Most people who walk into my office are nervous, afraid, and confused. They have been injured at work, oftentimes with disastrous results that leave them unable to work and provide for their families. People wonder, can I get fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim? Will workers’ compensation cover my medical bills? What kinds of benefits do injured workers get?
I’ve compiled a list of some New Jersey workers’ compensation questions that my clients frequently ask. My aim is to educate the general public about their rights as New Jersey workers.
What is workers’ compensation?
Workers' compensation is a special area of law designed to take care of workers injured on the job. All employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance.
What should I do if I get hurt on the job?
Report the injury immediately to your supervisor. If there are specific procedures outlined in an employee handbook, follow those steps. You should request medical care. If you believe you are unable to work as required you should say so. Your employer should fill out a First Report of Injury or Illness while you are present.
If you need medical attention, do not pay for treatment with your own money or through your personal insurance. Keep any bills, doctors’ notes, hospital discharge papers, and all other documentation relating to the incident.
When visiting with the doctor, relate extent of your injuries. Make sure you mention every body part affected by the injury and the pain you feel.
If a claims adjuster contacts you after your injury its best not to give them any information. If you have not already retained a lawyer by this point you should contact one as soon as possible.
What benefits am I entitled to?
If you have been injured on the job, your medical treatment costs should be fully paid for by your employer’s insurance company. Just remember that they have the right to select your doctors. You should be paid for your list time from work. If you cannot work for a period of time, you are entitled to be paid 70% of your gross wages, paid on a weekly basis. If you suffer a permanent loss of function to due to your work injury, you may receive a cash settlement at the end of your case.
How do workers’ compensation attorneys get paid in New Jersey?
A workers’ compensation attorney never takes money directly from clients. His or her fee is up to 20% of the benefits he gets you. It is awarded by a judge at the end of the case.
Can I get fired for filing a claim?
No, it is unlawful for your employer to terminate you for filing a workers’ compensation claim with the New Jersey superior court.
What if my employer denies my claim?
Consult a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to help you file a motion with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. If properly done, you will obtain a court order requiring the insurance carrier to provide you with benefits.
The bottom line is injured workers have rights. Some insurance companies and employers might want to keep employees in the dark about workers’ compensation but this information is readily available. Having the right knowledge will help you get the benefits you deserve.