Every state has its own workers’ compensation system, a program designed to help employees who are injured at or become ill because of the workplace. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning workers can collect benefits regardless of who was to blame for the accident. Workers can also recover compensation for illnesses that are the result of work, such as stress-related gastrointestinal problems, or chronic injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or other repetitive stress injuries.
Workers' compensation benefits may be denied in some states when an injury is caused by the employee’s own negligence or reckless behavior, such as drug and alcohol use, committing a serious crime, or violating company policies.
Important to note, by filing a workers’ compensation claim, employees are barred from filing a separate lawsuit against their employer. However, there are some exceptions. Workers can file third-party lawsuits against other liable parties that are not their employers. And, in most states, when the injury was a result of the employer’s negligence or intentional misconduct, you may be entitled to a full range of damages that are not available in the worker's compensation system, such as pain and suffering and other damages.
Calculating Your Workers Compensation Claim
Workers’ compensation provides several benefits to injured workers who have suffered from a work-related accident or an occupational disease. Medical benefits, such as payment of hospital and medical bills, as well as the loss of income during any period in which an employee is disabled. These benefits may be temporary or permanent, depending on the injury, and may include a full benefit amount or a partial benefit amount.
Filing for Worker's Compensation Benefits
If you have been injured on the job, inform your employer immediately. You’ll need to verbally or in writing notify your manager, boss or supervisor – anyone with authority over you. In most states, you must notify an employer within 30-45 days of an injury or illness, and a failure to notify may result in a denial of benefits. However, in some states, the notification period is shorter -- don’t wait.
In some states, like New Jersey, your employer or its insurer will refer you to a doctor of its choosing. In other states, an objective medical examination will be required by the workers' compensation agency. Regardless of where you live, informing your employer immediately or very soon after your injury will help your case.
Do You Need a Workers Compensation Attorney?
If you believe your workplace injury or disease was caused by negligence or willful, reckless actions, you should speak with an attorney. In addition, while the process may seem straight-forward, it does not necessarily guarantee that you will be compensated fairly. Has your employer denied a claim you recently filed? Were you awarded workers’ comp benefits but it is not enough to cover your medical expenses? At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we are dedicated to assisting clients throughout New Jersey and New York with their workers’ compensation cases. We have years of experience and the extensive resources you need to secure a fair case result.