Workers Compensation Law
Workers’ compensation is a well-established safety net for both employers and employees in the event of on-the-job injuries. Employers are supposed to be protected from the prospect of expensive lawsuits when workers are hurt on the job. Injured workers, on the other hand, are supposed to have the assurance that their medical bills will be paid and their lost wages will be replaced when a workplace injury leaves them unable to work.
Whatever the challenges you face in connection with a New Jersey workers’ compensation claim, King, Kitrick, Jackson, McWeeney & Wells, LLC, can help. When we evaluate your workplace injury matter, our lawyers may discover that you have a viable third-party liability claim. We can help you file a personal injury claim against a product manufacturer, a subcontractor or another responsible individual or company.
The premise of workers’ compensation sounds straightforward, but in fact, it is full of complexities. The 2010 version of New Jersey’s workers’ compensation law was 150 pages long. It is unrealistic to expect lay people to understand how to assert their full rights to compensation after an injury on the job. Yet if you suffered a serious or catastrophic injury or lost a loved one in a fatal work accident in Ocean County, you need and deserve compensation at a maximum available level.
After a workplace injury or on-the-job accident in New Jersey, you should of course notify your employer or your employer’s human resources (HR) office. You should also talk to an attorney if the workers’ comp injury is very serious and you expect to incur major medical bills or miss work for more than a few days. Workers’ compensation is supposed to pay for your medical treatment, but it is not uncommon for employees seeking benefits to encounter obstacles.
If your claim for workers’ compensation benefits has been denied, we may be able to file a workers’ compensation appeal in order to attempt to have the denial overturned. Contact a workers’ compensation attorney at our office today at (732) 920-8383. We can answer your questions regarding a delayed or denied claim.
Workers’ Compensation Law Questions
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program administered by the State of New Jersey that is designed to provide wage replacement, medical treatment, and compensation for permanent disability for employees who suffer work-related injuries. Additionally, if a worker suffers a fatal injury on the job, his or her dependents are also entitled to death benefits through workers’ compensation.
What Should I Do If I Am Injured At Work?
1. Report the injury
If you are injured on the job or suffer an occupational illness, immediately report the injury to your employer. Notice should be given to the employer as soon as possible but not later than 90 days from the accident.
It is extremely important to notify your employer that you were injured AND that the injury was caused by your job; failure to report a work-related injury can lead the employer to deny the accident occurred or claim the accident happened outside of the workplace. In addition, make sure you know your employer’s internal deadlines for reporting workplace injuries, as failure to report an accident timely can result in consequences like suspension or a formal citation.
2. Seek immediate medical attention
Severe workplace injuries typically receive immediate medical attention. However, if the injury comes on more slowly, is not noticed right away, or the extent of the injury is not clear immediately after the accident, make sure to seek medical treatment as soon as possible with a board-certified physician, wherever possible. Make sure you advise the treating physician(s) and medical facility that your injuries were sustained at work.
3. Consult an attorney
You have the right to representation by a lawyer, who will collect all medical records and appropriate medical evaluations to present in the case of a hearing. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney knows how to navigate the workers’ compensation process and can help you fight for the compensation you deserve during a difficult time for you and your family.
What Benefits Are Available Through Workers’ Compensation?
Through workers’ compensation programs, injured workers are entitled to:
- Medical benefits, which includes all necessary and reasonable medical treatment, prescriptions, and hospital services related to the work injury. (Employers and/or insurance carriers have the right to designate medical providers for treatment of work-related injuries.)
- Temporary total benefits, which compensate an injured worker who is unable to work for a period of more than seven days. Temporary total benefits are retroactive to the first day of lost time and are paid at 70 percent of the worker’s average weekly wage (not to exceed the maximum rate or fall below the minimum rate established by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development). These benefits are provided until the worker returns to work, has reached maximum medical improvement, or has reached the 400-week maximum.
- Permanent partial benefits, which are paid to workers who suffer permanent bodily impairment as a result of a work-related injury. These benefits are paid weekly for an initial period of 450 weeks; benefits continue beyond that point if the injured employee can show he or she is still totally disabled. Permanent partial benefits are paid at 70 percent of the average weekly wage (not to exceed or fall below legal requirements).
- Death benefits, which are paid to dependents of a worker who was killed by a work-related injury or illness. Death benefits and funeral expenses are capped at $3,500 and are paid at 70 percent of the deceased worker’s weekly wage (not to exceed or fall below legal requirements).
Do You Need to Hire an Attorney for Workers’ Compensation?
Injured workers are entitled to adequate representation during the workers’ compensation process. When your employer and employer’s insurance carrier are against you, it is every important to have a legal representative who will fight for your compensation.
Attorneys are prohibited from charging a fee in advance for legal services for workers’ compensation. Only a judge of compensation can award legal fees, and fees can only be ordered if a compensation award is made.
The attorneys at KKJMW have extensive experience handling workplace accidents and injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, call King, Kitrick, Jackson, McWeeney & Wells, LLC at (732) 920-8383 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced litigators.
• Benefits denials: Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier may downplay the seriousness of your injuries and deny your claim for benefits or pay too little.
• Retaliation: Your employer may retaliate by firing or demoting you after you have reported an injury.
• Doctor demands: The workers’ compensation insurance company or your employer may demand that you see a doctor chosen by one of them rather than allowing you to work with your own doctor.
• Pressure to return to work: Your employer or the insurance carrier may pressure you to return to work before you feel able.
• Benefits delays: The workers’ compensation insurance company may play a “delay” game, creating gaps in your much-needed medical care and/or monthly living expenses.