Governor Christie’s Impacts on Workers’ Compensation in NJ

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These are the new laws that have been put in place by Governor Christie which has had impacts on workers’ compensation in New Jersey.


Opioid Law

Governor Chris Christie on February 15, 2017, signed a new law that is meant to regulate opioid prescription. Also, by signing the new law, he has mandated insurance coverage for substance abuse treatment. This is not a fault of his, as New Jersey ranks third in the US for overdoses related to opioid, and is probably signed into effect keeping this fact in mind. Most commonly asked questions by practitioners licensed by the Board of Medical Examiners are outlined by NJ Consumer Affairs.


So, it’s still a great move even despite some of its shortcomings. According to this law, someone suffering from acute pain will be given a prescription for five days. But it does let the doctor renew the prescription for twenty-five days in case the pain doesn’t subside. This stands
in contrast with the seven-day prescription plan used by other states.

 

Workers’ compensation insurers are one of the beneficiaries of the new law. They will benefit from the reduction of the useless and unnecessary medication prescribed to some acute pain patients.

 

However, the insurers are expected to pay for any unnecessary follow-up visit by any patient, even when it is obvious that the person in question will need more than five days of prescription.

 

Loss of funds is one of the factors; add to it the loss of time for repeated doctor visits. And
that is one of the reasons why the Medical Society of New Jersey opposed it.



The law is meant to prevent addiction. Though, it might adversely affect patients suffering from acute pain. Patients with other types of pain might need opioids in stronger doses.

 

Veto of the bill for Correctional Officers:

Governor Christie’s has also vetoed a bill that paid correctional officers injured on duty. He has cited fiscal issues for this measure.

 

Previously officers, who were hurt on the job by inmates or due to other injuries, were paid full salaries on their time off recovering. After the veto came into effect they will be only eligible for workers’ compensation which is significantly lower than their salaries. It will also limit sick leave and injury benefits under state laws. Anything categorized by “serious injury” will
have a cap of six months of benefits pay.

 

In spite of this, the corrections officer union and some of the bill’s sponsors are optimistic about working through the kinks and having a bill that will be favorable for everyone.

 

Restoration of Pay for Workers Furloughed During State Government Shutdown:

Though Gov. Christie wasn’t keen on paying for more than 30,000 employees who were off the job for 3 days, he has promised to sign a bill for reinstating pay if the legislature would send him one. He denies the fact that he has any executive powers to reinstate retroactive pay.

 

 

Compensation of Workers’ Compensation Attorneys:

On January 12, 2016, the New Jersey Governor (Christie) turned down a proposed statute which would have increased fees for work injury lawyers. The bill would have allowed workers’ compensation attorneys to collect fees on any payment made by employers to
injured workers before any compensation judgment will be issued.


His rejection of the statute was because of his belief that the law would have a negative impact on immediate relief for injured employees. Although, under New Jersey laws, employers could voluntarily offer payments within the 26 weeks that the employee has either returned to work or has medically healed from the injury.


This law has been in place for a while, and unlike it, the new law would create effects not seen before. The proposed law, if it came through, would have hurt employers and employees alike, to the benefits of workers’ compensation lawyers.

 

If you have been injured at work, you are not alone. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Goldberg & Wolf can help you navigate through the complex process of filing a claim and make sure that you get the compensation you are entitled. Contact the Law Offices of Goldberg & Wolf today at (856)-651-1600 for a free consultation.