Hundreds of people are put out of work every year due to a job-related injury or illness. Many of these workers will never be able to earn a wage again, but must still worry about how they will cover their medical bills and living expenses.
If you’ve been hurt on the job and need an experienced workers' compensation lawyer in the Newark, Jersey City, Monmouth and Middlesex County areas of New Jersey, please contact Shapiro & Sternlieb, LLC today online or at (732) 617-8050 to discuss your case for free.
Understanding Workers' Compensation in New Jersey
In New Jersey, workers' compensation claims are handled by a state agency called the Division of Workers’ Compensation, not the court system. Workers' comp covers most job-related injuries, including broken bones and repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Illnesses that are linked to an individual's job, such as lung disease caused by breathing toxic fumes, may also be covered by workers' compensation.
Workers' compensation is a no-fault system in New Jersey, which means that you can receive benefits regardless of who was at fault for your injury. Even undocumented workers can file for workers' comp. Depending on the unique factors involved in your accident or illness, you may be eligible to receive the following:
- Medical benefits: This covers all necessary and reasonable treatments, prescriptions and hospitalization related to your workplace illness or accident.
- Temporary total disability benefits: You may qualify for these benefits if you remain disabled for more than seven days. Temporary total disability pays 70 percent of your average weekly wages.
- Permanent partial disability benefits: These benefits are based on the percentage of your disability, either scheduled or nonscheduled. A scheduled loss involves a disability in your eyes, ears, fingers, hand, arms, toes, feet, legs or teeth. An unscheduled loss refers to other anatomical systems or parts not included in the scheduled list, such as your back or heart.
- Permanent total disability benefits: You may be eligible for permanent total disability benefits if your injuries prevent you from returning to any type of gainful employment.
The Importance of Acting Quickly in a Workers' Comp Claim
It is important to report your workplace illness or injury as quickly as possible. Failing to do so could jeopardize your case, particularly if the delay impacted your employer's ability to properly investigate your accident or cause of illness. Employers are obligated to file your claim within a set timeframe once you have notified them.
Workers' compensation insurance does not account for pain and suffering. However, if the negligence of a third party, such as a property owner or subcontractor, led to your injuries, you may be able to seek compensation for your mental anguish and other damages.
Our experienced workers' compensation attorneys understand the intricacies of these claims, and will focus on your case so you can focus on healing.
What is the average settlement for workers' compensation?
There is no “average” settlement for workers’ compensation. It is based on the recipient’s actual weekly wages and medical expenses. Due to the nature of various injuries, this can make the amount one injured worker receives vary widely from the next. In the state of New Jersey, workers’ compensation will cover all of the medical expenses, including travel to and from appointments, which are related to your injury. It will also provide 70% of your weekly wages (not to exceed 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage).
How long do I have to file a workers' compensation lawsuit?
It is uncommon for workers’ compensation claims to result in a lawsuit. These may occur when a claim is denied or when employers attempt to stop a claim, but by and large, workers’ compensation claims are simply filed with the Division of Workers’ Compensation at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. These claims must be filed within two to three years of the accident, depending on the nature and extent of the injury. While you do have some time to file a claim, it is always best to act quickly. It can become easier to deny a claim when several months or years have passed. Choosing to work with an attorney to file your claim can help you avoid pitfalls and may even speed the process up.
How is a workers compensation settlement paid out?
Workers’ compensation benefits are paid weekly in New Jersey. These will include 70% of your weekly wage (not to exceed 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage) along with medical and other approved expenses you have submitted for reimbursement. Lump sum payments can be approved under certain circumstances. These must be approved by a workers’ compensation judge and may require you waive certain rights to future compensation. Some workplace injuries qualify for a personal injury claim. With this option, you can seek compensation for both economic and noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, though the process may take much longer and there is no guarantee of a successful case. Your workers’ comp attorney will discuss all of your options to help you choose the best path forward.
How is workers' compensation calculated?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance program that covers all medical expenses related to an on the job injury. These are actual costs and are paid at face value. Workers’ compensation also provides wage replacement for workers who cannot perform their job duties while recovering. These are 70% of your weekly wage, not to exceed 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage, which was $1,291.42 as of January 2021. These payments continue until the injured worker is:
- Able to resume work duties or
- Has reached “maximum medical improvement” or
- Has received 400 weeks of benefits
There are additional options for workers who will face a permanent disability from their accident. These should be discussed with your attorney if your doctor does not believe you will be able to resume working.
How long does a workers' compensation lawsuit take?
Very few workers’ compensation claims require a lawsuit. Those that do may take up to two years to settle. As a no-fault insurance, workers’ compensation is partially designed to prevent lawsuits. Victims of injury can collect compensation even when they played a role in their accident, making workers’ compensation much more lenient when it comes to establishing negligence. In cases of clear negligence or those involving independent contractors, a personal injury lawsuit may be the better option, but this is not always the case with workers’ comp. During your free consultation, your attorney will review your options to help you decide on the best path forward.
- "Gary and his team are phenomenal! Gary has helped me tremendously with not only a Worker’s Comp matter, but a few others. I love that he’s always there to answer any questions or concerns I may have. I highly recommend Shapiro and Sternlieb!" - T.D.
- "Gary Shapiro is a pleasure to work with. He truly helps in every way he can and answers all your questions honestly and in a way that keeps you calm. He and his staff get back to you very quickly and you barely ever have to reach out to them, they always are reaching out to you. I would highly recommend Gary and I am very grateful he was recommended to me to use for my case." - V.K.
- "During the past year my family was involved in a life changing event that had caused a significant amount of stress for everyone involved. I reached out to Gary Shapiro for help dealing with this situation. Gary's professionalism and strong knowledge of the law quickly put us at ease and an understanding of how to navigate through this tough time. Gary and his team were extremely responsive to our needs and were able to answer all questions that we had." - G.L.
Contact Us Today to Discuss Your Workers' Comp Claim
To schedule a free consultation to discuss the merits of your workers' compensation claim, please call the knowledgeable attorneys at Shapiro & Sternlieb, LLC today by completing the form on this page or calling (732) 617-8050. We welcome clients from Jersey City, Newark, Monmouth and Middlesex Counties in New Jersey.