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What is workers' compensation and how does it work?

New Jersey provides workers' compensation benefits to individuals who have been harmed or injured at or due to their jobs. This compensation includes coverage of medical care, up to 70 percent of lost wages due to recovery time and may also include monetary awards if someone is disabled as a result of their injury.

Before an individual can claim workers' compensation benefits, they must meet certain eligibility requirements. These include having an injury that occurs as a result of their job, but it does not have to take place at their employer's location. For example, individuals injured while travelling for work may still claim benefits. Injuries must also be reported by the employee or someone on their behalf to the employer within 14 days of the incident taking place.

Since workers' compensation insurance is handled by the state of New Jersey, medical care is provided through Horizon Casualty Services. This medical management care provider has the right to choose an individual's doctor; if someone seeks treatment outside of HCS, they will have to pay for it out of their own pocket. A nurse case manager will be assigned to the injured individual, and the injured employee will be in direct contact with their case manager. The case manager is in charge of authorizing doctor's visits, surgical procedures, tests, treatment and recovery.

Workers' compensation is available to all individuals who meet the requirements of the state. If someone files a claim and is denied or they are not being appropriately reimbursed for their lost wages, they may be able to successfully appeal the decision. An attorney may be able to assist someone throughout the claim process.

Source: State of New Jersey Department of the Treasury, "Workers Compensation", Josephine Johnson, October 17, 2014

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