How Long Does a Workers’ Comp Case Take to Settle?
After you have been injured on the job or have been diagnosed with an occupational illness, you are likely entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim. Depending on the injuries or illness you have suffered, you may decide to pursue a settlement of your workers’ comp claim. However, you may want to know how long it takes to settle a workers’ comp case and when you might expect the financial compensation you need.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?
Under New Jersey law, most employers are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage to their employees. Workers’ comp can provide financial benefits such as paying for reasonable medical expenses, providing partial replacement of lost wages, and financial payments for permanent disability.
If you are injured on the job, you must notify your employer as soon as possible, but usually no later than a couple of weeks after your injury. If you need to file a formal workers’ compensation claim with the state, you have two years from the date of your injury to file. A claim filed with the New Jersey workers’ compensation division allows you to resolve disputes over your right to benefits or the amount of benefits you receive, either by seeking an informal or formal hearing.
The Process of Pursuing a Workers’ Comp Settlement
There are several steps involved in seeking a workers’ compensation settlement:
- First, your treating provider must declare you as having reached maximum medical improvement, which is the point where no further treatment is expected to improve your condition.
- Once you have been released from medical care for a work injury or occupational illness, you will undergo a final medical exam to determine the extent of any personal disability that you have suffered
- After your disability/impairment has been ascertained, you or your workers’ comp attorney can enter settlement negotiations with your employer and its workers’ comp insurer
Workers’ Comp Settlement Options
Typically, employees in New Jersey have two options for a workers’ compensation settlement:
- Section 22 settlements: Most New Jersey workers’ comp claims are settled by a Section 22 order, which allows you to reopen your workers’ comp claim within two years of last payment if you need additional benefits for medical treatment or further disability. If you suffer a future work injury that impacts the medical condition that the Section 22 order is the subject of, your employer can receive a credit for past payments for that condition
- Section 20 settlement: In a Section 20 settlement, you receive one final, lump-sum payment, which is not considered a workers’ compensation payment. In exchange for the payment, you also waive your right to reopen your workers’ comp claim in the future. All settlements must be approved by a workers’ compensation judge.
Factors That Affect the Timeline of a Workers’ Comp Settlement
There are several factors that can affect how long it may take you to receive a workers’ compensation settlement, including:
- How long it takes you to finish treatment and reach maximum medical improvement
- Whether you or your employer dispute your impairment rating
- Which form of settlement you pursue
- Whether you and your employer can reach a settlement agreement
Contact a Freehold Personal Injury 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 personal injury 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 Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, Mercer 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.