Formal applications for workers’ compensation start with a form – the WC 365 in New Jersey and the C-3 in New York. These forms require a variety of personal and employment information (including your pay), an explanation of the accident and your injury, medical treatment you have had, whether you have been able to return to work, etc.
You must file a claim within two years of the accident that caused your injury, or within two years after you knew or should have known that a disease you contracted was due to the nature of your employment.
You may also have to undergo an independent medical examination if your employer’s insurance company requests it.
Your initial application and information provided by your employer and its insurance company will be weighed to determine your workers’ comp benefits.
A disputed claim will first be heard by a workers’ compensation judge. The judge may take testimony and review medical records and other evidence. He or she will decide whether you are entitled to benefits, and if the judge’s finding is in your favor, the amount and duration of the compensation award.
You are not required to have an attorney’s assistance in a workers’ compensation hearing. However, if your employer and its insurer dispute your claim, you can be sure they have attorneys helping to build a case against you.