Northern New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Sussex County lawyers representing victims of workplace injuries

A work-related injury or illness can trigger both physical and financial distress. The workers’ compensation system is meant to ensure that victims can receive prompt medical care and continue to support themselves and their families during their convalescence. However, sometimes the system is not fair to claimants. At Hollander, Strelzik, Pasculli, Vandenberg, Hontz & Kutyla, LLC, we are northern New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys who take on insurance carriers so that clients can recover benefits to avoid serious financial hardship. From our offices in Newton and Succasunna, we serve injured workers throughout the area. 

What is workers’ compensation? 

Workers’ compensation is designed to provide prompt payment for employees who are injured on the job or who contract a work-related illness. Under this system, most employers contract with insurance companies to handle claims involving workplace injuries or illnesses. Typically, applying for workers’ comp benefits is the exclusive remedy for someone who has been hurt at work. Claimants do not have to demonstrate fault on the employer’s part. Recoverable benefits include full payment for related medical costs and partial wage replacement for the period during which the condition prevents them from doing their job. 

Who is eligible for NJ workers’ compensation?

An employee hurt while doing their job is eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If you’ve been injured or believe that you’ve gotten sick as a result of your employment, you should report the condition to your employer and get medical attention as soon as possible. Workers’ comp is your exclusive remedy against your employer. However, you might be able to bring a conventional lawsuit against a third party whose negligence contributed to the incident that caused you harm. It is important to review if a potential third-party defendant exists because they can be liable for damages, such as payment for pain and suffering, that are not available under workers’ comp. 

What benefits are provided by NJ workers’ compensation? 

Under New Jersey law, workers’ compensation benefits can include payment for the following items:

  • Emergency and follow-up medical care
  • Replacement of up to 70 percent of a claimant’s weekly wages up to a maximum set by the state ($1,131/week in 2024)
  • Prescription medication
  • Rehabilitative therapy

In most cases, medical benefits last until the injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement, at which point the worker is cleared to return to work or is declared permanently disabled. Permanent disability benefits last for up to 450 weeks. Some people suffer permanent injury to a part of their body, such as an eye or back, but they are still able to work in some capacity. When this happens, the amount and duration of payments depends on the nature and extent of the injury. The vast majority of workers’ compensation and other injury cases settle out of court, and an experienced attorney is usually the best judge of a fair settlement value.

What Is the process for filing a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey?

The first step in a workers’ compensation claim is an insurance adjuster’s review. Adjusters often deny the claim, at least in part. It is important not to be discouraged because this initial review is only round one.

Round two is an informal hearing, which is like a settlement conference. There is a neutral hearing officer, who is empowered to make findings of fact and conclusions of law. However, the hearing officer’s real job is to facilitate a settlement. Cases often settle on favorable terms at this point, partially because the insurer realizes that the victim has hired an attorney, and partially because medical treatment is often substantially complete by this time. This means it is easier to assign a fair settlement value to the case.

Round three is a formal hearing presided over by a workers’ compensation judge. This is akin to a trial, because the victim’s attorney may cross-examine witnesses, introduce evidence and make legal arguments. In New Jersey’s overburdened workers’ comp bureaucracy, the waiting time for a formal hearing can be several months. 

If the hearing officer or judge makes an award, specifically for lost wages, such award is often retroactive to the date of the injury. Moreover, if the victim has been working with an attorney this whole time, the attorney probably sent a letter of protection to the treating physician, which means that the victim need not pay anything upfront for medical bills.

The decision is usually appealable to the Superior Court’s Appellate Division.

Sussex County lawyers help with common workers’ compensation disputes

Though an injured claimant does not have to prove fault on the employer’s part in order to collect workers’ compensation benefits, there are numerous reasons insurance companies use to deny claims in whole or in part, such as:

  • The injury or illness in question was not work-related but rather was associated with a pre-existing condition
  • The victim did not sustain their injury in the course of their job duties
  • The victim did not follow the prescribed course of medical treatment
  • The injury or illness is not as serious as the victim claims

Insurance companies frequently rely on unsupported allegations to prevent an injured worker from getting what they deserve. Our dedicated advocates can even the playing the field and maximize your chances for a positive resolution. 

Contact a North Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your claim

Hollander, Strelzik, Pasculli, Vandenberg, Hontz & Kutyla, LLC handles workers’ compensation claims and appeals for New Jersey employees who have been hurt or fallen ill on the job. Please call 973-862-4396 or contact us online to set up a meeting at our Newton or Succasunna office.