People who earn their living as firefighters face certain inherent dangers. Common firefighter injuries include smoke inhalation, burns, and back injuries from heavy lifting. These and other injuries incurred during the course and scope of work as a firefighter are usually compensable under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws. The injured employee, however, has certain obligations during the process of seeking benefits such as medical care, temporary disability benefits, or payment for a permanent disability. If these obligations are not met, his or her claim may be in jeopardy. If you or a loved one works as a firefighter and has been injured on the job, the New Jersey firefighter injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are here to help with your claim.
The first step in any workers’ compensation case is for the injured worker to give notice of his or her injury to the employer (preferably to a supervisor or someone in the personnel office). Even if the injury or accident seems obvious, it is still important to have this conversation to make sure that the employer files a report of the injury with its insurance carrier and the appropriate state officials. Most workers’ compensation claims are handled primarily by the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier after the initial notice of injury, but some cities, counties, and municipalities are self-insured, so this process may be slightly different for firefighters and other public employees than for people who work for private corporations, limited liability companies, or sole proprietorships.The Process of Seeking Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Once it has been notified of a work-related injury or illness, the employer has an obligation to provide reasonable and necessary medical treatment for the employee’s injuries at its expense. The employee is not responsible for payment of his or her work-related medical expenses as long as he or she sees an authorized physician. If an injury is severe enough that the firefighter cannot work temporarily, a firefighter injury attorney in New Jersey can help the victim pursue temporary total disability benefits. Typically, temporary disability benefits replace part, but not all, of an injured employee’s lost wages while he or she is recuperating from a work-related accident or illness. Temporary disability benefits are subject to a minimum and maximum that is set by the State and adjusted annually. Generally speaking, temporary disability benefits end when the employee reaches a point of maximum medical improvement.
If an injured firefighter is assigned a permanent physical impairment rating by his or her treating physician, he or she may be entitled to pursue permanent disability benefits. If the firefighter is not expected to return to meaningful employment in the future due to his or her injuries, a permanent total disability claim may be in order; otherwise, the worker will seek permanent partial disability benefits. These payments are made over a number of weeks and are intended to compensate the firefighter for any vocational disability caused by the work accident. Our New Jersey firefighter injury attorneys can help a firefighter pursue the full amount of benefits that is due. The amount of permanent disability compensation that a worker receives depends upon whether his or her injury is a “scheduled” or “nonscheduled” loss, the employee’s average weekly wage before the injury, and other factors. If a firefighter is killed in the line of duty, his or her spouse and any dependents may be able to seek death benefits, including weekly benefit payments for a period of time and funeral expenses up to a maximum amount set by state law.Talk to a Lawyer About Your Firefighter Injury Claim
Having a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney assisting you with your claim is important. There are many special laws and regulations when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. There may also be related claims (such as a negligence lawsuit against a third party) that, if not promptly pursued, may be deemed waived. At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our workers’ compensation lawyers are here to help you vigorously pursue your claim. Call us at (800) 999-0897 or contact us online to set up a free, no-obligation consultation with a firefighter injury lawyer in New Jersey. We represent people in Freehold, New Brunswick, Toms River, Jersey City, Plainfield, Trenton, Newark, Paterson, and the surrounding areas of Monmouth, Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, Union, Mercer, Essex, and Passaic Counties.