Workers’ compensation is a ‘no-fault’ system in most states, including New Jersey. In order to receive workers compensation benefits, you must only prove that your illness or injury happened because of your employment or while at work. With a few exceptions, the issue of ‘fault’ isn’t taken into consideration when determining benefits.
Common Workplace Injuries
Slip, trips and falls – Construction frequently requires working on ladders, scaffolds, and other elevated locations to cover all walls and ceilings. Retail and warehouse workers may be handling or moving large materials. This creates the risk of a fall from a height, which can cause serious injuries or even death.
Eye injuries – Chemicals pose serious danger to workers’ eyes. Even brief contact can cause temporary or permanent blindness. Falling objects or other accidents can also cause eye injuries.
Strains, Sprains, and Repetitive Stress – Many workers perform the same movements throughout the day – picking up and putting down heavy materials, and reaching to high areas. These repetitive motions can cause overuse injuries over time. In particular, the rotator cuffs and muscles of the shoulder and neck are often strained while a painter works. Long-term use can cause minor tears that can take weeks to recover, while a sudden fall can cause injuries that require surgery.
Any of these circumstances can cause a multitude of serious injuries, including fractures, blindness, chronic illnesses, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and neck and shoulder injuries.
Reasons a Workers Compensation Claim Could Be Denied
Your workers’ compensation loss claim may be denied for a variety of reasons. For example, if you turn down a part-time work assignment, your benefits may be stopped. If your benefits stop for any reason, seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Lack of Evidence
If your injury was unwitnessed, workers compensation benefits could be denied because there is lack of proof the injury occurred at work. This is a reason to report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. Another possibility is that your medical records didn’t support your injury claim.
Timing of Your Claim
It's extremely important to follow the workers compensation process and be aware of the time limits. In New Jersey especially, workers have a very short window to report their injury to their employer in order to be eligible for workers compensation benefits. Additionally, if you filed a workers’ compensation claim after you were fired or laid off, your claim could be denied.
Illegal Drug Use
If your medical records indicate the presence of illegal drugs, this may be reason to deny your claim.
Fighting in the Workplace
If your injury claim is connected to a physical altercation with another employee or other person at work, this could be a reason to deny your claim. If you were the victim in the altercation, you should be eligible for workers compensation benefits.
If your workers compensation claim has been denied, contact an experienced workers compensation attorney, like Brandon J. Broderick, for help. An attorney can review your case and advise you of your options.
Workers Compensation Benefits
If you suffer an injury at work and qualify for workers compensation. The following are some of the benefits injured workers can file claims for:
- 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.
The first step to filing a workers compensation claim is to contact your employer. States have strict filing deadlines. Without notice, an employer or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier has no obligation to provide benefits.
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 obtaining benefits is a major challenge for most people. An experienced workers compensation 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 your claim has recently been denied, contact us immediately to understand your options.