Have you been injured at work? Get the facts about informal hearings

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ Compensation provides benefits to workers who are injured or who contract an occupational disease while working. The law protects both the employee and the employer. Employees are entitled to receive reasonable and necessary medical care, temporary disability benefits during the period of rehabilitation, and, when documented, benefits for permanent disability. Employers provide for the cost of such coverage while being protected from more expensive tort litigation and unlimited civil verdicts for non economic losses.

What can I do when there are unresolved issues between me and my employer?

When parties are unable to amicably resolve their differences over entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits, the Division of Workers’ Compensation provides a fair and impartial forum to mediate and, if necessary, adjudicate disputes before a Judge of Compensation. One method of resolving such disputes is the informal hearing process.

What is an informal hearing?

An informal hearing is an opportunity for you and a representative of your employer or their insurance company to meet before a Judge of Compensation to discuss the settlement of your workers’ compensation claim. The Judge conducting the informal hearing does not represent you. These proceedings are encouraged as a means of resolving issues without resorting to more involved and lengthy formal litigation. Issues such as the amount of temporary benefits, medical treatment, and permanency benefits can be addressed at this hearing.

How can I file for an informal hearing?

You, your employer, or your employer’s insurance carrier can request a hearing by filing an Application for an Informal Hearing. You can obtain this form by calling (609) 292-2515 or you can download the form from our Website: www.nj.gov/labor/wc/forms.htm. After you file, the Divi-sion of Workers’ Compensation will send scheduling information to you (the worker), your employer, and/or your employer’s insurance company. Informal claims are typically resolved within the first or second hearing.

Where are the informal hearings held?

Typically, the hearings will be scheduled in a district office close to where you live or in a nearby county. You will receive notice of the hearing date, time, assigned Judge, and the address and telephone number of the hearing office approximately two weeks before the hearing date.

What happens during the informal hearing?

The Judge will review your medical records and the benefits you have already received. The Judge may ask you questions about your disability and whether the injury has limited your physical activities. After a brief discussion with you and the insurance claims representative, and based upon the information with which the Judge has been provided, the Judge will recommend a settlement amount. The Judge’s recommendation at this informal level is not a judicial decision and does not have the effect or protection of one. If everyone agrees with the recommendation, you will be asked to sign an agreement. A payment will be issued to you from your employer or their insurance carrier as soon as possible.

New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

When you are dealing with the repercussions of an injury or accident, you do not need the additional stress of fighting for benefits. Let the committed New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers of Maggiano DiGirolamo & Lizzi handle your case while you focus on your recovery. You may have a case even if you think that you don’t.

Continue ReadingDo I really need a lawyer after a workplace injury?