New Jersey Workers’ Compensation allows for penalties for certain actions by the insurance carrier. For failing to follow the order of a Judge or failure to provide benefits under the Act, the Judge of Compensation can:
- Impose costs and simple interest on any monies due.
- An additional money penalty up to 25 percent;
- Fine the parties or their attorneys up to $5,000 for unreasonable delay or continued noncompliance;
- Close proofs;
- Suppress defenses;
- Exclude evidence or witnesses;
- Allow a reasonable counsel fee to a prevailing party, where supported by an affidavit of services.
The general rule in New Jersey allows no direct action available to an injured employee against the employer, or against the employer’s insurer, when the insurer does what is required under the Workers’ Compensation Act and the carrier’s insurance policy. Under normal circumstances, injured employees must pursue their exclusive remedies in the Division of Workers’ Compensation, even when an employer, acting through its insurer, does not furnish necessary medical treatment when requested to do so by an employee.
This “general rule” is known as the exclusivity provision and it can be found in the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act at N.J.S.A. 34:15-8.
Under the workers’ compensation statute, a separate tort action is allowed only when the employer committed an intentional wrong which requires actual intent or a “substantial certainty” that injury will occur as a result of its actions.