Dealing with a workers’ compensation claim can get very complex and time-consuming, especially if you are not familiar with workers’ compensation law. It doesn’t take much to get overwhelmed with all the moving pieces involved. You should know, however, that the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act exists to protect injured workers, and make sure that they are treated fairly.
What should I do first?
After suffering a work-related injury thoughts of concern flood your mind, “What do I do now?”
It is important to know that you are protected, here some simple steps and tips to follow when dealing with a work injury:
- Notify your employer
- Seek immediate, appropriate medical treatment
- File your claim as soon as possible
- Keep in touch with the insurance company
- And think about your responses
The first thing you should do is notify your employer and seek immediate medical treatment. Notifying your employer is very important because you have a limited period of time in which you have to notify your employer and file a claim. In New Jersey, you must notify your employer within 14 days, and your employer should notify their insurance carrier within 24 hours, but if you want to file a claim against your employer you have 2 years.
One of the first things you need to do is get treatment for the injury. Depending on the severity of the injury this may be the first step you take. Any injury left untreated can get worse and can also make it seem you are not that hurt. Here is an earlier blog going into the do’s and don’ts.
Next, make sure that the proper paperwork gets filed. Your employer should file paperwork with the insurance carrier, but if they do not, you should file a claim. Even though you have 2 years to file a claim against your employer; you should get this done as soon as possible. Why wait? The faster you start receiving benefits, the better off you’ll be.
You also need to keep in touch with the insurance carrier and be on the same page with them. It would not be fun finding out that the insurance carrier terminated your benefits before you are ready.
This last one is also very important, consider your responses when communicating with the insurance carrier, their goal is to stop paying you benefits as soon as they can. Anything you say will be used against you.
It is always advised that you contact a workers’ compensation attorney, just in case. The attorney will help guide you through the process and help make sure you are being treated fairly. And, if need be also step in and fight for the benefits you deserve.
A little more on the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act?
The Workers’ Compensation Act protects employees in ensuring that they receive the benefits they deserve and also protects employers from direct lawsuits. Under the act, employees give up their right to sue the employer in exchange for workers’ compensation benefits.
All employers are required to have some form of workers’ compensation insurance. If the employer does not have coverage that meets state requirements or no insurance at all, they will be fined.
Can I Lose my Job if I am Injured?
The answer is no. Nearly every state has made it illegal for employers to fire employees who were injured on the job and filed for workers’ compensation.
If an employer were fire an injured worker, it could be considered retaliation, which would result in a whole mess of legal trouble. However, once the worker is healthy enough to work the employer can provide the employee with an appropriate job, that is within the scope of the employee can perform.
So, if you were injured and made a full recovery then the employer would offer you your old job back, but if you suffered a permanent impairment, then the employer would offer you a job that fits within the scope of what you can with your condition.
What Types of Damages are Recoverable?
Serious work injuries can and will have major effects on you and your family’s life. Such injuries can hurt your income, have permanent physical effects, and leave you with tons of debt and medical bills. Here are the more common types of damages you can recover, they include:
- Medical benefits
- Temporary disability benefits
- Permanent partial benefits
- Permanent total benefits
- Death benefits
All these benefits are designed to help you and your family, in your time of need and while you recover from your injury. And in a much more serious instance, they allow your family to receive benefits, in the unfortunate instance, you were to die as the result of injuries suffered at work.
Know you are protected and are entitled to these benefits.
Here are Goldberg & Wolf, we understand that workers’ compensation law is complicated and hard to deal with alone. If you or someone you know has been injured at work and need help or simply have questions about what to do next, do not hesitate to contact us or call 856-651-1600.
It is also important to note that workers’ compensation law is not the same in every state. If you need help with workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania, reach out to our good friends at Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo.