Under New Jersey law, employers must carry workers compensation insurance, either through an insurance carrier or a self-insurance plan. Although employers or their insurers can deny claims for very specific reasons, such as fraudulent activities by the claimant, the state takes employee complaints very seriously and offers a number of options to help ensure injured workers receive the benefits due to them.
The State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development maintains an Uninsured Employer’s Fund (UIF) specifically to provide temporary benefits to employees who need them. When employers deny benefits — or if they fail to carry the required workers compensation insurance coverage — employees can file a complaint, generally by retaining an workers compensation attorney familiar with the complaint process and experienced in litigating these cases in court.
What happens once you file a complaint
Filing a complaint begins a complex legal process that involves helping the employee receive all deserved benefits while filing possible criminal complaints against employers that do not observe their legal obligations. While the UIF can help employees obtain temporary relief, the courts look at a bigger picture. After determining the validity of an employee complaint, the court first attempts to pursue benefits directly from the employer, using funds from the UIF only when the employee cannot pay the claim.
Particularly when an employer does not meet legally required workers compensation insurance requirements, even an invalid employee claim can unleash a complex legal process. The state can levy penalties and restitution on employers found to be non-compliant to help fund the UIF and other programs established to protect injured employees. While New Jersey instituted reporting requirements to help reveal issues before an employee faces injury without benefits, employee complaints also serve to identify companies that require civil or criminal action by the state.