If you have been injured at work, it is very difficult to give away your right to benefits. Employees will often be asked to sign away certain rights when leaving a company or in exchange for added benefits. Your right to Workers’ Compensation benefits is not one that you can give up in these situations. The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Statute states that only the Division of Workers’ Compensation, through its Judges, can close out a workers’ compensation claim. This means, even if you sign an agreement to drop a claim, it is unenforceable unless approved by a Judge of the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
There are very limited situations in which employees can give up their rights, and these have to be negotiated before an injury occurs so that adequate protections are in place. This typically involves a large group of specific workers, who negotiate alternate benefits with an employer, and it has to be approved by the Division of Workers’ Compensation ahead of time.
This means that if you are terminated or subject to disciplinary action, your employer cannot force you to drop a workers’ compensation claim in exchange for severance or dropping the disciplinary charges. This doesn’t mean they won’t ask. To adequately protect your rights, you should always consult with a certified Workers’ Compensation attorney when you have been hurt at work.