The History of Workers’ Compensation in New Jersey
The State of New Jersey leads all other states in the United States for encouraging and advocating the law and legislation related to safeguarding workers rights. The workers’ compensation law came into effect in this state in the year 1911, primarily for safeguarding injured workers. Prior to Workers’ Compensation law, employees who got injured during employment were forced to file a suit against their employers for negligence and carelessness under the common law.
It used to be a long process and would create various troubles for the injured worker. It would leave them without medical benefits or any source of income till the time the case was pending at the court. Apart from that, many who alleged would be proved futile due to the multiple shields available to the employer under common law, such as the assumption of risk and contributory negligence.
In 1979, the Workers’ Compensation Act was reformed. A selective blue ribbon panel including representatives from the government, labor and different industries conducted a thorough study contributing to such reform. The primary objective of this modification was to increase benefits to the critically disabled workers. Considerations were also given to cost-of-living for permanently or totally disabled employees, Second Injury Fund beneficiaries, and dependents of deceased workers.
Functions of the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation
The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act aims to set up a fair balance between the requirements of the employers and the injured workers of the state. The Act is established to protect both, the employees and the employer. Injured workers receive temporary disability benefits, practical and essential medical care and a reasonable award for permanent disability. Employers get workers’ compensation employer defense in the form of protection from costlier litigation and proceedings.
The NJ Workers’ Compensation Act is administered by the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC). The department also disposes of any dispute raised under Workers’ Compensation Act. The Division ensures that the injured workers receive reasonable and timely compensation benefits from their company and the insurance carriers of their employers through two specific programs:
When the employer and the injured employee are unable to resolve their arguments over workers’ compensation benefits cordially, the Division offers an impartial and fair forum to mediate and arbitrate disputes, if required. Such functions are carried out by the administrative and judicial personnel of the Division.
The administrative staff of the Division manages the general functions of the Workers’ Compensation (WC) Act. They are responsible for the reviewing, recording, processing and entering the data of the case. The staff collects the statistics and maintains the records of reported injury as well as assigns and schedules informal hearings and claim petitions. The administrative division also processes the requests for copies of case files required by the workers’ compensation attorney.
Judicial staff are the Supervising Judges, Administrative Supervising Judges, and Judges of Compensation. Their responsibilities include intervening and adjudicating the workers’ compensation disputes as well as evaluating the proposed claims’ settlements.
The ruling of the judicial staff is binding, and they have the authority to make all critical decisions related to workers’ compensation claim and settlement.
Office of Special Compensation Funds
The office includes Uninsured Employer’s Fund, Compliance Enforcement, and Second Injury Fund. They are responsible for enforcing the regulation that needs employers to lock the necessary insurance coverage through self-insurance schemes or secure them from insurance carriers. The Office of Special Compensation Funds also provides medical expenses and provisional disability benefits to injured workers. It provides benefits to all those employees who are already partially disabled and experience a work-related injury resulting in a complete disability.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have been injured at work, understandably you are going through a lot. 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 rightly deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Goldberg & Wolf today at (856)-651-1600 for a free consultation.