Why does workers’ compensation cases take so long to resolve?
My client asked me today if his workers’ compensation case can be resolved within weeks of being cleared to return to work by his physician. My answer was simply, “No.” But not because I do not want to resolve his case or simply because I am too busy but because the law requires a waiting period called, “the 26 week rule.”
According to N.J.S.A. 34:15-16, which reads, in pertinent part:
“permanent disability, total or partial, shall not be determined or awarded until after 26 weeks from the date of the employee’s final active medical treatment, or until after 26 weeks from the date of the employee’s return to work, whichever is earlier, or, if no time is lost or no treatment is rendered, then permanent disability, total or partial, shall not be
determined or awarded until after 26 weeks from the date of the accident…”
Given N.J.S.A. 34:15-16 as an attorney I am somewhat constrained to filing a claim petition seeking permanent benefits until 26 weeks has elapsed. Filing a claim petition for workers’ compensation benefits earlier may open you to attack at time of trial. See, Colette, v. South Jersey Transportation Authority, docket no., 1175-09T2 (decided Sept. 2010).
If you have any question or concerns regarding your worker related injury please give Dan T. Matrafajlo a call for a free office consultation.