Worker’s compensation is a program designed to help workers injured at work adequately recover from the injury or illness and provide for their family in the meantime. The employer or its insurance company will pay the necessary amount for reasonable medical treatment and lost wages. This article will look at the types of workers’ compensation benefits you can receive in New Jersey: medical, temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, and death.
Medical benefits include all necessary and reasonable medical care needed to diagnose and treat the work-related injury or illness. This may include: prescriptions and medication, hospital stays and doctor’s office visits, surgery, special equipment, and continuing care.
New Jersey workers’ compensation law gives the employer and their insurance company the right to choose the treating physician.
Generally, only mainstream forms of medical treatment and practices are covered. If you are interested in seeking non-traditional, experimental, or holistic forms of medical care, you should consult with a lawyer about the best way to win this type of coverage.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
Temporary Total Disability Benefits are meant to compensate for your lost income and help you provide for your family while you are unable to work because of the injury. You become eligible to receive these benefits if you are unable to work for a period of more than seven days as a result of your injury, and are under active medical care. The amount you receive will be based on the rate of pay you earned before you were injured.
In New Jersey, you will generally receive benefits at a rate of 70% your average weekly wage prior to your injury. This, however, cannot be more than 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) or less than 20% of the SAWW. During 2015, the weekly maximum rate of temporary total disability benefits in New Jersey is $855 and the minimum is $228.
These benefits will be provided while you are unable to work and remain in active medical care. The will continue until you are approved to return to work by your doctor or when you reach maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement is reached when continuing treatment can no longer improve the condition. If you reach maximum medical improvement but are not approved to return to work by your doctor, you may become eligible for permanent partial benefits or permanent total benefits.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
If a work-related injury or illness results in a permanent disability, you become eligible for further benefits. Partial disabilities are separated into two categories: scheduled loss and non-scheduled loss. A scheduled loss specifically includes disabilities to the arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, eyes, ears, or teeth. A non-scheduled loss includes disabilities to any other part of the body, such as the back, heart, or lungs.
These benefits are paid weekly and start immediately after your temporary disability benefits end. Your rate will be based on the type and severity of the partial disability, with a state maximum weekly rate of $855 and minimum of $35 during 2015.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
If a disability is more than partial, you may become eligible for permanent total disability benefits. To quality, you must have lost at least two major parts of the body as a result of your injury and remain unemployable. This could include eyes, arms, hands, legs, or feet. These benefits can also be awarded to those who have sustained a combination of work-related injuries that makes them entirely unable to work.
New Jersey workers’ compensation law allows benefits at a rate of 70% your average weekly wage prior to your injury., but it cannot be more than 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) or less than 20% of the SAWW. During 2015, the weekly maximum rate of permanent total disability benefits in New Jersey is $855 and the minimum is $228. These benefits are provided weekly for a period of 450 weeks when the disability will be reevaluated. Benefits can continue if the injured party remains unable to work.
If a worker dies as a result of a work-related injury, the employer or its insurance company must pay up to $3,500 in funeral expenses to whoever is responsible for the funeral bill.
In addition, the dependents of that worker may be eligible to receive continuing benefits. These are paid weekly at a rate of 70% the previous weekly wage of the deceased worker. There is a maximum benefit rate determined by the Commissioner of Labor in New Jersey each year. During 2015, that rate is $855.
The amount is divided by extent of dependency as determined by a judge. A spouse and natural children living in the worker’s household are assumed to be dependents.
A spouse and natural children who were not living in the worker’s household at time of death must prove dependency, along with any parents, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, etc. claiming dependency.
Children determined to be dependents remain so until the age of 18 years or 23 years if a full-time student. If a child is physically or mentally disabled, they may be eligible for additional benefits.