Workers who are hurt on the job often face life changing injuries that lead to lost wages and expensive medical treatment. Therefore, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development requires the majority employers to obtain workers compensation insurance to cover workplace accidents. According to these state-specific guidelines an employee is entitled to workers compensation regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Unfortunately, New Jersey is ranked the third most expensive state for the cost of insurance premiums. This creates a climate in which businesses cut corners or try to claim that their employee was negligent during a workplace accident to avoid paying stiff premiums. For example, an employer may claim that an injury sustained at work is partial or temporary when it is indeed permanent.
What if an employer claims you were negligent? Or what if a permanent injury is wrongfully compensated as a temporary injury? Could a third party be at fault? Did the employee voluntarily accept risks of a dangerous job? With so many possible questions, it is important to be prepared. The Turnersville attorneys at the Law Offices of Dennis E. Block, Esq, P.C. represent all kinds of workers compensation claims. We can help you maintain confidence during stressful times and fight for your rightful recovery. We prepare claims workplace illness, unsafe working conditions, injury and general negligence. Our knowledgeable legal team works with people from all industries who suffer emotional or physical pain in workplace accidents. We work hard to put the burden of proof on the employer, not the employee, so you can move forward with your life.
If you have been suffering from a work-related injury that happened at or because of your workplace, then you may qualify for workers compensation benefits. To receive fair compensation, it is important to make sure that you file your claim correctly and within state guidelines. Usually, the workers compensation process is:
- You must notify your employer within 14 days of the injury. The state of New Jersey expects employers to then notify their insurance provider immediately.
- The insurance provider must file a report of the injury, which includes details of the accident.
- Your employer and/or the insurer will investigate the accident to determine what happened. You may receive workers comp benefits regardless of fault; however, if your employer argues that you broke specific company policies or committed a crime, then the insurer may deny your claim.
- Once you reach maximum medical improvement, the insurer must file a second report including a full description of your injuries and their effects. However, you may have to see specific doctors during this time, who may be more likely to favor your employer.
- The insurance company will make you a settlement offer based on its calculations of your losses.
However, this may not lead to satisfactory compensation. If you do not get a fair offer, then you may dispute your claim in one of two ways: by filing a formal or informal claim. This process includes:
- You have two years from the date of injury to file a claim.
- Informal claims are a means of quickly resolving a case, without lengthy litigation, by having the parties negotiate at a hearing before a judge.
- Formal claims before a judge take much longer and involve formal litigation. If necessary, then a judge will award you compensation.
Generally, the only compensation you receive for a work injury comes from the insurance provider your employer selects. State workers compensation law prohibits you from filing a civil lawsuit against an employer who already has compensation insurance. However, these providers are notorious for low temporary and permanent disability payments. Additionally, you cannot collect punitive damages or pain and suffering compensation through workers comp. While you may not bring a lawsuit against your employer after you receive benefits, you may still be eligible to file a third party claim, depending on the circumstances.
If a person or party other than your employer caused or contributed to your work injury, then you may be able to file a separate lawsuit – a third party claim – against that party. This maximizes your recovery, as you can file this type of claim and collect workers compensation at the same time. You may be able to file a third party lawsuit if your workplace accident resulted from negligence by:
- Sub contractors.
- General contractors.
- Manufacturers of defective workplace machinery.
- Rideshare partners.
- Property managers.
- Any party other than your employer or you co-worker.
Third part claims are especially common after construction site accidents, since many different companies work on the same site. However, virtually any work injury may be grounds for a lawsuit against a third party, depending on the circumstances.
Often, workers fail to file their workers comp claims in time or are unsure if they can file at all. Even more tragic, a worker may not know when another party’s is responsible for his or her injury. The attorneys at Law Offices of Dennis E. Block, Esq, P.C. are here to help you navigate the complex landscape of workers compensation claims so that you receive a just and fair outcome. A Turnersville workers compensation lawyer from our law firm can help you identify which parties are responsible for your injury.
If you are injured or recovering after a workplace accident, we are here for you. Contact us through our online form or call us today for a free consultation.