Workers’ compensation law in New Jersey and New York ensures that employees receive medical bills and disability benefits if they can no longer perform their jobs. In 2012, there were 90 workplace fatalities and 106,700 reported illnesses or injuries in New Jersey, according to the most recent Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) data.
Even though most of these incidents could have been prevented, New Jersey continues to see a number of serious accidents occur on the job. In 2008, a total of $1,916,466,000 was awarded to injured New Jersey employees in workers’ compensation claims. The average worker received $495.
Even though laws have been designed to protect NJ and NY workers, it is not always easy to file a workers compensation claim. What if your employer is uninsured? What if your employer stalls, denies the claim, or says you are not an employee? What if you are fired after you file your claim for disability?
In some cases, a civil lawsuit may be an additional option, on top of the benefits you are entitled to under workers’ comp law. The construction accident attorneys at Eisbrouch Marsh bring over 25 years of trial experience to the table to help you obtain maximum benefits in northern New Jersey, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, the Bronx, or Long Island. Do not hesitate to call us for a free consultation at 201-342-5545.
NJ Work Comp Statistics
According to the most recent OSHA statistics (from 2000-2008):
- There have been over 1 million nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses reported by private employers.
- Over 150,000 cases involved employees requiring more than 10 days away from work.
- Transportation and service-providing occupations had the most nonfatal work-related injuries.
- Finger sprains and back strains were the most common nonfatal injuries reported.
- Work-related amputations decreased from 11 per 100,000 full-time employees in 2000 to 7 per 100,000 in 2008.
- There were 102,618 injuries affecting muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments and joints from 2000 to 2008.
- Musculoskeletal injuries involved: 47% back injuries, 26% neck & upper body injuries & 2% carpal tunnel.
- Rates of death from Mesothelioma are higher in New Jersey than US rates, with 13 cases per million residents.
- Rates of asbestosis are also higher in New Jersey, with 191-277 hospitalizations per million residents.
- Over 600 work-related burn hospitalizations occurred in NJ from 2000 to 2008.
- Each year, over 4,000 employees make a trip to the hospital as the result of a workplace accident.
The Workers Comp Program in New Jersey
Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” insurance program that is designed to protect employees who fall ill, are injured, or become disabled on the job. In addition to providing benefits for the injured employee, these laws are also designed to provide compensation for dependents of workers who die from work-related accidents or illnesses.
By law, workers in New Jersey and New York may be entitled to receive:
- Medical benefits – Your employer pays for all medical bills, prescriptions and hospitalization expenses.
- Temporary total benefits – After 7 days, you receive 70% of your average weekly wage (not to exceed 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage or fall below 20% of the SAWW).
- Permanent partial benefits – When you lose a finger, hand, arm, toe, foot, leg, eye, ear or teeth, you received “scheduled loss” benefits. When you injure your back, heart or lungs, you receive “non-scheduled benefits.” These weekly benefits kick in after temporary disability ends.
- Permanent total benefits – When you have lost multiple appendages or sustained severe, permanent injuries, you may be eligible for continued benefits beyond the usual 450-week period.
- Death benefits – Funeral expenses up to $3,500, as well as up to 70% of the deceased worker’s weekly wage may be paid to a surviving spouse and dependent children until up to 18-23 years in age.
The New Jersey workers’ compensation laws can be very confusing. Attorneys from Eisbrouch Marsh would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding eligibility requirements or possible benefits you may receive from an employment-related accident. We receive no payment unless your claim reaches a favorable outcome. Our modest fee comes from the monetary award you win, as determined by the court.
Who Is Liable for Employee Injuries?
When most people think of the New Jersey workers’ compensation law, they think of the mandated benefits that an employer must provide an employee, should that employee become ill or injured on the job. However, there are also laws designed to protect employers by limiting the amount of money an injured employee can recover. Further laws protect coworkers from assuming liability for workplace accidents as well.
In addition to these generally prescribed benefits, your case may also qualify for a workers’ compensation lawsuit. A third-party personal injury lawsuit can be filed in NJ against manufacturers of faulty workplace equipment, shippers of cargo that injured you, personnel who failed to maintain equipment you were working on, or any number of other non-employer parties involved in your accident.
Sometimes the guilty parties are not always plainly obvious, which is where a skilled attorney from Eisbrouch Marsh can come in handy.
Who Is Covered under New Jersey Law?
All employees in the state, including public and private industry workers, are extended the exact same benefits, by law.
NJ workers’ compensation may extend to:
- Salaried and full-time workers
- Part-time workers
- Temp workers
- Freelance workers
- Self-employed individuals
- Independent contractors
- Domestic help
- Migrant workers
- Family members
- Union employees
- City workers
- Sales professionals injured in automobile accidents
- Homeowners injured doing jobs around the house
You may not be considered an “employee” under NJ workers’ compensation law if:
- You do not work on-site for a business and maintain complete control over how you work (ex: a tax accountant)
- You perform work for a business on your own time, using your own tools and materials (ex: a plumber)
- You book your own appointments, carry your own license and buy your own supplies (ex: a beautician)
- You buy merchandise at wholesale and sell at retail prices at a location of your choosing (ex: clothes seller)
- You own and operate your own vehicle and haul for businesses under your own bill of lading (ex: trucker)
It is best to speak with a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer to determine your eligibility to collect.
Construction Accidents Resulting in Workers' Com Claims
In a recent study of the New York metro area – including Long Island and northern New Jersey – the number of construction fatalities jumped from 28 to 40 from 2010 to 2011, reports the NY Daily News.
The most common construction accidents in New Jersey include:
- Scaffolding collapses
- Building collapses
- Crane falls
- Forklift accidents
- Falls from heights
- Injuries from falling objects
- Toxin exposure
- Machinery accidents or malfunctions
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Industrial explosions
Other Types of Work Comp Injuries
While construction accidents generally represent the most serious injuries and fatalities, any job can result in a workers’ compensation lawsuit.
Other eligible injuries include:
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Sprains & strains
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Automobile accidents
- Skin reactions from chemical exposure
- Burns or electrical injuries
- Overexertion injuries
- Trip and fall accidents
- Stress-related injuries
- Disease or sickness from exposure
- Aggravation of preexisting conditions
Workers Compensation Rates in NJ
The average State Wide Weekly Wage in New Jersey is $1123.80.
The 2014 compensation rates are as follows:
- Temporary disability rate: $225 – $843
- Permanent partial disability rate: $35 – $843
- Total disability rate: $225 – $843
- Death benefits rate: $843 max
In instances of gross employer negligence, much larger sums have been recovered. Eisbrouch Marsh attorneys have won workers’ compensation lawsuits with awards ranging from $250,000, to $600,000 and beyond.
When Should I File?
By law, you must be unable to work for a total of seven (consecutive or non-consecutive) days before you can receive temporary disability benefits in New Jersey. Since it takes about two weeks before the money arrives, you should file as soon as possible. The payment will be retroactive to the first day of your disability.
Sometimes employers try to negligently deny a claim or stall the process for more than 30 days. In these instances, the employer may be found liable to pay an additional 25% penalty, plus any extra legal fees you incurred as a result of the delay tactics.
Get the Help of an Attorney
We understand the toll an injury and lost days from work can take on a family. If you were hurt in Hackensack, Paramus, Bergen County, northern NJ or NYC, let our team of legal experts go to work for you to secure the most money possible.
It helps to have an experienced NJ workers’ compensation lawyer from Eisbrouch Marsh fighting for your rights. We know state law inside and out! Don’t let the system steamroll you when there are costly bills hanging in the balance, and don’t accept a denial of benefits at face-value. Our construction accident attorneys will look out for your best interests when it seems no one else will.
Keep in mind, the NJ statute of limitations is two years, so you MUST file your workers’ compensation claim within that timeframe. The two-year clock may start ticking upon diagnosis of an illness like lead poisoning or hearing loss, so call our attorneys at 201-342-5545 to receive a free legal consultation even if you are unsure of your eligibility to file a workers’ compensation claim. We serve residents in northern New Jersey, including Hackensack, Newark, Bergen County, and Essex County from our offices in New Jersey and New York.
- New Jersey Department of Labor – Workers’ Comp Benefits, http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wc/workers/benefits/benefit_index.html
- New Jersey Department of Labor – FAQ’s, http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wc/content/faq.html
- New Jersey Department of Labor - Rates & Statistics, http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wc/content/stats.html#SAWW
- New York State Department of Labor – Examples of Applications Where Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage Is Generally Not Required, http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/Employers/Coverage_wc/emp_covNotReqexamples.jsp
- NY Daily News – Jobsite Accidents Jump 31%, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/lives-fall-cracks-city-lets-safety-lag-article-1.1239076