First responders – including firefighters and law enforcement – leave their families each day to protect ours. Because their jobs put them at risk on a daily basis, it becomes critical to ensure they have the means to care for themselves and their loved ones should they suffer harm in the line of duty. That’s precisely the objective of a bill being considered by New Jersey lawmakers.
The bill – S716 – would enact changes to the state’s workers’ compensation insurance program, which provides benefits and wage supplementation to workers who suffer injuries and illnesses on the job. Currently, first responders can file for workers’ compensation following job-related illnesses. However, should the bill pass, it would be presumed that first responders’ illnesses are work-related unless proven otherwise by a municipality.
The legislation is supported by numerous advocates, as well as our legal team at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. In fact, our firm’s Partner Richard J. Marcoulus, who has spent decades of his professional career representing injured workers throughout the state in workers’ compensation matters, recently testified in front of state lawmakers to stress the importance of passing the bill. In addition to discussing important controls sought by towns and insurers – including a two-year statute of limitations from the date of discovering an illness to requiring first responders to have at least seven years on the job before they are eligible – Mr. Marcoulus stated the following:
"As a union member it was important to me that we showed our support for this important piece of legislation for our first responders. I was proud to educate our law makers and help convince them that this bill is long overdue. Our efforts are not done until we convince the Governor to sign this law. We are still fighting."
Our firm is proud to support the “First Responders” bill and Mr. Marcoulus’ efforts to encourage passing of this important legislation, as we are intimately familiar with the struggles and setbacks workers and their families face after suffering job-related injuries and illnesses. As always, we are readily available to help workers and families throughout the state protect their rights when applying for workers’ compensation or appealing decisions. If you have questions about your rights and workers’ comp in New Jersey, call (732) 440-3089 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.