The workers’ compensation cases and settlements that result from a New Jersey work injury typically take place in administrative proceedings before the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, not courtrooms. Despite the different venue, NJ workers’ compensation cases must follow certain processes to be successful. Often, these processes cause problems for New Jersey employees that are unaware of the rules.
In this post, we’ll cover some of the biggest mistakes employees make after a New Jersey work injury, and provide information on what you can do differently.
#1: Failing to Report the Injury in a Timely Manner
Many workers wait weeks or months to tell an employer about a New Jersey work injury. This delay can cause complications for a resulting workers’ compensation claim.
To follow best practices and advice from a workers’ compensation lawyer, a New Jersey employee should report a workplace accident and resulting injuries immediately after the incident occurs. However, this isn’t always practical or possible. A manager may not be available, the injury could require immediate medical attention, or onset of the injury is delayed. In such circumstances, an employee should report a New Jersey work injury as soon as possible.
#2: Not Reporting the Extent or Severity of Injuries
After an injury, many NJ employees are worried they will lose their job, be demoted at work, or even lose the respect of co-workers and managers. In an effort to protect their employment and pride, employees conceal the extent or severity of their injuries. When it comes time to recover medical costs, these employees often receive pushback from their employers.
It’s in your best interest to report every New Jersey work injury and possible injury to your employer. First, an employer can only report to the insurance company the information you provide. Second, not disclosing all injuries upfront makes it difficult to tie that injury to the work accident down the road.
#3: Not Seeking Emergency or Ongoing Medical Treatment
Cost concerns keep a number of employees from seeking treatment for a New Jersey work injury. In particular, workers are likely to forgo emergency treatment and ongoing care, such as physical therapy or rehabilitation. Both of these medical services are high in cost, but necessary to make a full recovery. Plus, these medical expenses are also covered by New Jersey workers’ compensation and will be repaid through your workers’ compensation case.
#4: Failing to Disclose Prior Injuries or Conditions
A belief that a prior injury or condition prevents workers’ compensation benefits keeps many employees from reporting these conditions. But in most instances, a New Jersey work injury that aggravates or augments a pre-existing condition or prior injury is still covered. For example, if you injured your back years earlier playing volleyball, and then hurt it again moving inventory at work, you can still claim workers’ compensation for the work injury.
#5: Taking the Advice of an Insurance Provider
New Jersey companies are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. After a New Jersey work injury, the employer reports the accident and severity of injury to the insurance company. The insurance provider then contacts the employee for a statement. It’s important for an employee to remember that the insurance provider doesn’t share his or her interests.
In fact, the worker and the insurance company can want very different outcomes from a workers’ compensation case. Information disclosed to an insurance company could be used to lower a settlement or deny a workers’ compensation claim. Therefore, an employee should only an insurance representative’s questions after talking to a New Jersey lawyer.
#6: Agreeing to a Settlement Before Speaking with a Lawyer
Another role of the insurance representative is negotiating a settlement with the employee. Insurance companies want to see workers’ compensation claims settled quickly and for the least amount of money possible. This type of settlement doesn’t always serve the injured employee, but a settlement agreement is usually final.
Before accepting a settlement offer, an employee should determine if the offer accounts for all medical costs, ongoing treatment, and lost wages. As well, the employee may want to discuss the offer with a workers’ compensation attorney.
Avoid These Common Work Injury Mistakes
Your New Jersey work injury and workers’ compensation case will be entirely unique. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney, such as Albert Talone, can’t advise you on the nuances and facts of your case without knowing them. To start the conversation about your workplace accident and avoid these common mistakes, contact the Law Offices of Albert J. Talone at (856)-234-4023.
The information in this blog post (“Post”) is provided for general informational purposes only. This information may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this Post should be construed as legal advice from The Law Office of Albert J. Talone or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.