Workers’ Compensation law in Middlesex County, NJ is carried out in the district office located in New Brunswick. The New Brunswick office is staffed by the supervising judge Ashley Hutchinson and three additional judges, Robert Thuring, Dana Wilt Mayo, and Gerald Massell.
In this court and other workers’ compensation courts in New Jersey, workers’ compensation cases are based on a cycle that is a three week period of time. During a normal three-week period of time that does not have any holidays, there will be 15 Monday through Friday individual workdays. Those cycles are referenced as Week One, days one through five, Week Two, days one through five, and Week Three, days one through five. Once a particular workers’ compensation case is assigned to a particular day, that case will remain on that particular day unless changed by the court. For instance, if there is a case that is scheduled to be heard on Friday, June 1, 2018, the next time that case can be listed would be Friday, June 22, 2018. Nothing court-related will be done in the interval time between June 1 and June 22. This is different than the courts that handle criminal cases, family law cases, or personal injury cases in the State of New Jersey. Instead, workers’ compensation cases are handled in the piecemeal fashion. A small part of the case may get handled at one particular listing, and then the balance of that case will be addressed the next time that particular case is listed. Trials are handled in the same fashion. There are no continual trials in workers’ compensation court. Instead, one witness will testify on one day, and then subsequent witnesses will testify in one, or two, or three cycles afterwards. Once that procedure is done and all of the witnesses have testified, the other side (the insurance company) then has the same right to call witnesses in the same fashion. Once all of the evidence has been submitted through witness testimony the judge will make a determination regarding what amount of compensation, if any, a particular injured worked is entitled to receive.How a Workers’ Comp Case is Resolved
Even before the two sides can execute a workers’ compensation settlement, the workers’ compensation judge needs to make sure that the proposed settlement is fair. That is if different than the normal personal injury settlement which takes place outside of the workers’ compensation system in that there is no one outside the workers’ compensation system that will review that facts and medical evidence of a particular case to determine whether or not the outcome is fair to both the injured worker and to the employer. In workers’ compensation court, a judge has to make a specific finding that he or she has reviewed the medical evidence in a particular case and believes that the resolution proposed by both the injured worker and the insurance company is fair and is reasonable. Finally, before a judge approves a settlement he or she has to make sure that the injured worker understands that even if the settlement is approved that that injured worker has certain additional rights which remain. These additional rights are referenced as re-opener rights. These rights provide that the injured worker, even after a settlement is approved, can come back to the court for a limited period of time if he or she needs additional medical care or if his or her disability has increased, thus enabling them for a higher award of permanent disability. In any case, it is crucial to hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney such as Daniel Santarsiero to navigate the waters of the unique workers’ compensation court.