Injured Workers' Rights in New Jersey
What Are My Rights After Being Injured on the Job?
If you have been injured on the job, it is important to understand that you have rights. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for employers to take advantage of their employees' lack of knowledge after a workplace accident, so it is crucial that you understand, and safeguard, your own rights. First and foremost, you should be aware of the benefits that you are afforded under the state's workers' compensation laws. In New Jersey, all employers are required to purchase workers' compensation insurance on behalf of their employees – with very few exceptions.
This means that you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Past & future medical care: this includes the costs associated with medical treatment, prescription medications, hospital services and ongoing rehabilitation.
- Lost earnings: this would be awarded at a rate of 70% of your average weekly wage, which cannot exceed 75% of the statewide average weekly wage (SAWW).
- Permanent partial disability: this would be awarded if you have suffered a permanent impairment, but are still able to return to work in some capacity.
- Permanent total disability: this would be awarded if you have suffered a permanent impairment that has prohibited you from ever returning to work.
Since this is considered to be "no-fault" insurance coverage, you would be able to recover benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident – including yourself. However, this also means that you would be barred from taking legal action against your employer; by accepting workers' compensation benefits, you inadvertently agree not to pursue a claim against your employer. The only situation in which you could seek additional damages, outside of workers' compensation, would be if a third party's negligence has caused the accident.
What Qualifies as a "Work-Related" Injury?
When determining whether or not you qualify for workers' compensation benefits, you must first determine whether or not you have suffered a "work-related" injury. According to N.J.S.A. 34:15-1, this can include any injury that occurs out of and in the course of your employment. This means that you must have been injured while at your place of work, during the hours that you were expected to be there and while engaging in a task that you were hired to do.
This also includes any injuries that were suffered while traveling for work or conducting work at another place when ordered to do so by your employer. If you have questions about your own eligibility, please contact a New Jersey workers' compensation lawyer at The Law Offices of Lloyd E. Bennett, Esq., P.C.
You Have the Right to File an Appeal
Was your workers' compensation claim denied? If so, it is important to understand that you have the right to file an appeal. Your employer may dispute that you were injured at work, claim that your injury came about through other circumstances or that you are not really injured at all, but you have the right to file a claim petition.
Your claim may have been denied for a number of different reasons, so it is highly recommended that you bring your case to a New Jersey workers' compensation attorney at The Law Offices of Lloyd E. Bennett, Esq., P.C. Our firm has been assisting injured workers throughout the state since 1987.