At The Wilton Law Firm, our skilled workers’ compensation attorneys are committed to helping employees who have been injured on the job, whether as a result of New Jersey workplace accidents or occupational diseases. If you have been injured in a workplace accident in New Jersey, you should hire a lawyer to review your claim so you may receive full compensation for your injury. The Wilton Law Firm has over 20 years of experience proudly representing clients across Monmouth County when they have suffered serious injuries in workplace accidents. If you need strong legal representation to help you navigate the workers’ compensation process, contact The Wilton Law Firm today.
Workers’ Compensation in New Jersey
Workers’ Compensation is a system created by the New Jersey Legislature that provides benefits to workers who are injured or who contract an occupational disease while working. The benefits include medical care, temporary disability payments, and compensation for a resulting permanent disability. In the event of the death of an injured worker, benefits are payable to the family of the worker. Benefits may be paid voluntarily or, in some cases, you may have to apply to the Workers’ Compensation Courts for relief.
Who is covered under Workers’ Compensation?
Virtually every worker who performs for wages is covered by the law, regardless of the number of workers in the company. Under New Jersey law, domestic and farm workers are covered. However, workers considered to be independent contractors, rather than employees, are not covered. You should also note that seamen, maritime workers, railroad workers, and federal employees are all covered under federal workers’ compensation law.
What should I do if I am hurt on the job?
If you are injured in a workplace accident, 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 given to the supervisor, personnel office or anyone in authority at the employer’s place of business. Notice need not be in writing. If the worker needs medical treatment, a request should be made to the employer as soon as possible.
What can I do if my employer refuses to provide medical services?
If your employer refuses to provide medical services, you should seek the guidance of our office who will file a formal claim petition and a motion for medical and temporary benefits with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. However, you should note that in New Jersey, there is a two-year statute of limitations. A formal Claim Petition must be filed within two years of the date of the injury or the last payment of compensation. In cases of occupational illness, the Claim Petition must be filed within two years from the date the worker first became aware of the condition and its relationship to employment. The statute of limitations also applies to minors.
What happens after I file my claim?
After you submit a workers’ compensation claim, your employer and/or their insurance carrier will investigate the claim. If the claim is found compensable, they will pay for necessary and reasonable medical treatment, lost wages during the period of rehabilitation, and when documented, benefits for permanent disability. Within 21 days of receiving notice of the accident, the insurance carrier should file a First Report of Injury form with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. This form provides the Division with initial information regarding the accident and injuries sustained as a result. Another form, called the Subsequent Report of Injury, must be filed with the Division within 26 weeks after the worker returns to work or has reached maximum medical improvement. At that time, the worker should receive a letter from the insurance carrier explaining the benefits paid to date on their claim. The information from these forms helps the Division ensure that workers receive fair and timely benefits for work-related injuries.
Can an employer take action against a worker who filed a claim?
The Workers’ Compensation Statute prohibits the employer from discharging or discriminating in any manner against an employee because the employee has claimed or attempted to claim workers’ compensation benefits, or has testified, or is about to testify, in a workers’ compensation case.
Workers’ Compensation Claim Denials
If you have been seriously injured on the job, you may be entitled to benefits through workers’ compensation. However, while you are entitled to file for benefits including medical treatment, replacement pay and, depending on the extent of your injuries, a cash award, there is not an automatic guarantee that your claim will be accepted. If you are denied Workers’ Compensation benefits for any reason, you can appeal the decision with the help of an experienced lawyer. At The Wilton Law Firm, we can take on your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier and fight for your right to the benefits you deserve.
Reasons for Workers’ Compensation Claim Denials
Oftentimes, workers’ compensation benefits are denied sheerly out of greed. Your employer’s insurance carrier wants to limit how much money it has to pay and will often deny claims that may appear suspicious. Often, workers simply “go away” when a claim is denied, and this is exactly what the workers’ compensation insurance company is hoping will happen.
However, if you appeal the decision and can prove your injuries did, in fact, happen as you reported, you will receive the full benefits to which you are entitled under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation law. You should understand that while the insurance company can deny and even fight your claim for benefits, you will eventually receive the benefits you deserve if you have sustained a true workplace injury. Your employer and/or its insurance company may deny your claim to Workers’ Compensation benefits if they believe:
- You are faking your injury – If they believe your claim is just an attempt to get time off of work, they may very well deny the claim.
- Your injury didn’t happen on the job – People get hurt at home or somewhere else and then come to work and claim the injury occurred at the worksite. Be prepared to counter this argument if your employer tries to deny your Workers’ Compensation claim.
- Your injury isn’t serious enough to require medical treatment – You don’t get to choose which doctor provides you with medical treatment; the insurance company’s chosen Workers’ Compensation doctor will examine you. If he or she doesn’t believe your injury is serious enough to warrant a Workers’ Compensation claim, you may find yourself fighting for benefits.
Regardless of why your claim was denied, we invite you to contact the experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at The Wilton Law Firm. We will fight the insurance company on your behalf to ensure you get the benefits you deserve including medical treatment and maximum replacement pay, and when the time comes to negotiate for a cash award for your injuries, we’ll be by your side.
Police Officer & Firefighter Workers’ Compensation Cases
Due to the dangerous nature of their jobs, injuries are fairly common to police, fire, and public safety personnel. However, these claims are often even more complex than “standard” workers’ compensation claims. Our firm will consider several factors when handling a workers’ compensation case on behalf of a police officer or firefighter, including whether a third party may be responsible for the injuries or if the injured worker may be eligible for an accidental disability pension through the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) or the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS).
If you have been hurt on the job due to the negligence of someone who does not work for your company, you may have to file a third-party claim. In addition to filing a workers’ compensation case, you may also bring a separate lawsuit against the other party that caused your injury. You can recover compensation in both cases, but sometimes, you may face a lien on the third-party claim. This requires you to reimburse the workers’ compensation insurance company for the money you received from your third party case.
Employment-Related Car Accidents
If you work as a driver, your chances of being involved in a work-related motor vehicle accident increase. Under New Jersey law, if you are injured in an employment-related car accident, you may be able to bring two claims. First, you may have a claim for negligence against the person who hit you. Second, you are also entitled to bring a claim for workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries and lost time from work. However, these types of cases are very complicated, as several different types of law are involved. Therefore, you must hire an attorney with experience handling these types of claims.
Contact a Monmouth County Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have been seriously injured in a New Jersey workplace accident, you must have quality legal representation on your side to help you navigate the workers’ compensation process. Whether you are dealing with complexities such as a third party claim or a claim denial, you can count on The Wilton Law Firm to guide you through. We are committed to helping injured workers recover the compensation they deserve. Contact our firm today.