Understanding Your New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Benefits

New Jersey Lawyer Now Blog

Archive for June, 2011

Understanding Your New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Workers’ Compensation law is highly specialized. If you or someone you know has been injured on the job contact me for a free consultation. Please do not hesitate to call me at 201-598-5019 or email me at newjerseylawyernow@gmail.com.

Understanding and getting the most out of your workers’ compensation benefits is extremely important. Below is a detailed account of the different type of workers compensation benefits including: Medical Benefits, temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial benefits, permanent total benefits and death benefits.

Medical Benefits

All necessary and reasonable medical treatment, prescriptions and hospitalization services related to the work injury are paid by the employer’s insurance carrier or directly by the employer if they are self-insured.

The employer has the right to designate the authorized treating physician for all work related injuries. Only in the situations where the employer inappropriately refuses to provide medical treatment or if an emergency exists, may the injured worker choose the treating physician. In the case of the latter, the injured worker should notify the employer as soon as possible concerning the treatment being received.

Temporary Total Disability Benefits

If an injured worker is disabled for a period of more than seven days, he or she will be eligible to receive temporary total benefits at a rate of 70% their average weekly wage, not to exceed 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) or fall below the minimum rate of 20% of the SAWW. These benefits are provided during the period when a worker is unable to work and is under active medical care.

Benefits are usually terminated when the worker is released to return to work in some capacity or if he or she has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI is a term that is used when additional treatment will no longer improve the medical condition of the injured worker. The worker, in some cases, may be left with either partial permanent injuries or total permanent injuries, details of which are addressed in the next two sections

Permanent Partial Benefits

When a job related injury or illness results in a partial permanent disability, benefits are based upon a percentage of certain “scheduled” or “non-scheduled” losses. A “scheduled” loss is one involving arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, eyes, ears or teeth. A “non-scheduled” loss is one involving any area or system of the body not specifically identified in the schedule, such as the back, the heart, the lungs. These benefits are paid weekly and are due after the date temporary disability ends.

Permanent Total Benefits

Sometimes when a work injury or illness prevents a worker from returning to any type of gainful employment, he or she may be entitled to receive permanent total disability benefits. These weekly benefits are provided initially for a period of 450 weeks. These benefits continue beyond the initial 450 weeks provided that the injured worker is able to show that he or she remains unable to earn wages.

Wages earned after 450 weeks offset the weekly computation in proportion to the income at the time of the injury. Permanent Total benefits are paid weekly and are based upon 70% of the average weekly wage, not to exceed 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) or fall below the minimum rate of 20% of the SAWW.

Permanent Total Disability is also presumed when the worker has lost two major members or a combination of members of the body such as eyes, arms, hands, legs or feet. However, permanent total disability can also result from a combination of injuries that render the worker unemployable.

The Second Injury Fund (SIF), which is administered by the Division of Workers’ Compensation, makes benefit payments to injured workers who are totally and permanently disabled as a result of their last work-related injury combined with the workers’ pre-existing disabilities.

The Second Injury Fund was established to encourage employers to hire disabled workers. The employer only pays for the work related aspect of the total disability award.

Death Benefits

  • Dependents of a worker who dies because of a work related injury or illness may be eligible to receive death benefits. The weekly benefits payments are 70% of the weekly wage of the deceased worker, not to exceed the maximum benefit amount established annually by the Commissioner of Labor.  The benefit amount is divided by the surviving dependents as determined by a judge after a hearing on extent of dependency.
  • A surviving spouse and natural children who were a part of decedent’s household at the time of death are conclusively presumed to be dependents.
  • A surviving spouse and natural children who were not a part of the decedent’s household at the time of death and all other alleged dependents (parents, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, etc.) must prove actual dependency.
  • Children who are deemed to be dependents remain so until the age of 18 years or if a full-time student, until the age of 23 years.
  • If a child is physically or mentally disabled, he/she may be eligible for further benefits.
  • The employer or its insurance carrier is responsible to pay up to $3,500 in funeral expenses for a job-related death. These funds are payable to whomever is liable for the funeral bill, be it the estate or an individual.

Workers’ Compensation law is highly specialized. If you or someone you know has been injured on the job contact me for a free consultation. Please do not hesitate to call me at 201-598-5019 or email me at newjerseylawyernow@gmail.com.

Understanding DUI Penalties – Hiring a Lawyer for Your Drunk Driving Case

Have you or someone you know been arrested or charged with a DUI?  Please do not hesitate to call me at 201-598-5019 or email me directly at newjerseylawyernow@gmail.com for a free consultation.

In New Jersey, a person is guilty of drunk driving if he/she operates a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. BAC refers to the amount of alcohol in your blood. Although the law refers to a 0.08 percent BAC, you can be convicted of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor even when your BAC is below 0.08 percent. Consuming even small amounts of alcohol dulls the senses, decreases reaction time, and hampers judgment, vision and alertness. If you consume any amount of alcohol and your driving is negatively impacted, you can be convicted of drunk driving. The penalties for a DUI offense can be severe, call me at 201-598-5019 today discuss your case. See the penalties listed below.

Alcohol or drug related DUI with BAC of 0.10% or greater
License loss Fines, fees & surcharges Prison term Community service, IDRC & Interlock
7 months–
1 year
$300–$500 fine
$230 IDRC* fee
$100 to drunk driving fund
$100 to AERF*
$1,000/year (for 3 years) surcharge
$75 to Neighborhood Services Fund
Up to 30 days 12–48 hours IDRC*
BAC 0.15% or greater: ignition interlock device during license suspension and 6 months – 1 year following restoration

 

Alcohol or drug related DUI with BAC greater than 0.08% but less than 0.10%
License loss Fines, fees & surcharges Prison term Community service, IDRC & Interlock
3 months $250–$400 fine
$230 IDRC* fee
$100 to drunk driving fund
$100 to AERF*
$1,000/year (for 3 years) surcharge
$75 to Neighborhood Services Fund
Up to 30 days 12–48 hours IDRC*

 

Repeated DUI convictions
Offense License loss Fines, fees & surcharges Prison term Community service, IDRC & Interlock
2nd offense within 10 years 2 years $500–$1,000 fine
$280 IDRC* fee
$100 to drunk driving fund
$100 to AERF*
$1,000/year (for 3 years) surcharge
$75 to Neighborhood Services Fund
48 hours–
90 days
30 days CS
12–48 hours IDRC*
Ignition interlock device during license suspension and 1-3 years following restoration
3rd offense within 10 years of 2nd offense 10 years $1,000 fine
$280 IDRC* fee
$100 to drunk driving fund
$100 to AERF*
$1,500/year (for 3 years) surcharge
$75 to Neighborhood Services Fund
180 days Up to 90 days CS (can reduce period of imprisonment)
12–48 hours IDRC*
Ignition interlock device during license suspension and 1-3 years following restoration

Related Offenses

Driving or riding with an open container
Offense Fines Community service
1st $200
2nd $250 10 days
Driving with a DUI suspension
License loss Fines or surcharges Prison term
Additional
1–2 years
$500 fine
$250/year (for 3 years) surcharge
10–90 days
Driving while possessing drugs
License loss Fines or surcharges
2 years Minimum $50 fine

 

Driving while possessing drugs
License loss Fines or surcharges
2 years Minimum $50 fine

Notes:

  • *IDRC – Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • *AERF – Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund
  • Underage drinking may cause a six-month delay in getting a license
  • Alcohol and drug-related offenses require completion of an alcohol screening and evaluation program

Failure to pay DUI surcharges will result in

  • Indefinite suspension of driving privileges
  • Action filed in State Superior Court by MVC. This may include securing a lien against your property, garnishing your wages or other similar action

Have  you or someone you know been arrested or charged with a DUI?  Please do not hesitate to call me at 201-598-5019 or email me directly at newjerseylawyernow@gmail.com for a free consultation.