Workers Compensation in New Jersey
You aren’t alone if you wonder how workers comp works. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by New Jersey state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of New Jersey workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.
Workers Compensation Statistics in New Jersey?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Jersey’s rate of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses is below the national rate. 60% of workplace incidents occurred in the trade, transportation & utilities, and education & health services sectors. New Jersey’s Department of Health reported annual total workers’ compensation benefits paid exceeded 3 billion dollars. The average workers’ compensation award paid per worker was $482. As well, roughly a third of work-related hospitalizations were from burns.
How Does Workers Comp Work in New Jersey?
There is a standard practice to follow when going through the New Jersey workers’ compensation process. Unfortunately, it begins with you getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the injury are especially crucial. The injury had to occur during the course of your regular work duties. It could also occur while you were performing a special task at the request of your boss.
New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development stipulates all employers, not covered by federal programs, have workers’ compensation coverage. Out-of-state employers may need coverage if work is performed in New Jersey. However, unpaid volunteers and interns are exempt. Benefits for injuries and illness include medical treatment, temporary disability for lost wages, and compensation for permanent disability. You can also receive benefits for repetitive stress injuries. With medical documentation, mental injuries are compensable if caused by the workplace.
The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in New Jersey are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.
Get Medical Attention
After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay receiving help from a New Jersey healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process.
Even if you believe that your injury is minor, get a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occurred. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claim process. Absent a medical report, your employer cannot file a claim with the insurance carrier.
When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. All of your medical records will become the foundation from which the workers’ comp carrier will launch its investigation. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.
File a First Report of Injury
Once you have a medical diagnosis relating your illness or injury to your job, you must file a claim with your employer. This is the next important phase of how New Jersey workers comp works.
If you are injured, you should notify your employer immediately. Your notice does not have to be in writing. The employer must then file a First Report of Injury with the Division of Workers’ Compensation within 21 days. For disputes, a worker can file a formal Claim Petition or an Application for an Informal Hearing. A Claim must be filed within two years of the date of injury or the last payment of compensation.
The first report of an on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to submit a copy of the doctor’s report with the report of injury.
Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event.
If an injured employee cannot work for more than 7 days, they are eligible to receive temporary disability benefits. New Jersey Workers’ Compensation requires that these benefits are retroactive to the first day. Compensation is 70% their average weekly wage. Generally, you can expect to wait 2 weeks before receiving temporary disability benefits. Maximum compensation is 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage, and the minimum is 20%.
Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
In learning how New Jersey workers comp works, many people believe that the injury claims process is straightforward. While this may be the case in some instances, in others, it may be more of a hassle. For instance, your employer may question whether you were hurt on the clock or on your own time. The company may also start to question the extent of your injury. There may even arise pay disputes and long-term care dictated by the doctor. Don’t question how workers comp works and risk losing your claim. Hire a New Jersey workers’ comp lawyer and ensure you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer in New Jersey
Your health and wellbeing need to come first. If you are hurt while working or find out an illness you are suffering is the result of your job, you will want to seek compensation. Since the workers’ compensation claims process may be tricky, you should consider getting a local attorney well versed in how to deal with it. We can even help you connect with an attorney across New Jersey state lines. They can guide you while you continue to learn how workers comp works.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!