You’ve been hurt at work. Maybe you slipped and fell down the stairs, had an accident in a casino or on a construction site, or got sick from working with patients. Maybe it was something else. Whatever happened to you, if you have either suffered an injury on the job or contracted an occupational illness, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
So, how do you collect the benefits you deserve? In New Jersey, the vast majority of employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to pay their injured employees. But, there are strict rules around workers’ compensation, and if you don’t follow them, you may end up without the money you need to cover your medical expenses and provide for your family.
What to Do After a Workplace Injury
DO: Know Your Rights
Your employer is most likely required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In New Jersey, workers’ compensation provides coverage for employees’ medical expenses and a portion of their income if they are unable to work due to a work-related injury. (Worker’s compensation may also entitle you to a permanent disability award. Visit our Web site for more information on WEAR and TEAR claims.) When you file a claim, your employer and its insurance company are required to respond in good-faith and in a timely manner.
DON’T: Assume You Will Automatically Obtain Benefits
Even though workers’ compensation is a “no-fault,” system, this does not automatically mean that you will obtain benefits for your illness or injury. There are certain exclusions (such as alcohol-related injuries), and you need to follow the proper procedures in order to file a successful claim.
DO: Seek Medical Attention
When you suffer an injury on the job, seeking medical attention should always be your top priority. There is no substitute for your health, and obtaining a diagnosis and treatment will be critical to your claim for compensation. You should see a doctor as soon as possible (call 911 if it is an emergency), and follow your doctor’s advice.
DON’T: See an Unapproved Medical Provider
With only limited exceptions, you must see a doctor who has been pre-approved by your employer. Employers in New Jersey have the right to select the doctors who provide initial treatment for their employees’ work-related injuries. If you see an unapproved medical provider, you may forfeit your right to compensation.
DO: Notify Your Employer
You should notify your employer of your injury or illness right away. This is important not only so that you can get the list of approved medical providers, but also so that your employer will start processing your claim as soon as possible.
DON’T: Wait for Your Employer to Take Action
Once you notify your employer, this is just the first step toward obtaining workers’ compensation. The process is challenging, and you need to act fast in order to preserve your right to maximum benefits. If you wait for your employer to take action, your claim could be delayed – or, you may end up without the compensation you deserve.
Keep in mind, these are just general guidelines – not free legal advice. To get advice about your specific situation, you should call to speak with one of our attorneys today.
Schedule a Free New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Consultation
If you have been injured on the job, we encourage you to contact us for help with your claim. The attorneys at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo have over 100 years of combined experience helping injured workers, and we know what it takes to win the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, please call (888) 675-7607 or contact us online today.