Workers’ Compensation FAQ
A BRIEF GUIDE TO WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN NEW JERSEY
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ Compensation in New Jersey is a system 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 permanent disability. In the event of a work-related death, benefits are payable to the family of the worker.
Who is Covered?
Virtually every worker who performs services for wages is covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act.
What Should You Do if Injured?
Notify your employer of the accident as soon as possible but not later than 90 days of the accident. You should report every injury, no matter how minor.
Request that medical treatment be provided. The employer has the right to choose the treating physician. However, if the employer refuses to provide treatment you have the right to choose your own doctor.
Who Pays Benefits?
These are paid directly by the employer or, in most cases, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
Temporary disability benefits are paid for lost time that extends beyond seven (7) consecutive days due to the injury. The benefit amount is 70% of gross weekly wages received at the time of injury up to a maximum amount that is set by the Department of Labor from year to year. For 2005 the maximum amount is $666.00 and in 2006 this will increase to $661.00 with a minimum rate of $184.00 per week.
What if Your Employer Refuses to Provide Benefits?
You should seek the services of an attorney who will file a formal claim petition on your behalf and a motion for medical and temporary benefits with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
You do not have to pay your attorney in advance for services. An attorney can only get a fee if that attorney gets you an award. The Judge of Compensation sets fees. They cannot exceed 20% of your recovery.
Can an Employer Retaliate Because You File a Claim?
The law prohibits an employer from firing or in any other manner discriminating against an employee because that employee has claimed or attempted to claim workers’ compensation benefits, or because that worker has testified or is about to testify in a workers’ compensation case.
Prepared by Denzil R. Dunkley , Esq., Law Office of Oxfeld Cohen, P.C.
60 Park Place , 6 th Floor, Newark , NJ 07102-5504
Phone: (973) 642-0161
Fax: (973) 802-1055