Suppose you have a disability from a prior work-related injury, but it doesn’t keep you from being gainfully employed. Then you suffer a new injury on the job, unrelated to your first injury, but the combination of both injuries renders you permanently unable to work. Are you eligible for permanent total disability payments under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system?
Fortunately, the answer is yes. Under New Jersey’s “Second Injury Fund (SIF),” a worker who becomes permanently totally disabled because of the combination of a pre-existing condition and a new injury may be entitled to permanent benefits. Designed to encourage New Jersey employers to hire persons with disabilities, the Second Injury Fund was established in 1923. For an employer who hires a disabled worker, liability for any subsequent injury is limited to the second injury only. The employer is not liable for permanent total disability benefits. The Second Injury Fund pays all additional benefits.
To obtain benefits from the Second Injury Fund, you must obtain an Order for Total Disability with Second Injury Fund involvement. Typically, your employer or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider will make payments for a specified period of time. When those benefits end, the benefits from the SIF will commence.
Before you actually start to receive benefits from the SIF, though, you will need to complete an initial certification. You can expect to receive the documentation for this within a month or two prior to the expiration of benefits from your employer or employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. The initial certification simply reconfirms that you are permanently totally disabled and cannot return to work.
It’s important to understand that the Second Injury Fund does not cover any medical expenses, but only provides benefits for your disability.
We handle all personal injury cases on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.