Accidents at work can happen in the blink of an eye, leaving employees to deal with not only physical pain but also financial uncertainty. In New Jersey, workers’ compensation exists to help employees navigate this difficult period, offering financial support and medical care. However, there’s a pervasive fear among workers that filing for these benefits could risk their employment status. At Lombardi and Lombardi, we want you to know that you should never have to choose between receiving workers’ compensation and keeping your job. This article aims to demystify New Jersey workers’ compensation laws and the protections they offer to employees against unjust termination.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation: The Legal Framework
In accordance with New Jersey Statute Title 34, workers’ compensation operates under a “no-fault” insurance system. What does this mean? Essentially, it means that when you are injured on the job, you are generally eligible for benefits like medical treatment, lost wages, and additional financial support, depending on the extent and duration of your injuries. Importantly, this system exists to protect both employees and employers. While employees receive immediate medical care and wage replacement, they also give up the right to sue their employers for the accident—unless it can be proven that the employer intentionally caused the injury or a case of wrongful death.
Common Reasons for Claim Denial
Despite the legal provisions to protect employees, workers’ compensation claims do sometimes get denied. Understanding the common reasons for denial can help you better navigate the process and arm you with the knowledge to make a successful claim. Some of the usual grounds for denial include:
1. Late Reporting: Waiting too long to report an injury can jeopardize your claim.
2. Lack of Witnesses: Claims are often scrutinized more if the incident was unwitnessed.
3. Inconsistent Statements: Discrepancies between your account and medical records or other reports can be a red flag.
4. Failure to Seek Medical Treatment: Not seeking immediate medical attention can suggest the injury is not severe enough to warrant benefits.
Being aware of these potential pitfalls can help you take proactive steps to strengthen your claim, ensuring that you receive the benefits you are entitled to without undue complications.
Employee Protections Against Retaliation
One significant misconception is that filing a workers’ compensation claim is akin to putting a target on your back for termination. However, the law explicitly states that employers cannot retaliate against employees for filing a workers’ compensation claim based on a legitimate workplace injury. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop some employers from finding roundabout ways to terminate or demote employees who have filed claims. Employers may cite reasons such as “at-will” employment, downsizing, or eliminating a position as pretexts for termination. But remember: New Jersey law is on your side.
The Fear Factor: Why Employees Hesitate to File Claims
Despite legal safeguards, fear prevails among many employees who are reluctant to claim the benefits they rightfully deserve. This fear is rooted in the idea that claiming benefits will inevitably lead to job loss, preventing workers from obtaining the medical treatment necessary for their recovery. While it’s understandable to have these concerns, it’s vital to know your legal rights and seek professional counsel to ensure that you’re not unjustly treated.
The Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer in Your Case
If you find yourself injured at work and are contemplating whether to file a workers’ compensation claim, consider hiring a personal injury lawyer experienced in workers’ compensation law. At Lombardi and Lombardi, we understand the intricacies of the law and how to navigate the complex landscape to protect your rights. Our primary focus is to shoulder your legal burdens so you can concentrate on your recovery.
New Jersey employees have rights. You should never feel cornered into choosing between your well-being and your employment. If you are faced with this unfortunate dilemma, know that Lombardi and Lombardi is here to offer you sound legal representation. We will ensure that you receive all the benefits you are entitled to while safeguarding your job. Your job shouldn’t be the price you pay for seeking the benefits you deserve.
Contact Lombardi & Lombardi Today For a Free Consultation About Your Product Liability Case
At Lombardi and Lombardi, we believe you should never have to choose between your health and your job. For over 40 years, we’ve dedicated ourselves to fiercely advocating for the rights of injured workers throughout New Jersey. Our seasoned attorneys are experts in workers’ compensation law, skilled at navigating the complex legal terrain to ensure you get the benefits you rightly deserve without risking your employment.
Don’t let fear of job loss prevent you from claiming the benefits you are legally entitled to. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation, and let us take on your fight as you focus on your recovery.
Note: This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have specific legal questions or concerns, consult a qualified personal injury attorney.