Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Somerville, New Jersey
Most workers in New Jersey are eligible for workers’ compensation. State law requires New Jersey employers to carry insurance that compensates employees if they are injured on the job. Workers’ comp pays for injured workers’ medical expenses, compensates them for wages lost due to their injuries, and, if applicable, awards compensation for long-term permanent disability.
Why choose the Mark Law Firm to handle your workers’ compensation claim?
Consulting with an attorney at the Mark Law Firm can help you learn about all the different kinds of compensation that may be available to you following a New Jersey work-related injury. You may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits, insurance claim settlements, and other benefits.
Individuals who are injured on the job often struggle to obtain the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. The paperwork, deadlines, and administrative requirements of the workers’ compensation system can be confusing and overwhelming. An attorney can help you understand your rights and responsibilities, ensure that you properly file and follow up on all required paperwork and documentation for your claim, and advocate for the compensation you deserve.
Like all insurance companies, workers’ compensation carriers work hard to minimize their financial obligations. They may refuse to pay rightful claims, terminate benefits early, or seek to recover payments they have already made. Our attorneys can help you negotiate a settlement with your employer’s workers’ comp carrier, challenge a denial or termination of coverage, or pursue a lawsuit for your claims.
Our experienced workers’ compensation team will help you file a claim petition and assist you through every step of the process. This may include preparing for hearings, undergoing an independent medical examination (IME), testifying in an examination under oath (EUO), obtaining and evaluating medical and expert testimony, participating in arbitration or mediation, and filing an appeal of the Workers’ Compensation Board’s decision if necessary.
How can our Somerville workers’ compensation lawyers help?
Workers’ compensation is usually the only way the law allows an injured worker to recover for work-related injuries. However, workers’ compensation benefits can fall short of covering all the actual expenses and damages that arise from a work-related injury. In some cases, it may also be possible to file a lawsuit against other responsible parties. An experienced attorney can evaluate whether this may be appropriate for your situation.
Even if you can’t recover additional damages in a lawsuit or insurance claim, you may be able to collect other benefits for your work-related injury or disability from government or private entities. For example, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits may be available from the federal Social Security Administration (SSA) if your injuries result in severe mental or physical disability. You may also be entitled to veterans’ administration (VA) benefits, union pension benefits, Medicare payments, or other private insurance benefits due to your injury or disability status.
Can I file a lawsuit against my employer?
Workers’ compensation is generally an exclusive remedy for workers’ on-the-job injuries. This means that if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, the law prevents you from suing your employer. However, certain circumstances may entitle an injured worker to file a lawsuit against their employer in addition to or instead of collecting workers’ comp benefits.
One such circumstance is where a worker’s injury was caused by the intentional, reckless, or illegal actions of an employer or its agents. An employee who was assaulted by their supervisor, for example, may be able to bring a lawsuit in addition to recovering workers’ compensation benefits. An employee may also be entitled to file a lawsuit if their employer created, allowed, or failed to protect employees from serious hazards in the workplace. Exposing employees to dangerous conditions like asbestos contamination, pollution, hazardous materials, or noise could form the basis for a lawsuit. An employer’s failure to take reasonable steps to protect an employee from dangerous situations involving coworkers or clients may also expose it to liability in addition to a workers’ comp claim.
Could I file claims against a third party?
If a third party contributed to your injuries, you might be able to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the responsible party. For example, if you are injured at work by a piece of faulty equipment, you may be able to file a product liability claim against its manufacturer or supplier. Or, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident while delivering an order to a customer, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit against an at-fault driver.
If you receive a settlement or recovery in a lawsuit or third-party insurance claim, you will likely have to pay back any workers’ compensation benefits. Due to the availability of damages like emotional distress and pain and suffering, however, the amount a worker can recover in a lawsuit often greatly exceeds the amount paid by workers’ compensation. The experienced attorneys of the Mark Law Firm can help evaluate the facts of your case and determine whether a lawsuit or other type of claim may be possible under New Jersey or federal laws.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Claims in New Jersey
On-the-job injuries include warehouse, construction, motor vehicle, and all other types of workplace accidents. Some chronic health conditions can also be work related, like repetitive motion injuries (like carpal tunnel syndrome) and occupational diseases (like mesothelioma). The Mark Law firm has experience with cases involving all types of work injuries, including
- BACK INJURIES
- HEAD INJURIES
- SHOULDER INJURIES
- CARPAL TUNNEL
- UNSAFE WORK CONDITION INJURIES
- OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES
- LONG TERM EXPOSURE CLIAMS
- FATAL WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS
Compensation for Workplace Accidents in New Jersey
Injured workers may receive several different kinds of benefits from the workers’ compensation system, including
- Medical benefits (costs of medical care, physical therapy, rehabilitation, etc.)
- Temporary disability benefits (compensation for wages lost while recovering)
- Permanent partial disability benefits (some loss of ability to work)
- Permanent total disability benefits (complete loss of ability to work)
- Death benefits
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation does not provide any compensation for pain and suffering or other non-economic damages. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to recover these damages from one or more third parties who could be legally responsible for your injury (for example, manufacturers of dangerous substances found in your workplace that contributed to your injury).
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Frequently Asked Questions
A worker should notify the employer as soon as possible after an accident or occurrence that causes an injury but not later than 90 days from the date of the accident. Such notice may be given to the employee’s supervisor, the HR department or personnel office, or anyone else in authority at the employer’s place of business. Although the notice does need not be in writing, it’s a good idea to keep a record of the date, time, and circumstances of the notice. If medical treatment is necessary, the employee should make a request to the employer as soon as possible.
In general, New Jersey law requires that workers’ compensation claims be filed within two years after the incident. For occupational illnesses such as asbestosis, hearing loss, or lead poisoning, claims must be filed within two years after the date that the individual becomes aware of the condition’s relationship to their employment. If an employer directly compensates an employee for their injury, including paying for medical treatment, the injured worker has two years from the date of the last payment to file a workers’ compensation claim.
In addition to paying the cost of an injured worker’s medical treatments, workers’ compensation provides different types of weekly benefits that are intended to replace lost wages. Temporary disability benefits are provided retroactively (back to the date of the injury) until the day the individual returns to work, reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI), or has exhausted the statutory 400-week maximum.
When a worker reaches MMI, they are evaluated by one or more physicians and specialists, who determine how much permanent injury the worker will carry. If the injury is one that is in the common workers’ compensation tables, like the loss of a finger or industrial use loss of an arm, a specific number of weeks of compensation will be awarded. If the injury is not in the tables, then the attorneys for all parties negotiate an amount. The percentage of the salary that gets paid, like the number of weeks of payment, varies based on the severity and permanence of the damages.
When a job-related injury or illness results in a permanent bodily impairment, benefits are based on the individual’s functional loss. These benefits are paid weekly beginning when temporary disability benefits end and, unless otherwise agreed, can continue for the rest of the injured person’s life.
The minimum and maximum allowable workers’ compensation rates change each year. The maximum weekly rate for temporary disability is 70% of New Jersey workers’ average weekly wage; in 2022, the minimum payment is $284/week and the maximum is $1,065/week. Weekly payments for permanent disability can range from $35 to $1,065, depending on the severity of the injury.
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier may offer you a lump sum payment to settle your workers’ compensation claim. If you accept this offer, you lose your rights to receive ongoing weekly payments. In most cases, the weekly benefits will amount to more than the lump sum payment. However, an injured worker may prefer having the claim completely settled and having immediate access to a larger sum of money. You should discuss the pros and cons of a lump sum settlement with a New Jersey workers’ comp attorney before agreeing or signing any documents from an insurer.
New Jersey law prohibits terminating or otherwise retaliating against a worker for using the workers’ compensation system. An employer may not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee as to their employment because the employee has claimed or attempted to claim workers’ compensation benefits or because they have testified, or are about to testify, in any workers’ comp-related action.
An employee who has claimed workers’ compensation benefits is not immune from being terminated for other reasons (or no reason at all) because New Jersey is an at-will employment state. However, many employees who are fired, demoted, terminated, suspended, or otherwise retaliated against after filing a workers’ comp claim suspect that their use of the system is the real reason for their employer’s action.
If you believe you have been terminated or discriminated against in the workplace because of your use of the workers’ compensation system, consult with an attorney. An employee who is discharged or otherwise retaliated against for making a workers’ comp claim is entitled to be restored to their proper position and receive compensation for any loss of wages arising from the discrimination. An employer (or its agent) who engages in workers’ compensation discrimination or retaliation may also face fines, imprisonment, or both as well as liability in a civil lawsuit for compensatory and punitive damages.
Speak with a New Jersey Workers’ compensation lawyer near you today.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at the Mark Law Firm can help you understand your rights and pursue the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. We offer free, no-obligation consultations to evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case. You deserve an attorney who will listen to you, understand your situation, and help you fight for your rights. Contact our workers’ compensation team today.