Too many people seem to believe that workers' compensation benefits only protect people in particularly dangerous industries. While it is true that people in certain fields are more likely than others to suffer severe injuries or fatalities on the job, you can get hurt at any kind of job.
A retail employee can slip and fall on a wet floor, suffering a permanent head injury. A gas station attendant could wind up hurt during an attempted robbery. Those who drive for a living could wind up in a crash while on the clock. The potential for injuries is as limitless as the numerous tasks performed by New Jersey employees.
Regardless of what job you have, if you get hurt at work, you will be grateful for the benefits available through workers' compensation. One of the most important benefits will be disability benefits.
Disability benefits are often some of the least understood benefits available to injured or sick workers. There are three primary kinds, and knowing which ones you qualify for can make it easier to get the benefits you need.
Permanent disability benefits are available while you recover
There is a broad range of workplace injuries and illnesses that can make you miss work for several weeks or months without having a permanent effect on your health or ability to do your job. Anything from a broken bone to a severe reaction to a chemical in the workplace could leave you unable to return to the job for some time.
While you are receiving medical care and recovering from your injury or illness, the state of New Jersey will typically provide temporary disability benefits. These will cover up to 70% of your average weekly pay. However, when you are able to work again, the benefits will stop.
Permanent partial disability benefits help if you can't keep your job
Sometimes a workplace injury or illness leaves you unable to stay at the job you currently have but doesn't keep you from doing any kind of work at all. You may be able to work in an office or in a customer service position even if you can't continue your skilled trade or highly-paid career.
Permanent partial disability benefits can help close the gap between the wages you used to command and what you can currently make. They reflect the fact that you have a permanent injury that will have a lifelong impact on your earning potential.
Total permanent disability benefits are only for the worst cases
In the event that an illness or injury will completely keep someone from working for the foreseeable future, they can qualify for permanent total disability benefits. However, simply receiving these benefits does not mean you will always get them. If your condition improves and you are able to return to work, you will likely no longer qualify for total permanent disability.
It can be more difficult to connect with the benefits you need when you aren't sure of which ones you currently qualify for. Working with an experienced workers' compensation attorney can help you navigate the workers' compensation system and connect with the benefits that you need after you get hurt or fall ill because of your job.