HOW DOES WORKERS COMPENSATION WORK IN NEW JERSEY | PART FOUR
The Social Security program of Social Security Disability (SSD) permits someone to continue receiving benefits working part time. This is meant to encourage their return to full employment.
Total Disability under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system means exactly that. If you are deemed to be totally disabled by a judge of workers’ compensation you are simply immediately disqualified from engagement in any occupation whatsoever.
So the obvious easy case is one where an individual sustained a serious injury or occupational exposure at work which caused total disability. No questions asked when the accident was an obvious and the only direct and proximate cause of this catastrophic permanent disability.
Another example of permanent disability might be a back injury which required surgery and the patient woke up paralyzed following surgery. The paralysis was caused by malpractice due to administration of the wrong anesthesia agent.
Fortunately, those are rare cases. Candidly, they generally are not litigated because insurers will voluntarily accept responsibility and commence payment of total perm even before counsel is engaged. The more typical case which we encounter falls under the second injury fund which I will explain here.
THE SECOND INJURY FUND
“The Second Injury Fund was created in 1923 to make benefit payments to totally and permanently disabled workers in cases where the cause of disability was subsequent to a prior disability rendering the worker permanently and partially disabled.
“The concept behind the Fund is to encourage employers to hire disabled workers by limiting, in the case of further injury, their liability for compensation payments to amounts applicable to the latest injury. The Fund assumes liability for any remaining continuing benefits.”
“AWARD OF BENEFITS”
“At the conclusion of your hearings, when Fund benefits are awarded, the Judge of Compensation signs an Order for Total Disability with Second Injury Fund. A copy of these documents should be given to you by your attorney. Put these papers in a safe place in case you need them in the future.
“Payments from the Fund commence at the conclusion of payments by the employer or the employer’s insurance carrier and continue until the death of the worker, as long as the worker remains totally and permanently disabled. The commencement date of Fund benefits is found on the last page of the Decision of Eligibility.”
I will next discuss what actually happens in a real-world situation.
The series of articles began: “How Does Workers Compensation Work In New Jersey | Part One”. You can also read more about New Jersey’s on our Workers’ Compensation page.
If you are a worker who was injured while at work our firm can provide you with a confidential, no-obligation consultation. Please call us today at 856.235.1234 or use our contact form.