Kroll Heineman Carton, LLC’s (“KHC”) Workers’ Compensation Practice Group vigorously protects the rights of injured workers. New Jersey enacted its first workers’ compensation statute over 100 years ago to address the fundamental problems facing workers injured on the job. Since then, the protections afforded under the statute have grown.
Workers’ Compensation laws are designed to ensure that workers who are injured on the job receive prompt medical treatment and monetary compensation. With few exceptions, this is done by requiring all employers in New Jersey to pay for workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.
Despite this fundamental right to recovery, many employees fail to collect the benefits owed them. This results in unwarranted profits to the workers’ compensation insurance companies. It also frequently results in the improper use of an employee’s union benefit fund to pay for the medical treatment that should have been provided by the workers’ compensation carrier, which jeopardizes the solvency of the member’s funds. Most importantly, failure to seek treatment or report the injury may increase the risk that the injury was not properly treated or documented, causing further complications and difficulty for the employee down the road.
With any workplace injury, it is a good idea to contact an attorney early. KHC attorneys provide free, no obligation, initial consultations. In addition, when accepted, workers’ compensation cases are handled on a contingent fee basis, meaning that there is no attorney fee due unless we make a financial recovery on your behalf.
Some Work Related Accidents and Injuries:
- Construction Site Accidents
- Scaffolding/Falls from Height
- Slip and Falls
- Ladder Accidents
- Lifting Injuries
- Carpal Tunnel or other Repetitive Motion Injuries
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Toxic Exposure Injuries
- Stress and Cardiovascular Injuries
- Psychological Injuries
- Defective Products Accidents
- Unsafe Equipment Injuries
- Jones Act
- Railroad Accidents/FELA
The following provides some common questions and answers for persons injured on the job:
Q. What rights do I have if I am injured at work?
A. Workers injured on the job are automatically entitled to three benefits:
(1) MEDICAL CARE. The injured employee is entitled to have all reasonable and necessary medical treatment paid for by the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Medical treatment must first be approved and authorized by your employer’s authorized physicians. If you do not obtain approval and go to a private physician under your personal health insurance, you may be required to pay those bills yourself.
(2) TIME OUT OF WORK. If you are required to miss more than seven days of work, you are entitled to be paid 70% of your average gross weekly wage for your time missed up to a maximum rate set annually. In order to be eligible for these benefits, your time missed from work must have been authorized by the doctor.
(3) PERMANENCY AWARD. If your injury results in any permanent residual damage to your body, you may be eligible for a cash award fixed by a judge of compensation. These awards are based upon schedules of disability determined by the state.
Q. What should I do if I am injured at work?
A. Notify your supervisor – preferably in writing and the same day you are injured – that you suffered a work injury.
Request that your employer provide you with medical treatment.
Contact your union representative (if you have one) and this office for further information.
Q. What do I do if the Company’s doctor sends me back to work before I can do my job?
A. Make sure that the doctor fully understands your complaints and the extent of your injury.
Explain to the doctor the physical requirements of your job. Attempt to return to work. If you cannot perform your job, tell your employer and ask to return to the doctor. If you cannot perform your job, and your employer will not send you back to the doctor, contact us.
Q. How can I assist my attorneys while the case is pending?
A. Always keep us informed of any developments in the case, including the status of your medical treatment, surgeries, doctor, and important contact information. Keep track of and attend all scheduled medical appointments. Notify us if your accident was caused by a third-party, meaning someone other than a co-worker or your employer. In that situation, you may have a personal injury claim in addition to your workers’ compensation claim.
Q. How long will it take for my case to conclude?
A. The time to conclude your case depends on many factors, and some may take years to resolve. However, as a general guideline, most cases are able to be resolved within one year after completion of medical treatment.
Q. What if the injury is my fault?
A. It does not matter whether your injury was your fault. As long as you did not intentionally injure yourself, you will be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Q. How much time do I have to file a workers’ compensation claim?
A. There are strict time limits to filing claims. Generally, you should notify your supervisor as soon as possible after the accident and have your attorney file a formal Claim Petition on your behalf within two years after the date of injury or exposure. These time limits may depend on other factors and you are cautioned to contact an attorney to discuss your circumstances immediately to make sure that your claim will not be time barred. In certain circumstances, the time limit may be extended past the two year period, but you would need to discuss with your attorney prior to that time period expiring whether your case involves such rules or risk your claim being barred forever.
Q. Are there attorney fees and, if so, how much?
A. Attorney fees are only awarded in the event of a recovery on your behalf. This fee is fixed by a workers’ compensation judge and may not ordinarily exceed 20% of your award. The employer or its insurance company is usually required to pay at least half of this fee. In addition, expenses related to the case will be subtracted from your recovery and apportioned between the parties by the Court.
Q. Can my employer retaliate against me for filing a claim?
A. It is ILLEGAL for any employer to retaliate or otherwise discriminate against you for seeking to collect your workers’ compensation benefits.
- Hearing Loss
- Vision Loss