Workers’ Compensation: Who and What is Covered in New Jersey?

While we all want to feel safe in our workplaces, accidents do happen. When these accidents cause injury or death, the workers’ compensation system is in place to properly care for the impacted individual and their loved ones. However, each state has different rules regarding who is qualified for workers’ compensation benefits and what type of injuries are covered. Keep reading to learn about workers’ compensation in New Jersey.

What is Workers’ Compensation and How Does it Work?

To put it simply, workers’ compensation is a system put in place to protect employees and their families in the unfortunate event that they are injured or killed while working, either by an accident or occupational disease. Workers’ compensation provides medical care and benefits to the injured employee. In the event that the employee is killed, the benefits will go to the employee’s dependents or family. If a New Jersey worker covered by workers’ compensation is injured and disabled for more than seven days, they can receive tax-free temporary disability benefits in an amount up to 70% of their average weekly wage.  If a worker can prove a permanent disability as a result of the work-related injury or illness, they are entitled to a monetary award.

Who is Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Most employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance in New Jersey. This includes corporations, partnerships, LLCs, sole proprietorships, and non-profits. Even seasonal and part-time workers are covered by worker’s compensation insurance. Using this logic, most New Jersey employees are covered by workers’ compensation.

There are a few exceptions to be mindful of, however. Volunteers and unpaid interns may not be covered under workers’ compensation, unless in the specific case that volunteers are working in rescue and first aid. For example, a volunteer firefighter may be eligible for workers’ compensation.

In any case, the statute of limitations in New Jersey specifies that the employee, or someone on their behalf, must file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits within two years of the workplace accident.

What is Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

For an injury to be eligible for workers’ compensation, it must have occurred in the course of employment and resulted in a permanent physical injury.  Also eligible for workers’ compensation are illnesses and repetitive stress or strain injuries that are a direct result of employment. For such injuries, a worker is entitled to medical care, temporary disability, and an award for their permanent injury.

If you have any more questions regarding workers’ compensation in New Jersey, please contact Ward, Shindle & Hall.