According to a recent report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the nation’s state-based workers’ compensation system (“workers’ comp”) has, over some time, shifted the costs associated with the treatment of workplace injuries to the workers, their families, and taxpayers.
Ideally, when a worker suffers an on-the-job injury or illness, he or she should qualify for adequate financial coverage relative to the medical costs, lost wages, and other damages which resulted from the work-related injury. If the injury is permanent, such as the loss of an arm or a sensory ability, again, the worker is entitled to financial assistance for the life-altering trauma. Unfortunately, in recent years, legislators and employers have passed new laws and regulations that not only decrease workers’ compensation benefits, but also make it more difficult to qualify for any benefits.
The inequality of the workers’ comp system is apparent in the schedule of benefits, many of which are calculated based upon the nature and extent of the injury, and the location of the workplace (e.g. New Jersey vs. Alabama). For example, if a construction worker lost a leg in a work-related accident in New Jersey, he or she would be eligible for a maximum of $256, 757. in benefits, whereas a worker with a similar injury in Alabama could only hope to receive a maximum of $44,000. These referenced maximum benefits a worker could potentially receive after a work injury reflect an ideal situation where 100% of all available benefits are afforded. According to OSHA, employers are more likely to approve and provide only about 20 percent of an injured worker’s benefits.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a work-related accident, the experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys at Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari can help you understand your legal rights. Call (973) 635-5400 for a case evaluation at no cost to you.