How to Handle a Workers’ Compensation Claim

For many people, workplace danger is limited to stale coffee and boredom. But for others, work can include many hazardous situations. This is especially true in New Jersey. In 2010, there were approximately 110,000 work-related injuries and illnesses across the state, 78 of which resulted in an employee’s death.

If you’ve been injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. It is important to follow the necessary steps so your workers’ compensation claim remains viable.
After a workplace injury occurs, you must provide prompt notice to your employer. Inform your manager, supervisor or foreman as soon as possible. If you need medical treatment for your injury, your employer will provide you the name of an approved doctor to treat you — under New Jersey law, the employer or the employer’s insurance company has the right to choose the health care provider in a workers’ compensation claim.

NJ workers’ comp disputes

The insurance company (or a self-insured employer) is responsible for investigating the claim and determining whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation. If a claim for benefits is denied, those denials are usually based on pre-existing conditions, fraud or injuries occurring outside of employment. However, if you are denied coverage, you may still file a claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

There are two types of claim hearings — informal and formal. At an informal hearing, a judge can only make non-binding suggestions. This type of hearing is ideal for resolving smaller issues in dispute. However, a formal claim petition is ideal for larger disputes, such as the amount of benefits and the extent of the disability. Although the majority of formal hearings resolve in settlements, the issues can also be taken to trial. The ruling of a formal hearing is binding and can only be appealed to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.

When a workplace injury occurs, time is of the essence. The statute of limitations to file a claim is only two years. Further, you may need the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. At Shebell & Shebell, LLC our compassionate legal team will fight for the compensation you deserve.