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.

What is Maximum Medical Improvement?

What is Maximum Medical Improvement for Workers’ Compensation Purposes?

Man looking out of the window

If you have been hurt on the job, and have been awarded workers’ compensation benefits, you may be familiar with the term “maximum medical improvement.” Maximum medical improvement, or MMI, is that point where doctors reasonably expect no further improvement in your health. It may mean that you have fully recovered and are ready to go back to work. It may, however, mean that there are no medical procedures that will improve your health, and that time won’t do so, either.

If you have not consulted with a lawyer before reaching maximum medical improvement, you should because you may be entitled to additional New Jersey Workers’ Compensation benefits.

If you do have a permanent injury that impacts your ability to work, even if you have returned to the same job, or engage in certain daily activities, an attorney will pursue a claim for additional money for your functional loss in the form of a permanency award through the New Jersey Department of Labor, Division of Workers’ Compensation. This is done by filing a claim petition with the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation and getting you examined by an expert medical witness for a disability rating for court. The workers’ compensation carrier will respond to the claim petition and have you examined by an expert witness for them on your behalf. The opinions of the examining physicians are used to either settle your workers’ compensation claim or litigate the claim before a workers’ compensation judge.

New Jersey Workers’ Compensation is a specialized and technical area of law that should be handled by an attorney who knows the ins and outs of the system. Craig Voorhees has many years of experience representing injured workers and is committed to get his clients the best result possible.

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

Make Sure You Immediately Notify Your Employer When Hurt At Work

In New Jersey, it is important to notify your employer when you have injured yourself at work. Unless an employer has actual notice of an injury, the employee is required to give notice within fourteen (14 days of the injury. Should the employee fail to give notice within fourteen days of the injury, he or she is not entitled to compensation, whether temporary or permanent in nature, until such notice is given. N.J.S.A. 34:15-17.

If notice is given within 30 days of the injury any incomplete or inaccurate information provided in the notice shall not bar the employee’s right to receive compensation unless the employer demonstrates that it was prejudiced by the incomplete or inaccurate information, in which case the employee’s right to compensation is barred to the extent of such prejudice. N.J.S.A. 34:15-17.

If notice is given within 90 days of the injury and the employee can provide a “reasonable cause or excuse” for the delay in providing notice, the employee may receive compensation. N.J.S.A. 34:15-17. If notice is not given within 90 days of the injury, no compensation is allowed. N.J.S.A. 34:15-7. Therefore, it is very important that you promptly notify your employer when injured at work.

Contact Voorhees Law Offices Today

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.

Is Your Injury Work-Related? – Part Two

Is Your Injury Work-Related? – Part Two

In an earlier blog, we explained the requirements to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey: you must have been injured and the injury must have been in the course of your employment. In that blog, we looked at whether you qualify for workers’ compensation if you were hurt during a work-related break or while traveling for your job. In this blog, we look at eligibility if you suffered injury at a company-sponsored event, or if your injury resulted from your own wrongdoing.

Injuries Suffered at a Company Outing or Event

It’s become pretty common for employers to sponsor team-building or employee appreciation events, such as golf outings or trips. What happens if you suffer an injury at a company-sponsored outing? In most instances, you’ll be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits, even if attendance was optional. There are exceptions, though. If you were engaged in some unreasonable conduct when the injury occurred, your claim may be denied. For example, suppose your employer sponsored a zip-lining event as a team-building event and you became drunk and suffered an injury. Unless your employer provided the alcohol, you probably won’t be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits.

Injuries Resulting from Your Own Wrongdoing

Workers’ compensation laws are generally no-fault statutes—that means that you are covered regardless of who caused the accident. Accordingly, your own negligence won’t prevent you from recovering benefits. However, if your employer can show that you intentionally injured yourself, or that you consciously disregarded company policy or safety rules, 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 workers’ compensation cases on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.

The Fatal Four – The Most Common Construction Site Accidents

The Fatal Four – The Most Common Construction Site Accidents

There are lots of ways to get hurt on a construction site, and the injuries are often serious. In fact, statistics show that more than 900 construction workers died from work-related accidents in 2015, with nearly two out of three caused by four types of accidents—the so-called “fatal four.”

Falls from Heights

More than any other factor, falls from heights cause fatal accidents on residential and commercial construction sites. Studies show that that almost 40% of the accidental deaths on building sites involve falls from upper levels or roofs, as well as poorly designed, constructed or maintained scaffolding or ladders. Often, owners or contractors fail to install safety mechanisms, including barriers, guard rails or construction fences. In addition, many workers die because of the malfunction of cranes, elevators, harnesses and other devices that allow them to work at heights.

Falling Objects

Another one in ten of the deaths occurring on construction sites are caused by falling objects. This can include a wide variety of items, from construction materials to tools or job site debris.

Electrocution

Often, in the push to complete a project, carpenters and other construction workers will be side-by-side with electricians, exposing them to live electrical current. In addition, many projects go up around live overhead power lines. Electrocutions account for nearly 10% of all construction site deaths.

Caught-Between Accidents

These types of accidents can happen a number of different ways. A worker may get trapped or crushed under equipment or between heavy equipment and the building structure, or by a collapsing wall or trench. Caught-between accidents are responsible for approximately 7% of all construction site deaths.

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 construction site injury cases on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.

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