In many ways, a New Jersey workers compensation claim looks and feels just like a personal injury claim. In other ways they are completely different.
In fact, the workers compensation system exists, in part, to protect employers from the kinds of liability that are invoked in a personal injury suit. Employers admit no fault, but take responsibility for the fact that employees do get hurt on the job.
Here are some of the other key differences.
Difference #1 – No Pain & Suffering
Personal injury suits come with pain and suffering damages. In New Jersey, these damages are not capped and can be any amount based solely on the extent to which the victim’s life has changed as a result of the injuries.
As you can imagine these pain and suffering awards can get quite large, and so workers compensation law was written to allow employers to avoid them in return for asking employers to pay for workers compensation insurance. (If yours isn’t, you can report them by using this form).
Difference #2 – Lost Wages
In a personal injury case you can be compensated for 100% of your lost wages, whatever those wages happen to be, if you can’t work while you’re recovering from your injuries.
In a New Jersey workers compensation case, there are caps on the amount of money you can receive each week, regardless of how much you made, though the amount you made will also determine how much you get. The most money you may receive each week is $921.
There are minimum amounts too: you can’t receive less than $246 per week.
For many employees the amount of weekly pay will be about the same they received while at work, but this won’t be true for all of them.
Difference #3 – Sometimes Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Cases Go Hand-in-Hand
Having a workers compensation case precludes you from suing your employer, but it does not keep you from suing a third party who might have also been involved in your injury.
For example, if a defective product, piece of equipment, or part caused your injury then you can launch a personal injury case against the manufacturer or seller of that piece of equipment. It may even be extremely necessary to do so, depending on how well workers compensation is covering your expenses.
You’d think workers compensation would be automatic, but the truth is that employers often fight you over whether or not they’re going to pay you. They often play dirty tricks to try to get you back to work faster, before you’re really ready to go, and they often pull things in an attempt to justify firing you.
Having a workers compensation attorney on your side can mean the difference between getting to use your benefits and losing them.
Contact Talone Law today for a free consultation.