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How soon can I expect my workers' comp benefits payments?

Do you know the rules for filing a workers' compensation claim in New Jersey? Too often, victims miss out on workers' comp benefits because they do not abide by simple requirements such as timelines and other limitations. The good news is that you can receive the information you need to comply with state requirements by working with a team of legal professionals. Educating yourself about workers' compensation limitations can make filing your claim far more efficient.

First, many workers do not realize that they have to have been out of work for seven days, which includes weekends and holidays, because of their injury before they qualify for temporary disability payments. Keep in mind that those seven days do not have to be consecutive. If you are seeking compensation for a permanent disability, no such restrictions exist; those benefits must be delivered regardless of the number of lost workdays.

In general, you must wait about two weeks before receiving any money from a temporary disability claim. These can arise from a construction worker accident, ladder fall or any number of other workplace incidents. Employees should know that any unfair delay of payments -- generally 30 days or more -- from an employer or insurance company can lead to a 25 percent penalty. Further, late payers will be required to cover the victim's legal fees.

Finally, you need to know that you only have two years from the date of your injury to file your New Jersey workers' compensation claim. Those claims must be filed within two years of the victim's last payment or within two years of the date of the injury. An exception does exist for those who have developed longer-term illnesses such as silicosis or poisoning; those claims must be made within two years of the victim's discovery that he or she has developed the ailment. These are just a few of the rules that govern workers' compensation in our state -- having an attorney who already knows and understands these regulations is half of the battle when filing a workers' compensation claim.

Source: State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, "Workers' Compensation FAQ's," accessed Sep. 10, 2015

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