Workers' Compensation is a system created by the New Jersey Legislature that provides benefits to workers who are injured or who contract an occupational disease while working. The benefits include medical care, temporary disability pay ments, and compensation for a resulting per manent disability. In the event of the death of an injured worker, benefits are payable to the family of the worker. Benefits may be paid voluntarily or it may be necessary to apply to the Workers' Compensation Courts for relief.
In cases of occupational illness, the Claim Petition must be filed within two years from the date the worker first became aware of the condition and its relationship to employment. The statute of limita tions applies to minors also. An injured worker may also file an application for an informal hearing before a Judge of Compensa tion. At the informal hearing a representative of the employer or the employer's insurance carrier is usually present. The suggestions made by the judge at an informal hearing are, however, not binding on either party. The filing of an application for an informal hearing does not stop the two-year statute of limitations from running.
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All necessary medical treatment and hospitalization services should be provided by the employer or the employer's insurance carrier. The employer has the right to choose the treating physician. If the employer refuses to provide medical treatment, the injured worker is free to choose the treating physician. However, in the case of an emergency, an injured worker may obtain medical or hospital treatment without specific authorization from the employer, but the employer should be notified as soon as possible concerning the treatment being received. Weekly payments for permanent total disability are 70 percent of the gross weekly wage at the time of the injury up to a maximum established annually by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development.* Permanent total disability is presumed when the worker has lost two major members or a com bination of members of the body such as eyes, arms, hands, legs or feet. However, permanent total disability can result from other injuries that render the worker unemployable.
Who is covered?
Virtually every worker who performs services for wages is covered by the law, regardless of the number of workers employed by the employer. Under New Jersey law, domestic and farm work ers are covered. However, workers considered to be independent contractors, rather than employ ees, are not covered. Seamen, maritime workers, railroad workers, and federal employees are covered under federal workers' compensation law.
What happens after a claim is reported?,
The employer or the employer's insurance carrier will investigate the claim. If the claim is found compensable, they will pay for necessary and reasonable medical treatment, loss of wages during the period of rehabilitation, and, when documented, benefits for permanent disability. Within 21 days of receiving notice of the accident, the insurance carrier should file a First Report of Injury form with the Division. This form gives the Division initial information about the accident and injuries. Another form, called the Subsequent Report of Injury, must be filed with the Division within 26 weeks after the worker returns to work or has reached maximum medical improvement. At that time, the worker should receive a letter from the insurance carrier explaining the benefits paid to date on their claim. The information from these forms helps the Division ensure that workers receive fair and timely benefits for work-related injuries.
When a job-related accident or illness results in the worker's death, benefits are payable to the dependents of the worker as defined by the law. The weekly benefit payment is 70 percent of wages, but the maximum total benefit payable to all of the worker's dependents cannot exceed the maximum established annually by the Commis sioner of Labor and Workforce Development.* A surviving spouse or civil union partner and natural children who were a part of decedent's household at the time of death are conclusively presumed to be dependents. A surviving spouse or civil union partner and natural children who were not a part of decendent's household at the time of death and all other alleged dependents (parents, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, etc.) must prove actual dependency. Children who are deemed to be dependents remain so until the age of 18 years or, if a full-time student, until the age of 23 years. If a child is physically or mentally disabled he/she may be eligible for further benefits. The employer or the employer's insurance carrier is responsible to pay up to $3,500 in funeral expenses for a job-related death. These funds are payable to whomever is liable for the funeral bill, be it the estate or an individual.
Temporary Disability Be1lefits
If there is lost time which extends beyond seven calendar days due to the injury, temporary disability benefits become payable starting with the first day lost. The benefit amount is 70 percent of gross weekly wages received at the time of the injury, up to a maximum established annually by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development.*
What must a worker do if injured?
The worker should notify the employer as soon as possible, but not later than 90 days from the date of the accident. The notice may be given to the supervisor, personnel office, or anyone in author ity at the employer's place of business. Notice need not be in writing. If the worker needs medi cal treatment, a request should be made to the employer as soon as possible.
Pennanent Partial Benefits
When a job-related injury or illness results in a permanent partial disability, benefits are based upon a percentage of certain "scheduled" or "nonscheduled" losses. A "scheduled" loss is one involving arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, eyes, ears, or teeth. A "nonscheduled" loss is one involving the back, heart, lungs, etc.
What if an employer refuses to provide medical services and/or temporary disability benefits?
The injured worker should seek the services of an attorney who will file a formal claim petition and a motion for medical and temporary benefits with the Division of Workers' Compensation. Attorneys are prohibited by law from charging a fee in ad vance for such services. Fees will be fixed by the court only if a compensation award is made. Important: There is a two-year statute of limita tions. A formal Claim Petition must be filed within two years of the date of the injury or the last pay ment of compensation, whichever is later. Medical treatment authorized by the employer is consid ered a payment of compensation.
Can an employer take action against a worker ror filing a claim?
The Workers' Compensation Statute prohibits the employer from discharging or discriminating in any manner against an employee because the employee has claimed or attempted to claim workers' compensation benefits, or has testified, or is about to testify, in a workers' compensation case.
Pennanent Total Benefits
When a job-related injury results in permanent total disability, the injured worker is entitled to payments for 450 weeks which will be continued thereafter for as long as the total disability exists. However, after the 450 weeks, these payments are subject to reduction for wages earned from employment.
Does the Workers' Compensation Law give special consideration to minors?
Yes. If a minor, employed in violation of the Child Labor Law, suffers a disability because of a job related injury or illness, benefits will be double the amount ordinarily awarded.
* Maximum weekly rates for the past eight years are shown on the reverse.
District Office Directo
1333 Atlantic Avenue, 3rd F1r.(609) 441-3160 Atlantic City, NJ 08401 (Atlantic and Cape May counties) 40 East Broad Street (856) 453-3930 Suite 203 Bridgeton, NJ 08302-2880 (Cumberland & Salem counties) (856) 614-2852 2 Riverside Dr., 3rd Fir. Camden, NJ 08103 (Camden & Gloucester counties) 295 North Broad St., 2nd FI.(908) 820-3062 Elizabeth, NJ 07208-3702 (Union county) 2 Paragon Way Freehold, NJ 07728 (Monmouth county) (732) 462-9321
954 Route 166 (732) 349-9592 Toms River, NJ 08753-7331 (Ocean county) Station Plaza 4 PO Box 958 Trenton, NJ 08625-0958 (Mercer county) (609) 292-2508
For more information about Workers' Comp, visit us on the Internet at: www.nj.gov/labor/wc/wcindex.html
If you need this document in braille or large print, call (609) 292-2515: TTY users can contact this office through New Jersey Relay: 7-1-1
This pamphlet is published for general information onlyand does not have the status of law or regulation. For specific wording of the law see the New Jersey Workers' Compensation Act (NJSA 34:15-1 et seq.) or consult your attorney.
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Rate in effect on the date of accident or exposure/manifestation in cases of occupational disease. Effective Date Temporary & Permanent Permanent Partial Total $591 $158 $629 $168 $638 $170 $650 $173 $666 $178 $691 $184 $711 $190 $742 $198 $591 $ 35 $629 $ 35 $638 $ 35 $650
A Workers Guide to Workers' c otnpensation
01/01/2001 70% of wages to maximum of minimum of 01/01/2002 70% of wages to maximum of minimum of 01/01/2003 70% of wages to maximum of minimum of 01/01/2004 70% of wages to maximum of minimum of 01/01/2005 70% of wages to maximum of minimum of 01/01/2006 70% of wages to maximum of minimum of 01/01/2007 70% of wages to maximum of minimum of 01/01/2008 70% of wages to maximum of minimum of
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$666 $ 35 $691 $ 35 $711 $ 35 $742 $ 35
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