You have been injured at work in New Jersey, and you need to file for workers’ compensation. So, how do you file your claim? Equally important, how do you make sure you receive the medical treatment you need to recover from your injury?
7 Considerations when Claiming Workers’ Compensation Benefits in New Jersey
While the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey is fairly straightforward, making sure you receive the medical treatment you need – and the financial benefits you deserve – can be challenging. Here is an overview of seven major considerations involved in collecting workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey.
1. You Must Notify Your Employer of Your Injury
Under New Jersey law, you have 90 days to notify your employer of your job-related injury. However, when you get hurt at work, it is generally a good idea to notify your employer as soon as possible. If you wait, key evidence could disappear, it could become more difficult to prove that your injuries are related to the accident, and you could face additional hurdles in seeking medical and disability benefits for your injury.
2. You Need to Seek Medical Attention
As soon as possible, you should seek medical attention for your injury. However, under New Jersey law, you are required to see a company doctor unless you need emergency treatment. It may be possible to see your own doctor in a non-emergency situation as well, but in order to do so, you will need to seek pre-approval from your employer’s insurance company (or else you may be financially responsible for the costs of your treatment).
3. You Need to File Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
After you notify your employer and seek medical treatment for your injury, the next major step in the process is to formally file your workers’ compensation claim. This is a separate step from the initial notification that you must provide within 90 days of your injury. When you file your claim, it is important to describe the accident and your injury as thoroughly and accurately as possible. You will need to submit supporting documentation as well. And in order to make sure that you do not omit any necessary information, it is a good idea to prepare your claim with the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
4. You May Have to Submit to an Independent Medical Examination (IME)
After you file your workers’ compensation claim, you may be asked to submit to an independent medical examination (IME). This is a medical exam that is conducted by a doctor who works for the insurance company, and its purpose is to confirm (or dispute) the cause, nature, and extent of your injury. When you go in for an IME, it is important to be prepared, and you need to know how to avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your claim for benefits.
5. You Need to Know What You Are Entitled to Recover
When seeking workers’ compensation benefits, it is important to know how much you are entitled to recover. In New Jersey, there are three types of benefits: medical, temporary disability, and permanent disability. Determining your entitlement to each requires a clear understanding of the extent of your injuries and the relevant provisions of New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws. If you settle your claim or the insurance company terminates your benefits and you do not know how much you are entitled to recover, you could end up with far less than you deserve.
6. You May Receive Some Benefits, but Likely Not All that You Are Entitled to Recover
For accepted claims, employers will often provide you with the first two types of benefits – medical treatment and temporary disability benefits – without any issue. However, there is no guarantee that your employer and/or its insurance company will voluntarily provide you with permanent disability benefits, which are a monetary award that provides you with certain protections like the ability to reopen their claim in the future if your injury worsens. Only by filing a formal Claim Petition with the Division of Compensation can you ensure that a judge of compensation demines the amount of permanent disability to which you are entitled.
7. Your Claim Might Be Denied
Finally, when you file for workers’ compensation, there is also a possibility that your claim will be denied. If this happens, you will need to hire a lawyer to help you challenge the denial and potentially file a formal appeal. Receiving a denial does not necessarily mean that your claim is over, but it does mean that you will need to fight harder and longer to collect the benefits to which you are legally entitled.
Discuss Your Claim with a Compensation Lawyer
Were you injured on the job in New Jersey?
If you were hurt while on the job, your employer and its workers’ comp insurance company should do everything possible to help you recover from your injuries and get you back on your feet – physically and financially. After all, you suffered an injury while doing your job for your employer. Now it is time for your employer to do its job and work for you. Hiring the trusted and experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Petro Cohen, P.C. is a good first step in ensuring your claim is accepted.
Unfortunately, employers and their insurance companies oftentimes do not make things easy for injured employees. In many of these cases, the difficulties and obstacles created by insurance companies are unnecessary, inappropriate, and completely contradict the law and spirit of New Jersey’s no-fault system.
If you were hurt at work, you should be able to concentrate on your physical healing and well-being – not have to worry about your employer denying you the benefits you deserve.
The New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Petro Cohen, P.C. have the knowledge, skills, and proven ability to make workers’ compensation work for you. We solve problems. We get results.
To get help with your claim, call us today at 888-675-7607 or request a free consultation online to meet with an experienced workers’ comp attorney in person at one of our four offices in southern New Jersey (Cherry Hill, Hamilton, Northfield, and Cape May Court House.)