New Jersey Workers Compensation – Explained
- September 28, 2021
Each state has its own Worker’s Compensation laws that differ in various ways from all of the other states. New Jersey is no exception but the basic principle of the “Grand Bargain” remains the same. Under the Grand Bargain, a worker surrenders his right to sue his boss and his co-employees for negligence should an injury occur at work. This happens by operation of law upon the acceptance of employment. In exchange for giving up that right, the worker is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits whenever injured on the job, even if the injury was the worker’s own fault.
What are Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Worker’s Compensation benefits for an injured worker are:
- Medical Benefits – Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance (not your health insurance or car insurance) is responsible for the payment of all bills associated with medical treatment that you receive as the result of a work-related injury. Under NJ Worker’s Compensation Law, the insurance company is responsible for 100% of all bills with no deductibles or copayments. Coverage includes prescription drugs, canes, walkers, wheelchairs, diagnostic testing, hospital admissions etc… Anything your doctor says you need as a result of the work-related injury is covered 100%. However, you must go to the doctor that the worker’s compensation insurance company authorizes for you. If you seek medical attention from any doctor other than the one authorized by the workers’ compensation insurance company, the cost will not be covered by any other insurance you may have.
- Temporary Disability Benefits - if you are under the care of a doctor, who as part of your medical treatment wants you to stay out of work in order to get better, then you are entitled to receive temporary disability benefits from the worker’s compensation insurance carrier. If your doctor keeps you out of work for 7 days or more you will receive 70% of your average gross weekly wage, including overtime, up to a maximum of $969.00 per week in the year 2021. Worker’s Compensation temporary disability benefits can be paid for as long as 400 weeks. These benefits should not be confused with state temporary disability which pays less money per week for a maximum of 26 weeks.
- Permanent Disability Benefits - there will come a point when your doctor declares that you have reached MMI - which stands for maximum medical improvement and you will be discharged from the doctor’s care. At this point, unless you and made a full recovery, whatever disability you continue to have is no longer considered temporary, but rather, it is deemed to be permanent. Since the doctors have stated that there is nothing further they can do, you are entitled to a monetary award to compensate you for the amount of injury and loss of function that the doctor could not restore to you. The amount of compensation that you receive is determined by a Workers Compensation Judge in a system with rules that are very different than a Superior Court Jury Trial, which most people are familiar with.
- Dependency Benefits – the surviving dependents (spouse, children, etc..) of a worker who dies as a result of work-related injuries are entitled to file their own workers compensation claim for dependency benefits, which include reimbursement of funeral expenses up to $5,000.00, payment of the decedent’s final medical expenses and the payment of the Spouse’s Statutory Benefits up to $969.00 per week.
What should you do if you are injured on the job?
- Report the accident to your employer – let your immediate supervisor, manager and/or HR Department know that you were hurt while working.
- Request Medical Treatment – let your employer know that you wish to see a doctor for your injuries.
- Contact our office immediately – the adjusters and other representatives of your employer’s insurance company are well versed in New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law. They can and will do what they can to minimize or even deny you the payment of workers’ compensation benefits. They may refuse to authorize diagnostic testing such as an MRI that your doctor has prescribed for you or they may attempt to terminate your temporary disability benefits by convincing their authorized doctor to place you on “light duty”. If you are injured on the job, you need a skilled attorney with superior knowledge of the law to represent your case to the insurance company and the workers compensation court.
At Antonucci Law, our attorneys are Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as both Workers’ Compensation and Civil Trial Attorneys.