THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION APPEALS PROCESS IN NEW JERSEY
When you have a work-related injury or illness, whether it’s the result of a traumatic event or repetitive stress, motion or exposure, you have a right to seek disability and medical benefits under the New Jersey workers’ compensation laws. It’s not unusual, though, even in what may seem like an open and shut case, for your claim to initially be denied. You are not without recourse, though. Here are the steps you can take to challenge the denial of a valid workers’ compensation claim.
In New Jersey, there are two avenues you can take to appeal the denial of a workers’ compensation claim-an informal process and a formal process.
With the informal process, you’ll customarily move more quickly through the system. To initiate an informal review, you must complete and file an “Application for Informal Hearing” with the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC). The DWC will assign a judge to your case and you’ll be notified of the date and time for a hearing. The hearing is relatively informal and the judge will make a recommendation as to how the case should be resolved.
To take advantage of the formal process, you must request a formal hearing by submitting a claim petition to the DWC. There’s a time limit on the filing of this claim-you must submit it within two years of the date of your injury or the last date you received compensation from the insurance company. You’ll be assigned a judge and a hearing will be scheduled. In the formal process, that hearing may be six months out (in the informal process, it could be a matter of weeks).
In the formal process, the hearing looks very much like a trial. Typically, both parties are present and may call witnesses and introduce evidence. The judge will usually render a written opinion, which may come weeks or months later.
Whether you pursue the informal or the formal process, you have the right to appeal to the state courts in New Jersey-the initial appeal is filed in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.
CONTACT The Law Office of Mallon & Tranger
We offer a free initial consultation to people in New Jersey who have been hurt in the workplace or contracted an occupational disease. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-702-0333 (toll free) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.