On October 1, 2008, Governor Jon Corzine signed into law five bills aimed at fixing New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation System. Significantly, the bills should reduce the long delays in making injured workers whole. The legislation, the State’s first workers’ compensation overhaul in thirty years, was the product of public hearings that followed a series of articles in the The Star-Ledger of Newark that were critical of systemic delays. The articles also described a bureaucracy that was easily manipulated by employers and their attorneys. 

The bills give workers’ comp judges more authority to enforce their orders, penalize employers who fail to provide workers’ comp insurance coverage for their workers, and ensure that employees injured on the job are given prompt and adequate treatment as well as short term disability benefits. In pertinent part, the bills provide:

  • S-1913: Permits workers’ comp judges to hold a separate hearing on any issue of contempt, and if contempt is found, the successful party can file a motion in Superior Court for enforcement. A judge may also impose costs and simple interest on money due and, in the event of an unreasonable delay, may award legal fees of up to 20 percent of the award.
  • S-1914: Strengthens enforcement actions against employers for failure to provide workers’ comp coverage. Those employers that knowingly fail to provide coverage can be charged with a second, third, or fourth degree crime and can be fined up to $5,000.
  • S-1915: Requires all employers to submit proof of workers’ comp coverage as part of its annual report. If a statement of proof is not included, the annual report will not be considered as properly filed.
  • S-1916: Requires that when a doctor states an injured worker is in need of emergent medical care that employer has not authorized, the worker can file a request for treatment with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. The division and the employer must answer the request within five calendar days.

It will be interesting to see how these new measures alter the landscape of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation System. Hopefully, these laws will prove to be adequate in aiding injured workers and ensuring unscrupulous employers and persons will not be able to “work” the system.       

Email this postTweet this postLike this postShare this post on LinkedIn
Photo of Frank M. Crivelli Frank M. Crivelli

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state…

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state, county and local law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS workers.

Mr. Crivelli specializes his individual practice in collective negotiations.  Over the past twenty (20) years, Mr. Crivelli has negotiated well over one hundred (100) collective bargaining agreements for various state, county, municipal and private organizations and has resolved over thirty-five (35) labor agreements that have reached impasse through compulsory interest arbitration.  Mr. Crivelli routinely litigates matters in front of the New Jersey State Public Employment Relations Commission, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, third party neutrals for mediation, grievance and interest arbitration, the Superior Court of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Mr. Crivelli founded and created the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog (www.njpublicsafetyofficers.com) approximately fifteen (15) years ago where he and members of his firm routinely publish blog posts regarding legal issues related to the employment of New Jersey Public Safety Officers.  The blog now contains over six hundred (600) articles and is reviewed and relied upon by thousands of public employees.  Mr. Crivelli has also published books and manuals pertaining to New Jersey Public Employee Disability Pension Appeals and the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation System. Currently, he is drafting a publication on how to Prepare and Negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement.  He lectures annually at the New Jersey State PBA Collective Bargaining Seminar, the National Association of Police Organization’s Legal Seminar, the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission Seminar on Public Employment Labor Law, the United States Marine Corps’ Commander’s Media Training Symposium and to Union Executive Boards and General Membership bodies on various labor related topics.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Crivelli joined the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Judge Advocate with the Legal Services Support Section of the First Force Services Support Group in Camp Pendleton, California.  While serving in the Marine Corps, Mr. Crivelli defended and prosecuted hundreds of Special and General Court Martial cases and administrative separation matters.  In addition to his trial duties, Mr. Crivelli was also charged with the responsibility of training various Marine and Naval combat command elements on the interpretation and implementation of the rules of engagement for various military conflicts that were ongoing throughout the world at that time. After leaving active duty, Mr. Crivelli remained in the Marine Corps Reserves where he was promoted to the rank of Major before leaving the service.

For the past fifteen (15) years, Mr. Crivelli has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court for the State of New Jersey, a certification which less than two percent (2%) of the attorneys in New Jersey have achieved.  He is a graduate of Washington College (B.A.), the City University of New York School of Law (J.D.), the United States Naval Justice School, and the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation.