How quickly should I file a workers’ compensation claim after a work related injury?

Providing not only legal representation but also wise advise in Work-Related Injury Issues across New Jersey with offices in Trenton NJ

How quickly should I file a workers' compensation claim after a work related injury?Accidents happen, and sometimes, injuries happen when they do. When injury-causing accidents happen on the job, it’s possible that an employee can collect workers’ compensation benefits for medical expenses incurred, time in which the employee is unable to work, and even temporary or permanent disability. However, in order for this to be a possibility, the employee must file a workers’ compensation claim in a timely fashion. Failure to do so could erase all chances of receiving any financial support for your injury.

According to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, workers’ compensation benefits cover medical treatment, coverage for lost wages due to injury, temporary and permanent disability payments, and death benefits to family in the case of death.

What are an employer’s responsibilities after a workers’ compensation claim is filed?

When an employee accident is reported, the employer notifies their insurance carrier, who files a First Report of Injury with the state of New Jersey. The insurance carrier will be the one to determine whether the claim is compensable under workers’ compensation law by contacting the employee and medical provider and conducting an assessment of the accident and injury. If the claim is accepted, the employer’s insurance carrier will guide the employee to insurance-accepted medical providers for further treatment and provide immediate temporary disability benefits payment if the length of time away from work is more than seven days.

What happens if I fail to report the accident to the employer and file a workers’ compensation claim?

When an employee does not file a workers’ compensation claim soon after an injury incurred on the job, their employer can use this delay in their own defense in court. If a claim is not filed within 60 days of the injury, the likelihood of a rejected claim increases substantially. In New Jersey, the notice of claim statute is worded in such a way that an employer rarely wins a defense based on the lag in notice, but it is certainly possible.

N.J.S.A. 34:15-17 states that an employee is required to report an injury sustained on the job to their employer within 14 days. Until a report is filed, the employer bears no obligation to consider compensation. If the employee files the claim after the mandated 14 days but before 30 days, the employee can still win a workers’ compensation claim if the employer cannot prove “prejudice,” or that it was placed at a disadvantage due to the late reporting. Strikingly, the case has been that an employee has won a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey even filing after the expiration time of 30 days, as late as 90 days after the original injury.

The 90 Day Notice Rule in NJ Workers' Comp ClaimsThe 90 Day Notice Rule in NJ Workers’ Comp Claims

An employer in New Jersey has one solid legal support for stating defense in workers’ compensation court after a delayed claim is filed. This is the 90-day notice rule, which is clear and final in the state of New Jersey. Because of an absence in the statute of a definition of “prejudice,” an employer cannot count on a claim of “prejudice” as a solid defense. Understandably, many businesses and employers would consider a 90-day time frame for filing an injury report and workers’ compensation claim an unreasonable and unfair limit, given that it is very difficult to investigate an injury claim so far after the accident and formulate any defense. Nevertheless, New Jersey law leans on the side of employees in this regard. Regardless of the state statute’s lean towards employees in the time given to file a claim, an employee is advised to file a claim soon after the accident because the further from the accident the claim is filed, the more likely an employer will be to be able to dispute that an injury at the worksite occurred. Most human resources departments advise employees to file a workers’ compensation claim within one workday of the accident.

Contact Our Mercer County Workers Compensation Attorney Today

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, our team of attorneys are experienced in supporting employees who have been injured on the job in Trenton office, Princeton, Lawrence, Hamilton, New Brunswick and across Mercer County, making sure that they receive the workers’ compensation benefits they are entitled to and serving as a point of contact for the employers’ insurance carrier through every step of the process.

To connect with our firm today in a comprehensive assessment of your work injury and learn the next steps to support you on your journey to recovery, please call us at  (609) 528-2596 or visit our online form.