New Jersey Workers’ Comp Lawyers
A workplace injury can leave you physically disabled, unable to work, and financially strained. You are entitled to workers’ compensation anytime you suffer an injury during the course of employment. The workers’ compensation insurance companies that are supposed to provide vital benefits, such as wage replacement and medical treatment, often resist their responsibilities and look for reasons to deny workers’ compensation claims. At Keefe Law Firm, our workers’ compensation attorneys have the experience and knowledge to help victims of workplace injuries recover the workers’ compensation they deserve.
Our New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys will file your claim and take the appropriate legal steps to help ensure that you recover the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve, such as necessary medical treatment, temporary and/or permanent disability benefits and temporary compensation.
Contact us for more information or a free consultation on your workplace injury. Our New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys are experienced with all of the following:
- Construction site accidents
- Factory accidents
- Delivery accidents
- Defective equipment accidents
- Power tool accidents
- OSHA work regulations
- Physical therapy
- Workplace injuries
- Repetitive stress disorder
- Temporary disability
- Spinal cord, traumatic brain injuries, paralysis
- Wrongful death
Workers’ Comp Third Party Claims
In addition to your workers’ compensation benefits, we can help to ensure that you recover maximum compensation for your injuries. We may be able to assist you in collecting short or permanent disability wages. You may be entitled to compensation for any third party liability claims to recover lost wages, medical treatment and emergency medical treatment costs, pain and suffering, and awards for your permanent injury.
Our New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys will explore every option and resource for you and your family. We will identify all responsible parties to pursue claims for your workplace injury.
Workers’ compensation is a statutory system which provides certain types of benefits to an employee who suffers an accident, traumatic injury, death or an occupational disease arising out of and during the course of employment. Workers’ compensation laws are generally designed to protect both the employee and the employer. The employer becomes immune from a regular common law negligence lawsuit by the employee through the exclusive remedy provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act. In exchange the employee is supposed to be guaranteed certain and immediate lost wage and medical treatment benefits.
The Division of Workers’ Compensation is responsible for the administration of the New Jersey workers’ compensation Law, N.J.S.A. 34:15 et seq. The Division also handles disputes and proceedings arising under these laws. Workers’ compensation judges have the authority to make awards, require medical exams and medical treatment for injured workers and employees, and approve and set attorney fees and assess penalties when necessary.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws call for employers to provide injured workers and employees with benefits when they are appropriate:
- Necessary medical treatment for work-related injuries until the employee can return to work or will no longer benefit from the medical treatment. In workers’ compensation, the employer has the right to pick the medical provider who will examine and treat the injured employee.
- Temporary disability benefits are awarded when an employee is unable to perform his or her job. These benefits entitle the employee to benefits at a rate of 70 percent of average gross weekly wages – not to be less than the minimum of 20 percent of the State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) or exceed the maximum rate of 75 percent of same. These benefits are income-continuation payments and generally continue until the employee returns to work or has reached maximum medical improvement.
- Permanent disability benefits can be either permanent partial disability or permanent total disability depending upon the nature and extent of the injury sustained by the employee. This benefit is commonplace in serious physical injuries and must be demonstrated by objective medical evidence. Generally, the medical examination necessary to determine the permanent disability is not conducted until six months – 26 weeks – after the employee’s authorized medical treatment ends or six months from the date the employee returns to work; whichever date is earlier.
New Jersey Job Injury Claims and Disputes
A dispute arising in workers’ compensation is not like an ordinary lawsuit. In workers’ compensation, an employee is essentially making a claim for those benefits permitted by law. A short example may be helpful here:
Let us assume that John Smith is a factory worker, who gets hurt at the job while working for ACME Corporation. John Smith, does not sue ACME Corp., under workers’ compensation law. Instead, he obtains an attorney to file an “Employee Claim Petition” with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
- First, John is entitled to receive medical care and treatment, which will be paid for by his employer.
- Second, if John Smith should be disabled as a result of the work injury and unable to work a period of time, generally at least seven days, then his employer will provide temporary disability, which is the payment of a percentage of wages or salary until John can return to work.
- Third, if the nature of John’s physical injury is such that it is, in fact a permanent injury, the employer may have to provide a payment for the permanent disability.
ACME Corp., as a responsible employer should have purchased the necessary workers’ compensation insurance policy to protect all of its employees from workplace injuries. This simple example helps to illustrate the three basic benefits of workers’ compensation.
Before the workers’ compensation system existed, employees hurt on the job had to sue their employers in court asserting negligence theories to receive compensation, but now the law provides a more immediate remedy for the injured worker. Today, the injured worker should normally expect to receive prompt medical care and related benefits from his employer, and in exchange the employer can no longer be sued by the employee in court.
Sometimes, a worker is injured at the workplace, and the employer promptly provides the necessary benefits required by law. Other times an injured worker may need the assistance and representation of a skilled workers’ compensation attorney to help him obtain these rights. In the New Jersey workers’ compensation system, an attorney commences this with the filing of a claim petition with the Division of Workers’ Compensation, which starts the case. The job of the workers’ compensation lawyer is to ensure that the injured employee receives all the necessary benefits from his or her employer permitted by law.
The facts and circumstances of each workplace accident are very different. The resulting physical injuries also vary as do the responses by the employer. Some employers may act very promptly and others may delay needlessly. Some employers may not have obtained the necessary insurance to protect employees from such injuries, which may require the injured employee to seek compensation via the state’s Uninsured Employer’s Fund. Sometimes the employer may take the defensive position, that the employee was not injured at work or that the employee caused the injury by intoxication or some other action.
When to Contact a Workers’ Comp Attorney
If an injured employee is not receiving timely medical treatment for a workplace injury, he or she should consult with an attorney immediately. Similarly, if the nature of the injury is such that there is significant time lost from work or a permanent physical injury, an attorney should be consulted. In certain scenarios, there may be a separate but related case against a third party, which may result in the filing of a lawsuit against this third party.