In New Jersey, when you have sustained an injury on the job, your first course of action will typically be to notify your employer and initiate a workers’ compensation claim. The process can seem simple—you just notify your employer and let them take care of the details. After all, your injury is pretty straightforward, so there shouldn’t be any problems, right?
It’s almost never a good idea to try to get workers’ compensation benefits without a lawyer. Your employer and the insurance company have a vested interest in paying as little as possible to resolve your injury claim. As a consequence, they’ll look for any reason to diminish or deny your claim, and may intentionally delay the process, knowing that you are without income and may be willing to accept less than you deserve to simply have something coming in.
Though the process of notifying your employer can be pretty straightforward (although you’ll need to do it within the required time limit), things can get complicated pretty quickly. You’ll be asked to submit to an “independent” examination by a doctor selected by your employer or by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. What are your rights at that examination? Can you video or audiotape the meeting with the doctor? What if the doctor refuses? What can/should you say to the doctor and what shouldn’t you say?
It’s also important to understand that your employer or the insurance company may take additional measures to verify the nature of your injury. For example, they may send a private investigator to “spy” on you to see if you are engaging in activities that contradict your workers’ compensation claim. When you work with experienced legal counsel, you’ll be thoroughly briefed on what you can and cannot do and what you should and should not do.
Most importantly, though, your employer and the insurer will be represented by counsel. When you are in hearings with the Workers’ Compensation Board or a judge, you’ll be at a distinct disadvantage if you are trying to represent yourself. In addition, you can’t expect the judge or referee to provide you with any guidance.
Contact Attorney Howard D. Popper
To learn your options when you have lost a loved one in an accident, contact our office online or call attorney Popper at 973-993-8787. We have offices in Morristown and Newton, but will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary. There is no charge for your first consultation.
We handle all personal injury claims on a contingency basis. You won’t be charged any legal fees unless attorney Popper recovers compensation for your losses.