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Cheat Sheet: N.J. Dispute Over Compensation

07 May, 2023 Frank Ferreri

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Newark, NJ ( -- If you're in New Jersey and a dispute arises between an employer and employee over a workers' compensation claim, what happens?

Here's a look at how the Garden State handles such a situation.

When a Dispute Arises

In case of a dispute over or failure to agree upon a claim for compensation between an employer and employee, or the dependents of an employee, either party may submit the claim, as to: 1) questions of fact; 2) the nature and effect of the injuries; and 3) the amount of compensation for the injuries.

The Petition

After a petition for compensation or dependency claims has been filed, seeking compensation by reason of accident, injury, or occupational disease of any employee, and when the petitioner is represented by an attorney of the State of New Jersey, and when it appears that the issue or issues involve the question of: 1) jurisdiction; 2) liability; or 3) causal relationship or dependency of the petition, and the petitioner and respondent wish to enter into a lump-sum settlement, a judge of compensation can agree with the parties.

Before the judge consents, she will consider the testimony of the petitioner and other witnesses, together with any stipulation of the parties. From there, the judge will determine whether the settlement is "fair and just under all circumstances." If she feels it is, the judge will enter an order approving the settlement.

The Settlement

When a settlement is approved, it has the force and effect of a dismissal of a claim petition, and the settlement is final and conclusive upon the employee and the employee's dependents. A settlement operates as a "complete surrender" of any right to compensation or other benefits arising out of the claim.

Any payments made are recognized as payments of workers' compensation benefits for insurance purposes only.

Case Example

In Kaur v. Garden State Fuels, 2019 WL 1579705 (N.J. Sup. Ct. App. Div. 04/12/19, unpublished), a gas station worker's widow could not sue an employer for negligence over the worker's murder that took place when the gas station was being robbed. Why? The widow had accepted a workers' compensation settlement from the employer, which barred any additional benefits apart from those from a dependency claim. Because a negligence claim didn't fall under this exception, the widow's lawsuit could not overcome the settlement agreement.

Get the lowdown on New Jersey compliance by checking out SimplyResearch

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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

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