If you are injured while working from home (sometimes known as “telecommuting” or “teleworking”), you may not realize that you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These could reimburse you for medical expenses, lost wages, temporary disability, permanent disability or impairment, and more. Do you know your rights?
Topics: Workers' Compensation
If you’ve been injured on the job in New Jersey, the NJ workers’ compensation system is designed to help replace your lost wages and compensate you for your injuries. State law requires that private employers operating in New Jersey provide workers’ compensation benefits to all qualified employees through an insurance policy or an approved plan of self-insurance. But what happens if you are hurt at work and your employer refuses to compensate you?
If you’re injured at work or develop a work-related medical condition, the New Jersey workers’ compensation system can help pay your medical expenses and replace your lost wages for time off during your recovery. You may not realize that in addition to recovering your costs, you may also be entitled to compensation for any permanent impairment you sustain as a result of your injuries or occupational disease.
What Is a Compensable Illness or Disease?
New Jersey employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance on all employees working in the state. This insurance is designed to help you if you are injured in the course of your employment (like in an accident at work or while performing work-related duties) or if you suffer from an occupational disease (such as hearing loss or carpal tunnel syndrome). Some emotional illnesses may also qualify as industrial disabilities.
How Do You Receive Benefits?
You must notify your employer within certain time limits of your injury or illness; it will submit the claim to its workers’ comp insurer and determine whether your claim is covered. If the claim is accepted, the carrier and your employer will direct you to one or more appropriate medical providers and will pay for your reasonable and necessary medical expenses. If you are out of work for more than seven days, you may also receive temporary disability benefits to help replace your lost wages so you can focus on rehabilitation and recovery.
What Is Permanent Partial Disability?
Once you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), or when you return to work, you will be evaluated to determine whether your injury or disease has left a permanent impact on your life. If so, you may be entitled to an award of “permanent partial disability” (PPD) benefits to compensate you for your permanent “loss of function.” Certain physical injuries automatically qualify for partial or total disability in amounts set by statute. These “scheduled” losses include the amputation of limbs (including fingers, hands, arms, legs, feet, and toes) and losses of vision or hearing.
How Is the Amount of PPD Determined?
In many states, the amount of permanent disability compensation you receive depends only on whether you are impaired in the workplace—that is, whether you are restricted from or unable to work in your occupation. In New Jersey, however, a Judge of Compensation will evaluate permanency payments based on loss of function across all aspects of your life, including not only workplace impairment but also any loss of ability to engage in sports, hobbies, and other home activities. At this hearing, you must present:
- Medical proof of impairment (e.g., an MRI, surgical record, and/or other medical testimony) and
- Personal testimony (describing your limitations).
Once a claimant proves he or she has a permanent disability under these criteria, the Judge of Compensation decides whether the limitation is serious enough to merit compensation; if so, the Court determines a fair amount to award. Unlike in other states, PPD benefits can be awarded even if you are fully able to return to your regular employment, as long as you demonstrate a permanent disability that impairs your ability to carry out the “ordinary pursuits of life.”
How a New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
New Jersey workers’ compensation laws can be complicated and confusing. In order to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your on-the-job injury or occupational disease, you must comply with all appropriate deadlines, requirements, and administrative procedures. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help evaluate, prepare, and present a case to the Judge of Compensation that fairly demonstrates your limitations so you can receive the benefits you deserve.
To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at the Basking Ridge, Oradell, or Newark, New Jersey, law offices of the Mark Law Firm, contact the firm online or call 973-440-2311, 908-626-1001, or 201-787-9406 today.
 N.J.S.A. 34:15-17. See http://www.nj.gov/treasury/riskmgt/workers-comp.shtml for more information.
 N.J.S.A. 34:15-14. See http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wc/workers/benefits/benefit_index.html for more information.
 N.J.S.A. 34:15-12. See http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/forms_pdfs/wc/pdf/2016_schedule.pdf for more information.
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If you have been injured on the job or have suffered an occupational illness in New Jersey, you may be entitled to legal compensation. Navigating the legal complexities in order to receive compensation, however, requires a full understanding of the steps to take after a workplace injury has occurred or an occupational illness has been contracted.
New Jersey has strict rules outlining how the workers' compensation process works, so keep the following tips in mind to collect the benefits you deserve.
Topics: Workers' Compensation
In New Jersey, most workers are protected by workers’ compensation laws. Workers’ comp is a kind of insurance that employers are required by state law to carry. It compensates employees injured on the job for their medical costs and wages lost as a result of those injuries and long-term permanent disability (if applicable). Most employees are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, no matter how long they have been working for a particular company. However, timing can factor into your New Jersey workers’ compensation claim in a few ways, and other factors can impact your eligibility.
If you’ve suffered an on-the-job injury, you may worry about more than your physical recovery—you may worry that you won’t be able to return to work. A lot of factors play into whether you will be able to go back to your job after an injury. Knowing the laws and requirements can help you focus on your recovery rather than worrying about your employment.
Although Flint, Michigan has been making the news for its lead-contaminated water, the New Jersey Department of Health revealed that eleven cities and two counties in New Jersey have a higher proportion of young children with dangerous lead levels than Flint. Recent testing reveals that New Jersey’s lead problem is widespread and can lead to serious health problems. In 2015, there were more than 3,000 new cases of children under the age of 6 in New Jersey with elevated levels of lead in their blood. In fact, nearly 225,000 young children in the state have been afflicted by lead since 2000.
Workers’ compensation ensures that employees who are hurt on the job will be compensated for their injuries and lost wages. It’s an insurance program, governed by state law, which all New Jersey employers are required to support. Employers pay premiums, and generally, employees can’t sue their employer for work-related injuries. Instead, injured employees may recover from the workers’ compensation policy carrier for partial lost wages, paid medical care, and partial or total permanent disability benefits if appropriate. But does it cover people who work as drivers for mobile phone application-based car hire services like Uber and its biggest competitor, Lyft?
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