Getting a Fair Amount From Your New Jersey Workers’ Comp Settlement
February 28, 2019
Figuring Out How Much Compensation You Need
Calculating a fair settlement takes a lot of work. It is common for injured workers to undervalue their settlement amount. It behooves you to speak to an attorney who knows the workers’ comp system inside and out and knows about creative methods to getting you the funds you really need. To figure out what would actually be a fair settlement offer for your injury or ailment, there are many factors you need to consider.
Factors to consider in your workers’ comp case include:
- Severity of your injury. How badly were you hurt? Was it some minor 1st degree burns or did you lose a leg?
- Did your injury result in a disability? Find out if your injury has resulted in limitations that put in the temporary, permanent partial, or permanent total disability categories.
- Need for ongoing medical care. If you have an injury or condition that will take a long time to care for, such as pain management, physical therapy, or counseling, that should be considered.
- Pre-injury wages. How much you were making before the injury plays a role.
- Ability to return to work. Just because you are partially disabled does not necessarily mean you can’t work. You may just have limitations.
- Conflicting evidence against you. If there is any evidence that points to the injury in question not being due in the workplace, you will want to have this under consideration.
Understanding Workers’ Comp Limits Based on Injury Severity
In New Jersey, there are caps on how large your workers’ comp settlement can be. This largely will be based on your disability level. There are also certain designated workers’ comp amounts in place for specific types of injuries. Being aware of these caps can be helpful in determining your fair settlement amount.
Workers’ compensation offerings based on disability type include:
- Temporary Disability – 70% of a worker’s gross weekly wages, not exceeding the amount of $903 per week as of 2018. This continues until you have either returned to work, reached the maximum medical improvement you can, or had 400 weeks of benefits paid to you.
- Permanent Total Disability – Once you have reached the maximum level of medical improvement you can, you can be evaluated for this level. If you are found to be in this category, you will receive weekly payments at your temporary total rate for as long as you are disabled. Certain severe injuries automatically are considered at this level such are loss of both eyes, feet, or hands.
- Permanent Partial Disability – When you are not completely disabled and are able to still function, but with limitations, you may fall under this category.
- Scheduled Loss Payments – This subcategory is for disabilities of certain body parts such as arms, feet, legs, hands, ears, teeth and eyes. You will receive 70% of your gross weekly wages for a predetermined number of weeks based on the injury level. For instance if a total loss for a foot was 200 weeks but it was only 50% disabled, you would receive funds for 100 weeks
- Non Scheduled Loss Payments – For other bodily injuries ,such as the spine, head or organs, you will received 70% of your gross weekly wage for up to 600 weeks depending on the level of disability for that part of the body.
- Maximum Settlement Amounts – It is important to note that for partial disability situations, there are established New Jersey maximum rates that someone can receive in total.
Section 20 Versus Section 22 New Jersey Workers’ Comp Settlements
There are two types of settlements that one can accept under New Jersey Workers’ Compensation proceedings: Section 20 and 22 settlements. A Section 20 settlement is often used when a part or the entirety of your claim is denied by the insurance company. This type of settlement is where you agree to receiving a lump sum and relinquish all rights to future medical care and any other workers’ comp benefits (such as mileage reimbursements or vocational rehabilitation).
A Section 22 settlement works a little differently. You can choose this route whether a claim is accepted or not by the insurance company. In this type of settlement, you get payments over time on a predetermined schedule. You also have the right to future medical care when needed, and you have the right to reopen your claim if the condition worsens to gain additional benefits. You must reopen with 2 year of the last payment due.
Contact a Montville Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your New Jersey Workplace Injury Case
A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although New Jersey Workers’ Compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the Workers’ Comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Hoyt & Hoyt represent clients in Perth Amboy, Roxbury, Woodbridge, Rockaway, and all across New Jersey. Call (973) 292-2299 or email us today to schedule a free consultation about your work injury case. Our main office is located at 67 East Park Place, 5th Floor, Morristown, NJ 07960, and we also have a secondary office in New Brunswick.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.