WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: INJURED ON THE JOB
Workplace injuries often have permanent residual effects. An injured worker may file a Workers’ Compensation Claim Petition. Helfand & Associates handles Workers’ Compensation Cases. We are a fully up-to-date office and utilize what is called the OSCAR electronic system implemented by the Division of Workers’ Compensation to handle the Workers’ Compensation filings, court notices and calculations.
When you are injured on the job, a claim can be filed by your Workers’ Compensation Attorney. This is not a lawsuit against your employer. Filing of a claim activates a case in the Workers’ Compensation Court. It enables you to have your attorney answer your questions and help guide you during the process to obtain appropriate medical treatment, payments for temporary disability and an award for the permanent disability that you sustain from the accident. Medical records must be provided to your attorney by the agent or lawyer for the Insurance Company. Approximately six months after your last date of medical treatment, you will receive permanency evaluations. There are doctors who are experts in disability evaluations. You will be evaluated by doctors selected by your attorney and also by the insurers’ experts. These doctors do not treat you. They review your medical record and perform examinations. They then report on the causation and nature and extent of permanent disability which has affected you.
Once these reports are received your attorney will work towards getting you an appropriate and fair payment for your permanent injury. Your case may either be settled or if a dispute rises, it can go to trial. Helfand & Associates has experience in either negotiation or trial; however the majority of cases are settled. We have outlined the main steps for your information. Call our office if you would be interested in us handling your case. You pay nothing up front. All legal fees and costs are paid from your award and are determined by the Judge of Workers’ Compensation assigned to your case.
If you are injured on the job you must notify your employer. You can notify your supervisor, Human Resources or Personnel Office or whoever is your boss as soon as possible.
You must ask for medical treatment. The employer or his Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier will select the doctor to provide medical treatment for your injuries. This is called authorized medical treatment. If you first go to your own doctor, it is not authorized treatment. Your medical bills will not be paid. You must use authorized doctors. You can ask for an authorized second opinion which you will be entitled to.
If you require immediate emergency treatment at a hospital, this will be paid for, provided that the medical record shows that the injuries arose from a work related accident.
TEMPORARY DISABILITY BENEFITS
If the authorized medical provider requires that you stay out of work for more than 7 days, you will be eligible for temporary disability benefits while you cannot work and are being treated. At a point determined by the doctor, you will have reached maximum medical benefit and treatment will stop. Depending upon the nature and extent of the injuries, you may be cleared to return to full duty at your job.
ONGOING TREATMENT- REOPEN CLAIM
If your case is settled or closed you have two years from the last date of payment of compensation to re-open your case for more treatment and a potential increase of your permanent disability.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COURT
There is a big difference between the Superior Court and Workers’ Compensation Court. The Workers’ Compensation Court has its own rules and procedures. It is an administrative arm of the State of New Jersey Department of Labor. The issues of causation and the nature and extent of the injury are the core elements to receive compensation. Negligence or fault is not required to have a Workers’ Compensation claim. You generally are barred from suing your employer for on-the-job injuries. You cannot be fired for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Every employer in the State of New Jersey is required to have Workers’ Compensation coverage. If an injury is compensable under the Workers’ Compensation law, that employer is not also liable for a personal injury case for the same accident. Workers’ Compensation is an exclusive remedy. Helfand & Associates will help protect your interests for Workers’ Compensation benefits.