At the Wilton Law Firm our workers compensation attorneys Frank Wilton and Brian Wilton are committed to helping employees injured on the job, whether as a result of New Jersey workplace accidents or occupational diseases. If you have been injured in a workplace accident in New Jersey it is important to have a lawyer review your claim to see that you receive full compensation for your injury claim. The following are frequently asked questions that we receive regarding workers’ compensation claims.
*Please be advised that the following is for informational purposes and not intended to be legal advice. The statute or our office should be consulted in each case.
Q. WHAT IS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION?
A. Workers’ Compensation is a system created by the New Jersey Legislature that provides benefits to workers who are injured or who contract an occupational disease while working. The benefits include medical care, temporary disability payments, and compensation for a resulting permanent disability. In the event of death of an injured worker, benefits are payable to the family of the worker. Benefits may be paid voluntarily or it may be necessary to apply to the Workers’ Compensation Courts for relief.
Q. WHO IS COVERED?
A. Virtually every worker who performs for wages is covered by the law, regardless of the number of workers employed by the employer. Under New Jersey law, domestic and farm workers are covered. However, workers considered to be independent contractors, rather than employees, are not covered.
Seaman, maritime workers, railroad workers, and federal employees, are covered under federal workers’ compensation law.
Q. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM INJURED?
A. You should notify your employer as soon as possible, but no later than 90 days from the date of the accident. The notice may be given to the supervisor, personnel office or anyone in authority at the employer’s office place of business. Notice need not be in writing. If the worker needs medical treatment, a request should be made to the employer as soon as possible.
Q. WHAT IF AN EMPLOYER REFUSES TO PROVIDE MEDICAL SERVICES AND/OR TEMPORARY DISABILITY BENEFITS?
A. You should seek the services of our office who will file a formal claim petition and a motion for medical and temporary benefits with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Important: There is a two-year statute of limitations. A formal Claim Petition must be filed within two years of the date of the injury or the last payment of compensation.
In cases of occupational illness, the Claim Petition must be filed within two years from the date the worker first became aware of the condition and its relationship to employment. The statute of limitations applies to minors also.
Q. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A CLAIM IS REPORTED?
A. The employer or the employer’s insurance carrier will investigate the claim. If the claim is found compensable, they will pay for necessary and reasonable medical treatment, loss wages during the period of rehabilitation, and when documented, benefits for permanent disability.
Within 21 days of receiving notice of the accident, the insurance carrier should file a First Report of injury form with the Division. This form gives the Division initial information about the accident and injuries. Another form, called the Subsequent Report of Injury, must be filed with the Division within 26 weeks after the worker returns to work or has reached maximum medical improvement. At that time, the worker should receive a letter from the insurance carrier explaining the benefits paid to date on their claim. The information from these forms helps the Division ensure that workers receive fair and timely benefits for work-related injuries.
Q. CAN AN EMPLOYER TAKE ACTION AGAINST A WORKER FILING A CLAIM?
A. The Workers’ Compensation Statute prohibits the employer from discharging or discriminating in any manner against an employee because the employee has claimed or attempted to claim workers’ compensation benefits, or has testified, or is about to testify, in a workers’ compensation case.