Workers' Compensation

Laddey, Clark & Ryan offers representation for employees injured at work.

Workers’ Compensation provides benefits to workers who are injured or who contract an occupational disease while working.

The practice area of Workers’ Compensation is very specialized and requires particular knowledge of how the “system” works. At Laddey Clark & Ryan, we have made it our mission to understand this practice area thoroughly and keep up with the changing statutes and case law to best serve the interests of our clients. We zealously advocate on behalf of each client injured at work to ensure their rights are protected. We have spent years devoting our time and energy to all aspects of this area of law, including making denied cases compensable, pushing adjusters to provide necessary medical treatment, defending and prosecuting motions and re-opening matters to obtain additional treatment for clients who had further problems with their injury or the subsequent treatment measures.

Our core objective is to make treatment the most important element of the case. What separates our practice from others is our commitment to go above and beyond in advocating for our clients to obtain the most appropriate medical care that can bring a client as close as possible to his or her condition pre-injury. 

We believe that it says a lot about our approach – and our record of success – that most of our clients were referred by prior clients — many from the same employer.

Workers’ Compensation in a Nutshell

Unfortunately, injuries occur at work. But did you know that an injured employee has substantial rights when an injury occurs? There are three benefits an injured employee is entitled to: (1) temporary benefits, which service as wage replacement; (2) medical treatment; and (3) a permanency award. Each of these benefits is described below.

(1) Temporary Benefits -You are entitled to receive temporary disability benefits if your Workers’ Compensation-approved doctor writes a note saying that you are out of work. This benefit is either 70% of your pay or the maximum amount of $969 per week, whichever is lower. If your doctor releases you to “light duty,” you will be expected to go back to work in that capacity if your job offers “light duty.” If it does not, you will continue on temporary benefits until you are released to “full duty.” You are prohibitedfrom working anywhere while you are receiving temporary benefits, including any “off the books” jobs. You are also unable to collect unemployment while you are receiving temporary benefits. If you become unemployed while you are still receiving treatment and are not receiving temporary benefits, you are also barred from collecting unemployment, as doing so would mean you are “ready, willing and able” to work.

(2) Medical Treatment - At some point you will reach what is called “Maximum Medical Improvement” or MMI. This means that there is nothing more that the doctors can do for you to help improve your health or condition. Regardless of the extent of the injury, you will eventually reach this point, at which time your medical benefits will end. After this point, there is a six-month waiting period before permanency examinations can be scheduled, pursuant to Court Rules.

(3) Permanency Award - Once you have reached the end of your treatment, it will be required that you attend permanency evaluations. These are examinations with both our doctors and the employer’s insurance company’s doctors that will determine how permanently disabled you are. The award you are given at the end is determined by the percentage disabled you have become as a result of the injury and, for some injuries, your wages. The percentage of disability corresponds to a dollar amount as set forth by the State of New Jersey. The amount of attorneys’ fees will be determined, but will not exceed 20% of the recovery. This amount is determined solely through the discretion of the Court. The Court will also determine how much of the attorneys’ fees will be deducted from your permanency award. The award is paid directly to your attorney by the employer’s insurance company. If there is no permanency award, you will not receive a bill for legal services rendered.

A Few of Our Successes

  • We resolved a highly litigated matter based upon a dispute over medical treatment. After the completion of a second motion for medical treatment and temporary benefits (initial motion was declared a mistrial due to the resignation of the first judge midway through the motion), the matter ultimately settled for $400,000.
  • We resolved a case for a permanency award that equated to $130,818. This was a case where there was a significant dispute with the employer over the nature and extent of the individual’s permanent disability relating to injuries to both shoulders which required surgery.
  • We resolved a case for a permanency award equating to $74,000 to the individual for a case that started as a simple hand fracture with surgery. After reviewing the medical records, it was apparent that the individual had overused her shoulder to compensate for her hand injury, causing her shoulder to become partially frozen. After significant negotiations, the insurance carrier eventually treated the shoulder, accepted the amended claim, and paid an appropriate award.
  • We resolved a highly litigated relating to the contraction of Lyme Disease while on the job. The matter finally settled for $250,000.
  • We won a Motion for Medical Treatment and Temporary Benefits allowing our client to have a shoulder replacement surgery. This was a highly disputed claim that required a litigated motion. 
  • We obtained an order for total disability for a client individual relating to an accident where the individual was run over by a car while at work. This settlement was very complicated in that it consisted of unique settlement semantics that are not commonly utilized in the Workers’ Compensation Court. Settlement of this case involved coordination of various different entities, which all had to be handled in an appropriate manner to ensure a smooth settlement that would guarantee our client income and medical treatment for the remainder of his life. This settlement included: a funded annuity; a Medicare set-aside; investment funding; and an order approving this settlement by the judge.
Testimonials

“Jonathan McMeen is an amazing attorney. His attention to detail in my case was outstanding. He never gave up and we were very successful! I highly recommend him for all your Workmen's Comp needs!”

  • Margie R.

“Laddey, Clark & Ryan has never steered me into the wrong directions over the many times I have used their services.”

  • Terry R.

“Jonathan McMeen handled three workers’ compensation matters for me with fantastic results. His knowledge of the law is amazing. Moreover, he explained everything to me in great detail each step where I was completely confident in his representation. I tell all of my friends about Jonathan McMeen.

  • Chris C.

Common Workers’ Compensation Questions and Answers

"I am a part-time employee. Am I entitled to Workers' Compensation benefits if I am injured on the job?"

  • Yes, a part-time employee is entitled to the same benefits a full-time employee would receive.

"If I am taken out of work by my treating doctor, will I receive my entire salary in temporary benefits?"

  • No. Pursuant to New Jersey's Workers' Compensation statute, an injured employee will receive 70% of their salary up to $969 per week if the injury occurred in 2021.

"Does filing a claim for Workers' Compensation benefits mean I am suing my employer?"

  • No. In fact, the reason the Workers' Compensation court system was developed was to prevent employees from suing their employers and instead allow them to receive statutory benefits including medical, temporary and permanency benefits.

"Do I have the right to a jury trial?"

  • No. In the New Jersey Workers' Compensation system, the judge acts predominantly as a mediator between the parties and makes independent rulings in the form of orders.

"I was injured several years ago but continued to treat with doctors as directed by Workers' Compensation until recently. Can I retain an attorney to file a claim on my behalf?"

  • Yes. The statute of limitations is two years from the date of last compensation, which can mean the date of the last temporary benefits check or the date of last medical benefits provided by the insurance company. If the claim is denied and treatment is unauthorized, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of loss.

"Is my spouse entitled to benefits through Workers' Compensation for loss of consortium?"

  • No. While some cases through Superior Court allow for spouses to have a claim for loss of consortium, New Jersey does not allow for this in Workers' Compensation.

“Do I get to choose the doctors that treat my injury?”

  • No. In the New Jersey Workers' Compensation system, the employer or insurance carrier chooses the doctors to treat your injury. There is very little that can be done to change doctors who are authorized to treat you for your injury. Changes in authorized treating doctors can only be done in exceptional circumstances.

Attorneys

Jonathan E. McMeen, Practice Leader

News

Apr 21, 2021
2021 Employment Law Webinar Series: COVID-19, The Vaccine and the Workplace, Part II
Thomas Ryan and Jonathan McMeen presented "COVID-19, The Vaccine and the Workplace, Part II," the second in our multi-part 2021 Employment Law Webinar Series.
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