If you sustain a workplace injury, a first step is reporting the incident and injury to your supervisor, manager, or boss. Despite the necessity of this conversation, it’s intimidating for many New Jersey workers to walk into a human resources department or supervisor’s office and discuss an accident. However, these conversations are beneficial for both the employer and employee and could ultimately save your job down the road.
This list of timing information, tips, and what you need to know about workers’ compensation laws in New Jersey can help make notifying your boss of a workplace injury much easier.
#1: When Should You Notify Your Employer?
The best possible time to notify your employer about a workplace injury is immediately after it occurs. Early reporting prevents a number of problems or complications later on. For example, if you fail to report an injury or possible injury, then your employer could question how and when the injury occurred and if it even occurred at work.
As well, reporting also allows your employer to begin a workers’ compensation claim with the insurance provider. In New Jersey, your employer and the insurance company are allowed to choose the doctor or specialist you see for medical treatment. In order for a provider to be selected, you need to have the proper paperwork in place with the insurance company.
#2: Can My Boss Fire Me for Reporting an Injury?
Many employees fear that reporting an injury, particularly one that will require time off work, will result in dismissal from their job. However, New Jersey’s Legislature anticipated this problem and created laws to prevent employers from terminating employees injured in the workplace. Under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law, an employer can be penalized for dismissal of an injured employee. In the past, employees have received financial damages for retaliatory dismissal and even been allowed to return to work.
#3: Who Do I Notify About a Workplace Injury?
New Jersey requires employees to notify a person of authority at the business when a workplace injury occurs. Most often, employees go to their manager or supervisor when an accident or incident occurs, but it isn’t required you follow this protocol. You are permitted to notify a human resources manager or someone in the personnel office.
Most companies have a set of procedures for reporting a workplace injury, and following these procedures can quickly connect you to an individual knowledgeable about workers’ compensation claims and receiving medical treatment. Just remember that employer and employee interests aren’t always aligned with a workplace injury, and you may want to contact a New Jersey lawyer before having a detailed conversation with the HR department or insurance provider.
#4: Does Notice of an Injury Have to Be in Writing?
You do not need to provide notice of a workplace injury in writing. A verbal notice is perfectly acceptable and most common. It is likely that your supervisor or personnel manager will ask what led to the injury and for an account of the accident. But the law doesn’t require you to give a detailed in your notice, and it’s usually best not to provide specifics of the accident when reporting it.
#5: What If I Caused the Accident?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance policy in New Jersey. Even if you spilled the liquid, acted inappropriately around heavy equipment, or were otherwise negligent at work, you are still entitled to workers’ compensation. An employer, or its insurance company, cannot deny you compensation for medical costs for workers’ comp benefits because you caused the accident. Therefore, you should report all injuries, even those that feel like your fault.
#6: Is Notifying My Employer the Same as Filing a Claim?
Notifying your employer is meant to be the first step in receipt of workers’ compensation. After you tell your boss or another manager about the injury, they are required to tell the insurance company. In turn, the insurance company needs to file a First Report of Injury with the State of New Jersey. This is how the Department of Labor and Workforce Development will learn about your injury and need for workers’ compensation, but this process is different and distinct from filing a claim.
If your employer doesn’t inform the insurance company or the insurance company delays in filing the First Report of Injury, you’ll likely need to take other steps directly with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. This includes filing a Claim Petition or Application for an Informal Hearing, which you can learn more about here.
#7: Do I Need a Lawyer?
Maybe. Many people are able to navigate receipt of workers’ compensation by talking with their employer and providing upfront, truthful information about an injury. When processes are followed correctly and the employer doesn’t dispute your claim, you probably won’t need a workers’ compensation lawyer. But things don’t always proceed smoothly. If you receive pushback from an employer or insurance provider, it’s time to talk to attorney Albert J. Talone.
At the Law Offices of Albert J. Talone, our team is dedicated representation of New Jersey employees in workers’ compensation claims. We are ready to discuss your situation, and determining the best way to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us 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.