If you are injured on the job in the state of New Jersey, you may be entitled to specific statutory benefits including:
- Temporary disability compensation for lost time resulting from your injuries;
- Free medical treatment; and
- Compensation for any residual permanent disability attributable to the work accident.
However, the statute which provides for these benefits is very complex, leaving many eligible claimants with questions regarding how to secure these benefits. That is why it is important to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney who can review your claim and discuss your entitlement to the aforementioned benefits. One of the most significant issues your workers compensation lawyer will discuss with you is the provision of “authorized medical treatment.”
According to the NJ Workers’ Compensation Act, following a compensable accident, “the employer (or employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier) shall furnish to the injured worker such medical, surgical and other treatment as shall be necessary to cure and relieve the worker of the effects of the injury and to restore the functions of the injured member or organ where such restoration is possible:” N.J.S.A. 34:15-15.
In many states, including New Jersey, the employer and/or workers’ compensation insurance carrier has the responsibility of providing FREE medical treatment to an injured worker to help cure the accident related condition. However, in exchange for paying the full cost of medical treatment, the employer/WC insurance carrier has the absolute right to select the treating physicians. What this means is that the insurance carrier can select the doctors who will treat you for your work injuries. If you wish to seek treatment on your own through an “unauthorized” doctor, you may be held responsible for the treatment charges.
Keep in mind, however, simply because the insurance carrier has the ability to select the treating doctors does not mean that the quality of care provided is lower than one would receive with an unauthorized doctor. In most cases, the insurance carrier has an interest in providing quality treatment the first time around so that the injured worker can get back to work with minimal residual problems.
Finally, an injured worker should know that he or she is only entitled to free medical care up to the point where he or she reaches Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI is the point where all curative treatment has been performed and additional treatment will not further improve the injury or condition. Once MMI is achieved, the level of permanent disability can be determined. Please know that MMI can only be determined by the treating physician; although, the carrier or employer can ask for an independent medical examiner to review the physician’s findings and recommendations.
Following MMI and the conclusion of authorized medical treatment, the injured worker and his or her NJ workers’ compensation attorney will be able to set up a game plan and decide how to pursue the permanency compensation he or she is entitled to under NJ Workers’ Compensation Act. If you live in South Jersey and have been injured on the job, contact our Atlantic County lawyers today for a free consultation!
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The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. Each case is unique and we encourage you to seek licensed legal advice to ensure all of your questions are answered. No recipients of content from this site, clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice based on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the state of New Jersey.