REPORT the accident to your employer, even if you think you are not seriously hurt. By reporting the accident you protect yourself against the employer who might claim that you were injured away from the workplace. If possible, report the accident in writing or in the presence of a reliable witness. Using an accident report form provided by your union is best.
REQUEST medical treatment immediately if necessary. Under New Jersey law, the employer has the right to name the doctor who is authorized to treat your injuries. If your employer refuses to send you to a doctor, then you should see one on your own. Make sure to tell whatever medical personnel you see, how you were injured at work and what hurts.
CALL the Workers’ Compensation Group at Stark & Stark to speak to a lawyer about your accident. This free consultation will explain your rights and benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Law, and will also enable us to investigate whether you have a negligence case in addition to your Workers’ Compensation claim. It is important to begin investigating these potential third party cases as quickly as possible, especially if it involves a piece of machinery or a defective product or piece of equipment.
If you follow the procedures outlined above, you will be entitled to three main benefits:
- MEDICAL TREATMENT free of charge to you. There are no deductibles, co-pays or balances that you are responsible for.
- TEMPORARY DISABILITY PAYMENTS, if the authorized doctor keeps you out of work for more than seven days. Workers’ Compensation temporary disability is paid at the rate of seventy (70%) percent of your gross weekly wage, up to a maximum, which for injuries occurring in 2008 is $742.00 per week. These benefits are Federal and State tax-free and are paid as long as you are under active medical treatment and the doctor certifies that you are unable to work while undergoing that treatment. Unlike State Temporary disability benefits which are for non -work related injuries or illnesses, Workers’ Compensation temporary disability benefits are not limited to twenty-six (26) weeks.
- PERMANENT DISABILITY is the third and final benefit available under the Workers’ Compensation law. Permanent disability can either be partial, if you are capable of returning to work, or total, if you can never work again. The amount of compensation for partial disability is determined by what particular part of the body is injured and how severe the loss of function of that part. On the other hand, total disability is paid at the same rate as temporary disability, but may be reduced if you receive Social Security Disability benefits. If you have significant injuries that are likely to keep you out of work for at least one year, then you should also apply for Social Security Disability benefits. If you are denied by Social Security, you should call one of our attorneys who can help you appeal.
REMEMBER to call Stark & Stark if you have any questions about your rights.