Can teachers get workers’ compensation in nj?

Can Teachers Get Workers' Compensation in NJ?

Teachers in New Jersey are covered by mandatory worker’s compensation insurance as required by law. Whether they’re working in the public or private sector, all employees in the education sector should be covered by worker’s comp, with a few exceptions.

To get worker’s compensation benefits, a teacher must prove that they sustained injuries in the course of their duties. For example, injuries sustained from violence in school, chemical injuries in class, unsafe school buildings, and repetitive stress injuries can all be considered “on-the-job” injuries.

Worker’s compensation is a “no-fault” kind of insurance, which means it doesn’t matter who was at fault for the injury. So long as the injured teacher can prove they got injured while doing their job, they’re eligible for benefits. 

How Worker’s Comp Insurance Works for Teachers

Just like other employees, teachers are covered by worker’s compensation insurance bought by the employer. School districts do that for government-employed teachers, while public schools pay for insuring all personnel in their employment. 

Insurance companies receive these payments from employers, and they’re required to process all claims in good faith. Making a claim for worker’s comp insurance is not suing your employer, it’s making a legitimate claim for insurance coverage that’s already paid for.

What Does Worker’s Comp Insurance Cover?

Worker’s compensation benefits should pay for all medical treatment required to recover fully from the injury. The insurance provider usually designates the doctors or hospitals that provide medical treatment, prescriptions, and other services for injured teachers under their coverage.

More importantly, the benefits pay a part of the teacher’s regular salary until they’re ready to get back to work. These are called temporary disability benefits and they apply to any injured teacher who isn’t able to get back to work within 7 days.

In New Jersey, worker’s comp pays 70% of a teacher’s weekly salary up to a prescribed maximum that changes every year. This continues until the injured teacher returns to work, reaches maximum medical improvement (no further recovery possible), or receives 400 weeks of benefits.

Permanent Partial Disability Claims

After reaching maximum medical improvement, a physician evaluates the injured teacher and determines if there are any lasting disabilities caused by the injury and to what extent they affect the teacher’s ability to work.

If there is proof that the teacher followed all recommended treatment options (including therapy) and still can’t return to work, they can receive a reduced payment for as long as necessary.

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

Some injuries, such as the loss of both eyes or total paralysis, are considered permanent disabilities. In this case, the injured teacher can receive benefits indefinitely depending on the extent of their disability and any wages they’re still able to earn.

The state prescribes the maximum permanent partial disability benefits an injured worker can receive based on their level of permanent disability and how much they earned before the injury. 

For example, for an injury that necessitates amputation, the injured worker would receive 70% of their wages for 315 weeks up to a total of $236,250 for a 75% level of disability. The yearly schedule also mandates rates for other injuries such as loss of sight, hearing, and toes.

For unscheduled injuries, such as injuries to internal organs or the spine, a doctor will assign the appropriate disability level. The injured teacher (or any other worker) will then receive benefits for a portion of the maximum period. For example, a 10% disability would be awarded benefits for 60 weeks out of 600.

Additional benefits: death and funeral compensation

For teachers who pass away in the course of their duties, their dependants will receive death benefits as prescribed. They may also receive benefits to compensate for burial costs, up to a maximum of $5,000.

How to Claim Worker’s Comp Benefits in New Jersey

Teachers injured on the job should notify the employer within 14 days of the injury unless there was a good reason (such as incapacitation or delayed symptoms). In this case, the employer should be notified within 90 days.

Unfortunately, making a claim for worker’s comp benefits after being injured on the job isn’t always straightforward. For example, some insurance companies and employers try to say that the injury wasn’t work-related or that it isn’t covered in the policy.

This is why it’s important to get the help of a lawyer with experience in worker’s comp claims. They will help the injured teacher file the claim, collect all required documentation, and ensure that the injured person gets maximum benefits.

Contact a Clark Worker’s Compensation Attorney for a Consultation About your Work Injury in New Jersey Today

Our team of highly experienced worker’s compensation lawyers at Team Law can help injured teachers and education workers receive their worker’s comp benefits as required by law. In some cases, the injured person may even be entitled to file for additional benefits or sue negligent parties.

Remember, we only charge attorney’s fees if we recover compensation for you. Fill out our online contact form now and we’ll be in touch with you to help you get the worker’s comp benefits you’re entitled to.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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