Workers’ compensation is an insurance plan that provides workers with benefits in the event of an on-the-job injury or illness. Like any insurance policy, it is not always easy for an injured or ill worker to get the compensation they are due. This piece will dive into some of the basics so workers have a better idea of their rights and how the system should work.
What are my rights?
State law guides the workers’ compensation system. In New Jersey, the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act provides that the system is responsible for providing workers with “fair and timely” benefits in the event of a work-related injury or illness.
What if the benefits are not fair or timely?
Workers who are denied benefits or get an offer that is too low have options. This can include an appeal of the offer or denial. This generally involves a formal process which can include filing a Claim Petition or Application for an Informal Hearing with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
This process is available for many types of disputes including denial because the insurance provider claims the injury or illness is:
- Not covered;
- Not connected to work; or
- There is no injury.
If successful, an appeal can result in the benefits needed to cover the costs of medical care, rehabilitation and even missed wages while ill or injured.
Workers should also know that they do not have to go through the process alone. Navigating the details and requirements is overwhelming and must happen during a time you should focus on healing. Just like any battle with an insurance provider, you can get help. Workers have the right to have legal counsel on their side, fighting to better ensure their right to coverage.