Workers compensation is a no-fault system that pays certain benefits to workers in the unfortunate event that they are injured on the job or become ill due to job-related conditions. There are several types of workers compensation benefits, depending on the severity and permanency of your injuries or illness. What type of benefits you are receiving will determine whether or not you can work and get workers compensation.
Workers compensation benefits include the costs associated with medical care and treatment of your injuries, regardless of your ability to work. If your injury is relatively minor, for instance, and your doctor says you are ok to continue working, you can do so and you can seek additional employment. Workers compensation benefits should cover the costs of the medical treatment.
Temporary vs Permanent Partial or Total Disability
If your injury prevents you from working at all or in only a limited capacity, you may receive compensation for lost wages. These benefits fall into two categories: temporary disability and permanent partial or total disability.
Permanent Partial or Total Disability
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.
Permanent disability benefits are intended to compensate the injured worker for the effect the injury or illness has on their life. In these cases, the person can work and get workers compensation.
In the initial aftermath of an injury, if you cannot work for a period of seven days or more, you may start by receiving temporary disability benefits. Typically, it is not known if an injury will be permanent and what the long lasting effects and medical outcome may be so you may be receiving temporary benefits for some period of time. An injured worker may receive these benefits from the date of their injury until the day they return to work, reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), or exhaust the statutory 400-week maximum.
Working and Getting Workers Comp Temporary Disability Benefits
Temporary disability benefits are intended to compensate the injured worker for some portion of their lost income. Generally speaking, it can be considered fraud to work and get workers compensation without reporting it to the workers compensation board. This includes all types of employment, including independent contract work such as rideshare driving, remote jobs or cash ‘under the table.’
If you are receiving workers compensation benefits and have a secondary source of income, it's best to speak with an experienced workers compensation attorney about your case. They can protect your rights and maximize your compensation.
If your doctor clears you for ‘light duty’, you may go back to work if your employer is able to accommodate your any restrictions placed. However, they are not obligated to do so. If your employer brings you back under a different role for less pay, you should contact a workers compensation lawyer to discuss your case. While it’s possible that your benefits could cover some of the difference in income, you should ensure your best interests and rights are protected.
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. 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.