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  • WC law in NJ New Jersey

    Hi, I was injured 10mos ago. I work in the medical field. My MD has me as disabled in absence of light duty because the hospital I work at does not allow light duty. I have had a FCE and still am going to PT. The injury was to my rt shoulder which resulted in my having shoulder stabilization surgery in April which was NOT done arthroscopically.
    The latest from my orthopedist is that "I will never be able to lift more than 10lbs with that arm and he does not recommend that I return to my position because of this limitation.

    Questions
    1-Am I now considered disabled?
    2-Am I eligible for retraining to another job that will accomodate my limitations?
    3-I was told if my dept will not take me back that the hospital then has 30 days to find me another position. Can they put me anywhere they want? Can they pay me less then I made as a technologist?
    4- I have always worked in this field and do not have a college degree but am liscenced in Radiologic Technology. Can I now be made to work in another field if my hospital is not willing to take me back?
    5- Are WC wages taxable? Are long term disability wages also taxable? I paid for my insurance through my employer.

    Thanks so much for any and all information that can be provided.

    MLSLNG99

  • #2
    more information

    Hi I am so sorry I forgot to mention a couple of factors

    I am 45 years old and have been a technologist for 25 years exclusively.

    I do have a medical condition which makes me more succeptable to injuries and dislocations which I was diagnosed with in 2005. I informed my supervisor at that time of my condition. My MD is very concerned that I will be reinjured doing my job which requires moving patients and lifting some heavy equipment.

    Thanks again

    Comment


    • #3
      It is my understanding that you must be allowed to return at your wages before you were injured, no matter what job they end up putting you in. If they can not find you a job that adheres to your limitations, you can ask to be retrained for a job that would help you make a percentage of what you were making before. My husband was a concrete finisher that made 27.00 per hour. He now can never go back to that kind of work, so they are sending him to college to become a project manager/cost estimator. So yes, if your workers comp claim bars you from doing what you trained to do, they should retrain you. It is a fight at times to get what you are entitled to, so let your lawyer fight for you on this. You should also ask your lawyer about filing for disability payments, I am not sure why, but this was my husbands lawyers advise, once he was deemed medically stable. Good luck, and do not hesitate to ask and ask and ask questions to your lawyer, it is their job to make sure you fully understand everything that is happening, and will happen. When you are dubbed medically stationary, your checks should stop coming, but a PPD award should be close at hand. Ask your lawyer about this please. I am not an expert in this, I can only tell you what happened with my husbands WC claim. Good luck!!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by turbowray View Post
        It is my understanding that you must be allowed to return at your wages before you were injured, no matter what job they end up putting you in. If they can not find you a job that adheres to your limitations, you can ask to be retrained for a job that would help you make a percentage of what you were making before. My husband was a concrete finisher that made 27.00 per hour. He now can never go back to that kind of work, so they are sending him to college to become a project manager/cost estimator. So yes, if your workers comp claim bars you from doing what you trained to do, they should retrain you. It is a fight at times to get what you are entitled to, so let your lawyer fight for you on this. You should also ask your lawyer about filing for disability payments, I am not sure why, but this was my husbands lawyers advise, once he was deemed medically stable. Good luck, and do not hesitate to ask and ask and ask questions to your lawyer, it is their job to make sure you fully understand everything that is happening, and will happen. When you are dubbed medically stationary, your checks should stop coming, but a PPD award should be close at hand. Ask your lawyer about this please. I am not an expert in this, I can only tell you what happened with my husbands WC claim. Good luck!!
        No it is not true that they must keep your wages the same. Turbo, please make sure you have your facts correct before posting. What your husband's company did for him is not what is required by law in another state.

        If you are unable to return to your former job, your employer may find you another job within the organization that may correspond to your new limitations and be within your skill set. It does not have to be the job that you want and they do not have to keep your pay the same. There is nothing magical about 30 days other than that may be your company's internal policy. If offered, do yourself a favor and accept the job. You can always look for something else if you do not like it. By declining the job, you put your benefits at risk and it gives the appearance that you are being uncooperative. If you are making a lot less than it will be taken into consideration when you file for permanent partial disability benefits.

        If you can not find a job within your organization and or on your own, then vocational rehabilitation may be an option. If you had an FCE done already then this is very likely at least being considered. It is very rare that voc will pay for a college degree, but they do offer job coaching and placement assistance and can arrange for job training.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

        Comment


        • #5
          WC law in NJ

          Thanks so much for your replies. I really do appreciate the help. It does seem as if all the laws are designed to assist the employer not the employee. I finally have a lawyer and they have a court date set. Thanks again.

          Mlslng99

          Comment


          • #6
            mlslng99, most of the information you have gotten is reasonably close to reality. What you have not heard is the term "interactive process". Under ADA/FHEA laws you must be given the opportunity along with your employer to explore "reasonable accommodations" to continue to do your job or to assist you in doing the essential functions of your job. This is not something that most employers take the initiative to get started and usually takes the employee serving written notice to invoke their rights to proceed with the "interactive process". When/if you are ready to RTW with or without reasonable accommodations be sure and send your notification tot your employer in writing and send it CMRRR. No sense in leaving an opening for well we never got it or it must have been lost in the mail.

            See here for more information about ADA and reasonable accommodations:

            http://www.jan.wvu.edu/links/adalinks.htm

            http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/accommodation.html

            http://www.bu.edu/cpr/reasaccom/whatlaws-adaact.html

            You can also google ADA reasonable accommodation. There is a ton of information available on the subject.

            As far as your WC benefits for wage replacement they are NOT taxable income. Other disability polices may or may not be. If you paid for he policy with pre-tax dollars then they are likely to be taxable. However if you paid the premiums with after tax dollars then they are likely NOT taxable. You need to check with HR or whom ever processes your disability premiums/claim and ask them to be sure.

            I believe what Turbo was talking about is IF you would have returned to work from using FMLA, if you were qualified, then the employer is indeed required to return you to the same or similar position and at the same or better wage. It does get a bit confusing when so many issues are being described. However that point is moot as you have been off work in excess of the protection of FMLA. Your employer may have a company policy that applies, but I doubt it. You can always check with your HR department or check your handbook.

            IF you are returned to a position with your current employer with or without reasonable accommodations and you are making less money then the WC insurance company will be responsible for paying you at least a portion of the difference in your wages. This is usually for a set number of weeks or until such time as you settle your claim for a lump sum with WC. As Turbo suggested having an attorney helping you with your WC claim is a very good idea if you are met with any form of resistance in receiving all of the benefits due you from WC. If you find the need or desire to have an attorney please be sure you only consult with one that is board certified as a WC specialist. Many run of the mill PI attorneys don't know the ins and outs of WC well enough to handle your claim as it needs to be. What ever you do DO NOT call one of those big box firms that advertise on TV between the Opera hour and Jerry Springer. They truly are not your best representation in fact they are quite likely the worst there is available.

            As far as retraining check at your states WC web site. It is very likely that when/if your doc makes the final determination that you are unable to return to your previous work that you are eligible for some form of vocational rehabilitation. This would either be through the WC insurance carrier of possibly through your states DOL or another agency assigned with the task of voc rehab. In my state of GA it used to be through WC but hey have since changed it to be administered through the DOL.

            http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wc/wc_index.html

            At a glance from NJ WC website there is a section concerning voc rehab. I did not read enough of it to tell you for sure what agency handles it.

            Happy reading and Be Well
            Information posted by me is my "OPINION". I do NOT give legal advice to anyone as like most here I am NOT an attorney.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kick Me View Post
              IF you are returned to a position with your current employer with or without reasonable accommodations and you are making less money then the WC insurance company will be responsible for paying you at least a portion of the difference in your wages. This is usually for a set number of weeks or until such time as you settle your claim for a lump sum with WC.
              Just to clarify, this arrangement is called Temporary Partial Disability and typically covers 50% of the difference between your average weekly wage and the actually amount you are making. Few states have a time limit on this, and New Jersey is not one of them. However, this is only available while you are still in the healing process with the expectation that you will eventually return to your former job and wages. It is not available when you take a job "permanently" at a lower wage.
              I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

              Comment


              • #8
                http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/for...pdf/wc_law.pdf


                c. For disability partial in character and permanent in quality, weekly compensation shall be paid based upon 70% of the weekly wages received at the time of the injury, subject to a maximum compensation per week of 75% of the Statewide average weekly wages (SAWW) earned by all employees covered by the “unemployment compensation law” (R.S. 43:21-1 et seq.) and paid in accordance with the following “Disability Wage and Compensation Schedule” and a minimum of $35.00 per week. The rev. date January 31, 2007
                19
                amount of awards for up to and including 180 weeks shall remain at the amounts listed in the “Disability Wage and Compensation Schedule” until January 1, 1982. On January 1, 1982, the dollar amounts listed for the first 180 weeks in the “Disability Wage and Compensation Schedule” shall be replaced by the following percentages of the Statewide average weekly wage:
                Information posted by me is my "OPINION". I do NOT give legal advice to anyone as like most here I am NOT an attorney.

                Comment


                • #9
                  That is for permanent partial disability, not TPD, just to be clear.
                  I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
                    No it is not true that they must keep your wages the same. Turbo, please make sure you have your facts correct before posting. What your husband's company did for him is not what is required by law in another state.

                    If you are unable to return to your former job, your employer may find you another job within the organization that may correspond to your new limitations and be within your skill set. It does not have to be the job that you want and they do not have to keep your pay the same. There is nothing magical about 30 days other than that may be your company's internal policy. If offered, do yourself a favor and accept the job. You can always look for something else if you do not like it. By declining the job, you put your benefits at risk and it gives the appearance that you are being uncooperative. If you are making a lot less than it will be taken into consideration when you file for permanent partial disability benefits.

                    If you can not find a job within your organization and or on your own, then vocational rehabilitation may be an option. If you had an FCE done already then this is very likely at least being considered. It is very rare that voc will pay for a college degree, but they do offer job coaching and placement assistance and can arrange for job training.
                    Thank you kindly for setting me straight lol! They are not paying for a college degree per se, they are sending him to a school for an 8 month program to teach him to be a project manager/cost estimator, I also doubt they would send him to college for something like becoming a doctor. I will tell him how lucky he is that he is getting what he is getting. Thanks again! Good luck poster!!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Please also be careful and let your lawyer monitor what your job considers "working with your limitations". My husbands boss sent a new job description to his lawyer and to saif, and it included picking up all the apples on the property (note that he had two bulging disks and one that had exploded, and was operated on), so obviously bending down a hundred times could not be done. There were many many other things that did go against his light duty limitations, the lawyer made sure he did not have to do this. This is where your lawyer comes in. It is also a good idea to bring a copy of your doctors limitations for you, so when they ask you to do something beyond those limitations, you can show them the list, and say, are you sure you want me to do this, it could aggrivate, or reinjure me. Don't get me wrong, his work was really trying, and not purposely trying to hurt him, they just can't be expected to remember every detail of these restrictions, the page was very very long. Good luck!
                      Last edited by turbowray; 09-15-2007, 03:05 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        w/c in nj

                        Thank you all so much for your excellent advice and suggestions. I spoke with a lawyer and asked then what would happen if my hospital could not find me a position? I was told that they can then let me go. What does that mean in terms of my private disability insurance? I am under the impression that short of actual death that it takes quite a bit to be considered disabled. I do have other health issues. I have a connective tissue disorder, asthma and diabetes. It is difficult for me to walk alot as well as having severe carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand which I have been unable to have surgery for due to my physical therapy on my right shoulder. This makes it difficult to do any extended computer or mouse work. A large portion of my job is using a mouse. Whew! this is so confusing and I don't know where else to find out the answers to these questions.

                        Thanks again...I learned more from you all in one week than I learned in almost a year of research and questions. Bless you all!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I can't begin to guess whether these other conditions might qualify you as disabled under your ptivate policy. You need to read the policy and see what it says. If these other conditions are under control and not preventing you from working, then I wouldn't count on collecting. Even carpel tunnel can be managed.

                          If you can not return due to the work injury, you may qualify for vocational rehabilitation, which is job training and placement assistance. Often the carrier wants to see that you have tried to find a job on your own first before turning to voc. I'd start looking now if your doctor has released you to begin working again. It can not hurt and it is much better than voc.
                          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I agree with Elle if you can find a job that pays close to what you make, if the only jobs you can find are way way lower than what you did make, then maybe voc training may give you a chance to learn something you can do and still make a living. Good luck to you!!

                            Comment

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