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Burlington County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

When someone has been injured in a work-related accident, they typically qualify for Workers’ Compensation coverage. Employees of a business are covered under these plans except for independent contractors, executives, and those who are covered under related federal laws. Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault system that shifts any liability for the accident from the employer to the insurance provider. Employees receive varying benefits depending on the severity of their injuries, and the system also provides death benefits, potential lump-sum payments, and vocational training when required.

Even though New Jersey’s rate of work-related accidents is below the national average, workers should be prepared for injuries that may occur in the future. Injured employees should speak to a Burlington County Workers’ Compensation lawyer when it is clear that Workers’ Compensation coverage has not been adequately managed after an accident.

Which Workers’ Compensation Benefits are Available to Me?

Workers who are injured on the job may be temporarily or permanently disabled by their injuries. Injuries may heal after treatment is provided, or the worker might stop improving after receiving as much medical care as a doctor can provide. An accident will fall into one of the following categories after a medical evaluation and/or a review by the insurance provider.

  • Temporary partial disability: The worker is partially disabled by the accident, but the doctor expects the worker to recover fully. Payment for lost wages equals 70 percent of the employee’s weekly wages.
  • Temporary total disability: Like partial disability, the doctor expects the worker to make a full recovery. The worker will receive 70 percent of their pay and be subjected to a medical evaluation.
  • Permanent partial disability: Permanent partial disability means the worker is only partly disabled. They can earn a living, but they likely cannot return to their previous job. The employee will earn a scheduled amount based on the level of their disability. The doctor’s evaluation will show that, for example, the worker only has 30 percent of functionality in their right arm. As a result, a chart created by the state will determine the workers’ benefits and how long those benefits last. The level of coverage is scaled for each disability from damaged or lost limbs to a loss of hearing or sight and/or chronic illness. Vocational training is also available for employees who can obtain gainful employment but need help re-entering the workforce in a new field.
  • Permanent total disability: Permanent total disability implies that the worker cannot obtain gainful employment at all. These benefits last for 450 weeks at 70 percent of the worker’s pay. The insurance company will likely ask for another evaluation after 450 weeks, and a doctor will verify that the worker is permanently disabled. At this point, benefits become permanent. It should be noted that the loss of eyes and extremities is considered a total permanent disability in most cases.
  • Death benefits: Death benefits in New Jersey pay up to $3,500 for burial costs, along with other expenses. Medical bills will be paid, and the spouse, children, or other dependents will receive a percentage of the total benefit as determined by a judge. Young children are no longer considered dependents at age 18, or up to age 23 if they are in college.

Injured employees should review these benefits with a Workers’ Compensation lawyer if the victim’s benefits have not been calculated properly. Particular attention should be paid to medical examinations and dependents who must prove their dependency before a judge.

Is COVID-19 a Work-Related Illness?

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Senate Bill 2380 on September 24, 2020, which allows essential employees to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits if they contract the Coronavirus (COVID-19) at work when they would have otherwise been working at home. A common list of essential employees includes those in the medical field, law enforcement officials, firefighters, EMTs, delivery drivers, and grocery service workers, among others.

A public authority can deem an employee essential at any time, and workers should check public announcements to determine if they are considered essential. The bill is retroactive to March 9, 2020, and employers or insurance providers would need to definitively prove that the employee contracted COVID-19 outside of work to deny benefits.

When Should I Report Work-Related Injuries?

Work-related injuries should be reported as soon as possible. Although injuries can be traumatic and might require a call to 911, employees are still required to file an official report with a superior. The report is sent to the insurance company, and that is how the insurance company determines the level of coverage that is required.

The employer likely has a list of approved doctors that are accessible to employees. Although emergency medical care can be provided by any health care provider, the insurance company might direct an injured worker to visit a specific physician as they are recovering.

If a worker is out of work for seven days, they are eligible for temporary disability benefits. The employer, however, cannot file a claim with the insurance company if it does not have a report of an accident. The incident should be reported right away so that the seven-day clock can begin. The employee should try to avoid arguing with their employer over how much time has been missed or why the injury was not reported sooner.

Workers may not realize their injuries require medical care, and there is a two-year statute of limitations for filing formal petitions. A Workers’ Compensation lawyer can be consulted if there are questions about how a current medical condition may have been caused by a work injury. In exposure cases such as workers diagnosed with mesothelioma or those suffering from illnesses caused by toxic substances, the employee has two years from the date of their diagnosis to request a formal hearing.

How Does an Insurance Company Determine Which Benefits I Receive?

Insurance companies make blanket decisions about benefits that should be provided after receiving a report. The worker, however, may be asked to undergo a medical examination after they have been out of work for some time. Because temporary disability benefits last 450 weeks, the insurance company may request a follow-up examination.

Workers are advised to be truthful during the examination and explain everything they have been experiencing since they were injured. If the doctor determines that the worker is more than 50 percent disabled, permanent total disability benefits will begin. Permanent disability benefits end only when the worker’s eventual death ends the arrangement.

When Should I Hire a Lawyer to Review My Case?

A lawyer should be consulted in Workers’ Compensation cases when the insurance company has denied coverage, requests a medical evaluation, or wishes to settle. A Workers’ Compensation lawyer can file a petition for coverage and damages if the worker has been denied. A lawyer can also request either an informal or a formal hearing. An informal hearing is not legally binding and does not satisfy the two-year statute of limitations. Only a formal hearing will be considered a petition for damages.

A lawyer will prepare the worker for a medical evaluation, or the lawyer can negotiate a settlement with the insurance carrier. Section 20 settlements allow employees to receive a single payment, the employer or insurance carrier admits no liability, and the case is closed. Section 22 settlements offer a lump-sum payment, but the case can be reopened within two years of the settlement date.

Burlington County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC Handle Work-Related Injury Claims

Reach out to the Burlington County Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC when you have questions about reporting work-related injuries, benefits, or settlements. We are ready to do what it takes to obtain the benefits you deserve. Call us at 856-751-7676 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, Cherry Hill, Trenton, and Vineland, New Jersey, as well as Trevose, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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856-751-7676 16000 Commerce Parkway
Suite C
Mt Laurel Township, NJ 08054 Monday - Friday | 8am - 5pm

856-751-7676 1913 Greentree Rd
Suite C
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003 Monday - Friday | 8am - 5pm

856-751-7676 1234 Bridgetown Pike
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Feasterville-Trevose, PA 19053 Monday - Friday | 8am - 5pm

Trenton, NJ Office
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