Rate Changes for 2016 Work Accidents

  • Dan T. Matrafajlo
  • Mon Feb 2016
  • Work Injury,
  • 0

Construction accidentDid you know?  If you are injured at work, your reimbursement for lost wages is determined by the year of the accident’s occurrence.  Rate changes for 2016 work accidents were announced at the end of last year.  Any worker who sustained work-related injuries after January 1 will be eligible for the rate changes.

What are the Rate Changes?

If an authorized treating doctor instructs an injured worker to take time off from the job, he or she can expect to receive a maximum weekly payment of $871.  This amount is based on seventy percent of the injured worker’s salary and is not payable unless the individual has been authorized to lose at least seven days from work.

How are Benefits Computed?

How exactly is this amount computed?  The insurance company requests that the employer supply the worker’s last twenty six weeks of gross income.  An average amount is calculated by dividing the total gross wages by the number of weeks.  The final number for temporary benefits is determined after taking seventy percent of the average weekly wages.

Mary Anne is a skilled office worker who injured her back at work.  With overtime hours, Mary Anne’s weekly wages average $1300.  Although seventy percent of $1300 is $910, Mary Anne will receive $871 per week.  This is the maximum amount allowed under New Jersey state workers’ compensation laws.

Minimally Paid Wage Earners

New Jersey law also recognizes that some injured workers receive nominal pay.  The minimum payment for workers who have been authorized to stay out of work is $232 per week in 2016.  The same calculations are used to determine payment of minimum wages.  The insurance company defines the injured worker’s average weekly pay for twenty six weeks.  Even if seventy percent of the wages is less than $232, the employee can expect to receive $232 in weekly benefits.

Paul earns minimum wage, working for a fast food restaurant.  His average weekly income is $251.  Even though seventy percent of that amount is $176, Paul will receive weekly benefits of $232 until the authorized doctor tells him it is okay to return to work.

Are there Increases for Accidents in Prior Years?

Although it might seem reasonable to expect a cost of living increase, there is no such allowance in New Jersey workers’ compensation law.  The year of the accident dictates the rate of pay.  Thus, someone injured in 2015 will always receive a maximum amount of $855 per week.  There is a chart that changes each year with the amounts as far as maximum and minimum benefit allotments.

Have Questions?

If you were injured at work, consider the legal advice of Beninato & Matrafaljo.  As experienced workers’ compensation attorneys, we will gladly meet with you and discuss your options.  Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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