- In cases of dispute between an employee and employer, an employee and insurance carrier any injured party has the following remedies:
- The party may file an application for an informal hearing before a judge of compensation.
- The injured party also has the option of filing a formal claim petition with the Division of Workers' Compensation, New Jersey, Department of Labor and Workforce Development
- These proceedings are meant to resolve issues without resorting to more involved and lengthy formal litigation.
- The issues such as the amount of temporary benefits, medical treatment and permanency benefits may be raised at this hearing.
- The suggestions made by the judge during an informal hearing are not binding on either party and the employee always has the right to file a formal claim petition within the statutory time period.
- The injured worker also has the right to seek the advice of legal counsel at such proceedings if he or she wishes.
- However, in more complicated cases, particularly where serious substantial permanent injury is alleged, the assistance of legal counsel is recommended.
- If the injured worker chooses to have legal counsel, legal fees are normally limited to 10% of the awarded amount, payable by the injured worker.
- After the filing the application for an informal hearing, the worker, the employer and/or their insurance company will receive scheduling information from the Division within a few weeks.
- Informal claims are typically resolved within the first or second hearing.
Formal Claim Petitions
- Any injured person may file an a formal claim petition with the Division of Workers' Compensation, New Jersey, Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
- The first hearing before a judge of compensation is typically held within six months from the date of filing.
- Cases are usually assigned to a district office by either the county of residence of the injured worker, or if the worker lives out of state, the county where the employer is located.
- The majority of all formal cases are resolved during the pre-trial conference stage.
- Immediate recourse to the worker in need of prompt medical treatment and temporary benefits.
- The worker may choose to file a "Motion for Medical and Temporary Benefits" which is assigned an initial hearing date before a Judge of Compensation within 30 days of filing.
- However, if the issues cannot be resolved during the pretrial stage, trial commences with the taking of testimony of the injured worker, medical and laying witnesses.
At the conclusion of trial, the judge renders a decision based upon the relevant evidence surrounding the case.
Attorneys cannot charge a fee in advance for legal services rendered in such cases. Legal fees can only be awarded by a judge of compensation and only if a compensation award is made. The fees are usually limited to 20% of the awarded judgment, payable by the injured worker and the employer and/or insurance carrier.
Division of Workers' Compensation
NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development
P.O. Box 381
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0381