Shrewsbury and Freehold Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Lawyers Who Have Been Helping Injured Workers in Monmouth and Ocean Counties for Generations
When you’ve been hurt in a workplace accident, it impacts you and your family. Suddenly, you are left with an injury and there is less money coming in. You deserve workers’ compensation benefits but navigating the claims process can be complicated. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Shebell & Shebell, LLC fight for the rights of injured workers.
New Jersey law requires virtually all employers in the state to insure against employee injury. If you are injured on the job, blindly trusting your employer and their insurance carrier to compensate you for your injury can be a mistake. Insurance companies are for-profit entities and want to protect their own bottom line.
That’s why you need an experienced worker’s compensation lawyer to fight for you. Failing to obtain quality legal representation can have serious financial repercussions and impact your family’s future. Our workplace injury attorneys have been helping workers hurt in Monmouth and Ocean counties since 1927. We know the laws and how to help you get the benefits you deserve.
What does workers’ compensation cover?
Workers’ compensation provides benefits to employees who sustain a work-related injury or illness. If you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you may receive:
- Medical Benefits to pay for the cost of your medical treatment.
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits that equal 70 percent of your average weekly wages, up to a state set maximum which changes every year.
- Permanent Partial Benefits if you suffer a permanent physical impairment as a result of your work-related injury or occupational illness.
- Permanent Total Benefits if you suffer a permanent disability that prevents you from returning to any type of gainful employment.
- Death Benefits for the dependents of workers who pass away in a work-related accident or due to a work-related illness.
How long do you have to file a workers’ comp claim?
The deadline to file for workers’ compensation benefits is two years from the date you sustained your work injury. This is known as the statute of limitations. For workplace injuries that take longer to develop (i.e., repetitive motion injuries) and occupational illnesses, you have two years from the date that you first became aware that your condition was job-related to file for workers’ comp benefits.
What if the accident was my fault?
Workers’ compensation follows a no-fault system, which means in most cases you can still receive workers’ compensation benefits for a work-related injury – even if the accident that caused the injury was your fault. There are exceptions. For example, if you were injured while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if you intentionally harmed yourself.
How do I reopen a workers’ comp case after it’s been closed?
In some situations, if your workers’ compensation case was closed but you’re still not ready to go back to work due to your workplace injury or occupational illness, you have two years to reopen your workers’ comp case. If you received a lump sum payment in the form of a Section 20 settlement, you will not be able to reopen your workers’ comp case since the order is final and conclusive.
Section 22 settlements are paid in installments and based on partial permanent disability of a body part. While they may be reopened, you still must do so within two years of receiving your final payment.
Most injured workers assume there’s nothing more that can be done once their case is closed, but there are some exceptions. A good way to find out if you might qualify to have your workers’ comp case reopened is to contact our law firm to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys.
Can I choose my own doctor after a work injury?
For those pursuing workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey, the answer is no. Under state law, any doctor or specialist that you see to have your workplace injury treated will be selected by your employer’s insurance carrier.
While visiting a doctor or specialist that you are unfamiliar with may not be ideal, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be denied wage or medical benefits if you have issues during your evaluation or treatment. If you were injured at work in New Jersey and need to have an independent medical examination (IME) by an insurance company doctor, a lawyer can explain your rights and help you prepare for the appointment. A hurt-at-work attorney can also help you pursue a second opinion from a different doctor or specialist, if necessary.
Can you get fired for filing a workers’ comp claim?
Absolutely not. If you suffer a work-related injury or illness and file a workers’ compensation claim, it is illegal for your boss to fire you for that reason. Keep in mind that your employer also can’t take retaliatory or discriminatory actions against you because you decided to exercise your legal right to pursue workers’ comp benefits.
Common examples of discrimination and retaliation include:
- You are terminated or demoted by your employer.
- Your boss changes your job duties.
- Your employer changes your work schedule.
- Your boss tries to make you take a pay cut.
- You are unfairly denied pay raises and/or promotions.
If your employer fires you or you believe you are the victim of retaliation because you filed a workers’ comp claim, contact a lawyer right away. An attorney can protect your rights and explain your legal options.
What happens if my workers’ comp claim is denied?
Under New Jersey law, you have the right to a trial before a workers’ comp judge when your claim is denied.
The steps in the trial process include:
- Informal hearings
- Formal hearings
- Legal action in state court
While you are not legally required to hire a lawyer for representation, it is not advisable to represent yourself in these proceedings. Based on evidence, such as medical evaluations and witness statements, a workers’ comp lawyer can build a strong case on your behalf and fight for the best possible outcome.
How long does it take to get your first check from workers’ comp?
For temporary disability benefits, it generally takes two weeks to receive a payment. If your payment is delayed unreasonably or negligently by your employer or their insurance carrier for at least 30 days, you may be eligible to receive an additional 25% of the amount that’s due, plus any reasonable legal fees you incur as a result of the delay.
Extensive Workers’ Compensation Experience
Injuries can happen at any type of workplace. Work accidents affect construction workers, firefighters, warehouse employees, drivers, teachers, office workers and factory workers. They are left in pain and unable to work. This results in less income coming in, just as their medical bills are going up. It’s a difficult time for workers and their families.
Whether you are a utility worker, a municipal worker, or a first responder, the workers’ compensation system is designed to help injured workers get medical treatment and provide them with partial wages while they can’t work. In reality, many workers don’t receive the treatment they need. Many are pressured to return to work before they have fully recovered from their injuries.
Our workers’ compensation attorneys help injured workers fight back. We investigate your workplace accident to get the facts about what happened. We document your injuries and your medical treatment. If your claim for benefits is denied, we help you navigate the appeals process and present strong cases on your behalf.
Call Us Today About Your Claim
You may hear that you don’t need a lawyer to file a workers’ compensation claim. Technically, that’s true, but the reality is that not having a lawyer makes it easier for the insurance companies to deny you benefits. Insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their best interests. You need a work injury attorney who is only thinking about what’s best for you.
Since our firm began doing business in 1927, our focus has been on helping injured workers get the treatment they need to get better and the benefits they need to get by. We know how employers and their insurance companies try to avoid their responsibility and pay injured workers less. Our attorneys know how to fight the insurance companies and get results.
If you were hurt at work, learn more about how we can help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our workers’ compensation attorneys. We’ll review the details of your accident, answer your questions and explain your options. Then we can get to work to help you get the benefits you deserve. Our offices are located in Shrewsbury and Freehold.