Worker’s compensation FAQS from the new jersey division of worker’s compensation
What is Worker’s Compensation?
Worker’s 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 payments, and compensation for a resulting permanent 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 Worker’s’ Compensation Courts for relief.
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 workers are covered. However, workers considered to be independent contractors, rather than employees, are not covered. Seamen, maritime workers, railroad workers, and federal employees are covered under federal workers’ compensation law.
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 authority at the employer’s place of business. Notice need not be in writing. If the worker needs medical treatment, a request should be made to the employer as soon as possible.
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 Worker’s Compensation. Attorneys are prohibited by law from charging a fee in advance 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 limitations. A formal Claim Petition must be filed within two years of the date of the injury or the last payment of compensation, whichever is later. Medical treatment authorized by the employer is considered a payment of compensation.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 limitations applies to minors also. An injured worker may also file an application for an informal hearing before a Judge of Compensation. 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.