Workers’ Compensation is an insurance program that provides medical and disability benefits to people who suffered a work-related injury or illness. In New Jersey, and injured worker can receive workers’ compensation benefits no matter who is at fault. Whether the incident was caused by the employee, employer, a coworker, a consumer, or another party, the injured party is eligible for benefits. After receiving these benefits, employees do not have the right to sue the employer in a court of law in relation to these injuries.
If you are injured at work, report the incident to your employer as soon as possible. The following will discuss the legal workers’ compensation requirements employers must fulfill in New Jersey and what you can do if your employer does not have insurance or refuses to report your injury.
State law requires that employers in New Jersey maintain an insurance policy or self-insurance for workers’ compensation benefits. The law requires that New Jersey employers display proof of workers’ compensation insurance in a prominent location on the premises.
Failing to carry workers’ compensation in New Jersey is a serious offense. If your employer tells you they don’t have workers’ compensation insurance or that you are not eligible to receive benefits, do not simply accept their word and move on. Do your own research to find out if they are telling the truth. If you do not see prominent proof of insurance at your workplace, you can look online to verify the insurance of your employer with the Compensation Rating & Inspection Bureau.
To violate workers’ compensation insurance laws is a disorderly persons offense of the fourth degree and includes penalties up to $1,000 for the first twenty days and up to $1,000 for every days after. If you have reason to believe that your employer is uninsured for workers’ compensation, you can report the violation to the Office of Special Compensation Funds
You can do so anonymously, but be prepared to provide the name, address, and name of the operators of the business.
Unfortunately, if you are interested in the state of your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance it is probably because you are already injured. So what do you do if you find out your employer really doesn’t have insurance after you are already injured?
Fortunately, you may still be able to receive temporary disability benefits for your injury from the Uninsured Employers Fund. This is a state program intended to provide payment for medical expenses when an injured worker’s employer does not carry insurance. You need to work with your lawyer to file a formal claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation and submit a request to join Uninsured Employers Fund soon after. A judge will determine a reasonable amount of medical expenses and temporary disability benefits if your request is granted.
Please note, it takes much longer for awarded benefits from the Uninsured Employers Fund to arrive than from workers’ compensation. You should plan to wait between 90 and 120 days a judge has determined your award to receive your first payment.
The only thing you can do to speed up this process is to complete work with your lawyer to start the process as soon as you can. It also helps to forward all documentation of medical expenses and forward copies of all bills and receipts to the Uninsured Employers Fund counsel immediately. You must provide original billing statements to the counsel at trial or after an award is made.
Maybe your research reveals that your employer does in fact have workers’ compensation insurance. However, they claim they do not have it, or refuse to report your injury for whatever reason. You are not out of options. It is in your best interests to contact a skilled lawyer immediately. Then you can do one or both of the following:
- 1 Contact your employer’s insurance carrier directly
- File a formal claim with the Division of Worker’s Compensation
Some employers will do anything they can to discourage the filing of a claim. You should not let this intimidate or discourage you; You were injured at work and deserve appropriate compensation. Your employer is breaking the law by not refusing to report your injury and you are right to take further action to receive the workers’ compensation benefits that are legally yours.
This is general legal information you should always consult with a lawyer regarding your specific situation if you have further questions. An experienced lawyer that specializes in workers’ compensation cases will know how to best approach your case and get you the maximum amount of benefits. If you need to find a skilled, local attorney in the state of New Jersey, the Hayes Firm can connect you with one today for free.