Workers’ Compensation Claims: Beware of Going It Alone
The State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development recently published its revised Guide to Workers’ Compensation Law. The foreword to the guide states that it is a compilation of workers’ compensation laws as they relate to New Jersey and that it is intended to be used by the public. However, the guide contains ten articles spanning more than 150 pages. The intention behind the guide seems sensible, but the information does not appear to be presented in a particularly user-friendly manner.
While it may be technically possible to submit a claim for workers’ compensation without using an attorney, this is not recommended for the following reasons:
- The other party has legal representation. You are likely to be confronted with an insurer who has a lawyer ready to try to dispute or reduce your claim, and self-insured employers are obligated to have legal representation.
- Time limits are strict. As in many areas of litigation, there are time limits for bringing a case, and if you miss a deadline, your claim is likely to be thrown out no matter how strong your case. The general rule is that you have two years in which to file your claim, but various factors have an effect on this time restriction.
- You may be entitled to other compensation. Not every injury sustained on your employer’s premises qualifies for workers’ compensation, and depending on the circumstances (e.g., your injuries were caused by a defective product or because of the actions of a third party), a personal injury claim may be warranted.
- Factors change. Your medical condition may improve or worsen, which needs to be taken into account. A lawyer can ensure that your claim includes everything to which you are entitled.
A New Jersey law firm based in Sussex County may be able to help you recover damages if you were injured in the course of your employment. Contact us to discuss your case.