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(c) 2020 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

NJ Benefits to Increase for Certain Injuries and a Study Commission Will Review System Going Forward

NJ Governor Murphy has signed legislation to increase certain workers' compensation benefits and also require the appointment of a study commission to review and recommend changes to the State's workers' compensation system going forward.

Substantive

For the loss of a thumb, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 80 weeks of compensation; 2. For the loss of a first finger (index finger), the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 60 weeks of compensation; 

2. For the loss of a second finger, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 50 weeks of compensation;

3. For the loss of a third finger, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 40 weeks of compensation;

5. For the loss of a fourth finger (little finger), the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 30 weeks of compensation;

6. For the loss of a hand, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 260 weeks of compensation;

7. If a loss of function of a hand is determined to be a 25% or more loss of use, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 300 weeks of compensation for a 100% loss of function;

8. For the loss of a foot, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 250 weeks of compensation; and

9. If a loss of function of a foot is determined to be a 25% or more loss of use, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 285 weeks of compensation for a 100% loss of function.

The bill prohibits an award of permanent total disability from barring an additional award for certain amputations, and provides the amount of the additional reward is not subject to subrogation, as it is not considered to be a payment of compensation except for rating purposes.

Under current law, in the case of the death of a person receiving payments for permanent injury, from any cause other than the accident or occupational disease, the remaining payments are required to be paid to the deceased person’s dependents or, if no dependents, the remaining amount due, but not exceeding $3,500, is required to be paid in a lump sum to the proper person for burial and funeral expenses. The bill increases the maximum amount payable for burial and funeral expenses from $3,500 to $5,000.

The bill also requires the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to study, in consultation with the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance, the State’s workers’ compensation system and make recommendations that will help foster and maintain an efficient, effective and well-balanced workers’ compensation program that is equally responsive to the needs of both the State’s workforce and the employer community. The commissioner will submit a study, with recommendations, to the Governor and the Legislature not later than one year after the effective date of this bill and every five years thereafter.


For the loss of a thumb, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 80 weeks of compensation; 2. For the loss of a first finger (index finger), the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 60 weeks of compensation; 

2. For the loss of a second finger, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 50 weeks of compensation;

3. For the loss of a third finger, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 40 weeks of compensation;

5. For the loss of a fourth finger (little finger), the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 30 weeks of compensation;

6. For the loss of a hand, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 260 weeks of compensation;

7. If a loss of function of a hand is determined to be a 25% or more loss of use, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 300 weeks of compensation for a 100% loss of function;

8. For the loss of a foot, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 250 weeks of compensation; and

9. If a loss of function of a foot is determined to be a 25% or more loss of use, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 285 weeks of compensation for a 100% loss of function.

The bill prohibits an award of permanent total disability from barring an additional award for certain amputations, and provides the amount of the additional reward is not subject to subrogation, as it is not considered to be a payment of compensation except for rating purposes.

Under current law, in the case of the death of a person receiving payments for permanent injury, from any cause other than the accident or occupational disease, the remaining payments are required to be paid to the deceased person’s dependents or, if no dependents, the remaining amount due, but not exceeding $3,500, is required to be paid in a lump sum to the proper person for burial and funeral expenses. The bill increases the maximum amount payable for burial and funeral expenses from $3,500 to $5,000.

The bill also requires the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to study, in consultation with the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance, the State’s workers’ compensation system and make recommendations that will help foster and maintain an efficient, effective and well-balanced workers’ compensation program that is equally responsive to the needs of both the State’s workforce and the employer community. The commissioner will submit a study, with recommendations, to the Governor and the Legislature not later than one year after the effective date of this bill and every five years thereafter.

To read more about "study commissions" and workers' compensation, click here.
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 jon@gelmans.com has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

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