The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act

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The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act

The NJ Workers’ Compensation Act (“Act”), N.J.S.A. 34:15-7, et seq., creates a state remedy where workers are compensated for injuries sustained during the course of employment. N.J.S.A. 34-15-1 states

 

When personal injury is caused to an employee by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment, of which the actual or lawfully imputed negligence of the employer is the natural and proximate cause, he shall receive compensation therefor from his employer, provided the employee was himself not willfully negligent at the time of receiving such injury, and the question of whether the employee was willfully negligent shall be one of fact to be submitted to the jury, subject to the usual superintending powers of a court to set aside a verdict rendered contrary to the evidence.

 

All workers in NJ are covered under this Act unless they specifically knowingly and voluntarily decide not to be covered. In general, the Act uses a “no fault” idea meaning that workers are compensated for their injuries regardless of fault. There are however some exceptions to this “no fault” idea. For example, workers are not entitled to compensation when they injure themselves on purpose.

 

Workers compensation is an exclusive remedy. This means that the only compensation the worker can receive from the employer is through iStock_000009703092_Smallworkers’ compensation. The worker is usually not allowed to bring a civil suit against the employer, however if the employer intentionally injured the worker then, in that case, the worker is entitled to bring a civil suit against the employer. In NJ’s workers’ compensation system there are only three types of compensation: medical benefits, temporary disability benefits, and permanent disability benefits.

 

Under the NJ Workers’ Compensation Act there are two recognized classes of claims: traumatic injury claims, N.J.S.A. 34:15-7 and occupational disease claims, N.J.S.A. 34:15-31. Traumatic injury claims are claims that involve a one time event that causes an injury that is physical or psychiatric in nature. Occupational disease claims are claims regarding an injury that is the result of repetitive activity or multiple exposures over a longer period of time. It is important to distinguish between the two types of claims because they are treated differently under the Act.

 

If you were injured during the course of your employment you may be entitled to compensation. The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act is complicated. The above only contains very brief background information so it would be best to consult an attorney. Contact The Morano Law Firm at 201-598-5019 or email newjerseylawyernow@gmail.com to discuss your potential workers’ compensation case today!

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.

I Was Injured on the Job, What are My New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Rights?

If you have been injured on the job and want to know your rights, 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, if you have been injured while working, you are entitled to Worker’s Compensation rights and benefits.

Workers’ Compensation is determined by a statute which sets out a method of providing benefits to an employee (of the employee’s dependent) who suffers a personal injury or death by accident or occupational disease while working.  This creates two categories for an injury which occurred on a job.

Accident – a specific incident gives rise to your injury. Examples include slipping and falling  leading to a broken leg. A restaurant worker cutting or burning herself.

Occupational – exposure to a risk or danger in the job led to the injury.  A dock worker whose back is injured after 20 years of lifting heavy items on the job. An administrator who has carpal tunnel syndrome after 20 years of typing.

Fault is not an issue. As long as you were acting within the course of your employment you will be covered by your employer’s worker’s compensation coverage. Even if your employer did not act negligent, if you are injured on the job you may be entitled to compensation.

Your damages are determined by the permanent nature of your injury. This is where the strength of your case is determined. Contact me and we can discuss this at greater length.

The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) is responsible for the administration of the NJ Workers’ Compensation Law, N.J.S.A. 34:15-1 et seq., and the disposition of disputes raised under it. It does so by

  • ensuring that injured workers receive fair and timely workers’ compensation benefits from their employers and their insurance carriers
  • enforcing the law that requires employers to secure the necessary insurance coverage from commercial carriers or through self-insurance programs.
  • providing temporary disability benefits and medical expenses to workers suffering from compensable injuries while working for uninsured employers
  • Providing benefit payments to workers who are already partially disabled who subsequently experience a work related injury which together, render them totally disabled.

If you have been injured on the job and want to know your rights, please do not hesitate to call me at 201-598-5019 or email me directly at newjerseylawyernow@gmail.com for a free consultation.