FAQ: I was injured at work, but didn’t report it right away. What should I do now? Can I still report my claim? Will my claim be denied?
Answer: Because I don’t know when your accident happened, I will just answer your question generally.
You should report your work accident injury to your employer as soon as possible. Pursuant to New Jersey Workers’ Compensation laws, an injured worker has to provide notice to their employer of their workplace accident and injuries within 90 days of the accident. If notice is not given within 90 days, the injured worker will not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, unless there was an extenuating circumstance per the statute.
If you are within 90 days of your workplace accident, you can still report to your employer. However, your employer may try to deny your claim if it can show that it was prejudiced in some way.
Your notice does not have to be in writing; you can verbally report it to your employer. Once you report your claim to your employer, you may receive workers’ comp benefits, such as:
- medical benefits,
- temporary total benefits,
- permanent partial benefits, and
- permanent total benefits.
The extent of your injuries will determine which benefits you qualify for. For instance, if you work in an office and slipped and fell while walking to a colleague’s office, you may have sprained your back. You report your fall accident to your employer. You have back pain and need to see a doctor. If your back injury requires medical treatment such as physical therapy but allows you to continue to work, you will only receive medical benefits. However, if your back injury prevents you from working, you will receive medical benefits and temporary wage loss or permanent total benefits. Whether you receive temporary wage loss or permanent total benefits depends on the extent of your injury and the impact your injury has on your ability to work.
It is important to note that if you receive lost wages, the amount you receive is not 100% of your wages. If you cannot work for a period of time, you may receive temporary total benefits. You will only receive 70% of your average weekly wage, not to exceed the statutory maximum rate or fall below the statutory minimum rate provided by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development. In addition, this benefit only kicks in if you cannot work for more than 7 days.
If you are permanently disabled, but can return to work, then you may receive permanent partial benefits.
If you are permanently disabled and cannot return to any type of work, then you may receive permanent total benefits.
As for the medical treatment, you cannot go to any doctor or your own doctor. A doctor appointed by your employer’s workers’ comp carrier must treat you.
Applying for workers’ comp benefits can be overwhelming and confusing for injured workers. Schedule an appointment with an experienced NJ workers’ comp lawyer.
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