The focus of a person who suffers a work-related injury or illness should be obtaining any medical treatment necessary to help the person recover from his or her harm. Although New Jersey’s workers’ compensation law explicitly grants injured workers the right to medical treatment, the process of proving what constitutes necessary treatment and obtaining this treatment can be complicated. If you sustained an injury or illness that arose out of your employment, you should speak to an attorney regarding the medical treatment that you may be eligible to receive. The New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are proficient at aiding employees who suffered work-related harm in seeking the medical treatment that they need. We represent people in workers’ compensation claims throughout New Jersey.The Right to Medical Treatment Under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law
Any person who is eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits under New Jersey law has the right to medical treatment. To be eligible to receive benefits, a person must be an employee and must be suffering from an injury or illness sustained in the course and scope of his or her employment. In other words, independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, nor are people who are unable to work due to a non-work-related injury or illness.
Once an employee has established his or her eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits and filed a workers’ compensation claim, the employer must provide the employee with any medical treatment that is reasonable and necessary, including prescriptions and hospitalizations. The employer bears the sole responsibility for the cost of any necessary treatment. The law does not define what constitutes necessary or reasonable treatment, however, and in cases in which the necessity of a treatment is disputed, a workers’ compensation judge may be required to determine whether the requested treatment falls within the parameters of required medical treatment.
While employees who suffer a work-related illness or injury have the right to medical treatment, they generally do not have the right to choose their treatment providers. Instead, that right initially rests with the employer. In cases in which an employer refuses to provide treatment, though, the employee may obtain such treatment independently, and if the treatment is deemed necessary, the employer will need to pay for the treatment. The employee must ask the employer to provide the treatment, and the employer must decline to do so before the employer will be liable for the payment.
In some instances, an employee may be compelled to undergo certain treatment, even if he or she does not want the treatment, or he or she may suffer a reduction of workers’ compensation benefits. Specifically, New Jersey’s workers’ compensation law states that if an employer will be prejudiced by an injured employee’s refusal to accept necessary medical treatment, the employer can file a petition with the workers’ compensation bureau, which has the authority to order the employee to undergo the care. If the employee refuses to comply with the bureau’s order, the bureau will modify the employee’s workers’ compensation award. An example of a refusal that might prejudice an employer is an employee’s refusal to undergo physical therapy that would allow the employee to regain full range of motion and return to work in a full capacity.Speak with an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you need medical care due to an illness or injury that you sustained while you were engaged in the course and scope of your job duties, it is in your best interest to speak with an attorney regarding your treatment options and how they will be covered. At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we are committed to helping injured and sick employees seek necessary medical treatment. We represent individuals in workers’ compensation claims in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, and Union Counties, as well as other areas of New Jersey. You can contact us at (800) 999-0897 or via the form online to set up a meeting.