New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits are governed under N.J.S.A. 34:15 et seq. There are three benefits you are entitled to when you get hurt at work in New Jersey: payment of medical bills, payment of temporary disability benefits or wage replacement and payment of an award of permanent disability. I will address each of these in a series of blogs.
This blog will focus on the benefit known as permanent partial disability. After medical treatment has been provided and the authorized doctor tells you there is nothing more he can do, you may be entitled to a monetary award even if you have returned to work full duty (see prior blogs). This benefit is payable if the injury has a permanent impact on your life.
Permanent disability in New Jersey workers’ compensation does not necessarily mean that you cannot ever work again, it just means that your injury still impacts your daily or working life in some capacity. To assess the nature and extent of any permanent disability, both sides obtain evaluations with doctors you have never seen before. These doctors will review your medical records, do a physical exam and write a report with their findings and medical opinions. We know that the doctors estimates of disability will vary, but the numbers give the judge and attorneys a starting ground to determine the percentage of disability you will be entitled.
There are no pain and suffering damages in New Jersey workers’ compensation. Rather, there is a schedule of benefits that determines the amount of money you will receive for a particular injury. If there is a settlement, you will go before the judge requesting the judge’s approval. If not, there will be a trial after which the judge will issue a decision as to the permanent disability. Either way, the benefits are payable pursuant to the scheduled of benefits. If you have questions about your rights, you should seek legal counsel.
At Stark & Stark, our experienced attorneys and legal staff can help you understand your rights. Please call us to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.