If you sustained injuries in New Jersey while on the job, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim and recover compensation from your employer’s insurance company. However, just as it is with any other legal matter, a burden of proof must be satisfied before you can recover workers’ compensation benefits. If you have never had to file a workers’ compensation claim, you probably don’t know who has the burden of proof in a workers’ compensation case. You probably don’t even know what “burden of proof” means. If you know what it means, you are likely wondering whether you have the burden of proving your injury happened while on the job and as you say it did, or your employer has the burden of proving your injury didn’t occur while you were on the job and as you claim it did. Read on to learn about the burden of proof in a New Jersey workers’ compensation case.
What is the “Burden of Proof”?
When a case is filed, one party or both parties may be required to prove certain facts for those facts to be legally established. When a party is required to prove certain facts for those facts to be legally established, then the burden of proof lies on them. Usually, the burden of proof lies on the individual bringing the claim. However, the burden of proof can shift to the other party.
Who Has the Burden of Proof in a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
In a New Jersey workers’ compensation case, the initial burden of proof falls on the employee bringing the claim. If you suffered a work-related injury in New Jersey and plan to file a workers’ compensation claim, you should know that you will have the initial burden of showing you have met the requirements of a valid New Jersey workers’ compensation claim. Generally, this entails proving that you suffered your injury while on the job and in the manner you say you did.
If you establish your burden, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer will be required to pay for your claim. In New Jersey, workers’ compensation usually covers medical expenses and lost wages.
What Happens if an Employer Raises a Defense?
The New Jersey workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system. This means that, after you file your claim, your employer cannot allege negligence on your part as part of their defense. However, there are other defenses that employers can allege in New Jersey after an employee files a workers’ compensation claim. When an employer raises a defense, the burden of proof shifts to them, and they have to establish that what they are claiming is a fact.
For example, according to the law, an employer can try to prove that an injury was deliberately self-inflicted. Also, an employer can attempt to prove that an employee intentionally refused to use reasonable and proper personal protective equipment. However, for an employer to allege failure to use reasonable and proper personal protective equipment as a defense, they must have required that employees use the devices and uniformly enforced the requirement.
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