Many people do not realize that there is more than one type of workers compensation settlement here in New Jersey. Choosing between these settlements will depend on many factors, including the severity of your injury and your needs after the accident.
It may also depend on whether or not the insurance company has any grounds to deny your claim, or to reduce it. For example, if the insurance company is attempting to claim that you had a pre-existing condition that complicated your claim then you’ll have to fight harder than someone who was in good health prior to their accident.
Type 1: Section 20
A Section 20 is a lump sum settlement that is most often used when the insurance company wants to deny your claim, or significantly reduce it. Once you accept this settlement your claim is done with.
In this settlement, there is a “genuine issue of dispute” and the insurance company is saying, “we don’t agree, but we’ll pay you to avoid arguing about it.”
When you file a Section 20 that’s it. You’re responsible for all future medical care. The money you take is the only money you’re going to get from the claim. You probably will be dismissed from your job and you may never reopen the claim.
You, the employer, and a judge must all agree that the Section 20 is appropriate before this form of settlement may be used.
Type 2: Section 22
In a Section 22 settlement, the employer keeps paying for a portion of your disability as long as is required by law. The employer admits that the injury took place at work, and you receive the payments on a weekly or monthly basis.
Section 22 claims allow you to reopen the claim later if necessary, which usually happens after a condition grows worse.
Caps on Injury Benefits
Any settlement will be guided by the New Jersey caps on benefits.
- Temporary disability – 70% of your gross weekly wages, to a limit of $903 per week.
- Permanent total disability – 70% of your gross weekly wages to a limit of $903 per week for as long as you are disabled.
- Scheduled loss – Depends on the body part you injured. 70% of gross weekly wages for a number of weeks based on your injury.
Even if you get a Section 20 settlement you won’t be compensated for wages exceeding these amounts. The rest of the settlement will depend on some estimate of your future medical care needs. It may not cover the fullness of your costs, but it will cover some portion of them.
While the Division of New Jersey Workers Compensation must review any proposed settlement and evaluate whether it is in the worker’s best interests to accept it, you are rarely going to get fair treatment without a workers compensation lawyer by your side.
Contact Talone Law to schedule a free consultation today. We’ll look at the facts of your unique case and help you determine your next steps.