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Working With Workers’ Compensation in New Jersey: An Attorney’s Perspective


As an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in New Jersey, I often get asked questions about how the system works and what to expect during the process. Here are some of the most common questions and my insights:

Q: How long does it take to get a settlement check? 

A: Once a judgment or settlement is entered by the workers’ compensation court, it generally takes 45-60 days to receive the settlement payment check. The insurance company has a window of time to process the paperwork and issue payment.

Q: How long after an injury can you claim workers’ comp?

A: If an employer has actual knowledge of a workplace injury, the claim should be reported right away. Otherwise, an injured worker has up to 14 days from the date of injury to notify their employer. This time period may be extended slightly if a holiday falls during those 14 days.

For the filing of permanency claims, the statute of limitations in New Jersey is two years from the date of the accident/injury to file a formal claim petition. This two-year window is very strict, so it’s crucial to adhere to this deadline.

Q: How do workers’ comp settlements work?

A: The process begins when a workplace injury is reported to the employer, who then notifies their workers’ comp insurance carrier. If the worker loses more than seven days from work, they become eligible for temporary weekly disability benefits equalling around 70% of their average weekly wage.

After returning to work under the 26 weeks rule, the injured worker can file a formal claim petition and both parties will obtain medical evaluations of permanent disability. Settlement negotiations follow, using those medical reports to determine an appropriate payout amount based on the level of permanent impairment.

If a settlement can’t be reached, the case proceeds to trial where medical experts testify and the judge determines the outcome – either an award for the worker or a dismissal if the claim lacks merit.

Q: What is an average workers’ comp settlement for surgery?

A: Settlement values can vary widely based on the specific surgery, body part affected, age and work status of the injured worker, and other factors. However, as a rough estimate in 2024:

Arthroscopic shoulder surgery may settle for around $45,000 (22.5% disability)

Neck or back surgery may settle for $105,600 (33.3% disability)

Loss of 50% hand use may settle for $51,600

Loss of 30% leg use may settle for $28,607

These figures are based on the current Schedule of Disabilities published annually by the State of New Jersey. Pre-existing conditions and less-than-ideal surgical outcomes can impact the disability percentage and resulting settlement.

The workers’ compensation process has many nuances, so I always recommend injured workers consult with an experienced attorney to understand their rights and options. At my firm, we are dedicated to protecting the interests of injured workers every step of the way.

If you are undergoing a worker’s compensation case with your employer due to a work-related injury, it is crucial to have an attorney at your side. Ensure the best outcomes for you to receive fair compensation for your case. Do not fall short of your entitlement due to a lack of knowledge and full understanding of your case and its worth. Call me today; the consultation is free.

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