If you suffer an injury or illness from your place of employment, the State of New Jersey requires all employers to have Worker's Compensation Insurance to compensate you while you are unable to work. A common problem employees have is when their employer's insurance does not fairly compensate them for their injuries, illness or missed time from work.
When an employee does not agree with the proposed offer of benefits from their Worker's Compensation Insurance, the employee has two options.
Informal Hearing- The first option an employee has is to file an application for an informal hearing before a judge of compensation. An informal hearing is a means of resolving issues without resorting to more involved and lengthy litigation. Issues such as the amount of temporary benefits, medical treatment, and permanency benefits can be addressed at this hearing.
The suggestions made by the judge during an informal hearing are not binding on either party and the employee has the right to file a formal claim petition within the statutory time period. The injured worker also has the right to seek the advice of an attorney at such proceedings, but such representation is not required. However, in complicated cases, the assistance of legal counsel is recommended. After an informal hearing, the parties have an opportunity to negotiate and settle their claim. If the parties are unable to settle, the employee can move onto their second option.
Formal Hearing- The second option an employee has is to file a formal claim petition with the Division. The first hearing before a judge of compensation is typically held within six months from the date the petition is filed.
Most claim petitions are settled by mutual agreement between the parties after the first hearing. If the issues cannot be resolved during the pretrial stage, a trial will begin. The judge will hear testimony of the injured worker, medical witnesses, and lay witnesses. After the trial, the judge will issue a decision as to the benefits due and the extent of the disability. The judge's ruling is binding and can only be appealed to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.
Alex Cirocco, Esq. has been a litigator his entire career. He understands how to evaluate a case and has the experience and knowledge to try a case in a courtroom. The Division recommends hiring an attorney for all Worker's Compensation Claims based on their complex nature. Any and all legal fees are awarded only if the injured party is awarded compensation and is capped at 20% of the awarded fee. If you suffer an injury or illness at work, contact the Law Offices of Alex Cirocco immediately for your free consultation and to ensure you are being properly compensated for your injuries or illness.