While in some instances, the work-related nature of an injury is not disputed, in other cases, the employee and employer may disagree as to whether an injury was sustained at work. Thus, in some cases, a hearing may be held in front of a workers’ compensation judge who will ultimately make a determination as to whether an employee is entitled to benefits. Workers’ compensation judges have an obligation to weigh all pertinent information before rendering a decision. If they fail to do so, it may be grounds for dismissal of any issued order. This was demonstrated in a recent New Jersey case in which the denial of the employee’s workers’ compensation claim was reversed due to the fact the workers’ compensation judge did not let the employee testify. If you filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits that was denied, it is in your best interest to confer with a diligent New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your options for seeking recourse.
Factual and Procedural History
It is reported that the employee filed a petition for workers’ compensation benefits after he fractured his foot while working for the employer, a landscaping company. The employer disputed that the injury happened at work, arguing that the employee’s medical records included statements from the employee in which the employee stated the injury happened at home. Multiple hearings were held on the matter, during which the employer testified regarding the reasons for disputing the employee’s petition.
Allegedly, the judge advised he would allow the employee to testify but did not actually afford him the opportunity to do so, and issued an order denying the employee’s petition. The employee then appealed, arguing that the judge violated the employee’s right to due process by not allowing the employee to introduce evidence in support of his petition. (more…)