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In New Jersey, anyone who sustains an injury that arose out of and in the course of their employment is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The benefits are prescribed by law and an employer not having workers’ compensation insurance available to their employees is a criminal offense. Workers’ compensation benefits are divided into three parts. Once someone has sustained an injury, they are entitled to medical treatment. Medical treatment is controlled by the employer, which means the employee must go to their employer’s doctor for care, with the exception of an emergency. In other words, if someone sustained a severe injury while they were working, they would receive treatment at the nearest emergency department, and insurance would cover the costs. Any follow-up or continued care, however, would have to be proved by the doctor chosen by the employer.
If an employee cannot immediately return to work, they are entitled to temporary disability benefits, which are 70 percent of salary and tax-free. An employee is eligible for these benefits after they have missed work for a seven-day period, but the benefits would be retroactive to the first day of missed work and would continue for as long as the medical provider says the person still needs treatment and is unable to return to work. A doctor may say that a person can return to work on a limited or light-duty basis. In that case, the individual must return to work if light-duty work is available. If it is not available, the worker would be entitled to continue to receive benefits. Failure to return to work once a doctor has allowed it is considered insubordination and maybe grounds for firing.
After the injured party has completed treatment, their employer and the injured party’s attorney will have all of the medical records evaluated by an expert in the field of injury, whether it’s orthopedic, pulmonary, or psychological in nature. The expert will determine whether or not there is a permanent disability. If they determine that there is, then they will ascribe a percentage of permanent disability to the actual injury. At that point, the attorneys will negotiate to try and resolve the percentage of permanent disability. If they can reach an agreement, the injured party would go to court when and the judge must approve the settlement. If they can’t reach an agreement or if the employer does not agree that the employee has a permanent injury, then the case would be tried and a judge would have to decide based on the evidence provided whether the injury is permanent and, if so, the percentage of permanent disability.
For more information on Workers Compensation Laws In New Jersey, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (855) 208-3650 today.