12:235-3.1 Initial Pleadings
(a) Claim petitions shall be subject to the following:
1. The claim petition may be filed electronically or on paper.
2. Claim petitions filed on paper shall be verified by the claimant and include the date of the signature and verification. The formal hearing process shall be initiated by the filing of a verified claim petition in duplicate with the central office of the Division within the time prescribed by law on a form prescribed by the Division. Claim petitions filed electronically shall follow the procedures in (c) below. If an attorney for the petitioner knowingly files an incomplete or inaccurate petition any fee that may be awarded may be reduced by 15 percent or $200.00, whichever is greater.
3. Except as provided in subsection (a)2 above, all paper pleadings, motions and briefs shall be signed by the attorney of record, or the attorney's associate or by the party if pro se. Signatures of a firm may be typed, followed by the signature of an attorney of the firm. Signatures on any duplicate original or carbon copy required to be filed may be typed. Every paper to be filed shall bear the date on which it was signed.
4. The signature of an attorney or party pro se constitutes a certification that the signatory has read the pleading or motion; that to the best of the signatory's knowledge, information and belief there is good ground to support it.
5. Material allegations, if known, shall be stated. Material allegations include a description of the accident or occupational exposure, the nature of the injury, the date and place of the occurrence, the wage, compensation benefits provided to date, a description of all other claims made for this injury and all other information requested on the prescribed form.
6. Claim petitions by or on behalf of a worker seeking compensation for injury caused by an accident shall describe the date, place and description of the accident, the injury, the name and address of the employer, the name and address of the treating provider, the name of the compensation insurer and all other pertinent information required by the Act and these rules.
7. Claim petitions filed by dependents for benefits provided by N.J.S.A. 34:15-13 shall set forth the identity, address, relationship and date of birth of all dependents, the social security number of the decedent, the date and cause of death, whether compensation
benefits were paid or claimed during the deceased's lifetime, and the type and amount of benefits claimed. To the extent applicable, the petitioner shall comply with the information required for accidental injury claims or occupational disease claims. Multiple claims arising from one decedent shall be consolidated for disposition.
8. All known multiple occupational claims by a worker or dependent against the same respondent employer shall be joined in one petition. Claim petitions for occupational disease as defined by N.J.S.A. 34:15-31 which are filed on behalf of a worker shall describe the dates, place and description of the exposure and the injury or illness claimed to have occurred as a result of the exposure. The occupational disease petition shall include the name and address of the employer(s) and the identity of its compensation insurer for the pertinent period of time as well as all other information required in filing a claim petition required by this section. The Division shall notify all parties of disposition.
9. Vague or evasive pleadings may be stricken or a claim petition dismissed without prejudice on motion brought by a party or the Judge of Compensation on notice. Claim petitions which merely describe the injury or illness by generic definition, such as orthopedic, internal, neuropsychiatric or similar terms without description of the particular injury shall be considered vague or evasive.
(b) Answers to a claim petition may be filed electronically or on paper subject to the following:
1. The answer of the respondent to a claim petition shall be on a form prescribed by the Division and shall, if known, contain the following:
i. The name and address of the respondent's attorney;
ii. The name and address of the carrier;
iii. The carrier's claim number;
iv. The employer's State registration number;
v. An admission or denial of employment;
vi. An admission or denial if accident or illness arose out of and in the course of employment;
vii. Gross weekly wage;
viii. Benefit rates;
ix. Medical providers;
x. Temporary disability paid, if any; and
xi. An admission or denial of jurisdiction.
2. The answer shall be filed with the office to which the claim is assigned within 30 days of the date of service of the petition except for good cause shown. The answer may be prepared by the attorney for the respondent based upon knowledge, information or belief and shall be regarded as his or her certification of its contents without the necessity of an affidavit.
i. If the answer is filed on paper, it shall be filed with the office to which the claim is assigned. A copy of the answer shall be forwarded to the petitioner's attorney by first class mail, or its equivalent.
ii. If an answer is filed electronically with the Division and the petitioner's attorney is a duly authorized electronic filer with the Division, the Division shall cause the answer to be forwarded to the petitioner's attorney in electronic format which will constitute service under the rules.
iii. If an answer is filed electronically with the Division and the petitioner's attorney is not a duly authorized electronic filer with the Division, the respondent's attorney shall serve a copy of the answer on paper with the petitioner's attorney by first class mail, or its equivalent.
3. If the answer is not filed as specified in (b)1 and 2 above, the Judge of Compensation to whom the case is assigned may, on motion, either suppress the defenses and permit the petitioner to prove his or her case, or permit the filing of the answer on such terms as may be fixed in the discretion or the Judge of Compensation.
- 4. If the respondent knowingly files an incomplete or inaccurate answer or unnecessarily delays filing an answer, such circumstances shall be considered in the apportionment of any counsel fee awarded.
5. Answers which put petitioner to proofs without conforming with(b)(1) and (2) above may be stricken and subject to the penalties pursuant to Section 12:235-3.14 of these Rules.
(c) Petitions and answers filed electronically shall be accepted by the Division in lieu of paper pleadings provided:
1. The filer is an attorney licensed in the State of New Jersey and duly authorized by the Division to file pleadings electronically.
2. The filer submits the pleading in the format approved by the Division.
3. The filer makes an identical paper copy of the electronically submitted pleading and obtains thereon a verification by oath, affirmation or certification of the petitioner or respondent, as applicable, as to the accuracy of the information set forth therein.
4. The filer shall retain, as an officer of the court, the duly verified pleading and shall make same available to the Division and/or his/her adversary upon request.
5. Failure to maintain the paper copy of said pleadings and make it available within a reasonable time upon proper request shall constitute grounds for the revocation of the privilege of electronic filing in addition to whatever other sanction may be deemed appropriate under the law.
(d) Upon receipt of an electronically filed pleading the Division shall send an electronic copy of same to the insurance carrier, third party administrator or designated legal representative of the respondent provided that the insurance carrier, third party administrator or designated legal representative has requested to be and has been approved by the Division to receive such pleadings. Notification of the electronic pleading to the electronic address of the approved recipient shall constitute valid service of process.
(e) Claim petitions filed electronically where the insurance carrier, third party administrator or designated legal representative is not approved to receive service of an electronic pleading shall be sent by the Division to the addressee specified in the claim petition, by regular mail together with a request for Acknowledgment of Service in accordance with N.J.S.A. 34:15-51 and N.J.S.A. 34:15-52. Answers shall likewise be submitted by regular mail in accordance with (b)2i.
(f) Claim petitions will be assigned in the following priority order: the vicinage for the county where the petitioner resides, the vicinage for the county where the respondent is situated, or the vicinage for the county where the accident or exposure occurred.
(g) A copy of the claim petition shall be forwarded by the Division to the respondent either electronically for electronic filers, by regular mail, or by
registered mail return receipt requested if served pursuant to N.J.S.A. 34:15-55.1. Where a motion for default has been filed, the petitioner must provide proof that the claim petition and motion for default have also been
served personally on the respondent, its agents, and/or corporate officers as applicable, pursuant to R. 4:4-4 of the New Jersey Rules of Court.