What are my options if my workers’ compensation claim is denied?
If you are injured at work, this can affect more than just your physical health — it could impact your financial well-being too, especially as medical bills mount and you are unable to work to earn a paycheck. For this reason, New Jersey law provides for workers’ compensation benefits to qualifying individuals to cover their medical care and financial needs in the event of a workplace injury or illness.
However, in order to qualify for benefits, your application for benefits must be approved. Sometimes a workers’ compensation claim is disputed by your employer or the insurance carrier. If this happens, a worker could file for an informal hearing or a formal claim petition.
When there is a dispute about whether to award a person workers’ compensation benefits, the worker or their employer or insurance carrier can apply for an informal hearing. This type of hearing serve as a way for the parties to come to a resolution without having to litigate the matter. They are overseen by a judge of compensation. The judge’s decision, however, is not binding. Therefore, either party can still formally file a claim petition as long as they do so within the statutory time period.
Formal claim petitions
An alternative to informal hearings are the filing of a formal claim petition with the Division of Workers’ Compensation, as long as they do so within the statutory time period. In general, a worker will have a hearing within six months from the date they filed the formal claim petition. Most claim petitions end up being settled between the parties without going through the entire trial process. If a settlement is not possible, a trial will be held, at the end of which the judge will issue a binding decision. If the judge’s decision is not favorable, the worker then can appeal to the Appellate Division of Superior Court.
You can have representation in a workers’ compensation dispute
If you find yourself facing a workers’ compensation dispute, you have the right to seek legal representation. Doing so can help you make informed decisions that are in your best interests moving forward. Workers’ compensation attorneys in the Freehold area may be a useful resource in such situations.