How Ocean County Workers’ Comp Cases Are Administered
Each county in New Jersey hears workers’ compensation claims in specified workers’ compensation courts, with a few exceptions (Cape May and Cumberland counties share a district office that is located in Bridgeton, for instance). In Ocean County, the workers’ compensation court is located in Toms River. There are multiple judges who are in this court on a day in/day out basis. The supervisory judge in Toms River is Carmine Taglialatella and the other judges who have the same jurisdictional authority as him are Russell Cherkos, James Robertson, and James Arsenault.
Ocean County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
The day to day operations of the workers’ compensation courts in New Jersey and the cases that are listed before a particular judge at a particular district office are grouped together by the workers’ compensation insurance carriers. Each employer in New Jersey is required to have workers’ compensation insurance. There is a small fraternity of insurance companies that are authorized to write workers’ compensation insurance in the state. Employers therefore will oftentimes have only one insurance company, but that insurance company may have anywhere from 50 or less to 500 or more different employers that they insure for any particular time period. Cases will then be grouped together by which particular attorney is handling the particular insurance company’s list before a particular judge. For instance, a Monday in Toms River is dedicated to NJM, or New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company, so the cases that are part of that Monday’s list in Toms River would be all cases in which employers are insured by NJM. Normally, each day there are two insurance companies that handle all of the cases being heard by a particular judge. For example, on an “NJM day” in Toms River there will also be an attorney for Travelers present who will be administering the cases that day. Each insurance company hires a particular lawyer or lawyers to handle the cases that are listed that particular day. Some of the insurers have house counsel which means the lawyers who handle those claims are actually employed by that particular insurance company. Other insurance companies will hire private firms to handle the cases that they have at a particular district office.
Filing An Ocean County Workers’ Comp Claim
Workers’ compensation cases begin with the filing of a claim petition that is signed by the injured worker and notarized by a Notary Public in the State of New Jersey. There is no filing fee associated with the filing of a claim petition. That claim petition is electronically filed, sent to the main office in Trenton, New Jersey, and assigned to a local district office depending on where the injured worker lives, which as we mentioned in this instance would be Toms River for Ocean County. The claim petition is then also served upon the particular employer listed on the claim petition. That employer is then responsible for sending that particular claim petition to the workers’ compensation insurance company who insured that employer on the date of injury. The workers’ compensation insurance company will then assign counsel and that attorney will then file an answer in the workers’ compensation court. At that point in time, the case is ready to be listed for a hearing. Many times cases that are listed for hearing can be postponed while a worker is receiving the benefits that he or she is entitled to receive, such as medical treatment or wage replacement benefits. Sometimes, there would be an occasion where the workers’ compensation insurance company or the employer is not treating the injured worker fairly. For instance, they may have improperly suspended the worker’s wage replacement benefits or they may not be providing the proper care required for the injured worker’s medical condition. During those times, a motion can be filed by the injured worker’s attorney to present that case to a judge so a judge can make a determination regarding the amount and kind of medical care that’s required and whether or not that particular injured worker is entitled to continuing wage replacement benefits.
There is always a hearing that needs to take place before any settlement is approved in workers’ compensation court. During the course of that hearing the judge needs to make sure of certain factors. The first factor is the judge needs to make sure that the injured worker is aware of the fact that they do not have to settle their particular case and instead that they have the right to have a trial, have the right to present witnesses, and have a right to present other documentary evidence for the court to consider. At the end of any such trial the judge would make a determination. When the judge is determining whether or not to approve a settlement, he or she must make sure that the injured worker realizes that they have the right to a trial and, just as importantly, realizes that if a settlement is approved by the court that that injured worker would be giving up his or her right to have a trial. The judge also would want to make sure that if the injured worker is giving up his right to trial and wishes for the judge to approve a settlement, that he or she is doing so due to his or her own free will. In other words, no one can be coerced into settling a case or giving up his or her right to have a trial. To be sure that your full rights and best interests are protected in your workers’ compensation case, contact the attorneys at Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall to expertly guide you through the process.