If you are unable to do your job due to a work-related injury, you are typically entitled to wage replacement benefits from workers’ compensation. In fact, lost wage replacement isn’t the only type of benefit you may be entitled to. There are three types of benefits your employer might have to provide: medical treatment, temporary disability, and permanency benefits. However, if you’ve been seriously injured it may be wise to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to ensure you’re being compensated fairly.
Temporary disability is also known as “lost time” benefits. If you are unable to return to work while you recover from an injury, you are owed 70% of your average weekly wages up to a statutory maximum. You are also entitled to this benefit even if the doctor releases you to “light duty” and your employer is unable to accommodate your restrictions.
Compensation for Medical Expenses
The first and most important benefit available to injured workers is medical treatment for the work-related injury. Treatment must be provided if it is reasonably necessary “to cure and relieve the worker of the effects of the injury and restore the functions” to the injured body part. Compensation for medical expenses covers medical treatment, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitative devices, and transportation to and from medical appointments.
In New Jersey, you may be required to see a doctor for an independent medical exam. This doctor will be chosen by your employer’s insurance company. The doctor is supposed to be a neutral party, but, it’s likely that you are not the only patient the insurance company has asked this doctor to examine. So, whether or not the bias may be intentional, there is an inherent benefit for the doctor’s opinion to somewhat benefit the insurance company.
If your injury leaves you unable to ever return to work, you can file a claim for permanent disability. If you’ve been seriously injured and lost the function of an injured body part(s), both sides will typically schedule permanency examinations with “expert” doctors familiar with the New Jersey workers’ compensation system. These doctors diagnose work-related conditions and provide permanency estimates. Especially in these cases permanent disability and serious injury, injured workers should have an experienced workers compensation attorney on their side to fight for their best interests.
Do You Need a Workers Compensation Attorney?
While the workers' compensation process may seem straight-forward, unfortunately, 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. Contact us today for a free consultation.