Can my employer fire me because of a Workers Compensation Claim or Injury?
The laws in New Jersey protect the employee from being fired in retaliation for filing a Workers Compensation Claim. However, if the injured worker is unable to perform their work duties, the employer may, in fact, terminate the employment on that basis and hire a person who is able to perform said duties. This may be different if the injured worker is in a union or is in another type of protected organization.
Can I receive Workers Compensation Benefits if I am at fault for the accident?
Yes. In New Jersey, unless you intentionally injure yourself or intentionally cause injury to yourself by horseplay, intoxication, etc., you are entitled to the benefits outlined in the other sections of this question and answer session. It does not matter if the injury is partially your fault or wholly your fault. You are still may be entitled to medical, temporary and permanency benefits.
Can I bring a lawsuit in Court against my employer?
Most often, you may not. In New Jersey, there is the Workers Compensation bar. Unless an employer intentionally injures you are acts with a substantial certainty that you will be injured, you are not able to sue them in Court. Your only remedy is filing a Workers Compensation Claim and obtaining the benefits as outlined in this case. However, our firm has been successful in suing an employer directly and obtaining benefits from them; although, this is rare.
Am I entitled to money for the rest of my life if I can never return to work?
Sometimes. If your work-related injury or injuries rise to the level of you not being able to go back to not only your old job, but any job, your attorney may seek to have you declared totally, permanently disabled. You may also be entitled to benefits from other social programs such as social security and/or state disability. You may also be entitled to benefits if you have a private disability plan or your accidental disability policy.
In some cases, your attorney may bring in the State Fund to help pay for some of your prior injuries.