If you’ve been injured on the job in New Jersey or New York, you have a right to not only medical treatment but also a right to workers’ compensation benefits that cover medical bills and lost wages. After an incident, your employer should immediately acknowledge your injury, file an accident report, contact the workers’ compensation insurance company and give you information on how to access medical treatment as part of a claim. If your employer is refusing to file a workers comp claim, they could be breaking the law and you should consider hiring an attorney.
Reporting Your Workplace Injury
If your injury is serious, seek immediate medical care. But whenever possible or shortly thereafter, report your injury to your employer. Keep in mind there are reporting deadlines in order to qualify for workers compensation. In New Jersey, you have 14 days to report an injury to your supervisor or employer.
After you report your injury, your employer has 21 days to file what’s called a First Report on Injury form with the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation. If you are still within this time period, it's possible that your employer has not yet filed the claim. If this time period has elapsed, you should highly consider contacting a lawyer.
What if Your Employer Says You Weren’t Injured?
Longer term injuries and illnesses that occur at work are equally eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, if your employer is claiming that your injury is not serious or due to the workplace and hasn’t filed an injury report, you should contact an attorney. Any medical diagnosis is not up to your employer and neither is determining the cause of a chronic injury. In short, if you’ve been injured at work -- whether in a single incident or over time -- you are likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and may have grounds for additional injury claims.
What if Your Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
In New Jersey, you can check on your employers’ workers compensation policy coverage on the New Jersey Compensation and Rating Bureau’s website. If you find that your employer does not have coverage or coverage has lapsed, you may be able to utilize the New Jersey Uninsured Employer’s Fund, which provides medical care and temporary disability benefits to injured workers. You or your New Jersey workers’ comp lawyer will need to file a formal claim with the Worker’s Compensation court. You will then need to file a separate motion to add the Uninsured Employer’s Fund as a party to your claim.
Should You Seek Medical Treatment Anyway?
Yes, seek medical treatment right away. Even if your employer disagrees or refuses to acknowledge your injuries, continuing to work when injured will only make your injuries worse. Medical treatment also provides evidence and documentation on your claims. If you don’t seek medical treatment, you don’t have much evidence of your injuries.
If your employer does file a claim, you may be required to go to an independent medical exam, with a doctor of your employer or its insurer’s choosing in order to qualify for workers' compensation benefits. While you may receive ongoing medical care from your own primary or specialist caregivers, an independent medical exam is like a second opinion for the insurance company. You should not agree to an independent medical exam if your employer has not filed a claim and without consulting with a workers compensation attorney.
Brandon J. Broderick, Workers Compensation Lawyers
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, our lawyers 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 suffered injuries or illness from a workplace hazard or situation, contact us today for a free consultation.