New Jersey Court Explains Requirements for Modifying a Workers’ Compensation Award

In many instances, even if an injured employee is awarded workers’ compensation benefits, the award may be inadequate to cover the employee’s income loss or the cost of medical treatment. Thus, the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law allows employees to seek modifications of benefits awards under certain circumstances. There are time limitations as to when a modification may be sought, though, and employees who seek a modification outside of the statutory period may be denied, as showing in a recent New Jersey workers’ compensation case. If you wish to seek a modification of your workers’ compensation award or your request for modification was denied, it is prudent to speak with a skillful New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney regarding your rights.

Factual History of the Case

It is alleged that, in 2000, the employee injured his right knee while working for a shipping company. He subsequently sought and obtained numerous awards of workers’ compensation benefits for that injury. He then began working for a school district. In 2012, the employee filed a petition for workers’ compensation benefits from the school district for injuries in both knees and filed a concurrent motion to open his prior petition against the shipping company. Following a hearing, the compensation court determined that the shipping company was responsible for the treatment for the employee’s right knee, while the school district was responsible for the treatment of the left knee.

It is reported that both petitions resolved in December 2015, when the employee was awarded permanent disability benefits for his left knee against the school district and for his right knee against the shipping company. In 2017, the employee requested an additional examination and treatment from both employers, but the shipping company did not respond. He then requested that the court re-open his petition against the shipping company in 2018, but the court denied his petition as untimely. The employee appealed. (more…)