Essex County Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Workers’ compensation is a form of state-mandated no-fault insurance for injured workers. It provides medical coverage and wage replacement benefits to employees who have been injured in the workplace, regardless of fault. It also provides coverage for occupational diseases and death benefits for families of employees who suffer work-related fatalities. Employers in both the private and public sectors are required to carry this insurance for the benefit of their employees.
The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act governs the state compensation scheme, and The NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Division of Workers’ Compensation is responsible for the administration of the state law.
New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers who have suffered a work-related injury requiring medical treatment are eligible to receive medical benefits under the state program. The employer or insurance carrier chooses the medical professional who provides the health services. The care is far-reaching, from diagnoses and treatment, to surgery and rehabilitation. Necessary medications are covered as well. Injured workers are entitled to medical benefits up until the point that they reach maximum medical improvement.
Injured employees who are unable to work as a result of the injury or illness can also obtain wage replacement benefits under state law. Temporary disability kicks in when an employee is authorized to be out of work for at least seven days after an injury. The wage replacement benefits typically equal about 70 percent of the injured employee’s average weekly wage, subject to statutory minimum and maximum rates. The Division of Workers’ Compensation sets these rates for every calendar year. Workers may receive temporary disability for up to 400 weeks or until they are able to return to work, whichever occurs first.
In the event that an injury causes permanent bodily damage, the worker may also receive permanent disability benefits to help replace lost wages over the long-term. These benefits will be for either partial disability or total disability based upon the nature, extent and severity of the injuries. Death benefits may be paid to the dependents of a deceased worker.
Filing A Formal Claim Petition
Workers generally have two years after an injury to file a formal claim petition with the state. Occasionally, an injury is not immediately apparent and only manifests years after an occupational exposure, as with mesothelioma and other chemical exposure injuries. Under these circumstances, the worker should report the injury to the employer immediately after learning of it, and consult with a lawyer to learn their rights.
What Does A Workers’ Compensation Insurance Policy Cover?
This insurance policy has various benefits for both workers and employers:
- Necessary medical treatment to help recover from injuries.
- Temporary disability benefits to recover lost wages while out of work.
- Death benefits to help the employee’s family in case of a fatal injury.
- Permanent disability benefits to compensate for continuing injuries.
- Covers the liabilities of the employee’s work related injury.
- Ensures the company is compliant with state law.
How To Be Sure An Injury Is Work-Related
Workers’ compensation insurance is ‘no fault’ insurance – which means if the worker was injured at work he or she qualifies for benefits. If the worker is injured outside the scope of their employment he or she will not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. A work-related injury is any illness or injury that a person suffers while performing the essential functions of their job, whether that involves work in the office or in the field.
Workers’ compensation insurance policies typically cover two major types of injuries. Each is discussed below:
1. Physical Injuries
The most common type of work-related injuries are physical injuries. These may include
- Broken bones
- Back and spinal injuries
- Torn muscles and tendons
- head injuries
After sustaining a physical injury in the workplace, you should immediately seek medical attention, then notify your employer. Necessary emergency medical treatment should be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
2. Occupational Illness/Injury
Another type of injury that is covered by workers’ compensation is an occupational injury. This is an injury or illness that occurs over a longer period of time at the workplace. For example, injury caused by exposure to harmful chemicals over a period of time may qualify as an occupational illness.
The Reinartz Law Firm
The Reinartz Law Firm represents injured workers throughout the state of New Jersey. We pursue maximum possible benefits for workers and their families, so they can get through this hard time. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn your rights.
The official website of The Department of Labor and Workforce Development has more information.