Benefits are available for many Bergen County workers who suffer job-related accidents or illnesses. Some employees, like railroad workers, have coverage under federal workers’ compensation or other specialized plans. Almost all other workers, with the exception of independent contractors, are covered by New Jersey workers’ compensation.
Benefits, provided by employer insurance, are provided to take care of wage losses, temporary or permanent disability and medical bills. The payments are related directly to an injured or ill employee’s ability to go back to work. Benefits are also available for families of workers, who died from job-related injuries or health conditions.
Any medical treatment for an approved workers’ comp claim must be covered by a self-insuring employer or employer’s insurance company. The employer or insurer is permitted to choose the health care providers who treat the injured worker.
Temporary disability benefits kick in, when an injury prevents an employee from returning to work for at least seven days. Benefits equal 70 percent of an injured worker’s gross pay per week, up to an allowable amount set by the state. In 2015, the minimum state benefit for temporary disability is $228 and the maximum is $855 – rates are adjusted annually.
Disability workers’ compensation benefits are categorized as permanent partial or permanent total. The amount paid for permanent partial benefits depends upon whether a disability is a scheduled or nonscheduled loss. Scheduled losses involve appendages, limbs, ears, teeth and eyes; nonscheduled losses are disabilities affecting vital organs like the lungs and heart and other serious losses.
Permanent total disability benefits are paid when a determination is made that injuries prevent all forms of work. Benefits may be available for the rest of a worker’s life.
A lawyer is not required to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. However, legal advice may be beneficial, since workers’ compensation laws are extensive. Attorneys also may help locate other sources of compensation.
Source: State of New Jersey, Department of Labor and Workforce Development, “A Guide to Workers’ Compensation in New Jersey” accessed Jan. 16, 2015