When employees in New Jersey start the workday, they often do not consider the possibility of getting injured that day. However, even in a work environment that is not inherently dangerous, workplace injuries are always a possibility. As such, employers should provide some form of workers’ compensation insurance to cover injuries suffered by employees. Thus, when an employee suffers a work-related injury, they can file a claim to obtain the benefits provided through workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation benefits
In most states, the workers’ compensation system provides the following benefits for injured employees that qualify for them. To begin, the injured worker has the right to medical care that is deemed reasonably necessary to treat, cure or alleviate pain caused by the injury. This includes medical bills, prescriptions and mileage to and from the hospital.
Depending on the type of injury, the employee may suffer a temporary disability. Because of this, they are unable to work for some time. Workers’ comp benefits can be used to cover a portion of lost wages due to this.
Additionally, a permanent disability could result. This means that the individual is no longer able to compete in the open labor market that consists of uninjured workers. The benefit paid to the injured worker is dependent on the limitations the injury causes in conjunction with the age, occupation and current wage at the time of the disabling injury.
Vocational rehabilitation is another benefit of workers’ compensation. If a worker cannot return to their former job due to their injury, vocational rehabilitation could be utilized by them to get another job.
Getting back to work
The ultimate goal is for an injured worker to recover from their injury and return to work. However, returning to work can feel overwhelming because a worker may not feel ready or fear getting hurt again. As such, it is important for individuals receiving workers’ comp benefits to understand that these benefits won’t immediately stop upon their return to work. Rather, they will be reduced while the work re-acclimates to the workplace.
Those seeking workers’ compensation benefits or are currently dealing with issues filing for them should take the time to understand their situation and what steps are required. This can help ensure their rights are protected while they navigate the process.