If you have been hurt on the job in New Jersey, your first course of action will typically be to file an application for workers’ compensation benefits. It’s part of what is known as the “grand bargain,” established by the state legislature to benefit both workers and employers. As an injured worker, you can have access to benefits much sooner and without much of the complexity that comes with a personal injury lawsuit. As an employer, you can avoid large judgments by sympathetic juries, as the benefits payable are limited by law.
Before you can expect to obtain compensation for a work-related injury in New Jersey, though, you have to qualify for benefits. To do so, you must meet two criteria—you must have been working at the time, and you must have been injured during the course of your employment. Accordingly, even if you were working off the books, you may still be able to show that you meet the tests, and still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
The first thing you’ll want to do, though, is get the medical attention you need. As a general rule, any emergency treatment does not require authorization from your employer. However, if doctors want to perform any “non-emergency” procedure, you must notify your employer and obtain permission for the treatment, or it may not be covered.
In any instance, you must notify your employer as soon as practicable and generally within 30 days of the actual injury, or of the discovery of the injury, if it was not apparent (or if it was cumulative or related to an occupational illness). Your employer will likely require that you visit a physician chosen by the company (or the workers’ compensation insurance provider). You may still visit your own doctor.
Once you notify your employer of your injury, your employer will notify the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Based the doctor’s report and other evidence, the insurer will either approve or reject your claim. You have the right to appeal a denial to the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Contact the Law Offices of Mallon & Tranger
To learn how we can help you if you have been injured in the workplace, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692). There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.