Disability Benefits via Workers’ Comp & Other Sources of Financial Compensation
New Jersey workers who’re injured on the job often encounter financial hardship, especially when a serious injury occurs. There are 2 key claims: 1. disability benefits payable via a NJ workers’ comp claim, and 2. other legal claims against third parties (non-employer parties).
Even if a workers’ comp claim is made, New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law simply fails to make injured workers whole, from a financial standpoint. Rather, injured workers who suffer a permanent or temporary disability due to work injuries will only receive about 2/3 of their weekly wage amounts. This often leaves the injured worker and his or her family in serious financial trouble, especially when a disability lasts more than a few weeks.
Therefore, it’s crucial for seriously injured workers to have their cases reviewed by experienced NJ work accident lawyers who can identify if other parties may be held liable for causing the accident and consequently ordered to pay financial compensation to the injured worker.
New Jersey Workers’ Comp Benefits for Disabled Workers
The vast majority of injured workers in New Jersey who sustain serious injuries will need to make some type of workers’ comp claim for disability, whether it’s a temporary disability or a permanent one. For example, a New Jersey worker injured in a forklift accident sustains massive lower limb injuries that results in a major crush injury to one leg and crippling injuries to the pelvic area, making it difficult to walk without an assistive device. In this instance, the injured worker would make both a temporary total disability benefits claim as well as a permanent total disability benefits claim.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits (Disabled for Over 7 Days)
Injured workers whose injuries result in a disability of more than 7 days are eligible for temporary total disability benefits, which is about 70% of their average weekly wage. However, there are statutory maximums which apply to the temporary total disability benefit amount. The weekly maximum for 2018 is $903; $896 for 2017. In addition, an injured worker cannot receive more than 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage ($1203.43 for 2018).
Related: New Jersey Work Injury Law Library
Therefore, a worker in NJ who has injuries that result in a disability of more than 7 days would likely lose a significant part of his or her weekly wages. For example, a worker is injured at a construction site in South Jersey. His average weekly wage is $1,200. He would only receive $840 (70% of his average weekly wage) per week until he is able to return to work in some capacity or he reaches maximum medical improvement. Receiving only 70% of his weekly wage leaves him with a deficit of $360 each week or a total of $1440 for a one month period. That could be a mortgage payment or school tuition for his child. If the disability continues for several months, the deficit only continues to grow and could easily reach $5,000 or more.
Permanent Partial Benefits and Permanent Total Benefits
There are two other types of disability benefits available under New Jersey Workers’ Comp Law: permanent partial (PP) benefits and permanent total (PT) benefits. PP benefits are available when an injured worker suffers a specific type of loss, such as loss of an arm, leg, hand, eye, etc. They kick in after the temporary disability ends and are paid according to a schedule.
PT benefits are available in the most serious work accident cases, or when the injuries cause a complete and total inability to return to any gainful employment. This may be as a result of significant injuries like spinal cord injuries or the loss of two major parts of the body such as two arms, legs, feet, eyes, etc. The PT benefits are calculated in the same way as the temporary total disability benefits: 70% of the average weekly wage, not to exceed 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage. The benefits are initially paid for a total of 450 weeks, or a little over 8.5 years. PT benefits may continue beyond the 450 weeks if the injured worker can show that he or she remains disabled from working.
More NJ Workers’ Comp Info & Resources:
- New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Workers’ Comp Benefits Explanations
- New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Disability Benefits Rates (Temporary, Permanent Partial & Permanent Total)
Legal Claims Beyond Workers’ Comp – Rights of Injured Workers to Seek Compensation from Other Parties
Something most injured workers in New Jersey don’t know is that they have the legal right to seek financial compensation from non-employer parties, referred to as third parties. New Jersey law, like Pennsylvania law, usually prevents an injured worker from filing a lawsuit against a direct employer for a work injury. Instead, workers are usually limited to workers’ comp claims, when it comes to the employer.
However, injured workers can make claims for negligence against other parties. Subcontractors, property owners, property management companies, security companies, safety management companies, etc., are just some of the types of parties who may be sued for having caused a work accident. This is common in New Jersey work injury lawsuits involving workplace falls, machinery accidents, construction accidents and more.
If another party is found liable, the injured worker can receive financial compensation for:
- medical bills,
- lost wages,
- out of pocket expenses, and
- pain and suffering.
In addition, in a third party lawsuit, an injured worker can make a claim for future expenses and losses, provided they are proved with reasonable certainty.
In the aftermath of a serious work accident, it is important for the injured worker to seek legal help immediately from not only a workers’ comp lawyer, but also a lawyer with significant experience investigating work accident cases. Doing so can best protect an injured worker’s financial future.
Laffey, Bucci & Kent – Representing Injured Workers & Their Families
Our firm focuses on work injury and accident cases in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania region. We’ve recovered over $150 million in work injury cases alone, and our firm’s 3 partners are recognized as “Top Personal Injury Lawyers” by Super Lawyers magazine.
With offices throughout the Northeast, including offices in Cherry Hill, Atlantic City and Iselin, we are equipped to handle work injury lawsuits across the entire state. CALL FOR A FREE CONSULTATION. 609.223.8900 New Jersey or 215.399.9255 Pennsylvania
**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.