Workers’ Compensation FAQ
Our workers’ compensation lawyers fight for the rights of injured workers
When you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, you may not be sure what to do next. You know there are workers’ compensation benefits, but you may not know much about the process. You have a lot of questions. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Shebell & Shebell, LLC can help you find answers.
Our firm has been helping injured workers in Monmouth and Ocean counties for generations. We know the impact an injury can have on workers and their families. Medical expenses add up quickly, just as there is less income coming in. We are dedicated to helping injured workers get the benefits they need and deserve.
- Do I need a lawyer to file a workers’ compensation claim?
- Can I be treated by my own doctor?
- How long do I have to file a claim for benefits?
- What can I do if my claim for benefits is denied?
- What if the accident was my fault?
- Can I be fired or get in trouble if I file a workers’ compensation claim?
- I haven’t worked here for very long. Can I still collect workers’ compensation benefits?
- If the insurance company disputes my claim, can a settlement be reached?
We are happy to answer any other questions that you have. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys. We can review the details of your claim and explain your options. There’s no cost and no obligation. We just want you to have the information you need before deciding what to do next.
You are not required to have a lawyer to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Having an attorney is the best way to make sure you get all the benefits you deserve, however. Insurance companies and their lawyers know how to use the workers’ compensation system to their advantage. They’ll question the extent of your injuries. They’ll challenge the need for certain treatment. They have also been known to pressure workers into returning to the job even though the workers are still recovering from their injuries. Insurance companies hope that you don’t get a lawyer and will just accept their decisions. Our workers’ compensation attorneys know how to fight back against insurance companies. We build strong cases and present convincing arguments in front of workers’ compensation judges. If needed, we are ready to fight for your benefits in court.
Unfortunately, no. Under the state workers’ compensation law, your employer’s insurance company chooses the doctors and specialists who will be treating your work-related injury. Sometimes, that can be a problem. Doctors paid by the insurance company may not have your best interests in mind. They may feel a sense of obligation toward the insurance company. So, they may not order extra physical therapy you feel you need or decide that there is no need for further tests. They may determine that you are ready to return to work even though you have not fully recovered from your injuries. Our workers’ compensation attorneys can help you prepare for independent medical examinations (IME) with doctors chosen by the insurance companies. We can also arrange for you to be examined by a reputable doctor or specialist for a second opinion.
The law sets a statute of limitations of two years to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The clock starts ticking on the date of the injury or the date of the last payment of compensation. If you are suffering from an occupational illness – such as hearing loss, asthma or lead poisoning – the clock starts on the date you first become aware that your condition was related to your job. There are also other deadlines that apply to workers’ compensation claims. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side. We know the laws and the requirement for filing claims. We can keep you informed about the steps you need to take in order to protect your right to benefits.
An insurance company may deny your workers’ compensation claim for medical treatment or wage benefits. By law, you have a right to a trial before a workers’ compensation judge. There are different steps in the trial process, including informal hearings, formal hearings and legal action in state court. Our workers’ compensation attorneys know how to build strong cases based on medical opinions, witness statements and other evidence. We present convincing arguments in front of workers’ compensation judges. We are determined to help you get the benefits that you deserve. We may also be able to settle your claim with the insurance company in a way that meets your needs. If not, we will be ready to fight for your benefits in court, if that’s what it takes.
In general, you can still receive workers’ compensation benefits for a workplace injury, even if you were responsible for causing the accident. New Jersey is a no-fault state. That basically means that as long as your injuries were sustained in an accident while you were doing your job, you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. It doesn’t matter who caused the accident that left you hurt. However, there are certain exceptions. For example, if the accident occurred because you were under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, you may not be able to receive benefits. If you caused the accident, it may also prevent you from taking legal action against a third party that was involved. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can review your claim and explain your rights.
No. It is against the law for an employer to fire you for simply filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, an employer cannot discriminate against you or retaliate in any other way. For example, when you come to work, an employer may try to cut your pay, increase your workload or change your shift. It is your legal right to seek workers’ compensation benefits after being injured at work. If you are fired or suffer any other type of retaliation, our workers’ compensation attorneys can help. We will demand that your employer put a stop to the retaliation. If needed, we can also take legal action, as provided by law. You can discuss your situation with one of our workers’ compensation lawyers, who can explain your options.
Yes. If you are an employee, and suffered a work-related injury or illness, you are eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. It doesn’t matter if you have been at that job for two years or two days. Some employers try to avoid their responsibility by insisting that an injured employee is an independent contractor – and is therefore not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Or they may take the position that your injury or illness had nothing to do with your job. Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys know all the tactics that insurance companies use to minimize or dismiss claims. We help injured workers fight back by building strong cases built on facts. We are determined to help you get the benefits you need and deserve.
Settling a claim through negotiation is an option, and many workers’ compensation claims are resolved in this way. There are generally two types of settlements – the type of settlement that can be reached depends on whether the insurance company is disputing any part of your claim. A Section 22 settlement results in benefits paid weekly and your claim can be reopened in the future, if needed. A Section 20 settlement is a lump sum payment that does not allow you to reopen your claim. A settlement can be reached at any stage of the workers’ compensation claims process. It is often reached with the assistance of a judge who hears both sides present their cases. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators and will only agree to a settlement that meets your needs. If the insurance company won’t agree to a settlement, we will be ready to fight for your benefits at hearings and all the way to state court, if that’s what it takes.