Workers’ Compensation Overview
Workers’ compensation is a form of “no fault” insurance that covers medical expenses, lost wages, and permanent physical impairments or disabilities for workers who are involved in workplace or job-related accidents. This means that the courts do not require any proof of any fault for the causation of the underlying injury or disease. All New Jersey employees are required by law to provide workers’ compensation insurance. This type of insurance also extends death benefits to workers who have passed away due to their employment conditions. A qualifying employee will receive workers’ compensation benefits regardless of which party is at fault for the underlying incident. These guaranteed benefits, however, come at a cost: employees who receive workers’ compensation are precluded from bringing civil claims against their employers for associated damages, such as pain and suffering – the exception being in limited instances where the employer exhibited an intent to willfully harm the employee.
Steps to Take after a Workplace Injury
If you are involved in a work-related accident that results in an injury, you should notify your employer as soon as possible, but no later than 90 days from the date of the accident. The notice may be provided to your immediate supervisor, human resources office, or any other individual employed by the company in an authoritative position. The notice is not required to be in writing.
After receiving your claim, your employer or their insurance provider will conduct an investigation of the claim. If they find that the claim is legitimate, they will cover the necessary and reasonable costs of your medical expenses, lost wages, and applicable disability benefits. Keep in mind that, although occupational illnesses including asbestos-related cancer and hearing impairment are covered under workers’ compensation plans, you must submit a formal claim within two years from the time you learn that your condition is employment-related.
Handling Denied Claims
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied by your employer, you have the option of either filing a formal claim petition or submitting an application for an informal hearing in front of the Division of Workers’ Compensation. It should be noted that your employer is prevented via New Jersey statute from firing you in retaliation from pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. We also highly recommend that you consult a qualified workers’ compensation attorney, particularly if your case is denied.
Typically, most injured workers under the guidance of their workers’ compensation attorney will submit an application for an informal hearing first. Your workers’ compensation informal hearing appeal will be assigned to a judge, and you will receive a written notice of the scheduled time of your hearing. Often, several hearings are required to permit the insurance provider and your attorney sufficient time to address all of the related issues and analyze any relevant evidence pertaining to your injury. If either you or the employer disagree with the judge’s subsequent recommendation for reaching a settlement in your dispute, you have the right to request a formal hearing by filing a Claim Petition form with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
After submitting your petition, your case is once again assigned to a judge presiding over a court in the county in which you reside. If you reside out-of-state, then the hearing will be conducted in the county where your employer is incorporated. As opposed to the informal hearing process, which usually takes place in a few weeks, the formal hearing generally is not scheduled until approximately six months following the initial filing date of the petition. The formal hearing resembles a normal judicial trial: both parties have an opportunity to submit evidence supporting their positions and call witnesses to testify on their behalf. Following the presentation of all relevant evidence, the judge will deliver a written decision of your claim. If the judge approves your claim, the decision will usually specify the benefits you are to receive and possibly assess penalties against the employer. If, on the other hand, the judge denies your claim, you are entitled to appeal the decision to the New Jersey state courts in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.
While you are awaiting the outcome of your claim, you may qualify for benefits under the Temporary Disability Insurance program, which offers New Jersey residents lost wages compensation at a rate of two-thirds of their median weekly income.
Contact a Trusted New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
Work-related accidents are inevitable. Fortunately, workers’ compensation insurance is available to assist you in affording your medical expenses and providing you the support you need while you recover from your injury. But the system doesn’t always work perfectly and can quickly become complex and overwhelming.
The good news is that you do not have to navigate this complicated process on your own. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo can answer all of your questions, guide you throughout the process, and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
At Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo, our winning team of workers’ compensation attorneys, Frank Petro, Steve Matarazzo, Suzanne Holz Meola, Terri Hiles, Steve Lubcher, and Dan Rosenthal, have handled thousands of claims, and know the intricacies of the state’s workers’ compensation system. In many cases, our clients tell us that they were unaware of all the benefits they were qualified to receive, and are surprised to learn that, without the help of their attorney, they potentially would have left money on the table.
When it is time to choose your legal representation for a workers’ comp claim, Select Excellence™. Choose the firm with the credentials, experience, and winning track record – Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo.
We have four convenient office locations in southern New Jersey to serve you, including Northfield, Cape May Court House, Cherry Hill, and Hamilton, and have representatives available 24/7 to answer your questions via live chat on our Web site.
To discuss your workers’ compensation case and learn how Petro Cohen’s attorneys can assist you, contact us at 888-675-7607 or e-mail info@PetroCohen.com You’ve worked hard – now let us work hard for you!