Important: We updated this article in August 2023; all the information below is current and correct. If you were hurt or got sick on the job in the Garden State, here’s the information you need to get the New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to.
Who Gets New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
State law requires all employers (including LLCs) to carry New Jersey workers’ compensation insurance. This includes all full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers. These employees are not covered, however:
- Independent contractors
- Federal workers (including seamen, maritime, railroad and postal workers covered under the federal government’s policy)
- Sole proprietors with no other employees
- Unpaid interns and volunteers
Does New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Cover Covid-19?
Eligible first responders and essential employees with Covid-19 who cannot work at home and must interact with the public likely qualify for workers’ comp under state law. This ruling is retroactive to March 9, 2020, and covers the following workers only:
- All public safety and first-responder workers, including fire, police or other emergency response employees.
- Medical providers or other healthcare service workers, including emergency transportation, social services, residential facilities, and in-home nurses/care providers.
- People who work in essential, public-facing jobs (i.e., grocery, pharmacy, restaurant, gas station, convenience store, and construction workers; store clerks, cashiers, and medical supply store workers; and childcare providers for other essential workers).
Pro Tip: To deny you workers’ comp for Covid-19, your employer must prove you contracted the disease outside of work.
Should I Hire a New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
You may want to work with a lawyer if you:
- Have any pre-existing health conditions.
- Are tested for drug or alcohol use after your accident (you may have the right to sue for invasion of privacy).
How Does the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Claims Process Work?
Pro Tip: See a nurse or doctor immediately if you need emergency or urgent care. Tell them your case is work-related, provide your employer’s name, and keep all receipts and bills.
Every case is different, so your specific experience may vary. The claims process usually works like this:
1. Notify your supervisor immediately after your workplace injury or illness.
You must report a workplace injury or work-related disease or illness within 90 days or risk losing your right to New Jersey workers’ compensation. Describe the accident or cause, including the time, date, place, other details, and any witnesses who saw it happen.
2. Ask your employer for the name of a doctor to treat you and get care.
If you see your own doctor for ongoing care without employer authorization, then you must pay those medical bills. If approved, your employer’s insurance provider must pay your benefits within 21 days of your accident date or injury. This automatically includes all work-related medical bills after seeing an employer-approved provider.
3. Verify time off to recover.
You must miss seven calendar days of work (including nights and weekends) in order to qualify for lost-wage benefits. These benefits typically pay 70% of your work wages before your illness or injury. In 2023, the most you can get in wage-loss benefits is $1,099 weekly.
Pro Tip: Your first week off work remains unpaid until after a physician orders you to miss 28 days.
4. Take action if you’re denied.
Don’t take no for an answer. You can file a Claim Petition or Application for an Informal Hearing to appeal. You must resolve any issues with your employer’s insurer before the two-year statute of limitations expires on your claim.
Pro Tip: Consider working with a lawyer. According to the state’s own appeal statistics, about 1 person in 4 (24%) needs the services of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to get the benefits they deserve.
Check out the Worker’s Guide to Workers’ Compensation in New Jersey.
What Else Should I Know About New Jersey Workers’ Compensation?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics analyzes workers’ comp data on most U.S. states and territories. The total number of recordable cases in the Garden State dropped from 95,300 in 2018 to a low of 89,500 in 2020 and has yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels.
The number of claims reported in the service sector and The total number of employees missing work, transferring jobs, or receiving restrictions also dropped in 2019 before rebounding sharply to well above historic levels in 2020. Both figures have begun declining back toward historic levels.
Can I Get Free Legal Help With My New Jersey Workers’ Comp Claim?
When dealing with a work-related illness or injury, navigating the New Jersey workers’ compensation system can make the discomfort and frustration even worse.
A skilled attorney can help you get maximum benefits faster. They’ll do a free, confidential claim evaluation. Once they take your case, they can negotiate with insurers, gather medical evidence to support your claim and represent you at hearings.
If you don’t win a cash settlement, then you pay your lawyer $0. But if your case is successful, you pay only a reasonable, one-time fee.
Ready to see if you qualify? Click the button below to sign up for a free phone call during regular weekday business hours:
Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter/X: @word_factory LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.