Are You Limited to Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
>According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than seven million work-related injuries are reported every year. In New Jersey, all employers not covered by federal programs must either carry workers’ compensation insurance or be approved to be self-insured. When you suffer any type of injury on the job, then, one of your first actions will be to notify your employer and initiate the process of filing a work comp claim. Is that your only recourse when you’ve been hurt on the job? Can you ever bring a personal injury lawsuit against another party?
How Workers’ Compensation Works
The New Jersey workers compensation laws were enacted with the intent of providing benefit to all parties involved in a workplace accident claim:
- If a work comp claim is approved, the injured worker will typically have access to benefits within a few weeks (unlike a civil lawsuit, where it may be years before any damages are actually paid). In addition, because workers’ compensation is essentially a “no-fault” system, an injured worker does not need to prove negligence. All that is required to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits is proof that you have been hurt and that your injury was work-related.
- The employer benefits because workers’ compensation pays a fixed amount, based on the employee’s income. There’s no risk that a sympathetic jury will award millions.
The workers’ compensation laws are intended, however, to cover only situations where the employer or a co-worker caused the accident. If a worker’s injuries are caused to any extent by the wrongful actions of an unrelated third party, the injured worker may still file a civil lawsuit to seek damages from that party. In fact, an injured worker may file a civil lawsuit and a workers’ compensation claim simultaneously. The worker may not, however, recover damages for the same losses in both proceedings.
Contact the Cintron Firm
At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we offer more than 14 years of experience to people in New Jersey facing a broad array of legal challenges. Attorney Mark Cintron has worked as a prosecutor and has extensive courtroom experience, so he’s always ready, willing and able to protect your interests before a judge or jury. Contact our office online or call us at 201-791-1333 or (201) 535-0323 to set up an appointment.