Workers’ Compensation Checklist
The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act allows for numerous benefits should you sustain an injury out of and in the course of your employment. Please allow this article to provide you with a checklist to determine whether you are receiving the appropriate benefits under the law.
- Did you report your accident or injury to your employer? By statute you are provided a short period of time to actually notify your employer of the injury. The most restrictive notice requirement is applied when a hernia is alleged, as you have only forty-eight (48) hours to report this. Although other accidents and injuries allow for more leniency, as you may be entitled to medical treatment, all injuries should be reported as soon as possible.
- Have you sought medical treatment? After providing notice to your employer that you have sustained an injury, you should seek medical attention immediately, should same be necessary. The longer that one waits to request medical treatment, the harder it will be to causally connect the injury to the incident at work. In addition, injuries often respond better to appropriate medical treatment provided in a reasonable time, rather than allowing the injury to worsen before attempting treatment.
- Has your employer notified the workers’ compensation insurance carrier? This is important so that you are provided with a claim number to provide to medical providers to insure payment on your behalf. Also, although you provide notice to your employer, future endeavors relative to the claim will be more efficiently completed if the carrier is immediately put on notice.
- Has your employer or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier provided you with a medical professional with whom to seek medical treatment? On some occasions, the employer may indicate that you should seek treatment and bring the employer any outstanding medical bills. This is contrary to the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act and usually signifies that the carrier has not yet been notified. It is important that you understand that the employer, through its carrier, has the right to choose the physicians from whom you receive medical treatment for compensable injuries. A physician you choose, with the intention of providing bills to the employer, is not authorized and may not be recognized by the carrier in the future.
- Is the physician with whom you are treating providing you with reasonable and necessary medical treatment? It is important that you provide the authorized medical professional with all of your medical complaints that are related to the compensable injury, and that all of those complaints are addressed by that physician.
- Are you receiving temporary disability benefits through the workers’ compensation carrier for 70 % of your standard average weekly wage? This is required in the event that the authorized physician indicates that you are temporary totally disabled, or able to return to modified duty which can not be accommodated by your employer. Temporary disability through your employer is not the same as disability through the State and need not be applied for. In the event that you are instructed to apply for disability through the State, you are not getting the benefit as provided by Statute.
- After completion of your medical treatment and temporary disability benefits, have you received compensation for the permanent disability arising out of your compensable injury? If you have received benefits, have you contacted an attorney to determine whether these benefits are consistent with the injury and disability you sustained?
Although this checklist may not be comprehensive, it is a starting point to determine whether you are receiving the appropriate benefits under the law. Should any of the above not be consistent with the benefits you are receiving, there are actions that may be taken by an attorney to bring your matter before the court so that the issues may be resolved.