New Jersey Workers’ Compensation: An Overview
Workers’ Compensation is a type of no-fault insurance that provides a package of benefits to employees who are injured on the job. All employers in New Jersey must maintain this type of insurance. Proving negligence or fault is not required in order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. So long as an employee was engaged in the performance of his or her job duties at the time of the injury, they should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must have employee status. Independent contractors are not eligible.
Certain sole proprietors, LLC members and members of certain partnerships may be exempt from this insurance coverage. However, employees of businesses that operate for financial gain in New Jersey are generally required to be covered.
The injury must occur within the scope of the employee’s work. Thus, the injury must arise out of and during the course of the employment. The law requires that employees report the injury to their employers promptly, or they could lose the right to benefits.
Employees may also be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits when they exacerbate a pre-existing condition. The determining factor will be whether the work injury worsened or aggravated the pre-existing condition.
Common Work Injuries
Workers’ compensation claims run the gamut, from minor injuries, to catastrophic and permanent injuries, and even death. Some common types of injuries are:
- Sprains, Strains, Fractures, Concussions
- Back and Spinal Injuries
- Torn Ligaments, Muscles and Tendons
- Occupational Disease
- Toxic Substance Exposure
- Mental Health Disorders
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Chronic Pain Syndrome
In New Jersey, injured workers may be eligible to receive some of the following workers’ compensation benefits:
- Medical Treatment – your employer through their insurer must provide reasonable and necessary medical treatment for the work-related injuries. This is typically provided by healthcare professionals of their choosing. This coverage must continue until the injured worker reaches Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) for their injuries.
- Temporary Disability – if an injury renders an employee temporarily disabled and unable to work, the employee may be eligible for temporary disability benefits while they are out of work. Injured workers must be medically authorized to be out of work for more than seven days in order to qualify for these benefits. In NJ, temporary disability benefits will not exceed 400 weeks.
- Permanent Disability – if your work injury renders you permanently disabled, either partially or totally, you may qualify to receive additional weekly benefits for your permanent disability.
- Death Benefits – when a work accident causes death, the worker’s eligible family members may receive funeral expenses of up to $3,500, and wage replacement benefits.
Fighting for Injured Workers
In a perfect world, injured workers would immediately receive all of the benefits they are entitled to after a work accident. Unfortunately, we do not live a perfect world, and injured workers must often fight to get the full quantum of workers’ compensation benefits they are entitled to.
An experienced New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer can help guide you through this complex process and pursue all of the benefits you deserve for your work injury.
If you have been injured at work and have questions about your rights and ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits, contact the Reinartz Law Firm. We would be pleased to speak with you.