Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
At the New Jersey workers’ comp law firm of Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo, we often get questions about what benefits are available through workers’ compensation. The following will help answer questions about workers’ comp coverage.
The medical benefits of workers’ compensation are intended to cover doctor visits, medication, and surgeries related to identifying and treating your injury or illness. Should you need special therapy or equipment to deal with your injury, workers’ comp will cover these costs as well.
Disability benefits are meant to compensate you for wages while your injury or illness makes it impossible for you to work.
- Temporary Disability Benefits – You are entitled to up to 400 weeks of tax-free temporary disability benefits, based on 70% of your wage for any medical condition that is either caused or worsened by your employment.
- Permanency Benefits – There are additional workers’ compensation benefits known as “permanency benefits”, which are awarded by a Judge of Compensation based upon medical evidence supporting a measurable loss of physical function. Most work related surgeries, fractures, dislocations, tears, disc bulges, protrusions, and herniations qualify. These benefits can be pursued up to two years from the last date of medical treatment, even if the person has not pursued workers’ compensation benefits or even if the person no longer works for the employer where the original accident occurred.
- Total Disability Benefits – When your work injury permanently limits the kinds of work you can do or your ability to earn a living, you would receive total disability benefits.
If your injury or illness falls into one of these categories, your disability benefits will be based upon the amount you were earning prior to your injury—typically, two-thirds of your regular wages. You will not have to pay income tax on the benefits you collect.
What to Do When You Are Injured at Work
If you are injured while on the job, the first and most important thing you must do is to advise your employer of the injury as soon as possible. Even if you initially think that the injury is not serious, it is important that you let your employer know about the incident. By law, you are required to report the workplace incident to your employer within 90 days of the accident.
In the State of New Jersey, every worker is entitled to workers’ comp benefits regardless of the size of the employer or the length of time the employee he or she has been employed. In fact, you are eligible even on your very first day of employment.
To make sure that you receive all of the benefits that you rightfully deserve, we strongly recommend contacting a competent New Jersey work injury attorney who will serve as an advocate for you and help guide you through the entire process. Regardless of which attorney you choose, you should never be asked to pay fees up front. Our attorney fees are actually set by the Workers’ Compensation Court and are ONLY paid after the lawyer is successful in obtaining benefits for you. By law, the fee cannot exceed 20% of your recovery.
Although the system is designed to have the court review every case to be sure that the insurance company compensates you properly, you must retain a lawyer to file a Petition arranging for judicial review. Without a skilled New Jersey workers’ comp lawyer to file the Petition, you will receive whatever the insurance company decides to voluntarily pay; the court system will not be involved.
As many of our clients will attest, having a New Jersey workers’ comp attorney from Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo by your side can be invaluable. We encourage you to check out the many client testimonials our clients have provided.
How We Can Help You
We earn our reputation by helping our clients overcome a limitless number of challenges time and time again. Specifically, many injured employees are thrown curveballs by their employers and workers’ comp insurance companies that are confusing, perplexing, and unfair.
Some of the most common issues we successfully handle for our clients include the following:
The insurance company’s initial denial (rejection) of a workers’ comp claim based on a number of different reasons:
- Failure of employee to notify employer in a timely manner
- Failure of employee to seek medical treatment for a work-related injury in a timely manner
- Determination that the injury was suffered outside the scope of employment
- Determination that the injury was not suffered at a place of employment (this may include a determination that the injury was pre-existing)
- Determination that the incident leading to injury is exempt from workers’ comp insurance coverage (e.g., self-inflicted injury, injury caused as a result of horseplay, injury caused because of impairment due to alcohol or drugs)
The insurance company’s decision to not pay (or discontinue payment of) medical expenses based on the following reasons:
- Determination that the medical treatment is or was provided by an unauthorized physician
- Determination that the type and/or duration of treatment is or was not authorized
- Determination that the medical treatment is unnecessary and/or unreasonable
- Determination that the medical treatment is unrelated to work-related injury
- Determination that the medical treatment has exceeded a reasonable duration
The insurance company’s decision regarding temporary, permanent, partial, and/or total disability:
- Each of these classifications of disability determine the amount and duration of weekly benefits that an injured employee may receive, and insurance companies may improperly classify a disability in order to pay less benefits.
The insurance company’s failure to correctly calculate an injured employee’s average weekly wages:
- An employee’s average weekly wages prior to the work-related injury is critical in determining the amount of weekly benefits to be paid to an injured employee. Failure to correctly calculate this number may result in lower weekly check amounts.
An insurance company’s low-ball settlement offer:
- In order to resolve an outstanding claim as quickly as possible (for as little money as possible), the insurance company may offer a low-ball amount to settle the claim. In workers’ comp cases, any settlement reached is referred to as a “lump sum settlement.”
Unlawful termination of employment because of a work injury:
- Employers are not required to hold an employee’s position open in every single workers’ comp situation; in many cases, they must hold the job open.
- There are strict rules and regulations that govern an employer’s duty in this regard; in many cases, employers unlawfully and/or improperly terminate an injured employee’s employment.
- Moreover, injured employees may be able to return to work with certain restrictions, but employers do not want to deal with the hassle. In these cases, employers fail to provide legally required, necessary accommodations, or they may simply unlawfully terminate employees due to the restrictions.
In addition to helping clients face and overcome these specific issues, our New Jersey workers’ comp lawyers help injured employees through every step of the process.
Some of the exceptional legal services we will provide you include the following:
- Timely and complete filing of required documents with your employer, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development – Workers’ Compensation Division, the court, etc.
- Assistance in obtaining authorization for medical treatment.
- Assistance with the Independent Medical Exam (IME) process.
- Direct communication with your employer and workers’ comp insurance company.
- Obtaining all necessary medical bills and records.
- Conducting necessary legal and factual research specific to your case.
- Representation at all hearings before the Department of Labor.
- The handling of any necessary appeals.
Contact Petro Cohen Today
If you or someone you love would like to receive more information on workers’ compensation benefits, settlements, wage loss, workplace injuries, wage claims, and how to receive benefits, contact our New Jersey workers’ comp attorneys as soon as possible at (888) 675-7607 to schedule your free consultation. We can answer your questions and determine the most efficient way to proceed in order to help you and your family obtain the compensation that you deserve. You work hard, now let us work hard for you.