Making the Best Impression at Your Workers’ Compensation Hearing

Workers' Compensation Hearing

First impressions are lasting, and the same holds true in workers’ compensation hearings. If you need to attend a hearing, here are some things to avoid.

Don’t Be Late

Plan on arriving at least 30 minutes before the scheduled time for your appearance. You can never incur the wrath of the court by being early.

Dress Appropriately

workers’ compensation hearing is a serious matter. Take the time to ensure that your attire is appropriate. You don’t have to wear a suit or a dress—that may be overdoing it—but don’t come in shorts and a t-shirt. Take the time to groom yourself and make certain that your clothes are clean and wrinkle-free. You want to give the impression that you take the proceedings seriously. Another bit of advice—leave the gaudy jewelry and fancy watches at home. They don’t leave a good impression with the judge.

Be Honest and Responsive in All Exchanges

Tell the truth and don’t embellish. The workers’ compensation insurance provider will be represented by counsel. If you exaggerate in an attempt to get your claim approved, you will likely be exposed in a not too positive light. Don’t act as if you are owed something, either. Let the facts speak for themselves.

Contact Our Office

To arrange a private meeting, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-200-2297. Evening and weekend meetings are available upon request. We take all major credit cards.

We handle all workers’ compensation cases on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.

What Your Attorney Needs to Prepare for a Workers’ Compensation Hearing

Attorney Needs to Prepare for a Workers' Compensation Hearing

If you have been injured on the job, your first step will likely be to file an application for workers’ compensation benefits. Don’t be surprised, though, if what seems like an open and shut case doesn’t end up that way. Many workers’ compensation claims are initially rejected, for a variety of reasons. If your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company challenges your claim, for any reason, you’ll need to present your claim to a judge. Here’s what your lawyer will need to prepare for that hearing.

To recover workers’ compensation benefits, you need to show that you suffered an injury on the job. Your attorney will want:

  • Medical records regarding your injury—To succeed in your claim, you’ll need to show that you sustained injuries that can be proven by objective medical evidence. You will most likely be required to submit to a physical examination by a company-chosen doctor. Make certain you tell your doctor about anything that’s out of the ordinary after the accident and get the doctor to document everything in writing.
  • Evidence indicating your wages for the last year—The amount of benefits paid may be based on your average weekly wage for the last 26 weeks immediately before the accident. Pay stubs or a W-2 may supply this information.
  • Evidence that the injury occurred at work—If there were witnesses to your injury, your lawyer will want to interview them to gather evidence to prove your case.

Contact Us

To arrange a private meeting, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-200-2297. Evening and weekend meetings are available upon request. We take all major credit cards.

We handle all workers’ compensation on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.

The Social Security Disability Death Benefits

Social Security Disability Death Benefits

If you are a surviving family member of someone who qualified for or was receiving Social Security disabilitybenefits, you may qualify for death or survivor benefits.

Surviving Spouses

To qualify for benefits as the widow/widower of an SSDI recipient, you must have been married to the beneficiary for at least nine months before his or her death. This requirement may be waived, however, if you are the biological parent of your deceased spouse’s child. In addition, you will only be entitled to benefits if your spouse was fully insured under the Social Security disability program.

If you are also disabled, you can qualify for disabled widow benefits if you meet each of the following criteria:

  • You must be at least 50 years old
  • Your disability must have begun after you reached the age of 50, but before you became 60
  • Your disability must have begun before the death of your spouse or within 7 years after his or her death
  • Remarriage will terminate your eligibility in most instances

 

  • If you are not disabled, you cannot receive survivor benefits as a spouse until you are 60 years old.

 

Surviving Children

Children of a fully insured Social Security disability recipient can receive benefits until age 18 or until they complete elementary or secondary education. To receive benefits, the child must not be married. Benefits are not limited to biological children—adoptees, stepchildren and grand children may qualify. In addition, a child who is or becomes disabled before age 22 is entitled to benefits without regard to age.

Contact Us

To arrange a private meeting, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-200-2297. Evening and weekend meetings are available upon request. We take all major credit cards.

We handle all Social Security disability cases on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.

Reasons Your Social Security Claim May Be Denied

Social Security Claim May Be Denied

If you have an illness or have been injured (in an accident unrelated to your job), you may qualify to receive Social Security disability income benefits. There are, however, a number of specific reasons why your claim may be denied:

  • You have too much earned income – You can receive income from other sources and still qualify for Social Security disability benefits, but there’s a cap on how much other income you can earn. In 2016, the ceiling for earned income is $1,130 per month. This does not include income from investments – only work related income counts.
  • Your disability is only temporary – You won’t qualify for Social Security disability or SSI benefits unless you can show that your condition will keep you from working for at least 12 months or will cause your death.
  • You can’t be found by the Social Security Administration – Before you can receive benefits, the Social Security Administration must be in contact with you to approve your application. If you don’t have a good address or phone number with the SSA, or don’t have an attorney who can be contacted on your behalf, your claim can be denied.
  • You don’t follow doctor’s orders – If, as a part of your claim, you are prescribed certain medications or treatments, you must comply or risk the denial or termination of your claim. There are limited exceptions to this rule, but you need to communicate any difficulties to the Social Security Administration.
  • You fail to cooperate with the Social Security Administration – As a part of the application process, you may be required to submit to a physical examination by a doctor chosen by the Social Security Administration. If you fail to do so, your claim may be denied.

Contact Us

To arrange a private meeting, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-200-2297. Evening and weekend meetings are available upon request. We take all major credit cards.

We handle all Social Security disability cases on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.

The Different Types of Benefits Available Under a Workers’ Compensation Claim

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When you are injured on the job, your primary (and often only) recourse for benefits is through a workers’ compensation claim. Here are the types of benefits you may be eligible for under the New Jersey workers’ compensation laws.

Medical Benefits

If your claim is approved, you have a right to reimbursement or compensation for all necessary and reasonable medical treatment, including prescriptions and hospitalization services. Your employer has the right to choose the treating doctor for any work-related injury, but if the employer wrongfully denies coverage for medical treatment or there’s an emergency, you can pick your own physician.

Temporary Total Benefits

If your injury keeps you off the job for more than 7 days, you will be entitled to temporary total disability benefits, paid during the period you cannot work and are under medical care. The benefits to 70% of your average weekly wage for the last 26 weeks but cannot exceed A maximum rate that is set by law.

Permanent Partial Benefits

If your injury is permanent in nature, you will qualify for what are known as “scheduled” or “non-scheduled” losses. A scheduled loss involves legs, arms, hands, feet, fingers, toes, eyes, ears or teeth. A non-scheduled loss involves a permanent injury to any other body part.

Permanent Total Benefits

If your injuries/disability keep you from ever working again, you can receive a permanent award of up to 70% of your average weekly wage subject to a maximum rate set by law. The initial award, though, will be for a maximum of 450 weeks. After that time period has elapsed, you may still receive benefits, provided you can show that you are still unable to work.

Death Benefits

A surviving spouse and natural children can obtain weekly workers’ compensation payments when a person is killed in a work accident or dies because of a work-related injury or illness. The monthly payments are 70% of the average weekly wage subject to a maximum rate set by law. Children will be eligible for payments until age 18, or until age 23, if a full-time student.

Contact Us

To arrange a private meeting, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-200-2297. Evening and weekend meetings are available upon request. We take all major credit cards.

We handle all workers’ compensation cases on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.

The Responsibilities of Employers and Employees after a Work-Related Injury

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In New Jersey, as in all states, when you have been hurt on the job, your primary source for recovering benefits for your losses in through a workers’ compensationclaim. Here are the specific responsibilities of both employees and employers after someone suffers an injury on the job.

The Employee’s Responsibilities

When you have sustained a work-related injury or illness, you need to notify your employer as soon as possible. There’s no specific requirement as to how that notice must happen—it can be in writing or orally. The person you notify, though, must be someone in authority at the business, such as a supervisor, HR person or owner. If your injury requires medical care, you will also need to request that your employer cover costs of such treatment. Typically, the employer will send you to a doctor chosen by the company or by the workers’ compensationinsurance provider.

The Employer’s Responsibilities

Upon learning of a workplace accident, an employer must immediately notify the workers’ compensation insurance provider. A First Report of Injury form will then be completed and submitted to the state. The workers’ compensation insurance company will then evaluate the claim to determine if it qualifies for payments. If the claim is approved, the insurance company must authorize the injured employee to receive any required medical treatment. If the employee is unable to work for more than seven days because of the injury, the insurance company must provide temporary disability benefits while the worker is in rehabilitation.

Contact Us

To arrange a private meeting, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-200-2297. Evening and weekend meetings are available upon request. We take all major credit cards.

We handle all workers’ compensation cases on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.

How Social Security Disability Claims Are Decided

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If you are hurt or sick and cannot work, you may be considering or have already filed a claim for Social Security disability benefits. There are specific steps the Social Security Administration will take when assessing your claim. The agency needs to confirm that your disability is of such a nature that you cannot work. Here are the questions that will be asked.

Are You Currently Working?

The agency will first determine if you are currently working or have been engaged in “substantial gainful activity” since you filed your claim. You can still receive Social Security disability benefits if you are earning other income, but there’s a limit to how much you can make and still get Social Security disability payments. Currently, that amount is $1,130 per month.

How Serious Is Your Disability?

The Social Security Administration may simply review your medical file or may send you to a medical consultant to determine the degree of your disability. If the medical professional or the SSA official finds that your disability does not significantly limit your ability to work, your claim will likely be denied.

Do You Have an Acknowledged Impairment?

The Social Security Administration maintains an official list of impairments that qualify individuals for Social Security disability payments. The claims examiner will compare your medical condition with that list to see if your impairment qualifies you for benefits. It’s not just about whether your impairment appears on the list. The severity of your impairment will also be taken into account.

Can You Perform the Tasks of Your Former Job?

Even if your impairment is not on the list, the examiner may still find that qualify for benefits if it prevents you from performing any job that you’ve had in the past.

Can You Work in Any Capacity?

Even if you cannot perform any prior job, you can still be denied benefits if the Social Security Administration determines that you can be gainfully employed in another position. That job does not have to provide equal pay, require equal skill or be near where you live.

Contact Us

To arrange a private meeting, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-200-2297. Evening and weekend meetings are available upon request. We take all major credit cards.

We handle all Social Security disability cases on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.

Social Security Disability – The Basics

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If you are unable to work because of an illness or injury, you may qualify for benefits through the Social Security Administration. There are two different programs, each with a specific set of requirements.

Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI

SSDI, a benefit established under the Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance program, is available to individuals with a disability. To be eligible, you must have earned a specific number of “work credits” through the Social Security Administration. The number of credits required varies, based on how old you are and when you became disabled. As a general rule, though, you must have worked during five of the last 10 years before your disability. In addition, your illness or injury must either keep you from working for a minimum of 12 months or be expected to result in your death.

The amount you receive monthly will depend in part on how much you paid in FICA taxes while you were employed. Once you have received Social Security disability benefits for two years, you will be eligible for Medicare.

Supplemental Security Income, or SSI

SSI benefits are available to individuals based on either disability or age, as well as income. SSI benefits—both eligibility requirements and amount paid— vary based on the state in which you live. To qualify for these benefits, though, you must:

  • Be blind, disabled or at least 65 years old
  • Have a low monthly income—typically $700 to $1,400, depending where you live
  • Be a citizen of the United States or meet other requirements establishing permanent residency, asylum or refugee status
  • Have less than $2,000 in assets (not counting your home or vehicle), or $3,000 for married couples

Contact Us

To arrange a private meeting, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-200-2297. Evening and weekend meetings are available upon request. We take all major credit cards.

We handle all Social Security disability cases on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.

HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO FILE A CLAIM FOR NEW JERSEY WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS

New Jersey law requires that a claim for compensation must be filed within two (2) years of either the date of accident OR last compensation paid. The date of accident is an obvious event but what does the last compensation paid mean?

Sooner or later the workers’ compensation doctor will conclude that no additional treatment will improve your injury and you will be discharged from care and commonly directed to return to work, with or without physical restrictions. If you have been receiving workers’ compensation temporary disability benefits, the payments will stop and your workers’ compensation claim will be closed by the workers’ compensation insurance company. This is a critical point because the two (2) year statute of limitations starts to run when you last receive medical treatment for your work injury or receive you last payment of compensation. If you do not file a claim for your work injuries within the two (2) period, you case will close forever and you will not be able to do anything about. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you consult with a New Jersey Workers’ Compensation attorney to discuss your legal rights.

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