A person who is injured at work in New Jersey may file a formal or informal workers’ compensation claim. A common myth is that there is only one method of filing a claim or lawsuit. By learning about formal and informal claims, an injured worker in New Jersey can be more informed when applying his or her rights in court.
The process of a formal claim
An injured worker seeking to obtain workers’ compensation benefits can file a formal claim in a New Jersey court. The plaintiff must appear at a hearing that is scheduled before a judge within six months’ time. The case is assigned in the county where the worker’s place of employment is located or the county where the worker lives. The formal claim includes a trial with a judge, witnesses and lawyers. After hearing testimony and reviewing evidence, the judge makes a decision that is final but can be appealed to the Superior Court.
When to file an informal claim
Filing an informal claim is a less complicated process that does not require legal representation on either side. The informal process is recommended to an injured worker who cannot or does not want to obtain a lawyer and wants to avoid a formal court proceeding. However, filing a claim must be completed within a two-year deadline.
There is more than one way to file a workers’ comp claim in New Jersey, but many people are not familiar with their options. It is important for individuals injured by a work incident to understand the differences between formal and informal workers’ compensation claims when filing for benefits.