Workers who are injured while doing their job duties can turn to workers' compensation for benefits. In New Jersey, this is a no fault program that covers medical care related to the injury. It also provides temporary and permanent disability benefits if the worker can't return to their job duties because of the injury.
Because workers can get these benefits no matter who was at fault for the accident, they are unable to file a civil claim against the employer. There is only one exception to this – when the incident that caused the problem was done intentionally. If the injury was caused by a third-party issue, such as a defective piece of equipment, a legal claim can be made against the liable party.
What happens when an injury occurs
If you are injured, let your employer know right away. You can alert anyone who has authority at the company, including your immediate supervisor or the human resources office. Your employer or their workers' compensation carrier can choose where you will receive medical care for your injuries. Your employer should immediately notify the workers' compensation carrier. The state will need to receive a First Report of Injury.
When the workers' compensation carrier receives the report of the injury, it will determine if it is compensable. The medical care provider and the employee will both be contacted to determine this.
Benefits to the worker
For many workers, the most important thing that workers' compensation will do is cover the medical bills. These can be very costly, so knowing that they are covered can help considerably. Remember that only problems related to the on-the-job injury are covered.
If the worker is unable to return to their job within seven days, the workers' compensation coverage will pay disability benefits to the worker. When the worker reaches the point of maximum improvement from a medical standpoint or within 26 weeks of the worker going back to work, another report called the Subsequent Report of Injury must be filed.
A worker who receives a decision about the benefits they will receive might not agree with it. If you feel it is incorrect, you have the option of filing an appeal. This must be done quickly and in a specific manner so be sure you don't waste any time. This can help to ensure that you get the benefits that are due to you.