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Qualifications for New Jersey workplace accident benefits

New Jersey laws protect Bergen County workers injured on the job. Employers are required to self-insure or carry workers' compensation insurance to cover wage losses and medical bills for victims of work-related injuries. Temporary and permanent benefits are paid to eligible employees, and in the event of deaths, to employees' families.

Eligibility depends upon worker status and circumstances surrounding an injury or illness. The victim's job classification must be "employee" -- an independent contractor classification would not fit this criteria. Employer guidelines on this issue are posted in a guide on the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development website.

Qualifying injuries must be related to a condition or requirement of the worker's job but don't have to take place at an employer's place of business. On-the-road or at-home employees like company drivers and salespeople are covered as long as injuries occur in the "course of employment." An attorney can explain eligibility rules applicable in specific circumstances, like injuries that occurred off-the-clock during meal breaks or due to unsafe personal behavior.

Coverage also is available for injuries that happen over time due to job conditions. Health issues, like carpal tunnel syndrome and respiratory problems, don't develop immediately but are, nevertheless, compensable. Benefits may be paid for preexisting medical problems aggravated by a work environment, like allergies or asthma.

Workers' compensation benefits include coverage for reasonable in- and out-patient medical costs and prescription drugs. Disputes sometimes occur between patients and workers' comp insurers over the choice of physicians, hospitals or necessary treatment.

Coverage applies to workers with temporary or permanent disabilities, including injured employees with partial disabilities. Qualifications for disability and benefits' allowances follow New Jersey workers' compensation rules.

A lawyer's assistance is not required to apply for benefits, although many workplace accident victims find legal advice helpful. Attorneys help patients gather proof to avoid claim denials and obtain all possible compensation.

Source: FindLaw, "What Types of Injuries are Compensable Under Workers' Compensation?" Oct. 14, 2014

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