Is Your Ongoing Work Effort Causing You an Injury?
In New Jersey, if you sustain an injury arising out of or in the course of your employment, you are entitled to certain benefits under the law. This is more specifically set forth in the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act.
This also includes an injury arising out of an occupational exposure. An occupational exposure claim is that which is caused by ongoing activity in the course of your employment, rather than a specific traumatic event. For instance, a secretary who has been employed as such for some time, and who has been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome may have a claim through workers’ compensation. However, it is the burden of the claimant to prove that such injury does arise out of and is a result of his or her employment duties. Once this is established, the claimant is entitled to the same benefits as a claimant who sustained an injury as a result of a specific trauma.
Primarily, should your injury require medical attention, the Workers’ Compensation carrier for your employer is to provide this to you. The insurance carrier pays for reasonable and necessary medical care until you reach a medical plateau. In turn, however, the insurance carrier does have the right to direct your medical care. In other words, the insurance carrier has the opportunity to choose the physicians with whom you treat, as well as the facilities where any treatment or therapy are administered.
In the event that your injury is such that you are medically unable to work for more than seven (7) days, the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act provides that the insurance company is to pay temporary disability benefits. This entitles you to seventy percent (70%) of your wages, up to the statutory maximum for the year in which you sustained the injury. These payments continue until the authorized physician permits you to return to work or until you reach a medical plateau, whichever is sooner.
Should permanent effects of your injury remain after achieving a medical plateau, you may be entitled to benefits to compensate for those permanent effects. This is based on a statutory value determined according to the part of your body which was injured and the permanent residuals of your treatment and injury. This process progresses after your physician has returned you to gainful employment. In the event that you are deemed medically unable to return to work, you may be entitled to total disability benefits.