New Jersey Workers’ Compensation — The Basics

If you’ve been hurt on the job in New Jersey, chances are you know that you can apply for benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation program. But if you’ve never done that before, you may have no idea where to start or how the process works. The best thing to do, without question, is to hire an attorney. You can try to handle the application process yourself, but that’s a pretty risky proposition. The process can be complex and it’s a known fact that as many as half of all workers’ compensation claims are initially rejected. Nonetheless, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of the process, so that you can work more effectively with legal counsel. Here are some basic guidelines, so that you have a fundamental understanding of the process.

Your first step, whether you are in an accident, or your condition has developed over a period of time, is to notify your employer, although you may want to contact an attorney first. As a general rule, you have 30 days to report the injury. It may be in your best interests to immediately retain an attorney and let legal counsel be your liaison with your employer and/or the insurance company.

You are entitled to have all medical expenses paid for or reimbursed. Your employer will most likely require you to submit to an examination by a doctor of their choosing. That doesn’t mean that you can seek treatment from your own doctor. If the two medical professional s disagree, you’ll have to have the matter decided by a Workers’ Compensation judge.

If you suffer an injury that puts you out of work for more than seven days, you have a right to temporary disability benefits, provided you are under medical care. Temporary benefits can be as much as 70% of your average weekly wages during the year before your injury. You don’t have to be completely disabled to receive benefits, nor does your disability need to be permanent. Furthermore, just because you can go back to work in some capacity does not mean that can’t get a financial award for a disability. The laws allow for payment for permanent partial disability, with the amount of compensation based on the type of injury.

Your employer has some discretion with respect to how long your job can be held for you. Check with your employer to find out what their policy is.

Contact Aronberg & Kouser, P. A.

At Aronberg & Kouser, P. A., our attorneys have more than 35 years of experience protecting the rights of men and women in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For a confidential meeting, contact us online or call our office at 856-429-1700 (toll free at 800-49-JUSTICE). Your first consultation is free of charge.

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