How Am I Supposed to Pay My Bills After a Work Injury?

If you’ve been hurt on the job, your first steps should be to seek medical attention and file a workers’ compensation claim through your employer in New Jersey.  Even though the workers’ compensation system has strict guidelines and rules required, it can still feel confusing to figure out what you’re supposed to do in the meantime after you apply for benefits.

The employer is responsible for all medical treatment after the injury if you were hurt on the job, but the employer has the right to decide which doctor will treat you, according to the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act.  The selected physician is known as an “authorized doctor.”  It’s important that you communicate the details of your injury to your employer as soon as possible and that you attend all appointments with the authorized doctor.

You may be entitled to receive temporary total disability benefits for the time that you are out of work as a result of your injury.  This starts at about 70 percent of your gross weekly earnings, and you must be treating with the approved doctor.  This doctor must state that you are out of work, and these benefits can be paid for a maximum of 400 weeks.  Bear in mind that if this doctor releases you to return to work, your benefits will be cut.

Consult with your approved physician about how he or she believes you should manage the injury and when, if at all, you may be able to return to work.  Each case is unique, but you should be proactive in your care and learn as much as possible about your injury in order to increase the chances that you will heal properly, if this is at all possible.