Workers who are injured or hurt on the job can file a claim for workers compensation benefits. In turn, their employer or its insurer will then pay for medical expenses and lost wages for the time period when the worker is recovering from the injuries. Unfortunately, for some workers, the injury can be severe enough to make it impossible to return to that job or even be able to work at all. Workers’ compensation claims are never easy, but they are particularly complex when an injured worker will need to file for lifetime permanent disability under workers’ compensation.
What are the Workers Compensation Benefits in New Jersey?
Workers’ compensation provides several benefits to injured workers in New Jersey 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. Injured workers are entitled to the following benefits, depending on their case:
- Compensation for Medical Expenses: Covers medical treatment, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitative devices, and transportation to and from medical appointments.
- Permanent Disability: If your injury leaves you unable to ever return to work, you can file a claim for permanent disability.
- Temporary Disability: You can get two-thirds of the wages of your average weekly amount if your temporary disability claim is approved.
- Life Pension: If you are severely disabled with more than a 70% permanent disability rating, you can receive weekly life pension benefits.
- Death Benefits: If a workplace injury results in death, the surviving members of the worker’s family can file a claim for death benefits to cover various expenses.
Workers Compensation Benefits for Long Term Injuries
The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation System defines permanent total disability as a “physical or mental neuropsychiatric total permanent impairment caused by a compensable accident or compensable occupational disease, where no fundamental or marked improvement in such condition can be reasonably expected.” In other words, if you are totally disabled due to a work related injury with no expected improvement in your condition and cannot work at all, you may qualify for benefits for the rest of your life, or at least 450 weeks.
In New Jersey, workers compensation also provides for partial disability benefits. These benefits are for cases in which the injured worker can still find gainful employment but not the type of work they once had. Partial disability benefits compensate someone for the difference between the wages they once earned and the wages of a potential new job, given their prospects.
Long Term Injury Examples
Permanent total disability under workers’ compensation can arise from a number of different types of injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries., and even chronic repetitive stress injuries. In New Jersey, the workers compensation laws presumes a permanent total disability if the worker has lost (or lost the use of) two or more major members of the body, which are eyes, arms, hands, legs, and feet, regardless of capability of gainful employment.
Qualifying for Permanent Total Disability
Permanent total disability benefits are not available until the injured worker reaches his or her maximum medical improvement (MMI). Medical professionals must make the determination that there is no other treatment, therapy or procedure that could improve the condition. Short term disability and other workers compensation benefits may pay for medical expenses and lost wages up until this point, but it’s generally not possible to start permanent total disability benefits until MMI has been achieved.
Help with Your Workers Compensation Claim
You have the right to file a claim for benefits after suffering a work-related injury; however, the process of actually going through the requirements for a workers comp claim in New Jersey can be challenging. An experienced workers comp attorney can handle your case and make sure you get the benefits you need to recover from your injury and get back to work.
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. If you’ve been injured or your claim has recently been denied, contact us immediately to understand your options.