How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in New Jersey
In New Jersey, workers’ compensation provides medical care, disability payments and partial lost wages to employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness.
Most New Jersey workers are covered by workers’ compensation, although the benefits might not be paid voluntarily. In some cases, an employee must file his or her own workers’ compensation claim to receive the benefits they are owed.
If you are pursuing workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey, contact a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney for qualified legal help with your claim. We are well-versed in workers’ compensation law and will work to help you get the benefits you deserve.
Below, we discuss how to file a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey and when you may need to consult with a skilled attorney for help getting your benefits approved.
Report Your Injury to Your Employer
If you are injured on the job, you must notify your employer at once. Notify anyone who is in a position of authority, such as a foreman or supervisor, of your injury and when and how it occurred.
If you require medical attention to treat your work-related injury, let your employer know as soon as possible. However, your employer has the right to choose your health care provider for workers’ compensation claims.
Filing a Claim
If there is a dispute between an injured worker and the employer or insurance company, the worker can either file formal or informal workers’ compensation claim.
Disputes typically involve medical treatments and compensation amounts. You also might believe you are entitled to permanent benefits, but your employer or the insurance company denies your requests.
Which claim you choose often depends on how you would like to settle a dispute over a workers’ compensation claim and the extent of legal procedures you want to endure.
Typically, informal claims are used to resolve workers’ compensation disputes in a more relaxed manner. These proceedings do not require workers and employers to resort to lengthy and more formal litigation.
In the event of a dispute, you can file an Application for an Informal Hearing. This will begin the process of starting an informal claim dispute resolution.
Then, you will take your claim in front of a judge. Since this is an informal hearing, the judge’s recommendations are not legally binding.
Judges typically make a recommendation after one or two hearings. While injured employees have the option of representing themselves, it is a good idea to use an attorney if you have a complicated claim or are going after a large sum of money.
You can also choose to file a formal claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. To begin this process, you must complete an Employee Claim Petition form within two years of the date you were injured.
Once you have submitted the petition form, a judge will call you to arrange a first hearing within six months of filing the claim.
If you are unable to reach an agreement with your employer and its insurance company, the judge will send the claim to trial where he or she will determine the outcome of the case.
Unlike informal claims, formal claims have legally binding outcomes. Your judge will analyze all evidence and listen to testimonies before making a decision. The employer, employee and insurance company must abide by the judge’s ruling.
However, if you disagree with the judge’s final decision, you can appeal your claim to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.
Time Limits for Filing a Claim
In New Jersey, there is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a formal workers’ compensation claim.
This means you have two years from the date of injury or the date you received your last payment to file a formal claim petition, whichever is later.
However, the statute of limitations is different for workers’ compensation claims involving occupational illnesses, such as mesothelioma or lead poisoning. In these cases, the two-year statute of limitations is delayed and begins on the date the worker discovers his or her condition.
Furthermore, filing an application for an informal hearing does not interfere with the statute of limitations. This means the time limit will continue to expire, even after you file an application for an informal hearing.
Get Legal Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Although you are not required to hire an attorney, it is highly recommended that employees seek legal representation for their workers’ compensation disputes.
An experienced injury lawyer from our law firm can help you organize a case to get the full amount of benefits you may be owed. Contact a Lynch Law Firm, PC attorney today schedule a free, no obligation consultation for your claim. We provide all of our services on a contingency fee basis, which means you only have to pay us if we recover compensation for your claim.
Call (800) 518-0508 to get started.