If you’ve been injured at work, you’re not alone. In fact, most recent statistics show that almost 150,000 work-related accidents were reported in one year in New Jersey alone. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning workers can collect benefits regardless of who was to blame for the accident. Workers can also recover compensation for illnesses that are the result of work, such as stress-related gastrointestinal problems, or chronic injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or other repetitive stress injuries.
If you have been injured on the job or develop a work-related illness, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, approval of your claim is not guaranteed, and the process of actually obtaining benefits can be challenging to work through. In the article below, we will review the requirements for a workers comp claim in New Jersey.
Requirements for a Workers Comp Claim in New Jersey
1. Your Employer Must Have Workers Compensation Insurance
First, your employer must have workers compensation insurance. Almost all employers in New Jersey are required to carry workers compensation insurance with a few exceptions -- federal employees and certain maritime workers are covered under federal workers compensation plans. Additionally, sole proprietors, freelancers, and independent contractors are not required to carry workers compensation insurance. If your employer does not have insurance for some reason, you may still have options to recover compensation for your injuries.
2. Your Illness or Injury Must Be Related to Your Job
There are three common types of job-related illnesses and injuries that qualify for workers compensation benefits:
- Injuries suffered from accidents at work. These often involving heavy machinery, injuries suffered at construction sites or in warehouses and factories. A serious injury is any injury that requires you to seek medical treatment and/or miss work because of it.
- Chronic conditions from 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.
- Illnesses that could include diseases of the lungs, skin, gastrointestinal tract, and other systems; cancers related to harmful materials; and toxic exposure.
Regardless of what type of injury or illness you may have, you must be able to prove that it was work that caused the injury or illness.
3. You Must Have Some Evidence of Your Injury or Illness
If you suffer any type of on the job injury, there are some key steps you can take to protect your legal rights in New Jersey. Make sure to get medical treatment immediately and report the accident and your injuries to your employer. You may be required to get an independent medical exam (IME) by the insurance company or your employer. And, it's extremely important to follow the workers compensation process and be aware of the time limits. In New Jersey especially, there is a very short timeframe for workers to report their injury to their employer in order to be eligible for workers compensation benefits.
Workers Comp Benefits in New Jersey
Workers’ compensation is intended to provide several benefits to injured workers 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.
We Can 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. Our attorneys 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.