Things Every Employee Should Know About Workers’ Compensation
1.) In New Jersey, an employer CANNOT retaliate against an injured employee for seeking Workers’ Compensation benefits.
By a law known as the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act, you have the right to report your injury to your employer and seek benefits. There are thousands of Workers’ Compensation claims filed every year.
An employer that penalizes or terminates an employee for exercising his or her rights under the law exposes itself to civil and criminal penalties, including fines and possible imprisonment. In addition, the law mandates that an employee who is terminated because of having sought Workers’ Compensation benefits is to have his or her employment restored and is to receive all of the back pay to which he or she would otherwise have been entitled upon restoration to employment.
As a practical matter, we have found that employers virtually never terminate or punish in any way an employee who sought Workers’ Compensation benefits for a job-related injury. Employers know such action is illegal and understand that they will be penalized in the most severe way if they attempt to do so.
2) All New Jersey employers are required to make Workers’ Compensation benefits available to employees.
An employer’s failure to make Workers’ Compensation benefits available can result in severe penalties.
3) Workers’ Compensation benefits are paid by the employer’s insurance company, not the employer itself.
Your employer will not be paying for your benefits out of its pocket when you file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Benefits are paid by the insurance company which provides Workers’ Compensation coverage to the employer.
4) Consult an Attorney
When you have been injured on the job, it is essential that you protect your rights.
Your first step is to speak with an attorney who will help you understand your Workers’ Compensation entitlements. Those entitlements include lost wage replacement benefits if you are unable to work because of your injury. You are also entitled to medical treatment, paid by your employer’s insurance company. And, you can receive permanent disability benefits for the pain and loss of functioning you have suffered.
Your meeting with your PR&A attorney is strictly confidential.
The attorney cannot charge you a fee for the consultation or for any work that is done on your behalf in your case. The Judge of Compensation will assess a counsel fee at the end of the case that amounts to no more than 20% of the award you receive. In addition, in most cases, the employer’s insurance company will pay most of the fee.
5.) Don’t let fear silence you.
You should understand that if you do not protect yourself by consulting an attorney after you have been injured on the job, you risk losing your legal rights.
Learn more about: Workers’ Compensation Disability Benefits