Work injuries are common in New Jersey. Whether it is a construction worker who fell from a significant height or an office worker with carpal tunnel syndrome, workers’ compensation is available for those who are unable to work no matter the type of tasks that they perform. Benefits can cover medical treatment and, in some cases, wage loss. Still, many might not know what benefits they can receive and how to get them.
Medical coverage and disability benefits after a work injury
With workers’ compensation, people can receive medical coverage and several levels of disability benefits. Medical care includes prescription medications, hospital care, and rehabilitation. It is important to know that except in certain cases, the worker must receive treatment from medical professionals who are authorized by the employer. There are three types of disability benefits: temporary total, permanent partial, and permanent total.
For workers who are off the job and disabled for more than seven days, temporary total benefits will be paid at 70% of what they earn on average in a week. It cannot go beyond 75% of the average weekly wage in the state – the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) – or go below 20%. With permanent disability, there is scheduled loss and non-scheduled loss. An example of scheduled loss is if the person has lost a limb. Non-scheduled is damage to a part of the body that is not directly identified such as the heart. Permanent total means the worker can no longer perform any kind of work. It is paid for 450 weeks, but can go beyond that if the person shows he or she still cannot work. Injured workers and their families should have guidance for these issues.
Being approved for workers’ compensation may require assistance
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is a key term. If there is no chance at progress beyond MMI, then the worker may be eligible for permanent disability. With the intricate details of claims and the possibility of disputes, it is wise to have legal advice throughout the process to address any problems, get approved and receive the benefits.