New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits are governed under N.J.S.A. 34:15 et seq. There are three benefits you are entitled to when you get hurt at work in New Jersey: payment of medical bills, payment of temporary disability benefits or wage replacement and payment of an award of permanent disability. I will address each of these in a series of blogs.
This blog will focus on the benefit known as permanent partial disability. After medical treatment has been provided and the authorized doctor tells you there is nothing more he can do, you may be entitled to a monetary award even if you have returned to work full duty (see prior blogs). This benefit is payable if the injury has a permanent impact on your life.
Permanent disability in New Jersey workers’ compensation does not necessarily mean that you cannot ever work again, it just means that your injury still impacts your daily or working life in some capacity. To assess the nature and extent of any permanent disability, both sides obtain evaluations with doctors you have never seen before. These doctors will review your medical records, do a physical exam and write a report with their findings and medical opinions. We know that the doctors estimates of disability will vary, but the numbers give the judge and attorneys a starting ground to determine the percentage of disability you will be entitled.
There are no pain and suffering damages in New Jersey workers’ compensation. Rather, there is a schedule of benefits that determines the amount of money you will receive for a particular injury. If there is a settlement, you will go before the judge requesting the judge’s approval. If not, there will be a trial after which the judge will issue a decision as to the permanent disability. Either way, the benefits are payable pursuant to the scheduled of benefits. If you have questions about your rights, you should seek legal counsel.
At Stark & Stark, our experienced attorneys and legal staff can help you understand your rights. Please call us to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.
New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits are governed under N.J.S.A. 34:15, et seq. There are three benefits you are entitled to when you get hurt at work in New Jersey: payment of medical bills, payment of temporary disability benefits or wage replacement and payment of an award of permanent disability. I will address each of these in a series of blogs.
This is the second in a series of three blogs. Blog one can be read here: Part 1.
When you are hurt at work and the authorized doctor (see previous blog) indicates that you must be out of work to recover from your injury, you may be entitled to receive a portion of your wages. The law in New Jersey entitles you to 70% of your gross weekly wage. However, if you earn in excess of $1,221.50 per week, you can never receive more than $855.00 per week.
In order to be eligible for this wage replacement benefit or temporary disability benefits, you must be under the care of an authorized doctor and unable to work for at least seven days. On the eighth day you are eligible for New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits. Please note that it does not have to be the first seven days or even seven days in a row; once you are out of work for a the required period of time, you are eligible for the workers’ compensation benefits.
You will continue to be eligible for temporary disability as long as the doctor indicates that you are unable to work or the doctor indicates that you can return to work in a limited capacity (light duty) but your employer cannot accommodate such a restriction. If you employer can accommodate the restriction, you must return to work and attempt to perform the modified job duties.
If you have been discharged from treatment with permanent restrictions and you are able to do the essential functions of your job, with some reasonable accommodation, you may have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. However, your employer will not be required to create an entirely new position for you.
Under these circumstances you could be eligible for unemployment following a period of disability until you can find a new job within the permanent restrictions. If you have questions about your rights, you should seek legal counsel.