What workers’ compensation benefits are available in New Jersey?

There are several types of compensation available to someone who has suffered an on-the-job injury or illness in New Jersey.

In order to qualify for workers' compensation in New Jersey, the injured party must have been harmed doing something in the scope of employment or exposed to an occupational hazard. Last year, there were 134,580 work-related accidents reported to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Though not each of these incidents resulted in benefits, it is important for people to know what compensation is available and how someone qualifies for it.

Medical benefits

One of the main ways that workers' compensation helps people injured while on the job is through paying for their medical care. This would cover any reasonable medical treatment that is necessary as well as bills associated with hospitalizations and prescriptions.

In New Jersey, the law states that the injured party's employer may designate the physician to care for the worker. However, if the employer refuses care or if there is an emergency, the worker may go to whichever physician he or she desires.

Temporary benefits

If someone suffers an injury that renders him or her disabled, it is possible for him or her to receive compensation for time missed from work. Under the law, the worker must be medically out of work for more than seven days to receive 70 percent of his or her weekly wage, as long as that does not exceed 75 percent of the state's average weekly wage. That total also cannot fall below 20 percent of the state's average weekly wage. When the worker returns to work or reaches maximum medical improvement, or the point at which further intervention will not improve his or her condition, these benefits will cease.

Permanent benefits

There are two types of "permanent" benefits available for disabled workers: permanent partial benefits and permanent total benefits. The partial benefits are available to people whose injury or illness is considered a partial permanent disability. These disabilities are calculated on a percentage of losses and are paid weekly, typically after temporary benefits are terminated.

Permanent total benefits are paid to people who are no longer able to work. The worker will receive 450 weeks of 70 percent of his or her weekly wage provided that it falls between 20 and 75 percent of the state's average weekly wage. After 450 weeks, if the worker can prove that he or she is still unable to work, the payments may continue.

Death benefits

Lastly, there are benefits available to the family of a worker who dies due to an on-the-job injury or illness. Again, these equate to 70 percent of the worker's average weekly wage as long as it falls within the set parameters. Up to $3,500 for funeral expenses may also be available. The people who may be entitled to these benefits include the worker's natural children, presumed to be dependents, and the worker's spouse. Anyone else who was dependent on the worker will have to prove dependency in order to collect benefits.

Applying for these benefits is a highly detailed process. Anyone who has questions should consult with a workers' compensation attorney in New Jersey.