Is Workers’ Compensation Your Only Legal Remedy for Workplace Injuries?
Are There Other Avenues of Recovery?
When you have been hurt on the job in New Jersey, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover lost wages and have medical expenses paid or reimbursed. What if the benefits you receive through a work comp claim don’t fully cover all your losses? You may have all medical expenses covered, but incur other unassociated costs. Is there any other way to recover financial compensation after a work-related injury? In certain circumstances, there are.
How Workers’ Compensation Works
New Jersey’s work comp laws were enacted as part of the “grand bargain,” ostensibly to benefit both workers and employers.
For injured workers, the benefits can start within weeks, once the claim is approved—with a personal injury lawsuit, it can be months or years. Furthermore, because work comp is essentially a “no-fault” system, an injured worker doesn’t need to prove negligence to receive benefits. The only requirements are proof of injury and proof that the injury was work-related.
For employers, there’s the comfort of knowing what the award will be, as benefits are calculated based on the worker’s wages.
It’s important to understand, though, that the benefits available through a workers’ compensation claim are intended to compensate injured employees for the carelessness or negligence of an employer or a co-worker. If the injuries were caused, in whole or in part, by an unrelated third party, the injured person may go outside the workers’ compensation system and file a personal injury lawsuit. In fact, a qualified injured worker may simultaneously file a worker’s compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages. The primary caveat—an injured person cannot recover for the same losses in both proceedings. For example, medical expenses paid by work comp cannot be recovered in a civil lawsuit
Contact Our Office
At the Lee Law Firm, we have extensive knowledge and experience successfully handling personal injury claims. We take all personal injury cases on a contingency basis—you won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover compensation for your losses.
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