Every worker who is regarded as an “employee” is entitled to workers’ compensation in New Jersey. In other words, all employees in the State of New Jersey who have suffered a work-related injury are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. An employee’s age cannot be used to automatically disqualify them from receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ Compensation For Underage Workers In New Jersey
In New Jersey, a “minor” is anyone under the age of 18. Minors who have been injured on the job are just as entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits as are injured adult employees. In fact, even those who are unlawfully employed are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey.
Just like injured adults, minors who are injured on the job are eligible to receive the following benefits:
- Medical Benefits – essentially, the cost of any reasonable medical care needed to treat their injury, as well as, the cost of medication and hospitalization
- Temporary Disability Benefits – weekly wage replacement benefits paid to them while they are unable to work due to their injury
- Permanent Partial Benefits – compensation for any resulting permanent loss of function to any body part or percentage thereof
- Permanent Total Benefits – compensation to be paid to them if their injury leaves them permanently and totally disabled
- Death Benefits – benefits to be paid to a minor’s dependents, parents, or legal guardians if they die as a result of their work-related injury or illness
Unlawfully Employed Minors May Be Entitled To Enhanced Benefits
In addition, if a minor is unlawfully employed, he or she may be entitled to enhanced benefits depending on the circumstances. These are additional benefits that are not available to adult employees.
To address situations where a minor may have been forced to work in an unsafe and illegal environment and in violation of child labor laws, New Jersey will penalize the employer by entitling the minor to receive twice the amount of workers’ compensation benefits that they would normally be entitled to receive. What’s more, this penalty will have to be paid by the employer, not their workers’ compensation insurance provider.
An Unlawfully Employed Minor May Be Entitled To File A Civil Suit
If the injured minor was employed in violation of child labor laws, he or she has the option of bringing a civil suit against his or her employer in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim. This is significant because, under normal circumstances, New Jersey workers’ compensation law precludes an injured employee from filing a civil suit against their employer for a work-related injury.
A civil suit will enable the minor to recover compensation above and beyond that which is available under a workers’ compensation claim, such as compensation for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
If you or a loved one is a minor and has suffered an injury during the scope of your employment, you should consult with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure that you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to receive under New Jersey workers’ compensation law.