It’s important to be familiar with how workers’ compensation functions in New Jersey. Workers’ compensation benefits are very important to those who need their weekly paychecks to pay bills, afford groceries, and settle any other expenses that might present themselves. The benefits of workers’ compensation are also necessary for someone who needs immediate financial relief after suffering a work injury.
Work injuries are a major risk in many lines of work, which makes it important to be familiar with the steps you need to take if you suffer a work injury. There are a number of different ways workers’ compensation works depending on the extent of your injuries. For example, if your work injury keeps you out of work for a few weeks or months, the benefits you receive will be different from someone whose work injury has prevented him or her from working for an extended period of time.
Temporary Disability Benefits
If your work injury prevents you from working for at least seven days, you’re entitled to receive temporary disability benefits. In the state of New Jersey, workers’ compensation benefits allow you to receive 70% of your average weekly wages. In addition to receiving 70% of weekly wages, there is a minimum and maximum benefit that can be received. The minimum and maximum benefit changes every year, but in 2019 the minimum was $246 and the maximum was $921 per week. If you suffer a work injury, you are eligible to receive temporary disability benefits until you’re able to return to work, have received benefits for 400 weeks, or have reached maximum medical improvement.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Upon reaching maximum medical improvement (meaning you are unlikely to get any better, even with further treatment), you will need to be evaluated to determine if you have a lasting disability and to what extent. If you’re permanently and totally disabled, you will continue to receive benefits for 450 weeks, after which you must go through further evaluation to determine whether or not you’re still unable to earn at your pre-injury level. If you’re still unable to earn at your previous level, you will continue to receive benefits while still disabled, with the amount of your benefits being reduced in proportion to any wages that you are able to earn.
Severe injuries, such as the loss of both eyes, hands, arms, feet, or legs are automatically considered to result in permanent and total disability.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
In the event that your work injury or illness has left you with a lasting medical condition or impairment, but you are able to work in some capacity, you may be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. If eligible, the amount you receive will depend on your pre-injury wages as well as the extent of your impairment and the affected part of your body. In New Jersey, there is a schedule of disabilities which lists the maximum benefits for impairments to certain body parts. To find New Jersey’s current schedule of disabilities, visit New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development website.
In New Jersey you may be eligible for other types of workers’ compensation benefits, such as medical benefits, death benefits, and funeral expenses. Workers’ compensation pays for any necessary medical treatment related to a work injury, as long as treatment is authorized. When it comes to death benefits, if an employee dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness, the surviving spouse, minor children, and other dependents will be entitled to compensation. New Jersey Workers’ comp also pays the family of a deceased employee up to $3,500 in funeral or burial costs.
Limitations of Workers’ Comp Benefits
Unfortunately, workers’ comp benefits don’t cover the entirety of your lost wages. Despite this, workers’ compensation benefits are extremely helpful to those who need compensation quickly without filing a lawsuit and proving that your employer was at fault for causing the injury, which can take a lot of time and isn’t an option for those who can’t afford to wait, the downside being that you lose out on some of your wages. That being said, you may be able to sue outside of the workers’ comp system in certain situations and receive more for the injuries you’ve suffered.
At Judd Shaw Injury Law™, you come first. If you’ve suffered an injury at work and need representation in your workers’ comp case, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to fight on your behalf and get you the compensation that you need and deserve.