Understanding NJ's Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
Payouts for Work Injuries
When an injury sustained at work results in a lasting, but not total, impairment, the compensation offered falls under Permanent Partial Benefits. In New Jersey, these benefits come into play once an injured worker reaches Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) and the temporary disability benefits have ceased, but the worker still endures some form of permanent disability.
In New Jersey, the calculation of these benefits is nuanced, depending on two primary factors: the specific body part affected and the extent of the impairment.
As for specific body parts affected, these benefits are calculated in a percentage of “scheduled” or “non-scheduled” losses. Scheduled losses refer to impairments in specific body parts like limbs, eyes, or ears, while non-scheduled losses involve areas such as the back, heart, or lungs.
The amount and duration of these benefits are dictated by the extent and nature of the injury, often stipulated in terms of weeks. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development regularly updates the weekly rates for these benefits.
One of the pivotal steps in this process is medically evaluating the extent of the disability. While a medical professional will assign an initial percentage, it’s crucial to understand that this determination doesn’t go uncontested. The insurance company will have its own medical evaluations, leading to negotiations between both parties on the exact percentage of disability subject to judicial approval. If a consensus isn’t reached, the matter can escalate to a trial where a judge will make the final decision after considering medical testimonies and other evidence.
Post the determination or adjudication of the disability percentage; it gets multiplied by the maximum weeks specified by NJ regulations for that body part. The resulting number indicates the weeks of benefits. The weekly payout is approximately 70% of the worker’s weekly wage, within the state-defined limits.