On June 5, 2008, Bruce P. Miller, Esquire, a managing partner of the law firm of Pellettieri Rabstein and Altman, testified before the New Jersey Senate Labor Committee in Trenton, NJ regarding several proposals to change the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law. Mr. Miller appeared on behalf of the New Jersey Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health of which he is a founding member and current Vice President. This organization seeks to ensure that the rights of injured workers in New Jersey are protected.
Mr. Miller testified with respect to two bills. The first bill will expand an injured worker’s rights and make it easier to obtain medical treatment and disability benefits for a work related injury. The proposed law will also reduce the time it presently takes to have a Judge enter an Order compelling the employer or it’s insurance company to pay benefits.
The second bill with respect to which Mr. Miller testified will completely change the present law regarding an injured worker’s ability to obtain medical treatment and wage-lost benefits even if the employer did not have Workers’ Compensation insurance.
In addition, the Committee also heard testimony on a bill that will increase the penalties imposed on employers who do not have Workers’ Compensation insurance. These penalties will make it more difficult for such an employer to obtain a license or other types of certification needed for work project approval unless and until Workers’ Compensation insurance is obtained.
And finally, a fourth bill was address that provides additional authority to the Workers’ Compensation Court to assess penalties against those employers or insurance carriers that delay in making the payments to injured workers that are required or have been ordered to be made by the Workers’ Compensation Court.
Following the hearing, the chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, Senator Paul A. Sallo, indicated to Mr. Miller that the Committee is prepared to consider the proposals favorably.