Almost 150,000 work-related accidents were reported in New Jersey in one year alone. If you’ve been injured at work or are suffering from a chronic illness or injury due to working conditions, you may be eligible for 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 how to file a workers comp claim in New Jersey.
How New Jersey’s Workers Compensation System Works
Like most states, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning workers can collect benefits regardless of who was to blame for the accident. Besides injury, 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.
Workers compensation provides many types of benefits to injured workers. These benefits include medical benefits, which pay for hospital and healthcare bills as a result of the injury or illness, as well as a portion of lost income for the period in which the employee cannot work. In New Jersey, workers compensation benefits are 70% of the workers’ weekly pay, up to the state maximum. For 2021, the maximum is $969/week.
Depending on the severity of the injury or illness, workers compensation benefits can be temporary or permanent and may include the full benefit amount or a partial amount. The benefit types include:
- 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.
Steps to File a Workers Compensation Claim in New Jersey
Make sure to follow these steps to file a workers compensation claim in New Jersey. Missed deadlines and failure to follow the process can result in your claim being denied.
Report your injury
It's extremely important to report your injury to your employer as soon as possible after the injury or as soon as you develop symptoms. Many employers have a process to report injuries to your supervisor or appropriate role within your HE or safety department. Reporting your injury will start the claims process. Keep in mind, New Jersey has a very short window to report your injury and start the claims process.
Seek Medical Care
Of course if you’re seriously injured or very ill, seek emergency medical care immediately. Regardless of the severity, however, seek medical care. Your medical record could be used to build evidence for your claim showing the progression of a chronic illness or injury. Your employer or their workers compensation insurance company may require you to get an Independent Medical Exam (IME) for another opinion. This should not stop you from seeking medical treatment.
Contact an Attorney
There are several reasons you may want to contact a workers compensation attorney to review your case. First, if your claim is fully or partially denied, you should contact a lawyer to review your case. New Jersey has an informal and formal appeals process for situations where employers and employees are in a dispute about workers comp benefits. Having a skilled, experienced lawyer on your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
If you are seriously injured you may be presented with options for a lump sum payment or a settlement. It’s vital to contact an attorney to review your options to ensure the settlement offer is maximized and fair. Once you agree to a settlement, you cannot go back if you later determine you will need more medical care or time away from work than initially expected.
Get Help for your Workers Compensation Claim
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 recover from your injury and move forward. If you’ve been injured at work or your claim has recently been denied, contact us immediately to understand your options.