Are You Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If you are injured on the job or develop an occupational illness, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits, which can help pay for medical treatments and provide you partial replacement of lost wages. Workers’ comp benefits are paid without regard to fault for your work injury or occupational illness; in exchange, you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer (with limited exception).
Basic Eligibility Requirements for Workers’ Comp
Workers’ compensation benefits are available when:
- You are an employee
- You suffer an injury or illness in the course and scope of your employment
- You meet the deadlines for reporting and filing your workers’ comp claim.
Employer Obligations to Provide Workers’ Compensation
Most employers in New Jersey are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage to their employees. When an employer is required to offer workers’ comp coverage, they typically meet this requirement by purchasing workers’ compensation insurance from a private insurance company. Larger employers may have the option of self-insuring for workers’ compensation purposes. Employers who are not required to provide workers’ comp coverage (usually, when the employer’s owners are the only individuals working on the business) may still obtain insurance if they wish. Employers who fail to provide workers’ comp coverage when required to do so may be subject to fines and penalties. Injured workers of uninsured employers are still able to obtain workers’ comp benefits from a state-administered fund.
Who Qualifies as an “Employee?”
Only workers who are properly classified as employees may file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. This excludes other categories of workers like independent contractors, freelancers, gig workers, or consultants. In addition, volunteers and anyone who does not work for compensation or remuneration may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
However, the employer’s classification of a worker is not necessarily determinative of whether a worker can obtain workers’ comp benefits. Some employers choose to misclassify workers to avoid having to provide workers’ comp or pay payroll taxes. A worker who is not properly classified as an employee under New Jersey law may still be able to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
When is an Injury or Illness Work-Related?
An injury or illness may be deemed as having arisen in the course and scope of your employment if you suffered the injury or illness while doing something that benefits your employer. If you are performing your official job duties or even traveling somewhere at the direction of your employer, your injury will likely qualify as work-related. Injuries or illnesses that arise while you are on a meal break or at a company-sponsored social event sometimes will also entitle you to workers’ comp benefits.
Workers Excluded from New Jersey’s Workers’ Comp System
Certain workers are exempt from coverage under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system, including sole proprietors, partners of a partnership, and LLC members, although employers can opt to provide coverage to such workers. In addition, workers in several industries are not covered by the New Jersey workers’ comp system but instead are subject to federal workers’ compensation law, including federal government employees, seamen, longshoremen/harbor workers, and railroad workers.
Contact a Freehold Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your Workplace Injury Case in New Jersey
Were you or a loved one injured due to a workplace accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive workers’ comp attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at New Jersey Workers Compensation Lawyer represent clients injured in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Passaic County, and throughout New Jersey. Call 866-916-3549 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 82 Court St., Freehold, NJ 07728, as well as offices in Toms River and New Brunswick.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.