If you are injured at work, you may be confused and unsure of what to do next. In many situations, the employee will simply take care of their injury themselves by seeing their regular doctor.
Unfortunately, that is just not how things are done under New Jersey workers’ compensation law. You need to know what steps you should take if you or a loved one are hurt at work.
Get Medical Attention as Soon as Possible and Report Your Injury
Your health comes first in any injury. If you have been injured at work, you should seek medical attention immediately. In an emergency situation, you may not have a chance to tell your employer about your injury.
In most situations, however, you should be able to tell your employer about your injury and he or she will direct you on how to get medical attention.
Employers often have certain protocols or procedures that they follow when an employee is injured. This could involve a wide variety of requirements, from filling out paperwork to seeing a specific doctor.
It is important to follow your employer’s directions after an injury. Refusing to follow these instructions can compromise your workers’ compensation claim in some situations.
Specific Information about Employer/Employee Notice
You are required to notify your employer of your injury as soon as possible after your injury. New Jersey law requires that employees report the injury to their employer within 14 days after it occurs.
If you fail to give this notice, then you may actually forfeit your rights to workers’ compensation benefits.
In most situations, however, the employee can show that the employer knew about the injury within 30 days of the accident and still collect benefits as long as the employer was not prejudiced by the late notice.
The form of the notice does not have to be formal. In fact, it does not even have to be written. You can actually verbally tell your employer and still satisfy the notice requirement under New Jersey law.
Seeing an Authorized Physician
In most situations, you will only be allowed to see the medical providers that your employer provides to start the workers’ compensation process. However, that also means that your employer should pay your medical bills.
As long as the treatment is authorized, your employer should be paying for it. Examples of unauthorized treatment may include:
- Seeing your family doctor
- Seeing a specialist without a referral from an authorized doctor
- Visiting with any other doctor that was not specifically recommended by your employer
- Getting a second opinion without prior approval from your employer
In some situations, these caregiving options are necessary, but they will often not be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. They may later be recoverable in some situations, however.
Dealing with a Denied Claim
Sometimes the insurance company or the employer will argue that your injury was not work related or should otherwise not be covered by workers’ compensation. If that happens, they will notify you of the denied claim.
Then, you can “appeal” this denial by filing a formal claim petition with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. This process can take a lot longer than a simple workers’ compensation benefit payout situation, but it can have a wide range of benefits as well.
Consult with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The best way to fight back in a denial situation is to call a workers’ compensation attorney. The team at Schibell Law, LLC can help you or your loved one deal with a denied workers’ compensation claim.
We can also help you determine what your next steps should be if you are hurt at work. Call 732-774-1000 for more information or to set up a free case evaluation.