Workers’ compensation is a requirement of all employers in New Jersey and has been since the early-1900s. Workers’ compensation is a program that provides compensation to employees for medical bills and lost wages if they are injured while on the job. It can be helpful to understand the requirements of the program before you ever need to use them.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?
Workers’ compensation works similar to any insurance policy in that you only use if you are injured. The biggest difference between a workers’ compensation policy and your personal health insurance policy, however, is that you don’t have to pay into it. Instead, your employer does.
If you are injured while at work, such as in a car accident or while using machinery, it can cover costs like:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Rehabilitative care
- Permanent or temporary disability
Workers’ compensation may cover injuries or illnesses directly related to the workplace. In some cases, it can also cover repetitive strain injuries, which are common in some industries such as construction and healthcare.
What if Your Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Compensation?
Unless you fall into one of the prohibited categories of employees, which include unpaid interns or volunteers or independent contractors, your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation coverage. Failing to do so can lead to expensive fines of up to $5000 for every 10 days without carrying insurance. Some employers may also be subject to criminal charges classified as a New Jersey disorderly persons offense.
How to Properly Navigate a Workers’ Compensation Claim
You want to ensure that you take certain steps following your injury. This can help the company approve your claim faster.
- Notify your employer of the injury immediately: One of your requirements as an employee with workers’ compensation is that you notify your employer of the injury as soon as possible. The sooner, the better. Your employer needs to file a First Report of Injury to begin the workers’ compensation process.
- Work with your claims representative: Workers’ compensation will assign a representative to your case. Work closely with them, getting them the documents they need. They may also request that you receive medical care by an approved doctor. You should always visit their physician, but keep in mind that you may have options to switch later.
- You can expect a seven-day waiting period: There is a mandatory seven-day waiting period before you can receive benefits. If you’re still unable to return to work, you should receive temporary disability benefits. However, if your claim is initially denied, then it may take longer.
- You have the right to dispute a denial: Even if your claim is denied, you have the right to file a dispute. At this point, it is usually a good idea to reach out to a lawyer.
Your dispute is followed by an informal and formal hearing. Sometimes, a denied claim is as easy as submitting missing documents to be approved. Other times, you may need a lawyer. If you were recently denied or you are currently working through the appeal process, it isn’t too late to reach out to a lawyer.
Contact a Passaic County Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your New Jersey Workplace Injury Case
A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although New Jersey Workers’ Compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the Workers’ Comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Camili & Capo, PA represent clients in Little Falls, Clifton, West Paterson, Nutley, and throughout New Jersey. Call (973) 834-8457 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a consultation about your work injury case. Our main office is located at 1 Lower Notch Road, Little Falls, NJ 07424.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.