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The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act does not require your employer or the insurance carrier to provide you with retraining. If you are not ready or financially able to retire, you should make plans to start a new career. The New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (“DVRS”) does provide some limited assistance. DVRS provides counseling, training, assistance with job searching and placement. You may contact your local DVRS office to schedule an appointment for an initial interview, at which time your eligibility for services will be evaluated.Read More

Generally, if you return to school on a full-time basis then you are not entitled to receive continued temporary disability benefits, on the basis that you removed yourself from the workforce for the purpose of furthering your education. However, if you are able to prove that you worked while attending college classes prior to the injury, an argument may be made that you are entitled to receive temporary disability benefits. Unfortunately, the law is unclear on this issue and you should consult with a workers’ compensation attorney about your particular circumstances.Read More

Temporary disability benefits will be terminated once you have reached “maximum medical improvement” from treatment, even if you cannot return to work full duty or even to the same line of work. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and the federal American with Disabilities Act require employers to offer “reasonable accommodations” for your disability. A reasonable accommodation may include helping you to lift heavy items, allowing you to stand and stretch periodically, or installing an ergonomic keyboard. Keep in mind though, that an employer cannot be forced to keep you on the payroll if you are unable to perform the essential functions of your job. If you believe that your employer may make simple adjustments which would allow you to…Read More

Temporary disability benefits are, by their very nature, “temporary.” The maximum period of time that you may collect temporary disability benefits is 450 weeks (approximately 8.5 years). However, you must be under active medical treatment during this period to qualify for continued lost wage benefits. To be considered “active,” the medical treatment must help you progress towards an increase in function, not just alleviate your symptoms temporarily. For instance, injections, physical therapy, or surgical intervention are all modalities which constitute active medical treatment. Going back to your doctor once every three months for prescription medication is generally not sufficient to constitute active medical treatment, to qualify you for continued temporary disability benefits. Accordingly, you should use the time you are…Read More

Even during a good economy, some people find it necessary to work at a second job to make ends meet, or choose to do so to get ahead. But what happens if you get hurt at one job, and can’t work at the other because of your injury? Workers’ compensation will only pay wage replacement benefits for the job in which you were injured. You may apply for TDI benefits from the State of New Jersey if you are disabled from working at the second job. However, there are many exceptions and pitfalls to be aware of when collecting both workers’ compensation and TDI. When applying for TDI benefits for part-time employment, you must take special care in completing Part…Read More

Yes, there is an alternate source for you to obtain some financial relief if your workers’ compensation temporary disability benefits are terminated and you are medically unable to return to work. Your employer may have purchased a disability plan through a private insurance company, or you may be qualified to receive benefits through the State of New Jersey. You should ask your company’s human resources department whether the company’s disability insurance is through a “state plan” or a “private plan.” If your company purchased a private plan, you must apply for benefits through that insurance company. Keep in mind that most private disability plans contain a provision in the insurance policy which provides for a “dollar for dollar” offset for…Read More

If you are released to return to work full duty then you should at least attempt to return to work, even if you do not feel able to do so. If you try to work and cannot perform your job duties, advise your employer if you experience additional pain while working. If you are “written up,” for failing to perform certain physical activities due to your injuries you should obtain a copy of that report, and immediately forward a copy of it to your attorney. If you have not exhausted all medical options available to enable you to work at your pre-injury level, then you should request to return to the workers’ compensation physician. Explain to the doctor what occurred…Read More

It is common for the workers’ compensation carrier to pressure employers into providing a light-duty return to work program, even when employers practically do not have such work to offer. If your employer is only able to find a few hours of light-duty work for you to perform then you are entitled to receive continued temporary disability benefits which are reduced by the partial salary you are paid by your employer. Unfortunately, many workers’ compensation carriers will immediately suspend benefits as soon as the employee returns to work, even if it is only for a few hours. You should provide your attorney with a copy of your paystub, proving that you are not being paid your pre-accident wages for the…Read More

If your employer does have a light-duty work program, then you must attempt to return to work, since your temporary disability benefits will be terminated. Unless you have secured a position with another employer, it is advisable to make yourself useful to the company when you return to work. However, do not be afraid to refuse to perform a task which requires you to violate the light-duty restrictions set forth by your physician. Keep a copy of your light-duty note with you at work, and politely remind your supervisor that you need to follow your doctor’s orders to avoid reinjuring yourself. If possible, document any heavy work you are directed to perform, by keeping a copy of any written work…Read More

The workers’ compensation carrier may encourage the physician to release you back to work, at least on a light-duty basis. While you are still receiving medical treatment, you should provide the doctor with a copy of your job description. You should explain exactly what job duties you feel that you cannot perform due to your injury. If the doctor releases you to return to work on a light-duty basis, ask him to write down your limitations with as much specificity as possible, such as no bending, no overhead work, no use of machinery, no lifting over a certain weight, or mandatory breaks every 30 minutes. If you are placed on light duty, then you should bring a copy of the…Read More

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