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Alfred P. Vitarelli is a Shareholder and member of Stark & Stark’s Workers’ Compensation Group where he focuses his practice primarily on Workers’ Compensation litigation. Mr. Vitarelli has practiced Worker’s Compensation law throughout New Jersey since 1981.

In New Jersey, an employer is not required to provide vocational rehabilitation to an injured worker who is no longer able to perform his or her former job. While this is a benefit in many other States, such a benefit is not available in New Jersey. This is often quite upsetting to workers who find themselves out of work due to a work related injury and who lack the skills to perform other work. While unemployment might be available for a period of time, this is not a permanent solution.
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Under section 12.7 of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act an employer is responsible for prosthetic devices, hearing aids, artificial members, dental appliances and eyeglasses. The employer’s responsibility is to repair or replace the damaged articles, or to pay the cost or value of the damaged articles. This is in addition to payments of compensation for the injuries sustained in the accident. Of course every case is unique, and an employer may not always make prompt payment.
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People often are confused by the difference between Social Security and Workers’ Compensation when it comes to their ability to work while receiving benefits. The Social Security Administration provides for a nine month trial work period, and after that trial period there are additional provisions allowing recipients to work. There are restrictions, however, and anyone receiving SSD and considering working should consult the Social Security Administration for their exact rules and limitations before beginning work, or consult a Social Security attorney.
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Injured workers who are awarded partial permanent disability benefits, and their surviving dependents who receive dependency benefits often ask why they must receive the payments in weekly installments and not in a lump sum. The answer is the Worker’s Compensation Statute requires that these payments be paid periodically and not in one lump sum. The basic theory behind this is that the payments are in lieu of wages, and are to be received by the injured employee or his/her dependents in the same manner in which wages are ordinarily paid.
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In New Jersey most accidents which occur while an employee is commuting to or from work are not considered to be work related (compensable) and are therefore not covered by the Worker’s Compensation Act. This is generally known as the “Going and Coming Rule.” This rule generally holds that employment doesn’t begin until an employee arrives on the premises of his or her employer and ends when the employee leaves the premises. Accidents which occur between home and the place of employment are not compensable.
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