Injuries at Work, and Workers Compensation

What is workers compensation insurance?

New Jersey Workers' Compensation insurance is insurance that an employer is required by law to carry.  It provides benefits for any worker injured as a result of his or her job.  In New Jersey, if you, as an employee, are injured while working your employer is required to pay for your medical treatment.  This includes hospitalization, doctors visits, surgery, physical therapy, medications,  counseling, and nursing care. If an injured employee is unable to work for more than seven days, the injured worker is entitled to be paid for the entire time he or she is out of work.  At the end of the case, the employee may be entitled to a payment for permanent disability. 

Three types of benefits defined 

  • Medical Benefits - An injured worker is entitled to medical treatment intended to cure the work related injury. The employer, more accurately, the employer’s workers compensation insurance company, has the right to select the injured workers' doctors. However, if the employer refuses to provide appropriate medical treatment, or authorizes doctors that are not qualified to provide that care, the injured worker has the right to file a Motion with the Court to get the employer to provide the correct medical treatment
  • Temporary Disability Benefits - An injured worker is entitled to payment for the wages lost as a result of losing time from work due to the worker’s injury. The injured worker is entitled to 70% of his or her gross weekly wage, including overtime and tips, subject to a maximum and minimum amount designated for the year of the accident. If the employer refuses to provide appropriate Temporary Disability Benefits, the injured worker has the right to file a Motion with the Court to compel these benefits.
  • Permanent Disability Benefits - An injured worker has the right to seek a money award for permanent disability (permanent injury).  Most of the workers who file workers compensation claims have returned to the same job they had before their accident. The injured worker is required to show certain signs of a permanent injury, as a result of the injury that occurred on-the-job.

 What types of accidents give rise to a workers compensation claim?

  • Specific Accident Claims - These are regular, everyday accidents. They include, but are not limited to, falls, motor vehicle accidents, machinery, and lifting injuries.  Please note, an injury is still covered under Workers Comp even if the worker caused his own accident. The only issue is whether the worker was injured while performing his job.
  • Repetitive Motion Claims - The repetitive motion and strain of a job can cause a work related injury. The most common examples are jobs where a worker has to do a lot of lifting, or doing the same movements over and over.  For example, jobs that require constant typing can cause carpal tunnel syndrome.  In a Repetitive Motion Claim, there is no one particular incident that caused the worker to sustain the injury, but the repetitive wear and tear of the job caused the worker’s body to break down. 
  • Occupational Exposure Claims – Workers may be exposed to harmful elements on the job.  These can include  chemicals, asbestos, and other noxious elements.  Over time, this exposure may cause a worker to suffer lung disease, cancer, heart problems, or mesothelioma.  A worker who suffers from this type of Occupational Exposure is entitled to receive Workers Compensation benefits.