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What do you do if your workers' compensation claim is denied?

When you get hurt at work, the last thing you want to have to deal with is a dispute with your boss over the amount of compensation you should receive or if your injury should be covered by workplace insurance at all. Workers' compensation is designed to help you when you're hurt, and your employer should be willing to help you file your claim for compensation as long as your injury took place on the job.

Sometimes, there could be issues with the compensability of your claim. For instance, if you were on your way to work when you were hit, does that count under workers' compensation? If you got sick at work, was that illness caused by work, stress on the job or hazards you were exposed to? If it's a complicated situation, the claim may be debated and even denied completely.

When your claim is denied, you have a right to speak with your attorney before you move forward. You are able to apply for an informal hearing, so you can speak on your behalf in front of a judge. The judge's job is to hear the issues resolving the case and to decide on if the temporary benefits, treatments or other requests made by the employee are reasonable. The judge makes suggestions, but they are not binding in an informal hearing.

On the other hand, if you make a formal claim with the Division of Workers' Compensation, then a judge will hear your case. The judge can make a decision at the end of your hearing. That will be a binding decision.

Source: State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, "Filing a Claim," accessed May 24, 2016

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