I live and work in Pennsylvania, but I got hurt in New Jersey.  Which state should be providing me with my workers’ compensation benefits?  Workers’ compensation benefits are state specific.   Pennsylvania is a wage loss state and New Jersey is a disability based state.  Therefore, the benefits you are entitled on one side of the Delaware River are much different than the other side.  In Pennsylvania, if you return to your regular job after a work injury, there is no additional benefit payable.  However, in New Jersey, whether you return to work or not, if the injury has a permanent impact on your daily or working life, you are entitled to an award of permanent disability.  Benefits are payable in accordance with a schedule of benefits. 

New Jersey has original jurisdiction over injuries:  1. occurring in New Jersey, 2. where the contract of hire was in New Jersey or 3. when the employee lives in New Jersey and the employment has some contacts with New Jersey.  In the scenario from above, the injured worker has a choice of jurisdictions and is well within her rights to file her claim in whichever state will benefit her most.  For example, she may obtain medical treatment and temporary disability payments in Pennsylvania, but then choose to invoke the jurisdiction of New Jersey for permanent disability benefits.  This rule applies even if the employer or their workers’ compensation insurance carrier has already initiated payment of benefits in their home state. Employees of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission and the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey are particularly venerable to this issue and should always consult an attorney before determining where to file their claim. 

If you find yourself in a similar situation, we suggest that you to contact an attorney to help you determine which states’ laws are most beneficial to you.  At Stark & Stark we have attorneys that practice in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Please call us today to schedule your free, confidential consultation.