The longer you have worked in New Jersey, the more likely it is that you have heard myths about your rights. For example, people often don’t understand how workers’ compensation functions in New Jersey. They may have incorrect ideas about the claims process or the benefits available to them that will prevent them from getting the benefits they deserve.
If you believe any of the three myths below, you might make mistakes when filing a claim or considering one.
Workers’ compensation fully pays all your costs
Perhaps the biggest and most dangerous myth is the idea that workers’ compensation provides not only complete medical coverage but also full disability benefits. Workers can qualify for medical coverage that does not pass any expenses on to them.
However, disability benefits will only replace a portion of someone’s wages. There are limits both based on what you typically earn and also the average weekly wage in the state that limit how much compensation you receive. Additionally, workers who only have a short-term disability will find that their first few days off of work don’t qualify for benefits.
Companies can fire workers for claiming benefits
One of the top reasons people don’t file claims for benefits is that they think their employer can terminate them. Someone may have told you that your employer will fire you if you file a claim or report your injury.
However, both of those actions are protected employment activities. Your employer cannot retaliate against you for filing a claim. If anything, initiating a claim reduces your risk of losing your job because your employer will need to accommodate your medical limitations and may be warier of firing you when you could accuse them of retaliation.
A worker must get hurt on the job
A surprising number of people think that workers’ compensation benefits only apply if they break a bone in their foot on the job or have another obvious and immediate incident that leads to injury. However, workers’ compensation insurance in New Jersey will apply to repetitive stress injuries and other medical conditions that develop because of someone’s work even if there is no primary precipitating event.
When you learn the truth behind workers’ compensation myths, you may feel more confident about pursuing a claim. Educating yourself about workers’ compensation coverage will help you handle the fallout of a recent job injury.