I was injured at work, but have not reported the injury yet. How long do I have to report the injury?
Under New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law, an employee who was injured at work should file a report with their employer immediately or as soon thereafter as possible. The report can be written or verbal. The Worker’s Compensation Law provides that an injured worker may notify their employer of an injury within fourteen (14) days, thirty (30) days, or ninety (90) days of the injury. The longer the injured worker waits, the more potential there is for the employer to claim prejudice and have the compensation claim be denied.
Often times, your employer will place the claim with their insurance carrier. However, if your employer fails to report your injury to their insurance carrier, then you may also contact the insurance carrier directly. A First Report of Injury must be filed within three (3) weeks of the employer having knowledge of the injury. The insurance carrier will then determine whether the claimed injury is compensable. If the insurance carrier accepts the claim, then the injured worker will be contacted and will be scheduled to see an authorized medical provider. Temporary disability payments will begin once the injured worker is out eight consecutive days.
Within twenty-six (26) weeks after either the injured worker has received maximum medical benefits or has been cleared to return to work, the insurance carrier for the employer must then file a Subsequent Report. The information from the report must then be sent to the claimant as Benefit Status Letter.
What if I disagree with what is found in the Benefit Status Letter?
If an injured worker disputes the findings of the Benefit Status Letter, they may file objections with the insurance carrier. However, often times, injured workers who dispute the insurance carrier’s findings will next file a formal claim petition with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Simultaneously, if there is an immediate need for continued medical treatment, the injured worker may file a Motion for Medical and Temporary Benefits.
How long do I have to file a formal claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation?
By statute, an injured worker must file a formal claim petition within two (2) years of the accident or the last payment of compensation. When an injury is a result of an occupational claim, the formal claim petition must be filed within two (2) years of when the injured worker learned of the condition and its relation to employment.
Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 12:235-3.1(a) a formal claim petition must: a) be signed by the claimant; b) be signed by the attorney if the claimant is represented by counsel; c) provide a description of the accident or occupational exposure; d) include the nature of the injury; e) the date of the injury or when the claimant learned of the injury; f) where the injury occurred; g) include the claimant’s wage rate at the time of the injury; h) set forth any compensation benefits received up to the date of the petition; and i) set forth the name and address of the employer, medical provider, and workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
The employer must file an Answer within thirty (30) days of the claim petitioner being filed.
If I file a formal claim petition, can my employer fire me?
Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, it is illegal for an employer to terminate or take other discriminatory action against an employee for exercising his or her right to file a claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Similarly, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination prohibits employers from terminating or taking other discriminatory action against an employee from testifying in a workers’ compensation matter.
Furthermore, under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law, employers are prohibited from terminating an employee in retaliation for filing a claim or testifying in a workers’ compensation matter.
If you have a question regarding New Jersey Workers Compensation Law, please feel free to call our office and ask for Matthew R. Tavares.
Matthew R. Tavares focuses his practice in Litigation, Employment Law, Workers Compensation, and School Law matters. He is a trained mediator and has successfully mediated small claims and special civil part matters.
Mr. Tavares received his Juris Doctor from Western New England University School of Law in 2013, and obtained licensure in New Jersey in the same year. Matthew was sworn in as a member of the New York State Bar in February 2016. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History and Criminal Justice in 2010 from the University of Delaware. Matt is a member of the Hunterdon County Bar Association and the New Jersey State Bar Association.
You may contact Matt at (908) 751-1551, or [email protected]