Workers’ Compensation FAQ
Workers’ compensation offers financial support for those who have been injured on the job or as a result of their regular duties. At Di Lauri & Hewitt Law Group, we offer practical help for workers’ compensation issues. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the workers’ compensation process and what our clients can expect when filing for this important employment benefit.
How does workers’ compensation work?
Employers must purchase workers’ compensation insurance to provide financial support and protection for employees who are injured on the job or by conditions at their workplace that can contribute to illnesses and health issues. If an employee reports an on-the-job injury, exposure to hazardous chemicals or medical conditions related to the environment in which the employee performs duties, the workers’ compensation insurance coverage will pay for some or all lost wages, medical bills and other expenses incurred by the staff member as a result of the injury or illness.
When should I report a work-related injury or illness to my employer?
Employees should report any work-related illnesses or injuries to their employers as soon as possible. This is necessary to allow employers to report the incident or illness to their workers’ compensation insurance provider and to make sure that the employee’s expenses are covered as fully and as quickly as possible. If you have been injured on the job, reporting your injury right away can also reduce the risk of your employer questioning whether your injury occurred at or because of work.
Can I lose my job because of filing a workers’ compensation claim?
It is illegal for employers to fire employees as retaliation for filing for workers’ compensation. If an employer does terminate the employment of a worker for this reason, the company could be held liable for damages under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and under federal regulations. Seeking the assistance of a qualified New Jersey employment attorney is the best course of action if you are terminated because of filing a workers’ compensation claim.
What if my employer treats me badly because I filed a workers’ compensation claim?
Even if you do not lose your job, you may also have legal recourse if your employer treats you differently because you have been injured or have filed for workers’ compensation. Workplace harassment and discrimination against disabled individuals is also illegal in New Jersey. Working with your attorney is the best way to respond effectively to these situations.
What happens if my employer does not report my claim to their insurance company?
It is against New Jersey law for your employer to fail to report injuries and work-related illnesses to their workers’ compensation insurance carriers. If your employer refuses to report your claim to their insurer, you can legally report your claim to the insurance company yourself. Alternatively, you can work with an attorney to file your workers’ compensation claim directly with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
What does it mean if I am cleared for light duty by my doctor?
After you are examined by your doctor, you may be cleared for full duty, light duty or restricted from work altogether for a period of time. If you are approved for full duty, you can resume all aspects of your regular job without any new restrictions. Light duty clearance, however, comes with some specific restrictions that may include strict weight limits for lifting and moving, limited time spent on your feet or other accommodations that can allow you to work safely.
What happens if no light-duty positions are available with my employer?
You can usually receive temporary disability payments for the time period during which no suitable work was available for you. Your employer cannot legally require you to work in a full-duty capacity if your doctor has restricted you to light-duty tasks. If this does occur, contacting an attorney is necessary to protect your health and your legal rights.
What if I receive a settlement from a third party to compensate me for my injuries or medical conditions?
In many cases, your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company may have a claim on a portion of the settlement you receive. This can compensate them for some of the costs of covered medical bills and lost wages they provided for you during your recovery.
If you need more assistance with workers’ compensation claims, give Di Lauri & Hewitt Law Group a call today at 973-343-5736 to schedule an initial consultation with us. Our team of skilled attorneys can provide you with the right support for your claims in both New Jersey and New York. We are here to serve you.
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