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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    26

    Default How to Decide What Settlement Amount is Reasonable

    Hello again,
    Well as some of your well know I've dropped a couple of prior posts here regarding my situation. I appreciate the answers I'm given and am content at the time. THEN I do some more research and things become unclear and more questions arise. All throughout my research I'm looking potentially for ONE answer. As you may expect that question is "What is a reasonable expectation as far as monetary compensation for my injury?" I fully understand that it would be "foolish" for anyone to throw numbers out there and what not but it's amazing all the relevant information I am finding on the internet but I can not find anything regarding someones personal experience and their compensation.
    I've read so many things that contradict each other. I just really want to figure out something that gives me a semi-clear view. A few things that confuse me are..
    1) It all starts at "the chart"..in NJ...let's take the leg for example. According to 2010's chart, 30% disability of the leg is listed as 94.5 weeks/$20,979. Ok, sooooo...If I were to be established at 30%..is that it? Point blank?...$20,979/94.5=$222/week for 94.5 weeks??
    Is that it. NOTHING else is relevant? It would take me endless hours to try and cite my sources but through my numerous hours of research somewhere along the line I read in a few place that your "award" also is determined by your "REC" (reduced earning capacty). Or in other words, the award is supposed to ALSO compensate you for you not being able to "do the job" you were previously doing. That is definetely my case.
    Also does anyone know about OSCAR? The apparent computer program used to determine WC benefits in NJ. Is OSCAR still used?
    I could go on and on with all the things I've found that contradict themselves but instead I will just ask...Does anyone have any personal experiences/knowledge about how your PPD award is determined?? Again I understand it's not a great idea to throw numbers out there but I would still appreciate it and would take it to heart. I dont know if I'm looking at $4,000 or $66,000...anyyyyyyyyy type of ballpark number with basis would truly and honestly be appreciated. I will include that my injury is in fact in NJ, of the leg (knee/ACL), and my lawyer said "i can see 30%"
    Of course I know asking my lawyer is my best resolve but this man is hard to get a hold of. I'm waiting on a call back from him and I'vd like 2nd and 3rd person input also....thanks guys

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,018

    Default Re: The More Research I Do.the Less Answers I Have

    Once you are stable'/MMI, you will be evaluat-ed and rated for impairmemnt...PPD. Those benefits are pretty much predetermined by "the chart"... you refer to.
    The ER/IC is free to let those benefits pay out. There is no money in WC for pain/suffering... the PPD rating reflects your reduced earning capacity, and/or ability to compete in the open labor market.

    Like you said, no one here can anticipate for you what your PPD indemnity 'award' may be.
    You can negotiate a cash settlement with the ER/IC at any time.

    Your best interests would be served if you would consult with a few certified comp attorneys. What other IW may have received isn't relative to you as you are 'unique' to your own injury, recovery, and residual impairment.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    800

    Default Re: The More Research I Do.the Less Answers I Have

    Giant28 - I realize that you're looking for something to grab on to, but it isn't there. You're going to drive yourself into a tizzy just looking for some definitive answer, when there isn't one to find. Seriously, and I mean this in the best possible way - let it go. Relax. What you get will be set by the schedules provided by law in New Jersey, and/or negotiated by your attorney, and you should never expect anything specific.

    Furthermore, you are using an outdated chart. Here is a link to the 2011 chart (although some of the figures may be the same as 2010, and yours are the same):

    http://www.new-jersey-lawyer.com/2011_schedule.pdf

    Regardless of how you look at it, there is a maximum number of weeks of 400, which you won't qualify for. The maximum number of weeks for a leg is 315. There is also a minimum weekly payment of $211 and a maximum weekly payment of $792.

    Pursuant to NJ R.S. 34:15-12, for a partial disability that is permanent in nature (PPD), compensation is paid at a rate of 70% of the weekly wages received at the time of the injury, up to a maximum of 75% of the SAWW (State Average Weekly Wage).

    This may help you study up on the actual legislative code, rather than reading "opinions" and "interpretations" you might find on other websites:

    http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/for...pdf/wc_law.pdf

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: The More Research I Do.the Less Answers I Have

    BvIA. Thanks for your time. See what keeps throwing me for a loop is...let's use the 30% of the leg example again, $20,979 over 94.5 weeks = $222/week. Now the $222 makes sense because that is the # shown on the 2nd page of the chart relevant to # of weeks. However, below, LeglEgl mentions that "compensation is paid at a rate of 70% of the weekly wages received at the time of the injury....." which for me would be $538/week. So if I were to receive $538/week for 94.5 weeks that would be $50,841. So what happened to the $20,979? Or is it the 94.5 weeks which gets ammended and I receive $538/week until the $20,979 is met? Valid question/concern I think; quite a difference from $21K to $51K.
    As far as reduced earning capacity, generally questioning, how in the world does $20,979 come ANYWHERE close to compensating me "for the rest of my life." If I work another 40 years, thats $500/year. Realistically over the next 40 years I'll lose probably about $400,000 ($10,000/year). Even half of that is $200,000. So that compensation will be 5-10% of the reality of lost wages. MY GOODNESS!
    Also, am I allowed, by law, to consult with other attorneys considering I'm currently contractally bound? I dont want to tick off my attorney. I think he's done good but he's so busy I'm left hanging a lot.
    And finally, I have met MMI, and have been to both permanency evaluations. My Dr. said 75%, the other Dr's # hasnt been disclosed yet. Currently, I'm waiting for my court date to arrive. My lawyer said it was either later this month or 12/21. I guess I'll find out his rating on/around the court date.

    ---------- Post added at 04:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:01 PM ----------

    LeglEgl, I certainly realize I'm driving myself crazy. But, I am unemployed right now and stay home with my 5 month old. This runs through my head constantly. We've gone through all savings and racked up credit cards. I have a "hope to God" # in mind that I need this award to be to get my family back on track. So ya I should relax and I do for 2 days at a time lol.
    Also, my injury was in March of 2010. Thats why I used 2010 chart. Even though 2011 seems to be the same as you mentioned.
    Please see my reply just above as I'd like your input on that also. I need to step out right now but I will certainly study thelegislative code handbook link you provided.
    I look forward to yours and BvIA's replies/opinions. Thanks so much

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,018

    Default Re: The More Research I Do.the Less Answers I Have

    You are trying to think of your own calcualtions...the legisalture had done that for you. You are subject to the min/max rates for PD, which may or may not be the figure you are using
    There is no compensation "for the rest of your life", or to "put you back on track" for the monetary losses you have seen.
    Unless you are 100% PPD, you are paid based on the % of your rating.
    So, you'd take the max weeks for leg...315, times the 30% times your max weekly rate... you don't get the full 315 weeks.
    There is no "reality" in WC PD awards.
    But, I am unemployed right now and stay home with my 5 month old. This runs through my head constantly. We've gone through all savings and racked up credit cards. I have a "hope to God" # in mind that I need this award to be to get my family back on track.
    Basically... "too bad''... there is no compensation based on your thought process.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: The More Research I Do.the Less Answers I Have

    So the 315 weeks times 30% times $538 (which is 70% of my weekly pay at a salary of $40,000 a year)= $50,841. Generally is that correct? And then in the 30% box it says $20,979. What's that about??

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,018

    Default Re: The More Research I Do.the Less Answers I Have

    What is the max rate PPD is paid...? $538 (which is 70% of my weekly pay at a salary of $40,000 a year)That may not be your 70% of average wage/or the min/max rates.

    The chart shows 94.5 weeks... and $20,979 in PPD award. averages out to about $222/wk.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    800

    Default Re: The More Research I Do.the Less Answers I Have

    Giant28 - I have scoured the applicable code (NJ R.S. 34:15-12) and found it to be very complex and confusing. You'd do well to follow your attorney's interpretation. It does, however, appear that the $20,979 would be the total.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: The More Research I Do.the Less Answers I Have

    Hey BvIA. if I'm understanding your question correctly..NJ max/min for 2010 (the year I was injured) is $792/$35. What do you think about LeglEgl's opinion below that the total seems to be $20,979 after reviewing the applicable code? (I feel I should add, at this point I'm more interested in the "education" of this more so than my own personal gain involved. I've seen so much confliction that I'm quite entrigued by this at this point...)

    ---------- Post added at 12:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:49 AM ----------

    LeglEgl, I'll say again that Im just so entrigued by the conflictions I've found within all of the codes and such that at this point I'm more interested in the education within this than my own personal gain.
    Now, I must say; I too have reviewed NJ R.S. 34:15-12 and I'm not sure at all why you would come to the conclusion that "$20,979 would be the total." Don't get me wrong, I am not "contesting your research/opinion" but picking your brain as I see you have a Paralegal background. The code states...
    ".....c. For disability partial in character and permanent in quality, weekly compensation shall be paid based upon 70% of the weekly wages received at the time of the injury, subject to a maximum compensation per week of 75% of the Statewide average weekly wages (SAWW) earned by all employees ....."
    Beyond this I see nothing that adds to any determination as to how this works.
    I DO have a thought right now that I'm going to research after I post this reply. Considering the chart says one thing and code says another...meaning the whole 70% thing VS. the "# in the box thing", perhaps were talking about two different things?? Meaning..Permenant Partial and Partial/Total??? I have no knowledge of the difference at this point but I know I've read a small amount about both. I will research this right away. If you could perhaps define each for me incase I come up empty that would be excellent.
    I will also say that once my matter is resolved I will be sure to post the actual occurences for your, and BvIA's, memory bank and perhaps future use.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,018

    Default Re: The More Research I Do.the Less Answers I Have

    The way I've read the statute... the weekly rate is not consistant for the full period of PPD indemnity benefits... that may be where the confustion is in calculating your award.
    Read the statute again...it appears to be a graduating scale... weeks 1 though ..oh 30, then- 31 though 60 etc...(I don't recall the specific weeks right now...but the link is above)

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