NJ workers are often injured at work. As a result, workers need medical treatment for their work-related injuries. Some workers may not be able to work for a period of time; some may be permanently disabled from working altogether after their work-related accidents. In situations where workers sustain work-related injuries, they are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits, which include medical benefits and disability or lost pay benefits.
This article will address disability benefits and how much injured workers may receive.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
If the injured worker is temporarily disabled, i.e., cannot work for a period of time, he may receive temporary total disability (lost pay) benefits. For example, if a delivery truck driver is injured in a car-truck accident in Mt. Laurel, NJ while making a delivery, he may be unable to drive for a period of time because he fractured his right ankle in the accident. He needs surgery and cannot use his ankle for 8 weeks. In this case, he will be eligible to receive temporary total disability benefits for the 8 weeks he is unable to work. However, the amount he receives is not 100% of his wages. Temporary disability benefits provide 70% of the worker’s gross average weekly wage, and the amount is subject to a maximum and minimum based on NJ’s average weekly wage.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
An injured worker may have a permanent partial disability after a work-related injury. For example, an industrial machinery operator loses the tip of his index finger while working on the machine. Even though he can return to work as a machine operator, he will never fully recover from the injury because he lost a part of his finger.
If he cannot work for 8 weeks after his accident, he will receive temporary total disability benefits for those 8 weeks. However, he can apply for permanent partial disability because he is partially disabled. Permanent partial disability benefits will begin after temporary total disability benefits end.
The amount of partial permanent disability benefits is based on a percentage of “scheduled” or “nonscheduled” losses according to a chart provided by the NJ Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
If an injured worker is unable to return to any type of work due to his work-related injury, he is eligible to receive permanent total disability benefits. Like temporary total disability benefits, the amount an injured worker receives is 70% of the worker’s (gross) average weekly wage. However, the disability payments are available for life.
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