Navigating the nuances of workers' compensation in New Jersey can be challenging, especially when it involves long-term medical care or follow-up surgeries. While workers' compensation does cover initial medical expenses for work-related injuries, understanding how it applies to extended or delayed medical needs often requires help from an experienced New Jersey workers' compensation lawyer.
A workers' compensation lawyer can help you secure the compensation you deserve.
At Shebell & Shebell, LLC, our attorneys understand that injuries sustained on the job can lead to unforeseen medical requirements down the road. If you're faced with the prospect of long-term medical care or follow-up surgeries due to a workplace injury, don't hesitate to contact our law firm for a free consultation. We're here to ensure you receive the support and benefits you rightfully deserve throughout your recovery journey.
What is a workers' compensation settlement?
Workers' compensation is a state-mandated insurance system that most employers are legally required to maintain. It serves as a safety net for employees who fall ill or sustain injuries due to work-related circumstances.
Typically, workers' compensation provides regular, periodic payments to cover medical expenses and lost wages. However, New Jersey introduces an additional option for injured workers: the possibility of agreeing to a workers' compensation settlement.
A workers' compensation settlement entails a one-time lump sum payment from the employer's workers' compensation insurance provider to the injured worker. This singular payment is intended to encompass all current and foreseeable expenses associated with the work-related injury or illness.
Given the finality of such settlements, it's important that injured workers exercise due diligence when considering a settlement offer. Once accepted, that's it. The decision is final, meaning the injured worker cannot seek additional compensation in the future, even if unforeseen expenses related to their injury or illness arise.
Does workers' compensation in New Jersey cover future medical expenses?
The short answer? Yes. The New Jersey workers' compensation system is designed to cover the cost of medical care associated with work-related injuries and illnesses.
Those rules are clearly outlined and explained on the New Jersey Workers' Compensation system website, which is part of the state's Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
However, obtaining compensation for future medical care can be challenging, particularly when medical procedures occur years after the initial work-related injury or illness.
What are common future medical expenses?
People injured on the job often need future medical care to address the long-term consequences of a work-related injury. Common future medical expenses can include:
- Follow-up Surgery: Workers may require additional surgical procedures, even years after the initial injury, to address ongoing medical issues.
- Regular Doctor's Appointments: Ongoing medical evaluation and follow-up appointments are often necessary to monitor an individual's progress and adjust treatment plans accordingly.
- Physical Therapy: For those who experience mobility limitations arising from workplace injuries, physical therapy may become an integral part of their recovery process.
- Prescription Medications: Chronic pain resulting from workplace injuries may necessitate the use of prescription medications over an extended period to manage discomfort and maintain a reasonable quality of life.
How are future medical expenses calculated for workers' comp?
A critical factor in the calculation of an individual's future medical expenses in workers' compensation cases is the concept of "maximum medical improvement (MMI)." MMI represents the stage at which an injured worker is expected to recover most from their work-related injury.
Refraining from making long-term decisions regarding future medical treatment until an injured individual reaches their MMI is essential. This precaution is necessary because numerous variables can significantly impact the outcome of their workers' compensation settlement.
What factors are taken into account when budgeting for future medical expenses?
Calculating future medical expenses in a workers' compensation settlement necessitates the evaluation of various factors to anticipate future costs accurately. These factors include:
- Age: The injured worker's age plays a pivotal role in projecting future medical expenses.
- Work Capacity: The individual's ability to return to work, either partially or in any capacity, is considered, as well as whether they are permanently and totally disabled, rendering them unable to work.
- Injury Severity: The extent and severity of the worker's injury are assessed to determine the necessary level of care and medical interventions.
- Anticipated Treatments: The anticipated future medical treatments required to address the work-related injury are a significant factor in calculating future expenses.
Should I accept a workers' compensation settlement?
While workers' compensation insurance companies occasionally offer fair settlements to injured workers, it's often advisable to consult with a workers' compensation lawyer for a more informed decision.
Experienced attorneys can assess the adequacy of your settlement offer and advise whether you should seek additional compensation. If your attorney deems that you deserve a higher financial settlement, they can negotiate with your employer's workers' compensation insurer on your behalf.
How can a workers' compensation attorney help?
The workers' compensation attorneys at Shebell & Shebell, LLC are dedicated to ensuring that injured workers in New Jersey receive the full and fair compensation they deserve. We understand how to successfully navigate workers' compensation claims, especially when it involves future medical expenses. Our experienced legal team is here to guide you through the process, from assessing the adequacy of settlement offers to fighting for your rights through aggressive representation.
If you're facing the prospect of future medical expenses related to a workplace injury or illness in New Jersey, don't navigate this challenging process alone. Contact us for a free case evaluation with a knowledgeable New Jersey workers' compensation lawyer. We're committed to advocating for your rights and securing the best possible outcome for your case. We have three offices conveniently located in Shrewsbury, Freehold, and Newark and handle workers' compensation claims throughout New Jersey.