Five Important Facts about Workers’ Compensation in New Jersey
Whether scaling skyscrapers, operating cranes, working with complex machinery or running trays of food to tables of hungry patrons, every employee flirts with the possibility of injuring themselves on the job at some point. If you have suffered from a workplace accident, your employer is responsible for providing workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, that process comes with its own set of questions and potential confusion. Our attorneys at Vlasac & Shmaruk, LLC have over 50 years of experience and are here to help. To make sure your rights are protected and your questions are answered, we have compiled the following list of 5 important workers’ compensation facts for New Jersey.
Workers’ Compensation is a No Fault System
You would be entitled to these benefits even if your negligence caused the accident. The only requirements for eligibility are that you sustain an injury, illness or disease in the course of your employment. In addition, as long as your injury was related to the job, you can leave the company and still collect the same benefits. This also applies if you have been laid off or let go for any reason; any injuries sustained while at that job qualify.
There Are Multiple Types of Available Benefits
- Medical Benefits: The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company must provide all necessary medical treatment. However, they can choose the doctor providing treatment.
- Temporary Disability Benefits: If you’ve lost wages due to an injury sustained at work, you can receive up to 70% of your average weekly wage through temporary disability benefits.
- Partial Permanent and Total Disability Benefits: After you are released from active medical care, you may be entitled to recover money to compensate for a permanently disabling condition that affects your daily or working life. Permanent disability can either be partial or total, depending on whether you are capable of returning to work or can never work again. You can be paid partial permanent disability even if you are able to return to your regular job and earn the same or higher pay than when you were injured. If your injuries prevent you from working any job, then you may be entitled to get permanent total disability benefits for the rest of your life. The benefit rate is the same as the temporary disability rate, but may be subject to reduction if you receive Social Security Disability benefits or any other long-term disability benefits.
- Death Benefits: In the unfortunate event that a loved one dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness, their spouses and natural children may be entitled to benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Benefits may also be available to other dependents, based on the circumstances.
While no one would wish for these scenarios, our attorneys at Vlasac & Shmaruk, LLC can help determine your benefit eligibilities. Contact our New Jersey workers’ comp attorneys to ensure you and your family get the assistance deserved.
You Can’t be Fired for Filing
Your employer can’t fire you or retaliate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, you can be let go if you are unable to return to work after the injury. Some workers are protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). This federal law provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave of absence when you cannot work due to personal illness, if you need time off to care for other family members, or for the birth or adoption of a child. Such leave must be requested in writing.
Your Benefits Are Not Taxable
Workers’ comp benefits are not subject to federal or state income tax. Cheers to that! But keep in mind that any Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits received due to the injury are taxable.
Paying Attorney Fees
In workers’ compensation, no fee is paid up front. Instead, the Court will determine any applicable fees for your lawyer’s services at the end of the case. The amount is based on what you recovered and is typically split between you and the employer’s insurance carrier.
At Vlasac & Shmaruk, LLC, we know this information doesn’t make the process any easier; the paperwork can be complicated and the road to benefits can be bumpy. If you have any questions about worker’s compensation benefits, the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) or the Federal Workers Compensation Act (FECA), or if your claim was denied, call our workplace accident attorneys for help.