Straightforward Advice. Relentless Advocacy. Schedule a Consultation Today

Workers’ Comp FAQs


What Is Workers' Compensation, and Why Does It Matter? 


Workers' compensation is a set of benefits provided by an employer to an employee who experiences a work-related injury or illness. It's a no-fault system, which means it doesn't matter who caused the injuries; the employee is still entitled to compensation.  

In New Jersey, this benefit covers medical expenses and provides temporary disability during recovery, ensuring essential support for employees who’ve been injured on the job. 


Who Is Eligible for Workers' Comp Benefits in New Jersey? 


In New Jersey, eligibility for workers' compensation benefits is extended to most employees from the moment they begin their employment. This includes full-time, part-time, and even some seasonal workers across various industries.  

However, there are exceptions, such as independent contractors, who may not be covered under state workers' compensation laws. Additionally, public employees, such as firefighters and police officers, may receive benefits through different state-funded programs. 

To be eligible for workers' comp benefits, the injury or illness must be work-related, meaning it occurred in the course and scope of employment.  

This includes injuries sustained on the company premises during work hours, as well as those related to the job but happening off-site—provided the activity was job-related. For example, injuries sustained during business travel or at a work-sponsored event may qualify for workers' compensation. 

Understanding these criteria is crucial for employees and employers alike to ensure that their rights are protected and their responsibilities are fulfilled following New Jersey's workers' compensation laws. 


What if I'm a Remote Employee? Am I Still Covered? 


The law is adapting to hybrid and remote work environments. Remote employees are covered under the state's workers' compensation insurance, provided their injury or illness meets the criteria of being work-related.  

This means that if an employee is injured while performing work tasks at home or in a designated remote location, they may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits just as if they were in the company's physical office. 

However, delineating what constitutes a work-related injury in a home setting can be more complex. For instance, an injury incurred while an employee is taking a brief break may still be considered work-related, analogous to an office scenario.  

But, personal activities unrelated to work tasks that result in an injury may not be covered. It is vital for remote employees to have a clear understanding of their work duties and maintain a safe work environment at home. Employers can assist by providing guidelines on setting up a safe home office and clearly defining work hours and tasks.  


What if I Got Injured During My Commute? 


While the standard workers' compensation does not generally cover the typical commute from home to work, New Jersey’s workers' compensation law includes a few exceptions.  

If the employer provides transportation, or if your job involves traveling to different locations, your travel could be considered within the scope of employment. 


What Should I Do After a Work Accident? 


In the immediate aftermath of a work accident, it's essential to prioritize your well-being and protect your rights. Here are the crucial steps to take: 

Seek Immediate Medical Care 

Your health is most important. If you've been injured on the job, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible. This isn't just about your recovery; it's also about establishing a paper trail that shows your injuries are work-related. 

Report the Accident 

Notify your employer about the incident immediately. In New Jersey, you're required to provide written notice within 90 days of the accident. Do it promptly and retain a copy for your records. 

Document Everything 

Take notes of what happened, who was present, and any other relevant details. You'll have to recall these events later, so detailed and accurate documentation is a must. 


Will Filing for Workers' Comp Affect My Job Security? 


Filing a workers' compensation claim should not lead to termination or other adverse employment actions. New Jersey law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for claiming workers' compensation benefits. If, however, termination happens after the claim, it’s essential to consult with a knowledgeable workers' comp attorney to assess your rights. 


How Are Workers' Comp Benefits Determined? 


The calculation of workers' comp benefits can be complex, and several factors come into play, including the severity of your injury and your average weekly wage. In New Jersey, temporary disability benefits are typically two-thirds of your average weekly wage, subject to caps set by the state each year. Permanent disability is assessed based on a percentage of loss of bodily function and may entitle you to extended benefits. 

If you're unsatisfied with the benefits or a denial of the workers' compensation claim, the law allows for an appeal process. This process involves several steps, including negotiation, a formal hearing before a judge, and, if necessary, an appeal to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey. 

Sometimes, a workplace injury can leave you unable to perform your current job. In these cases, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation benefits, which can include job search assistance or retraining for a new occupation. 


How Long Does the Workers' Compensation Process Take?


The timeline for the workers' compensation process in New Jersey can vary widely depending on the complexity of the case, the severity of the injury, and how quickly the necessary documentation is submitted. After reporting an injury, employers must promptly file a claim with their insurance carrier.  

Once the claim is filed, the insurance company investigates the claim and determines your eligibility for benefits. This investigation phase can take several weeks, during which medical evidence and employment records are reviewed. 

If the claim is approved, benefits typically begin to be disbursed soon after approval. Temporary disability benefits, for example, are paid within 14 days after the employer has been notified of the injury.  

However, disputes over the claim's validity or the extent of the benefits can delay this process significantly. In such cases, the dispute resolution process can extend from months to over a year, especially if the case goes through appeals. 

In New Jersey, it's also important to note that employees have two years from the date of the injury or the last payment of compensation (whichever is later) to file a formal claim petition. This petition is necessary if there are disputes regarding the claim that couldn't be resolved through initial negotiations.  

The workers' compensation court then schedules a hearing, and a judge of compensation makes a determination. For workers facing long recovery periods or permanent disabilities, understanding these timelines is essential for planning and ensuring the continuity of care and financial support.


Do I Need a Workers' Compensation Attorney?


While not required, you should definitely consider working with a workers’ comp lawyer. Given the intricacies involved in filing a claim, and potentially appealing denied claims, the assistance of a skilled workers' compensation attorney is invaluable.  

An experienced lawyer who specializes in the nuances of workers' compensation laws can provide crucial guidance and representation.  

They can help ensure that all the necessary documentation is correctly filed, represent you in hearings, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Furthermore, having legal representation might increase your chances of receiving a fair settlement. If your claim is denied, an attorney can also guide you through the appeals process, ensuring that your case is presented effectively.  

In essence, while hiring a workers' compensation attorney is not a requirement, doing so can provide peace of mind and a stronger opportunity to receive the benefits you deserve. Whether you're initially filing a claim or facing the appeals process, the right attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. 

The Law Offices of Beth White has been serving injured New Jersey workers since 2008. Whether you’re in Millville, Bridgeton, Pittsgrove, Ocean City, or a neighboring area, we’re here to help.