New Jersey Workers' Compensation Lawyer Presented by Daniel Santarsiero, Esq. of the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall
New Jersey Workers' Compensation Lawyer Presented by Daniel Santarsiero, Esq. of the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall

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Worker’s compensation and total and permanent disabilities

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2022 | Firm News

As readers of this blog know, when an employee is injured at work, they will likely qualify for worker’s compensation benefits. However, what is talked about less frequently is what happens if those injuries are permanent and debilitating. This is called a permanent total disability in New Jersey.

Worker’s compensation claims

One of the key benefits to the worker’s compensation system is that the employee does not have to sue their employer. And, as a result, they do not have to prove the employer was at fault or any type of negligence to receive benefits. And, this is true for both temporary, partial and permanent disabilities. Though, since these benefits are automatic and outside the court (jury) system, these disability benefits are less generous than personal injury cases results.

Permanent total disability

A permanent total disability is also known as a total and permanent disability. As explained in Zabita v. Chatham Shop Rite, Inc., a permanent total disability is one that renders an employee unemployable after a work-related accident. And, even if one is able to work light or intermittently, this does not necessarily affect whether one has a total and permanent disability. The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation System further explains that it is a mental or physical permanent impairment, where no improvement can reasonably be expected. Though proving this can be complicated and adjudicating, the percentage of a permanent vocational disability leads many to hire a Freehold attorney.

What a permanent designation means

As New Jersey State statutes explain (34:15-12(b)), if a worker’s compensation injury qualifies as a permanent total disability, the employee will qualify for 70% of the weekly

wages received at the time of injury (subject to state maximums) for 450 weeks. At that point, the payments will stop, unless evidence is given that shows that it is impossible for the employee to obtain wages or earnings equal to those earned at the time of the accident. If the employee can provide such evidence, the payments will resume.