View Practice Areas

Ten Tips For New Jersey Workers' Compensation Claimants

  1. If you are injured on the job, you may be entitled to benefits from your employer′s workers' compensation insurance carrier under New Jersey law.

  2. Report any work-related injury to your employer. Follow the policies and procedures for reporting accidents and injuries.

  3. You are entitled to have medical bills paid by your employer′s workers' compensation carrier. Except in cases of emergencies, however, your employer′s workers' compensation carrier may (within limits) direct you to certain authorized treating physicians for care. If you obtain treatment without authorization, the carrier may decline payment. Also, at some point, the carrier may determine that it will not pay for any additional medical treatment. If that happens, and you and your treating doctor believe you need further treatment, consider seeing an attorney who knows workers' compensation law. He or she may bring a motion before a workers' compensation judge to seek to reverse the carrier′s decision.

  4. If your injury requires you to be out of work for more than seven days and you are under medical care, you are entitled to temporary disability benefits which may be as much as 70 percent of your wages subject to certain maximum and minimum amounts. If your doctor does not think you can return to work, make sure you have a note from him or her to that effect, and provide it to your employer. If you are released for light duty, have the doctor explain your limitations in writing. Your right to temporary disability benefits will continue for up to 400 weeks. If the carrier terminates your benefits, and you and your doctor feel that you cannot return to work, consult an attorney who may be able to bring a motion before a workers' compensation judge to seek to reverse the decision.

  5. Just because you were injured on the job and are receiving temporary disability benefits, your employer may not have to hold your job until you are able to return to work. If your employer is large enough and you have worked long enough, however, your employer must hold your job or a comparable job for up to 12 weeks. Some employers have more liberal policies. Find out how long your employer will hold your job.

  6. Even if you are not totally disabled, you may still be entitled to an award for any permanent partial disability you have suffered as a result of a work-related injury. Workers' compensation benefits are your right, regardless of fault. There are time limits to filing or reopening such a claim, however, and it is best to see a lawyer familiar with workers' compensation law if you wish to pursue such a claim.

  7. You may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits even if you did not suffer any specific trauma in an accident. For example, you may have a claim if repetitive action on the job caused damage to your wrists, shoulders or back; an exposure to noise hurt your hearing; or an exposure to the workplace environment damaged your lungs. Report claims, see an appropriate doctor and consult an attorney if you feel you have suffered an occupational exposure injury.

  8. If you are injured while working but not at the workplace, you may still have the right to workers' compensation benefits discussed above. In other words, if you are delivering materials to a customer and fall on the customer′s premises and are hurt, you will still be entitled to coverage. In addition, you may also have what is referred to as a third-party claim against the customer, if the customer′s premises were maintained in a negligent manner or the premises were otherwise hazardous. In such a third-party claim, you may be able to seek additional money for pain and suffering, disability and income loss.

  9. If you are injured by a defective machine or tool while working, you may have what is called a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the defective tool or machine. It is important to have your employer preserve the machine or tool, if possible, until you can have it photographed and inspected. If it disappears or is repaired, it may make such a third-party claim more difficult to pursue.

  10. Finally, there are time limits to filing a workers' compensation claim for a permanent injury or any third-party claim discussed above. Do not sit on your rights or you may waive them. Consult an attorney familiar with workers' compensation law and personal injury law in New Jersey to learn more about your rights and the time limits for exercising them.

Take Action Now To Protect Yourself And Your Family

Call the Law Offices of Kevin Kovacs, Esq., at 908-336-0311, or contact the firm online. The firm offers a free consultation to clients in the Somerville area who have suffered on-the-job injuries and now have questions about workers' compensation.