Are you eligible for New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

November 11, 2013

If you are injured on the job, the first question to be answered is whether or not you are entitled to worker’s compensation benefits. All employers in New Jersey, with the exception of specific governmental entities, are required to insure their employees. Pursuant to New Jersey Workers’ Compensation law, the definition of employee is broad. The statute defines an employees as;

“synonymous with servant and includes all natural persons including officers of a corporation who perform service for an employer for financial consideration.”

Although the intent of the law is to include as many people as possible within the definition of employee, there are exceptions. Independent contractors, for example, are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. An example of an independent contractor would be a landscaper hired by a homeowner. Sometimes the line between being considered an independent contractor as opposed to an employee is blurry. In determining whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor, courts generally look at the amount of control the employer has over the individual, among other factors.

Additionally, casual employees are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. A casual employee is an individual that is hired not in connection with any business, and usually on a one time basis. An example would be a neighbor that is hired to help another neighbor move. Inmates performing tasks while incarcerated are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Federal employees, although not covered under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws, are covered under the Federal Employees Compensation Act.

There are several special situations where coverage does exist. For example, volunteer public safety workers, although unpaid, are considered employees and are entitled to New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits. An example would be a volunteer fireman injured on the job. Additionally, illegal aliens are entitled to compensation benefits. Moreover, minors are entitled to special protections under the workers’ compensation laws. If a minor is under the age of 14, or between the ages of 14 and 18 and is working without a permit, they are entitled to double temporary and permanent partial disability as a penalty to the employer. In addition, as another penalty, injured minors have the right to elect civil recovery as opposed to workers’ compensation benefits.

If you are injured on the job and have questions regarding your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits, contact Randolph H. Wolf today.

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