Helpful answers from The Reinartz Law Firm in New Jersey Workers' Compensation Matters
Q: What should I do if I’m in a work accident or believe I’ve been injured due to my work duties?
A: Notify your employer immediately. As a rule of thumb, it is always best to report any and all accidents and injuries as soon as possible. It is the responsibility of the employer to notify its workers’ compensation insurance carrier of the work injury after receiving notice of same. If your employer refuses to report your injury, contact an experienced New Jersey Workers’ Compensation attorney to take immediate action on your behalf.
Q: What types of benefits are provided by New Jersey Workers’ Compensation insurance?
A: Workers’ Compensation Benefits may include the following:
- Medical Benefits – You can receive medical treatment, including emergency room treatment, continuing care and rehabilitation, office visits and evaluations, diagnostic testing, physical therapy, surgery, and prescription medications.
- Temporary Disability – If you are unable to work due to your injury for a minimum of 7 days in a row, you may be eligible for temporary disability benefits that are typically equal to approximately 70% of your average weekly wage. Certain rules, maximums and minimums can affect this amount.
- Permanent Disability – After you have completed medical treatment for your injury, if you are determined to be permanently disabled due to your work injury, you may be eligible to receive partial or total disability payments based upon the extent of permanent disability caused by the injury.
- Death – If you are the dependent of a family member who died as the result of a work injury, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation death benefits.
Q: Do I have to prove I wasn't at fault for the work accident in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits?
A: No. You do not have to prove you were not at fault, or that someone else was, in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, you must demonstrate that your injury arose within the scope of the employment. Rare examples where an employee's fault might affect a claim is where drugs or alcohol directly caused an injury or the injuries were self-inflicted.
Q: How long do I have to file my workers’ compensation claim?
A: In New Jersey, the Statute of Limitations for filing a formal workers’ compensation claim is two years from the date of injury. Usually, this is two years from the date of the work accident. Some exceptions may apply, but it’s always best to report the injury and file a claim well within the proscribed time period.
Q: Can I separately sue my employer for causing a work injury?
A: No. You may not sue your employer for simple negligence in causing a work injury. Workers’ compensation benefits are generally the only form of compensation that injured employees may seek from their employers for work injuries. Only where an employer's conduct is so egregious that it borders on "intentional" conduct can an employee potentially sustain a separate personal injury action against the employer. An experienced workers' compensation and personal injury lawyer can help determine whether this type of claim might exist.
Q: What if my employer or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier disputes or denies my claim?
A: You can appeal the decision of your employer and their insurance carrier, or file a motion for medical and temporary benefits with the workers' compensation court. Under these circumstances, it is generally advisable to contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your claim and legal options.
Q: Can I receive workers’ compensation benefits if my injury was pre-existing?
A: Yes. You may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for a pre-existing medical condition if your work duties further aggravated or worsened the pre-existing condition. Employers and their insurance carriers are more likely to scrutinize these claims, nonetheless they are real and compensable.
The Reinartz Law Firm can answer your New Jersey Workers’ Compensation questions and advise you of the best way to proceed with your claim.
We are proud to represent injured New Jersey workers. Contact one of our conveniently located offices online or by phone to schedule a consultation with a work injury lawyer. We would be pleased to discuss a claim with you.