All employers are required to have Worker's Compensation Insurance to cover all of their employees. In New Jersey, Worker's Compensation is a "no fault" insurance program. This means that an employee is eligible to receive Worker's Compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault, including the injured employee. Worker's Compensation provides medical treatment, wage replacement, and permanent disability compensation to employees who suffer job related injuries or illness. Some of the most common workplace injuries are slip and falls, sprained muscles, broken bones, amputations, and back injuries.
Worker's Compensation Insurance provides the following benefits to employees who suffer job related injuries or illness:
- Medical Benefits- All necessary and reasonable medical treatment, prescriptions and hospitalization services related to the work injury are paid by the employer's insurance carrier or directly by the employer if they are self-insured.
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits- If an injured worker is disabled for a period of more than seven days, he or she will be eligible to receive temporary total benefits at a rate of 70% their average weekly wage, not to exceed 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) or fall below the minimum rate of 20% of the SAWW. These benefits are provided during the period when a worker is unable to work and is under active medical care.
- Permanent Partial Benefits- When a job related injury or illness results in a partial permanent disability, benefits are based upon a percentage of certain "scheduled" or "non-scheduled" losses. A "scheduled" loss is one involving arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, eyes, ears or teeth. A "non-scheduled" loss is one involving any area or system of the body not specifically identified in the schedule, such as the back, the heart, the lungs. These benefits are paid weekly and are due after the date temporary disability ends.
- Permanent Total Benefits- Sometimes when a work injury or illness prevents a worker from returning to any type of gainful employment, he or she may be entitled to receive permanent total disability benefits. These weekly benefits are provided initially for a period of 450 weeks. These benefits continue beyond the initial 450 weeks provided that the injured worker is able to show that he or she remains unable to earn wages. Permanent Total Disability is also presumed when the worker has lost two major members or a combination of members of the body such as eyes, arms, hands, legs or feet. However, permanent total disability can also result from a combination of injuries that render the worker unemployable.
- Death Benefits- Dependents of a worker who dies because of a work related injury or illness may be eligible to receive death benefits. The weekly benefits payments are 70% of the weekly wage of the deceased worker, not to exceed the maximum benefit amount established annually by the Commissioner of Labor. The benefit amount is divided by the surviving dependents as determined by a judge after a hearing on extent of dependency.
Hiring an attorney is crucial to ensure your employer complies with the law and files the appropriate claim with the insurance agency and to ensure you receive just compensation for your injury or illness. Mr. Cirocco will ensure that you receive just compensation for your injuries, receive the proper and necessary medical care and treatment, and are treated fairly by your employer and the insurance company.