The Basics of Workers Comp in NJ

Hi folks, thanks for tuning into my video. My name is Vincent, I’m a New Jersey attorney and run my own firm in Philadelphia. I handle workers’ comp cases. I’ve been handling them for more than 26 years. And I’ve made this blog just to give a basic overview of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation System.

Anytime you’re hurt on the job in New Jersey, regardless of how it occurs, with three exceptions, you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The three exceptions are, self-inflicted injury, intoxication, and horseplay, or fooling around. Outside of those three though, any other type of injury in any way, on the job, entitles you to compensation.

Now the compensation can be up to three different benefits. The first is payment of 100% of the medical bills necessary to treat your injury. However, under the law, the employer or it’s insurance carrier has the right to designate the doctor that you should see. In fact, if you see a doctor who is not designated, the insurance company does not have to abide by that doctor’s recommendations, and does not have to pay that doctor. So you need to see an authorized doctor.

The second benefit is payment of what’s called temporary total disability. It’s a payment for the time that you’re out of work following an injury, during the course of treatment usually. For 2012, it’s limited to $810 dollars a week. And the benefit is 70% of your gross weekly pay. And your gross weekly pay is the pay you make before any deductions come out of it. Typically, the employer will send the insurance carrier 26-week wage statement. The carrier will then take an average and pay you 70% of that. And again, the maximum is $810 dollars a week, for 2012.

The third, and what I think is the most important benefit, is a payment for the permanent effects of the injury. Essentially, when all your treatment end, you’re entitled to file a document called the Claim Petition with the Workers’ Comp Court. That starts your claim for permanency. You would then be examined by a doctor for your side of the case, and a doctor for the insurance company’s side of the case. Each doctor writes a report giving an estimate of disability. When each side has the report, we meet in court, we discuss the case, sometimes with a Judge of Compensation, and we try to work out a fair award.

By way of example, for 2012, lets say you suffered a pretty common injury, called a torn meniscus. It’s a ligament in the knee that’s frequently injured in work accidents. It’s typically repaired by arthroscopic surgery. The award for that, in 2012, is around $12,600 dollars. A more serious injury, and frequently work related, is a torn rotator cuff, that’s an injury to the shoulder. Again, if that requires arthroscopic surgery, the award is typically around $28,000 dollars. There are additions and subtractions to these awards, depending on other factors.

 

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