If you are injured in the workplace or develop an employment-related medical ailment, the New Jersey workers’ compensation statute can assist you by paying for your medical treatments and paying 70% of your wages while out of work during the recovery process. Many injured workers may not be aware that they may additionally be entitled to compensation for any subsequent permanent or lasting medical condition they sustained as a result of a workplace accident or occupational illness. If you experienced a work-related accident in the Northfield area that resulted in a permanent disability, the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Petro Cohen, P.C. have the insight, skills, and proven track record to make workers’ compensation work for you.

What Is the Scope of New Jersey Employment Insurance Coverage?

All New Jersey employers are statutorily mandated to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage for all of their in-state employees. This type of insurance is meant to assist you in paying for medical costs if you sustain an injury during the course of your employment – specifically, injuries sustained on the job while performing work-related duties. These insurance plans also provide coverage for occupational diseases or illnesses. This includes all diseases arising out of and in the course of employment that are primarily attributable to conditions which are characteristic of a given trade or occupation. Examples would be carpal tunnel syndrome suffered by office workers or hearing impairment incurred by factory employees.

Receiving Benefits under New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law – What’s the Process?

Injured workers must first provide notice to their employer of the occurrence of the injury or illness within a specified amount of time. The employer will then submit a claim to its affiliated workers’ compensation insurance provider who decides whether or not the claim is of the type that is covered by the insurance plan. If the provider accepts the claim, the insurance company and the employer will refer the injured worker to one or more approved medical treatment providers, and will pay for any reasonable and necessary medical expenditures. If the employee misses work for more than seven days, he or she may also be eligible to receive temporary disability benefits to assist in recovering lost wages while they recover from their injuries. In New Jersey, temporary disability benefits are 70 percent of a worker’s gross weekly wages, but they cannot exceed a maximum amount that is set by law on an annual basis.

What Qualifies as a Permanent Partial Disability?

After undergoing the treatment protocol prescribed by the healthcare provider, injured workers will typically receive some sort of correspondence from either the physician or insurance provider advising them that they have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This does not mean that the worker is fully healed or that they are completely restored to their pre-injury condition. MMI simply means that the worker will no longer continue to receive paid medical care because it will not improve their condition further. New Jersey workers’ compensation law mandates that employers provide medical care that is curative in nature. After an injured worker is deemed to have reached MMI, they may be entitled to permanent partial disability (PPD) coverage to provide compensation for their lasting loss of function. Certain physical conditions will automatically qualify for partial or total disability in dollar amounts established by law. These scheduled losses include amputations, vision or hearing loss, and other commonly reported work-related ailments.

How Is Permanent Partial Disability Coverage Calculated?

In several states, the amount of PPD coverage an injured worker is entitled to receive is dependent solely on whether the employee is impaired from an employability perspective – meaning that they are restricted from or unable to perform their occupational duties due to their disability. However, in New Jersey, a Judge of Compensation evaluates permanency coverage based on loss of functionality in all aspects of an employee’s life. This encompasses not only workplace disability, but also any physical limitations to participating in sports, hobbies, and other extracurricular activities. In order to receive this benefit, the injured employee must attend a compensation hearing where they must present medical proof of the disability (e.g., x-rays, physician testimony, MRIs, etc.) and a detailed personal summary of their limited abilities. Once a claimant establishes that they have a permanent disability, the judge determines whether the condition is significant enough to merit coverage and what is an equitable compensation amount. Unlike other jurisdictions, New Jersey PPD benefits can be received even if the employee is able to fully return to regular working status as long as they demonstrate their work-related disability presents impairment on their ability to enjoy the “ordinary pursuits of life.”

How Can an Experienced New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Attorney Assist You?

New Jersey workers’ compensation claims can be complex and overwhelming, particularly when dealing with potential permanent partial disability. If you were hurt at work, you should be able to concentrate on your physical healing and wellbeing, and not have to worry about your employer denying you the benefits you deserve.

The law firm of Petro Cohen, P.C. has been consistently recognized as one of New Jersey’s leading firms in the area of workers’ compensation. Since 2010, the firm has been named annually in Best Law Firms in America® for Workers’ Compensation. The head of the Workers’ Compensation Department, Frank Petro, has received the highest rating (AV) from Martindale-Hubbell, the world’s foremost authority on law firm credentials (the AV rating is only for lawyers considered the top in their field). For 25 consecutive years, Frank Petro has been named in Best Lawyers in America® for Workers’ Compensation. Additionally, Mr. Petro has been named to the NJ Super Lawyers® list for 15 consecutive years in the practice area of workers’ compensation, and is also certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Workers’ Compensation Law Attorney, the highest specialty certification available to workers’ compensation attorneys in New Jersey.

If you or someone you love would like to receive more information on workers’ compensation settlements, wage loss, workplace injuries, wage claims, and how to receive benefits, contact our Northfield workers’ comp attorneys as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation. In addition to our headquarter office in Northfield, we have three other offices in New Jersey, including Cape May Court House, Cherry Hill, and Hamilton (Trenton). Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can answer your questions and determine the most efficient way to proceed in order to help you and your family obtain the compensation that you deserve.