Navigating Worker’s Compensation

April 22, 2017

As Murphy’s Law states, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” This holds true for nearly every aspect of life. Fortunately, we have the power to keep ourselves protected if (and when) accidents occur — especially at work. Worker’s Compensation exists to assure that employees receive the support they’re entitled to if an accident or injury happens on the job.

What exactly is Worker’s Compensation?

To do business in the State of NJ, all employers must have Worker’s Compensation. This law is designed to provide an injured worker state mandated benefits. There are three types of Worker’s Compensation benefits:

Let’s break down what Worker’s Compensation does and does not do for you in more detail:

Worker’s Compensation does:

Worker’s Compensation does not:

Permanent Disability and Temporary Disability, what’s the difference?

Permanent Disability is determined with a chart used by the Department of Labor and Workforce, which is updated and adjusted every year. Disability can be contested and is often determined by a Judge of Compensation after a filed Claim Petition. These cases are often settled by the parties before a trial, and are overseen and approved by a Worker’s Compensation Judge. A fair determination of disability is reached when each side sends the Petitioner to an evaluating doctor. Once a numeric rating of disability is given, the final decision is often a compromise somewhere in between both doctor’s opinions.

Determining Temporary Disability is a slightly different process. If your doctor declares you, the Petitioner, unable to work, you’ll receive a maximum rate of 70% of your wages (up to a weekly maximum amount). You must already be actively covered by medical care during this time to receive this compensation.

What if I’m totally disabled?

If you’re determined to be totally disabled, you can make a claim with the “Second Injury Fund.” This State Fund provides lifelong benefits, due to a combination of pre-existing disabilities, along with the compensable accident which presumably put you over the edge. This fund is helpful because it encourages employers to hire individuals with some level of pre-existing disability, as they won’t bear the full brunt of a small injury making the employee’s condition worse.

So, where do I fit in?

Understanding Worker’s Compensation can be a difficult task, and in the words of Post Polak personal injury attorney Mitch Portnoi, “It’s never ceased to amaze me that more is misunderstood than is understood by the workers of our State.” With over 31 years of successful practice under our belts, at Post Polak, we know every nook and cranny of Worker’s Compensation laws. We would be happy to answer any of your questions, and it is 100% free to give us a call at (973) 228-9900 — there is no fee due to us unless we are successful in obtaining a recovery for your Worker’s Compensation claim. We know your rights, and we want you to know them, too.