In early January, Governor Chris Christie vetoed a proposed statute that would have increased fees for workers’ compensation attorneys, even though it had support from both parties. The bill would have allowed workers’ compensation attorneys to collect fees on any payments made to injured workers before a final workers’ compensation judgment was issued. The governor said he believed the law would be have a negative impact on immediate relief for injured workers.
Under existing New Jersey law, an employer can voluntarily offer to pay permanent benefits within 26 weeks of maximum medical improvement or return to work, and neither the employer nor the employee has to pay any attorney fees. Proponents say this law, which has been in place for decades, encourages employers to offer permanent benefits early in the process, rather than dragging out the payment of benefits to an injured worker. The proposed law, they argued, would hurt workers and employers alike, to the benefit of workers’ compensation lawyers.
Under the proposed law, workers’ compensation attorneys would have been entitled to fees for any voluntary offers of permanent benefits. Critics say this would deter employers from making early offers of permanent benefits. They also note that the bill did not specify who would pay the additional attorney fees, had the law been signed. Under the existing laws, any fees paid in a workers’ compensation proceeding are split between the parties, with workers paying 40% and employers paying 60%.
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We have the experience and knowledge you want to help you get the outcome you need. Our New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers understand the law and the benefits to which you are entitled. We can assist you with your workers’ compensation injury claim. Contact our office online or call us at 856-751-7676 for a free initial consultation. We have office locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.