Steps in Filing a New Jersey Workers' Compensation Claim
If you have been injured on the job in New Jersey, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can cover your medical care and a portion of the wages you lose due to a temporary or permanent disability.
However, to obtain these benefits as an injured worker, you must go through specific steps. An experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney from Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., can work with you and make sure that you are taking all necessary steps and that your rights are protected at each stage in your case.
In order to help you understand the process better, we have outlined the following steps that go into filing a New Jersey workers’ compensation claim. To learn more, call us today at 1-800-LAW-2000 or reach us online. We can discuss your case in a free consultation.
1. Get medical treatment.
If you are hurt on the job, see a doctor right away. If it is a non-emergency situation, you must go to the clinic or hospital selected by your employer. If you don’t get pre-authorization, your medical costs won’t be covered through workers’ compensation. However, if your injury causes a medical emergency, you won’t need your employer’s authorization to get the medical care you need.
2. Tell the doctor about your injury and follow your doctor’s orders.
It will help your care and payment of your medical costs to tell your doctor that your injury is work-related. Your doctor needs to know exactly what happened to make sure your injury is properly treated. Additionally, for billing reasons, your doctor needs to know that your medical expenses will be covered through workers’ compensation insurance. Follow your doctor’s orders and make sure to keep copies of all prescriptions, bills and other medical records you receive.
3. Report your injury.
You should report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. You will only have 90 days from the date of the injury to provide your employer with this notice. Even though the notice does not have to be in writing, you should put it in writing anyway. Make sure to note the date and time the injury arose and the boss, foreman, supervisor or another person of authority to whom you submitted the report. Keep a copy of this notice.
4. Check on the status of your claim.
Your employer – or its workers’ compensation insurer – must file a First Report of Injury form with the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation within 21 days after you provide notice of your injury. If the employer or insurer has not filed this report, you should inquire about it. At this point, it may be time to contact an attorney for assistance.
5. Start receiving benefits – or get legal help.
Your employer (or its insurer) will investigate your claim for New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits and determine whether to accept or reject your claim. If accepted, the employer/insurer will pay for all of your medical bills (and transportation costs) and the wage-loss benefits you are qualified to receive.
However, if the employer/insurer denies your claim, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer without delay. You should have your case reviewed by an experienced legal professional who will help you to decide the best route you should take as you move forward.
6. File for an informal hearing or file a formal claim.
Your lawyer will advise you on whether to file a formal Claim Petition or Application for an Informal Hearing. Your New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney can help you to make sure these forms are properly filed.
If you apply for an informal hearing, your case will be reviewed by a judge of compensation. You should have your hearing scheduled within a few weeks after you submit your application. The judge will suggest ways to resolve your dispute with your employer or the workers’ compensation insurer. The judge’s suggestions are non-binding. You can still decide to file a formal Claim Petition.
If you file a Claim Petition, your case will go before a judge of compensation. The hearing usually occurs within six months after you file. While awaiting your trial date, you can seek to settle your dispute. If your case goes to trial, you can expect to present evidence such as medical records and testimony that typically includes medical experts. The judge will ultimately render a decision in your case.
This is important: You have only two years from the date of your injury or the last compensation check you receive (including a medical payment) in which to file a Claim Petition. Even if you apply first for an informal hearing, the clock does not stop running on this two-year time limit.
7. Appeal your case.
If you disagree with the judge’s decision on your Claim Petition, you can appeal the decision to the Superior Court Appellate Division.
Contact Our New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today
The lawyers of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., have a thorough understanding of the New Jersey workers’ compensation system. We know how to ensure your rights are fully protected at every step in your case.
For instance, we can help you to file a Motion for Medical or Temporary Benefits while your dispute is in the process of being resolved, and we can help you to take legal action if you are fired by an employer in retaliation for seeking workers’ compensation benefits. We can also explore whether you may be eligible to file a third-party liability claim against a non-employer, non-co-worker who caused your injury.
Don’t wait to get started in your case. Contact us today at 1-800-LAW-2000 or through our online form. We can provide an immediate, free consultation.