Ten Critical Steps to Take After New Jersey Workplace Injury
What to do if you are injured at work in Morris County
Suppose you are hurt on the job, maybe a slip and fall or what appears to be a strain as you try to lift an object. Under New Jersey law, workers’ compensation should cover you. But you must take the steps necessary to secure your rights. I am a seasoned Morris County workers compensation attorney, and my firm, Kevin T. Kutyla, Esq., will work hard to preserve your rights. The 10 steps below are not offered as legal advice but may help you navigate the process with greater success.
Step one: Report your injury
Although the law allows two years to file a claim for workplace accidents in NJ, you should inform your employer as soon as possible. This allows you to get pre-authorization for medical treatment. Your employer must document the incident with their insurance company. If your employer does not file, proceed to step ten.
Step two: Seek immediate medical assistance
If your case is an emergency, you should go immediately to the ER. You do not need pre-authorization for coverage.
Step three: See an approved physician
NJ workers’ compensation law allows your employer or their insurance carrier to select physicians to treat work-related injuries. If your employer has a list, you must choose one of those providers.
Step four: Follow the physician’s treatment plan
The physician evaluates you and suggests a treatment plan. Follow the plan. If during this time, the insurer denies your claim, proceed to step ten.
Step five: Are you ready to return to work?
If you miss more than seven days of work, you receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits equal to about two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a limit set by the state. These benefits continue for 400 weeks, until you return to work or until you reach the point of maximum medical improvement. Returning to work too soon can cause reinjury. Consult your treating physician to determine a safe timetable for your return.
Step six: Getting a second opinion
If the physician suggests treatment you believe might not be warranted such as invasive surgery, you must ask the insurer to approve a doctor who can offer a second opinion. Workers’ comp coverage won’t pay for the consultation without the insurer’s approval. If the insurer denies your request, proceed to step ten.
Step seven: Requesting light duty
If you can perform some but not all your job tasks, your employer may put you on light duty until you are fully recovered. It’s possible you may be paid at a lower rate, but workers’ comp will make up part of the difference in your pay.
Step eight: Do you have a permanent disability?
If you miss work for the full 400 weeks of TTD coverage but cannot return to work, or the treating physician determines you have reached the point of “maximum medical improvement” but you still haven’t regained full function, you may be eligible for permanent total or partial disability benefits.
Step nine: Getting your disability rating
Permanent disability can be total or partial, depending on how much work you are capable of doing. Physicians will “rate” your disability to determine the level of benefit you should receive. If you feel the rating is too low, proceed to step ten.
Step ten: Contact an attorney
At just about any step along the way, you may run into a conflict that requires a Morris County workers’ compensation attorney. If an insurance company representative wants to discuss your claim, failing to bring a qualified attorney could hurt you. When your health and security depend on full access to benefits, and I’m ready to fight for your rights.
Contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Morris County
Workers’ compensation attorney Kevin T. Kutyla, Esq. helps injured employees throughout New Jersey access the benefits they deserve. Call 862-354-8931 or contact me online to schedule an appointment. My office is located in Succasunna at 15 Commerce Boulevard, just off Route 10.