 percent of your average pay, up to a maximum of 450 weeks. At that point, you will need to prove you are still disabled from being able to work in order to continue receiving disability benefits.
What Kind of Lost Wage Benefits Can I Receive?
Lost wage replacement benefits under workers’ comp is equal to 70 percent of your average weekly wage, calculated over the 12-month period prior to your injury or illness. Wage replacement benefits are subject to minimum and maximum amounts set by state regulation that changes annually.
Could I Receive a Lump Sum Payment If I Am Permanently Disabled?
Disability payments are usually paid on a weekly basis. However, you and your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer may agree to a settlement that provides you with a lump sum payment in exchange for foregoing any future benefits. You should speak with a workers’ compensation attorney before accepting any lump sum settlement.
Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit against My Employer for a Work-Related Injury or Illness?
No. In exchange for no-fault, guaranteed, defined benefits, a worker gives up the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against his or her employer for a work-related injury or illness. However, if your employer denies a workers’ compensation claim, you may file a claim with the state, which may lead to a lawsuit.
What Do I Do If My Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Employers in New Jersey are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer doesn’t, you may need to file suit to recover the benefits you are entitled to.
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., Suite 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.