If you suffer a catastrophic injury while working, your whole life will change. Under the workers’ compensation laws in New Jersey, the insurance carrier can be required to provide long term care benefits. The only requirement is that the benefits are necessary and the cost is reasonable. Our firm represents the needs of clients who have suffered life altering injuries such as  paralysis, the loss of a limb, or a significant traumatic brain injury.

In New Jersey, workers’ compensation carriers are required to provide a wide range of long term benefits to injured workers. Insurance carriers are required to provide treatment that is “necessary to cure and relieve,” the only requirement is that the costs be reasonable. If you are unable to walk, you will need significant modifications to your home, such as a handicapped accessible bathroom, kitchen with modified countertops and appliances and doorways that can accommodate a wheelchair. In addition, you may require a ramp or elevator just to access your house. These types of improvements are costly, and insurance carriers don’t always voluntarily want to foot the bill.      

Carriers will resist expensive improvements to a home, such as an addition; however, the laws regarding these types of benefits favor the injured worker. In one case, I represented a man who was paralyzed from the waist down after a fall from a roof. The attorney for the insurance carrier declared to me, “We are not buying your client a house,” as he did not have a home of his own – now, after the insurance carrier had to pay the client’s rent every month four years, the carrier is much more willing to buy a house rather than make rent payments for life.   

Any recommendations needs to come from your treating physician initially and a long term care evaluation will also help to determine your current and future needs. This will often involve an evaluation of your home by a specialist to determine what changes are necessary in the short and long term.     

Our office has obtained these types of benefits for current and past clients and has the experience needed to represent workers’ who have suffered catastrophic injuries. In addition to out of work benefits, medical treatment and a permanent disability award, those who suffer significant injuries will need long term care and accommodations. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Stark & Stark have obtained benefits such as monthly rent and utility payments for a client who lost the use of his legs, home modifications for wheelchair bound clients and handicapped accessible vehicles. If you require permanent long term assistance as the result of a catastrophic injury at work, our attorneys have the experience necessary to obtain these benefits.

James Creegan is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark’s Lawrenceville, New Jersey office concentrating his practice in Workers’ Compensation law. For questions, or to schedule a free consultaiton with Mr. Creegan, please contact him at: jcreegan@stark-stark.com.