You filed for workers’ compensation, and your claim was denied. You are not sure why, and you are not sure what to do next. You were injured on the job, so you are pretty sure you are entitled to coverage. But, your employer’s insurance company says otherwise. So, what now?
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation denials are common in New Jersey. Injured workers have their claims denied for a variety of different reasons – some of which are legitimate and some of which are not. If your workers’ comp claim has been denied, here are five suggestions on what you should do next.
1. Try to Figure Out Why Your Claim Was Denied
First, you should try to figure out why your claim was denied. While you will want to hire a lawyer to deal with your employer’s insurance company for you, there are some questions you can try to answer on your own, including the following.
- Did you report your injury on time? In New Jersey, you have 14 days to report a job-related injury in order to preserve your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. If you waited more than 14 days to file your claim, this is most likely the reason that your claim was denied.
- Did you wait longer than necessary to report your injury? Even if you reported your injury within 14 days, if you waited longer than necessary, the insurance company may be trying to claim that you cannot prove your injury is work-related.
- How and where were you injured? If you were injured on the job but not at your normal place of employment, this could be the issue. If the insurance company is claiming that you were drunk, high, or engaging in “horseplay,” then this may be the reason for the denial.
- Did you see the right doctor? Under New Jersey law, employers have the right to choose the doctors who treat their employees’ job-related injuries in most cases. If you saw your own doctor, the insurance company may be using this against you.
2. Collect Any Evidence You Have Available
With these potential issues in mind, you should try to collect any evidence you may have that supports your claim for benefits. For example, do you have photos, medical records, or other proof of when your injury occurred? Did any of your coworkers witness the accident? Did it take several days before your pain was bad enough that you felt the need to see a doctor? Any information you have could potentially be useful for appealing your workers’ compensation denial.
3. Speak with a Workers’ Comp Lawyer about Appealing Your Denial
Once you have taken these preliminary steps, you should discuss your situation with a workers’ compensation attorney. Schedule a free initial consultation, and be prepared to discuss the facts surrounding your claim in detail. During your initial consultation, your attorney will likely go over the options that are available for appealing your workers’ comp denial, which may include:
- Having your attorney contact the insurance company to gather more information and address any outstanding issues
- Filing a petition to request an informal hearing with a judge at the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC)
- Filing a formal claim petition with the New Jersey DWC
4. Determine If You Have Other Options Available
When you meet with your attorney, it will also be a good idea to discuss any other options you have available. By this, we mean any options you may have for seeking financial compensation outside of workers’ comp. In some cases, injured workers will have personal injury claims as well. And if you have a personal injury claim, you can seek damages, regardless of whether you are eligible or workers’ compensation or not. In fact, even if you are successful in appealing your workers’ comp denial, you may still be able to secure additional compensation by filing a personal injury claim.
5. Do Not Give Up Hope
Regardless of the circumstances at hand, and regardless of how long or how hard you fought to secure workers’ compensation benefits, you should not give up hope. There are many ways that an experienced attorney can help you and, at this stage, you could still have several options for recovering your losses.
Discuss Your Workers’ Comp Denial with an Experienced Attorney
If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, the attorneys at Petro Cohen are here to help you with your claim.
Let’s face it – 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.
For more information about what to do now that your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation at one of our four office locations in New Jersey (Northfield, Hamilton, Cherry Hill, and Cape May Court House.). To speak with one of our experienced workers’ comp lawyers in confidence, call 888-675-7607 or inquire online today.