How Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits Calculated in New Jersey?
One of the benefits of New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system is uniformity and consistency. Employees who apply for workers’ compensation benefits can refer to clear instructions for the calculation of their benefit payments, based on their current salary and the injury they experienced.
While this uniformity does not allow employees to receive multimillion dollar judgments against employers, it does ensure that employees know what types of benefits they are entitled to and employers can anticipate what expenses must be paid. This helps to minimize stress and confusion throughout the benefit claim process.
Understanding Benefit Amounts in Cherry Hill
Under New Jersey law, individuals injured on the job are entitled to two types of benefits: (1) payment for medical expenses, and (2) lost wages while away from your job. There is no great mystery to the medical expenses that you will be compensated for – when you incur a charge related to your injury (such as a bill for surgery), this will be covered by the workers’ compensation insurer as long as proper procedures are followed.
Benefits for lost wages are slightly more complicated and require a calculation based on the severity of your injury. If you have experienced an injury (such as tendonitis or back pain) that will keep you out of work temporarily but is not expected to impede your ability to work entirely, this entitles you to temporary workers’ compensation benefits.
Temporary benefits are calculated based on your average gross weekly wage. Once this amount is determined, you are entitled to receive seventy percent of this wage as a benefit while you are off work. However, the total amount you receive cannot exceed a maximum amount. In 2019, this maximum amount is $921 per week.
Individuals receiving temporary benefits are entitled to those benefits until they are determined to have obtained sufficient medical improvement that they can return to work or until they run out of benefits, which occurs after receiving them for 400 weeks. In the event you do not get better over that time, you may be entitled to permanent benefits.
Permanent Disability Benefits
Permanent benefits, as the name suggests, are the benefits that apply when a worker experiences an injury that permanently impacts his or her ability to work. This could be the loss of a limb, loss of vision, or the result of a traumatic brain injury. Permanent disability can be total or partial in nature.
Total disability prevents you from working any sort of job, even a job different from the one that you had when you were injured. If you receive total permanent disability, you are entitled to disability payments at the same weekly rate as temporary disability – for as long as your disability continues.
Partial disability is broken down into two different types of disability. These types are known as scheduled loss and non-scheduled loss. Scheduled loss injuries are those types of partial injuries set out in a list as provided by New Jersey law. They typically include common forms of partial disability, such as loss of a hand or injury to one’s foot.
Recipients are entitled to benefits for as long as is set forth in the schedule that pertains to their injury. For example, if a hand injury means that a recipient is entitled to 600 weeks of benefits, that is as long as they can get for that type of partial scheduled disability.
Non-scheduled partial disability involves those types of permanent injuries that are not set forth on a specific schedule. For example, injuries involving your back, shoulders, and hips, as well as serious head injuries are typically considered non-scheduled injuries in New Jersey. Where no specific schedule applies to your permanent partial disability, the permanent disability payments are calculated in the same manner as temporary disability payments. However, these can be received for up to 600 (rather than 400) weeks total.
It may be difficult at the beginning of the workers’ compensation process to discern which types of benefits will apply to your injury. Your medical provider will ultimately assist you in determining the severity of your injury. However, employees can take comfort in knowing that the amount of benefit paid will be similar across all types of injuries – it is primarily the duration of payment that changes with the severity of the injury.
New Jersey Attorneys Guiding You through A Calculation of Benefits
Even though New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system calculates benefits in a uniform manner, this does not always mean that it is easy to determine precisely what your average gross weekly wage is or what sort of benefit amount you will receive as a result.
The reality is that the outcome of your case will largely depend on the skill of your New Jersey work injury attorney and the quality of your legal representation. Your attorney’s level of education, experience, track record, legal abilities, and reputation matter – big time.
Petro Cohen has been consistently recognized as one of New Jersey’s leading firms in the area of workers’ comp. The firm received the highest rating by Martindale-Hubbell – the world’s foremost authority on law firm credentials – in Professional Excellence and Ethical Standards and Legal Ability.
In addition to the firm’s stellar reputation, the department head, Frank Petro, is respected locally, regionally, and nationally as a leading attorney in this specialized field. He has been recognized as an outstanding attorney by Best Lawyers® every year since 1995 and by Super Lawyers® every year since 2005. Moreover, he has achieved a rating of “Superb” on the leading lawyer-review website, Avvo®, the highest achievable rating.
Along with Stephen M. Matarazzo, Suzanne Holz Meola, Terri Hiles, Steven Lubcher, and Daniel Rosenthal, our New Jersey workers’ comp attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience, having successfully handled thousands of litigated workers’ comp cases throughout New Jersey. This experience and winning track record means that you are going to have a skilled New Jersey work injury lawyer who will work for you.
At Petro Cohen, our workers’ compensation attorneys can assist you in evaluating your gross wages over the past 52 weeks and calculating what your benefits amounts are likely to be as well as evaluating how long they may last. To find out more, contact us online or at (888) 675-7607.