NJ workers’ comp judges hear cases virtually during pandemic
NEW JERSEY – To enhance employee protections after a workplace injury or illness, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced that, effective May 4, 26 judges across 15 vicinages will hear as many workers’ compensation matters as possible via telephonic or video conferencing.
Services include all emergent and non-emergent matters, such as trials, pre-trial conferences, motions for medical and temporary benefits, general motions, and settlements.
Administered by the NJDOL’s Division of Workers’ Compensation, the workers’ compensation insurance program provides medical benefits, temporary total benefits, permanent partial and total benefits, and death benefits to dependents in the unfortunate circumstance that a worker suffers a job-related fatality, injury or illness.
“We currently have 15 workers’ compensation judges hearing cases telephonically or by video conferencing throughout the state,” Workers’ Compensation Director and Chief Judge Russell Wojtenko, Jr. said. “We are adding 11 more judges to increase the number of cases heard each day and ensure more workers receive fair and timely benefits during this health crisis.”
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have been taking precautions to keep workers safe, including providing personal protective equipment, adjusting operations to adhere to social distancing guidelines, and accommodating work-from-home arrangements.
“It is important that we emphasize the value of each worker’s life, and recognize the risks and sacrifices employees make every day in the performance of their duties,” NJDOL Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “Sadly, not every workplace accident or illness can be prevented, but I am glad we can provide support and deserved compensation to those who put their lives on the line in the workplace.”
All N.J. workers’ compensation courts will remain closed to the public and to non-essential court personnel until May 11, 2020. There will be no in-person Workers’ Compensation Court proceedings (except for extremely limited emergent matters, motions for medical and temporary benefits, trials, and/or settlements, in which case social distancing will be enforced).
Court offices will remain closed for in-person submissions. Filings will continue to be accepted electronically through COURTS On-line.
Residents should contact their attorneys or each individual workers’ compensation court if you have questions about a scheduled hearing, motion, conference, or other matter by email, fax, or telephone.
For more information on workers’ compensation, click here.