Police and fire personnel are regularly exposed to significant dangers while trying to keep other citizens safe and free from harm — as a result, some are tragically killed or injured on the job. In recognition of the service provided by such officers, New Jersey has recently extended an existing system that provides for ongoing payments of workers compensation to the widows or widowers of state troopers, police officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty.
Permanent payments replace lump sum
The amended law, introduced in June 2013, provides permanent compensation for the surviving spouses of State officers and certain police officers and fire officers. Prior to the introduction of the new law, surviving spouses were entitled to compensatory payments until they remarried. Immediately prior to remarriage, a lump sum payment was made at 100 times the deceased officer’s weekly compensation. This lump sum has now been canceled in favor of permanent payments to surviving spouses. The law takes effect immediately but is not retroactive, so spouses who have already remarried and received a lump sum payment will not receive any additional funds.
Other dependents may also qualify for compensatory payments. The program covers funeral expenses of the deceased officer as well.
Workers’ compensation precludes the right to sue
Workers compensation is designed to reimburse injured employees or the family of a person who died because of a work accident. Generally, all those who receive workers compensation forgo their rights to sue employers or co-employees for injuries sustained in work-related accidents, except in those rare circumstances known as intentional harm cases.
The New Jersey law firm of Hoffman DiMuzio has been advising employees and their families on workers compensation claims for more than 35 years. If you have a workers compensation claim, make an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys. Your consultation is free of charge.
Publication approved by Kenneth A. DiMuzio, Jr., Esq., Associate of Hoffman DiMuzio