According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 74,400 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by New Jersey employers in 2018 alone. In the same year, 83 people suffered fatal on-the-job injuries in the state. While safety measures have improved across a range of industries, these numbers show that a high number of New Jersey residents are being hurt each year at work.
If you are injured on the job or are diagnosed with an occupational disease, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, including medical treatment and disability payments. Unfortunately, insurance companies often work to deny or minimize the amount of workers’ comp benefits paid. In these situations, a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney can fight for your right to benefits.
With more than 90 years of combined experience, Bross & Frankel has the knowledge and skill to effectively advocate for our clients. We will work with you to ensure that your workers’ comp claim is appropriately filed, and handle any issues that may arise in the process.
Am I Eligible for New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
In New Jersey, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance that will provide benefits to employees if they are hurt or become ill on the job. Because workers’ comp is a no-fault system, employees do not have to prove that their employers did something wrong in order to be eligible for benefits.
Under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation law, employees may apply for benefits if they (1) suffer an on-the-job injury or (2) develop an occupation disease. A work-related injury may include things like falling from a high place, getting hurt by machinery, or slipping and falling. Occupational diseases include conditions and illnesses that are related to work, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, contact dermatitis from chemicals, or asbestosis from asbestos exposure.
The key to eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits is that the injury or illness occurred in the course and scope of employment. In some cases, the insurance company may question whether an injury or illness is truly job-related. A skilled New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney can advocate for your right to benefits.
What Type of Benefits Are Available in a New Jersey Workers’ Comp Case?
If you are eligible for workers’ compensation, then you may be approved for as many as five types of benefits. The type and amount of benefits will depend on the nature and severity of your injury or occupational disease.
- Medical Benefits: your employer will cover your necessary and reasonable medical treatment, prescriptions, and hospital services that are related to your work injury or illness. Your company or its insurance carrier has the right to designate medical providers.
- Temporary Total Benefits: this is financial compensation paid to employees who are disabled for more than (7) days. This benefit is paid at a rate of 70% of your average weekly wage, going back to the first day of lost time and paid until you return to work (for up to 400 weeks). The maximum and minimum benefit amount is set by the state.
- Permanent Partial Benefits: if you have permanent bodily impairment from your work-related injury or illness, then you will be paid benefits based on your functional loss. You will receive these benefits weekly until your temporary disability ends.
- Permanent Total Benefits: if your work injury or illness causes you to be unable to work in any job, then you may receive these benefits, which are paid at a rate of 70% of your average weekly wage. The benefits will be paid for an initial period of 450 weeks and can be continued if you can prove that you remain totally disabled.
- Death Benefits: If an employee dies from a work-related illness or injury, their dependents may be eligible for death benefits of up to 70% of the worker’s average weekly wage. In addition, funeral benefits of up to $3,500 may be paid.
If you have been hurt or developed an occupational illness, a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney can work to ensure that you receive an appropriate level of benefits based on your level of disability.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
After you have an accident at work or are diagnosed with a work-related illness, your employer may tell you not to worry — that you are covered by workers’ comp insurance. That may be true. But too often, employers and their insurance companies deny, delay, or minimize legitimate workers’ compensation claims.
Common tactics used by employers and insurance companies include:
- Denying an initial workers’ comp claim because the employee didn’t seek medical treatment in a timely manner;
- Denying a claim on the basis that the injury was suffered outside of work;
- Discontinuing medical benefits because the proposed medical treatment is unnecessary or unreasonable;
- Discontinuing medical benefits because it has exceeded a reasonable duration;
- Improperly classifying a disability;
- Calculating a worker’s average weekly wage incorrectly; and/or
- Terminating an employee’s position because of a work injury or illness.
These are just some of the issues that may arise in a New Jersey workers’ comp case — any of which may result in your benefits being terminated early, paid at an unfair rate, or denied entirely.
A seasoned New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney will work to ensure that you get the benefits that you are entitled to under the law. Your lawyer can help make sure that all required documentation is filed on time and properly and that your medical treatment is authorized. In addition, your attorney will help you with an independent medical exam (IME), if requested, and will represent you at all hearings and appeals before the Department of Labor.
While it is possible to handle a workers’ compensation claim on your own, working with an attorney increases the likelihood that you will get the full amount of benefits that you deserve. Having legal representation levels the playing field — and protects your interests throughout the process.
Hurt at Work? Reach Out Today.
If you have suffered a workplace injury or been diagnosed with an occupational disease, you may be feeling overwhelmed with paperwork and the stress of the situation. We can help. Our team of experienced legal professionals will work with you, standing with you from the initial filing through the final resolution of your claim.
For more than 20 years, Bross & Frankel has represented injured workers throughout New Jersey with their workers’ compensation claims. We offer free claim reviews so that you can learn more about your legal rights and options. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney, call us at 856-795-8880 or reach out online.