The state you live in determines the process to apply and qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. If you’re injured in a workplace accident or have an occupational illness, you may qualify for workers’ compensation. Below, we’ll outline the steps to apply for New Jersey workers’ compensation payments. In addition, our interactive chart shows how the state’s program numbers changed from 2015-2019.
Which Employees Automatically Have New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
State law requires New Jersey workers’ compensation insurance for all employers, including LLCs. This includes all full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers. However, New Jersey workers’ compensation law specifically excludes these employees from automatic coverage:
- Independent contractors
- Federal workers (i.e., seamen, maritime, railroad and postal workers covered under the federal government’s policy)
- Sole proprietors that have no other employees
- Unpaid interns
- Unpaid volunteers
Does New Jersey Pay Benefits for Contracting Covid-19 At Work?
In September 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed Senate Bill 2380 into law. This new law presumes eligible first responders and essential employees with Covid-19 likely qualify for New Jersey workers’ compensation. This rule 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)
Basically, if you cannot work at home and must interact with the public to do your job, you’re likely eligible. To deny you workers’ comp for Covid-19, your employer must prove you contracted the disease outside of work.
How to Apply for New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Follow these steps to apply for New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits:
- Notify your supervisor immediately after you’re hurt in a workplace accident. If you have an occupational illness or repetitive stress injury, tell your supervisor within 90 days after your doctor diagnoses it.
- Ask your employer which doctor(s) you can see for medical treatment. If you need emergency medical care, go to the nearest hospital or clinic first! But seeing your own doctor without employer authorization means you must pay those medical bills.
- If approved, your employer’s insurance provider must pay your benefits within 21 days of your accident date. This automatically includes all work-related medical bills after seeing an employer-approved provider.
- You must miss seven calendar days from work before qualifying for lost-wage benefits. This required waiting period for lost-wage payments can include weekends and holidays. These benefits typically pay 70% of your work wages prior to your workplace injury.
- Claim denied? File either a Claim Petition or Application for an Informal Hearing to appeal that decision. You must resolve any issues with your employer’s insurer before the two-year statute of limitations expires on your claim.
Every New Jersey workers’ compensation claim is different, so your own experience may vary. For more information, read the Worker’s Guide to Workers’ Compensation in New Jersey brochure.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Statistics, 2015-2019
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issues an annual report highlighting workers’ comp program data from most states. It shows total claims, how many employees missed work or received job restrictions, and claim data for each job sector. Explore our interactive chart below showing how the New Jersey workers’ compensation program changed from 2015-2019:
Some interesting things to note in this chart include:
- Total claims fell 6% from 2018-2019
- Service-industry claims fell 6% during that same period
- 3.7% drop in claims from employees that missed work or received job restrictions during that timeframe
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
New Jersey workers’ compensation law says your employer must choose your doctor. The only way to pick your own doctor is if your employer refuses to provide medical treatment. In addition, all workers’ comp courts remain closed to the public due to the ongoing pandemic. That means you’ll have to appeal any disputes over the phone or during video hearings. How many people genuinely need a workers’ compensation attorney in New Jersey to secure benefits? According to the state’s own appeal statistics, about 1 in 4 (24%). Here’s a good example of when you need a lawyer: Did your employer drug-test you after your accident? If so, then you may have the right to sue for invasion of privacy
Think you can’t afford a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney? State law forbids any lawyer from charging a fee until after your employer pays you a cash settlement. And if you do win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.