Worker's compensation attorney in a courtroom. | Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi

Do Workers’ Comp Cases Go to Trial?

Do workers’ comp cases go to trial in New Jersey? Some do, yes. While most workers’ compensation claims are resolved without a trial, complex disputes can lead cases to a courtroom.

New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system aims to provide quick and equitable benefits to injured employees. However, disagreements over claim validity or compensation levels might necessitate legal proceedings.

Let’s delve into how workers’ comp works in New Jersey, what happens when claims are contested, and the potential journey to trial. If you’re wondering, “Do workers’ comp cases go to trial?” you’re clearly dealing with a challenging workers’ comp situation. It is in your best interest to seek the guidance of a skilled New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer.

Call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (201) 585-9111 today to schedule a FREE case evaluation with one of our dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys. We find ourselves constantly inspired by our clients, and we strive to bring them justice and the compensation they deserve.

How Does Workers’ Comp Work in New Jersey?

Workers’ compensation in New Jersey operates under the framework established by the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law. These statutes mandate that all employers not covered by federal programs provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. The system is designed as a no-fault insurance plan, meaning that employees do not need to prove fault to receive benefits for injuries or illnesses that occur in the workplace.

Here’s a breakdown of how the system functions:

Medical Treatment

Employees are entitled to necessary and reasonable medical treatment for work-related injuries or illnesses, with expenses covered by their employer’s insurance.

Temporary Disability Benefits

If an employee is unable to work for more than seven days due to their injury, they are eligible for temporary disability benefits which typically amount to 70% of their average weekly wages.

Permanent Disability Compensation

Additional compensation is available for long-term or permanent effects of an injury.

Death Benefits

Dependents of workers who lose their lives as a result of their jobs can receive death benefits and coverage for funeral expenses.

The process begins when an employee reports an injury to their employer, who then notifies their insurance carrier to start the claim. Disputes over the extent of injuries or the benefits owed can lead to further legal proceedings within the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

But when do workers’ comp cases go to trial? Well, there are still a few steps to be taken before that would be necessary.

What Happens If a Workers’ Comp Claim Is Denied?

If a workers’ comp claim is denied in New Jersey, the employee still has several options. The denial usually results from the employer or insurance company disputing that the injury or illness is work-related or that it qualifies for benefits.

The process doesn’t have to end there. If your claim is denied, take the following steps:

  1. Obtain Detailed Explanation: First, request a detailed explanation of the denial. This document will help identify the reason the insurance company rejected the claim.
  2. Consult a Workers’ Comp Attorney: It’s crucial to speak with an attorney experienced in New Jersey workers’ comp cases. They can assess the denial and determine the best course of action to appeal the decision.
  3. File a Formal Claim Petition or Application for an Informal Hearing: Employees can file a formal Claim Petition with the Division of Workers’ Compensation within two years of the date of injury or last payment. Alternatively, they can apply for an Informal Hearing, a non-binding option where a judge suggests a resolution.
  4. Prepare Evidence: Your attorney will help gather supporting evidence—like medical records or witness statements—to bolster the claim.
  5. Attend Hearings or Trial: In the case of a formal appeal, hearings or even a trial may be necessary to argue for benefits.

Given the complexities of workers’ comp disputes, having legal assistance ensures you understand the process, present a strong case, and negotiate confidently. A workers’ comp attorney from Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi can protect your rights, whether through an informal hearing or a full trial.

Is a Hearing the Same As a Trial?

In New Jersey workers’ compensation cases, a hearing is not the same as a trial. Hearings can be informal or pre-trial in nature, allowing for a less formal discussion of the workers’ compensation claim.

During these hearings, a judge mediates between the employer and the employee to resolve issues without a formal trial. These are typically faster and less adversarial than trials, aiming to facilitate an agreement beneficial to both parties.

How Does a Workers’ Comp Trial Work?

A workers’ comp trial is more formal and is initiated if the dispute cannot be resolved in informal hearings. Here’s what happens in a workers’ comp trial:

1. Preparation

Both parties prepare by gathering substantial evidence, including medical records, expert testimonies, and witness statements.

2. Trial Proceedings

The trial is held before a Judge of Compensation. It operates much like a traditional court trial but is specific to workers’ compensation cases.

3. Presentation

Each side presents its arguments, evidence, and witnesses. Cross-examinations are conducted to challenge the credibility of the information presented.

4. Judge’s Decision

After hearing all the evidence, the judge makes a binding decision based on the facts and evidence presented. This decision covers the extent of the worker’s injuries, their compensability, and the benefits the employee is entitled to receive.

5. Appeals

If one party disagrees with the decision, they may appeal to the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division.

Do workers’ comp cases go to trial often, or is it usually resolved through other means? A workers’ comp trial is rare and always a last resort. However, this formal trial process is crucial for resolving disputes when informal negotiations fail, and it ensures that each party receives a fair examination under the law.

A skilled New Jersey workers’ comp attorney is intrinsic to this process. They can make sure that your interests are well-represented throughout hearings and trials.

How Can a New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help?

A New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney can be instrumental in securing the benefits you deserve after a work-related injury. They begin with a thorough evaluation of your case to determine the strength of your claim and to help you understand your rights under New Jersey workers’ comp laws.

Then, your attorney will offer vital assistance with the following:

  1. Claims Filing: An attorney ensures that your claim is filed accurately and promptly to avoid delays or errors that might jeopardize your compensation.
  2. Evidence Gathering: They collect essential evidence such as medical records, workplace incident reports, and expert testimony to support your claim.
  3. Negotiations: In disputes over benefit amounts, lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies to obtain fair compensation, leveraging their knowledge of settlement tactics.
  4. Appeals: If your claim is denied or underpaid, a lawyer can guide you through the appeals process by preparing compelling evidence and arguments.
  5. Representation at Hearings & Trials: Should your case go to a formal hearing or trial, they present your case persuasively to the judge, ensuring you have the strongest possible representation.

Having a skilled New Jersey workers’ comp attorney by your side maximizes your chances of receiving the rightful compensation and secures peace of mind during a challenging time.

Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi About Your Workers’ Comp Case Today

Do workers’ comp cases go to trial? It’s rare but possible, usually only happening if negotiations or hearings don’t lead to a fair outcome.

If you or a loved one have been injured on the job, the New Jersey workers’ comp lawyers at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi can help. We can handle your case with care, protecting your rights and pursuing the benefits you deserve while you focus on healing.

Contact us today for a FREE consultation. Let us guide you through the workers’ comp process with skill and dedication. We take clients in Fort Lee and throughout New Jersey and New York.