New Jersey Court Rejects Workers’ Compensation Claim as Untimely

People who suffer injuries in the workplace are frequently owed workers’ compensation benefits. They must comply with certain notice requirements, though, and if they fail to do so, their claims may be denied, regardless of the work-related nature of their injuries. The ramifications of the failure to give an employer proper notice of an injury was the topic of a recent New Jersey ruling, in a case in which the plaintiff appealed the denial of his workers’ compensation claim. If you sustained harm at work, you might be owed benefits from your employer, but it is critical to act promptly, and you should speak to a New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff worked as a police officer for the defendant township from 1979 through 2004. In 2007, he filed a workers’ compensation claim, seeking benefits for orthopedic and psychiatric occupational injuries. Following a trial, both claims were dismissed. He appealed, and the decision was affirmed with regard to the psychiatric injury claims, but the court found that there was insufficient information to affirm the ruling as to his orthopedic injury claims, and the case was remanded for the judge to make specific findings. Following the remand, his orthopedic claim was dismissed as well, after which he appealed.

Notice Requirements in Workers’ Compensation Cases

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that he did not realize until 2007 that his orthopedic complaints were work-related. The court explained that the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) requires an injured employee provide an employer with notice of the injury within ninety days of an injury. Further, the Act states that a claim petition must be filed within two years from the date the accident occurred. The statute of limitations does not begin to run, though, until an employee is, or reasonably should be, aware of the work-related nature of an injury.

In the subject case, the court found that the judge’s conclusion that the plaintiff failed to show a nexus between his injury and occupational conditions was in accordance with the law. Specifically, the judge stated that if the plaintiff’s injury was work-related, the signs and symptoms would have appeared within the two year period in which he was permitted to file a claim. The court declined to apply the discovery rule in this matter, finding that a worker must take action when he or she knows an injury is sustained, and the circumstances in which a late filing would be permitted are limited. Thus, the court affirmed the denial of the plaintiff’s claims.

Confer with a Trusted New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you were hurt at work, you might be owed benefits, but if you delay in reporting your injuries, you may face a situation where your workers’ compensation claim has been denied. Daniel Santarsiero, a trusted New Jersey workmans’ compensation lawyer, possesses the skills and resources needed to achieve winning outcomes in workers’ compensation cases, and will fight tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact him via our form online or at 800-999-0897 to schedule an appointment.

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