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Court Discusses Reconstruction of Wages in Workers' Compensation Cases


Employees who suffer injuries at work are often unable to work due to their injuries. Thus, in addition to recovering medical treatment benefits, many injured employees are able to recover workers’ compensation benefits for lost wages. In some cases, however, a compensation judge will incorrectly calculate the wage benefits an employee should be awarded. Thus, an employee will have to file a motion for reconsideration, asking for a new assessment of the benefits owed. In a recent case, a New Jersey court discussed what an employee asking for a reconsideration of a benefits award must demonstrate to be granted an amendment. If you were granted a workers’ compensation benefits award that you believe may be inadequate, it is critical to speak to a capable New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney regarding your options.

Facts Regarding the Benefits Award

It is reported that the employee sustained a work-related injury while working for a department store. She filed a workers’ compensation claim, which ultimately resulted in a settlement that found that the employee had a twenty-five percent partial disability and stipulated the weekly wages she was to receive, as well as her permanency rate.  In August 2016, a workers’ compensation judge entered an order approving the settlement.

Allegedly, in December 2016, after obtaining a new attorney, the employee filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that her wages were improperly calculated when the order was entered. In support of her motion, the employee submitted wage statements demonstrating wages that were higher than those contemplated by the order. Additionally, she argued that she was entitled to a wage reconstruction as her benefits should have been calculated based on full-time wages because she suffered a permanent injury and could no longer work full time. The court granted the employee’s motion as to the wage reconstruction issue and modified the prior order. Then the employer appealed, arguing a reconstruction was not warranted.

Reconstruction of Wages under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act

Pursuant to the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law, a wage reconstruction for calculations of wages are permitted to determine benefits for partial permanent disabilities. Reconstruction is a two-part process that requires a judge to first determine whether the employee worked less than the normal number of days that constitute an ordinary week in the type of work involved when the injury was sustained. Then the judge must consider whether the employee’s disability represents a loss of earning capacity or has a detrimental impact on probable future earnings. In other words, the court must assess whether the employee demonstrated that the injuries that disabled the employee from engaging in part-time employment further disabled the employee form engaging in full-time employment as well. In the subject case, the court found that the employee adequately demonstrated her right to reconstruction. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Speak to a Diligent New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you received an award of workers’ compensation wage benefits that do not accurately reflect your pre-injury wages, you may be able to obtain a restructured award and should speak to an attorney. The diligent New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can assist you in obtaining an accurate calculation of benefits and seek a modification of any inaccurate calculations, in hopes of helping you recover the full amount of benefits you may be owed. You can reach us at (934) 200-5372 or via our online form to schedule a meeting.