Many workers compensation cases last for a few weeks or months. The worker gets injured, the worker gets care, and the worker returns to work.
When the injury is very minor workers compensation may simply be a matter of getting treatment, getting the insurance to pay for that treatment, and returning to work with some minor accommodations.
There are cases where the worker must be out for more than 7 days with the injury. This is called Temporary Total Disability, and can last up to 400 weeks.
However, there are two other forms of disability which can last longer. The first is Permanent Partial Disability, which can last up to 600 weeks. There’s also Permanent Total Disability, which can last for life.
The maximum amounts you can get to cover your lost income during these periods is capped in New Jersey. On Temporary Total Disability you can earn the lesser of 70% of the gross weekly amount that you normally earned, or $903 per week. Permanent Partial Disability and Permanent Total Disability depend on the scheduled loss chart.
A scheduled loss involves the loss of a limb like arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, eyes, ears, or teeth. They “schedule” the number of weeks you can receive wage loss compensation for the injury based on the state-approved schedule and the percentage of the body part you are determined to have lost.
For example, the court might determine you’ve lost 50% of your hand. If you’d lost 100% you would be entitled to 245 weeks, but at 50% you’d be entitled to 122 weeks. The idea is that you could theoretically get other jobs with a lost hand or foot and can use the time to find one.
Meanwhile if you are disabled due to a major problem with your lungs there’s a good chance you’ll never find employment again. This would be a Permanent Total Disability and you can recover up to 70% of your weekly wages, capped at $903 a week.
Obviously the longer it is looking like you are going to be disabled the harder employers will fight against covering you. The doctors they choose may indicate you can go back to work when you can’t, for example.
This is where having a New Jersey Workers Compensation lawyer can be a lifesaver. Your attorney can help you make the case that you need the coverage you say you need for the length of time that you need it. Having an attorney on your side may also help when you need to sue your employment for discrimination or retaliation.