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What is an informal hearing in New Jersey workers’ compensation?

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2020 | Workers' Compensation |

New Jersey workers who are injured on the job will have much to consider in the aftermath. The need for medical care is one crucial aspect, but they will also be understandably concerned about their wages and how much will be covered while they are unable to get back on the job. Fortunately, there is workers’ compensation insurance. However, some cases are challenging in that there is a disagreement between the worker and the employer about various issues. To be approved for and to maximize the benefits, it is wise to understand certain factors about a case. These may be settled through an informal hearing. Having legal advice from the start to decide if this is the preferable strategy is important.

Key points about an informal hearing

The injured worker and the insurance provider or the employer can meet with a Judge of Compensation to discuss a potential settlement of the workers’ compensation claim. This can be useful as it avoids the need to have an extended dispute and further litigation. For example, the following can be negotiated: the type of treatment the worker receives; if they will get temporary benefits; or if they will receive permanent benefits.

The judge will look at the worker’s medical history and what benefits were already provided by the insurer or employer. The worker can be asked questions regarding the disability, how severe it is, and if they will can return to their former job. The judge then calculates how much of a settlement would be reasonable. This is simply a recommendation and there is no requirement that it be agreed to. If the sides do agree, then the case is settled. If not, then a formal claim will be needed.

For a workers’ compensation claim, legal advice may be helpful

Some workers’ compensation claims can be settled in an informal hearing. In others, there are more complex issues that can make it difficult for the sides to come to an agreement. Often, workers are injured more severely than their employers and insurers think and medical treatment, lost wages and other factors are in dispute. From the start, having legal advice may be essential. Consulting with an experienced legal professional who understands all areas of workers’ compensation can provide protection and advice throughout the process.