JOHN F. RENNER, Esq.
New Jersey Work Injury Lawyer

Burlington County Location:
525 Route 73 North
Suite 104
Marlton, NJ 08053
856.596.8000


Camden County Location:
111 White Horse Pike
Haddon Hts., NJ 08035
856.354.2000



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Archive for June 2008

NJ Work Injury Lawyers Ponder Rent NJ…

June 16, 2008

NEW JERSEY WORK INJURY LAWYERS PONDER RECENT NJ COURT OF APPEALS DECISION THAT THE HIGHER RECOVERY LIMITS OF A 2004 REVISION TO THE WORKERS COMPENSATION DEATH BENEFIT IS NOT RETROACTIVE BEFORE 2004.

 

On January 14, 2004, an amendment to the New Jersey Workers Compensation Act became effective. The amendment provided that death benefits under the statute were to be paid at a standard rate of 70 percent of gross wages no matter how many dependents survived the fatally injured worker. That change typically resulted in an increase of benefits payable to dependents from the old law which used a sliding scale ranging from 50 percent to 70 percent of gross wage based upon the number of surviving dependents.

In an interpretation of the amendment, the Court of Appeals decided that the legislature did not intend to make the increased benefits apply retroactively (ie. before the effective date of the amendment- January 14, 2004). In reviewing legislative history and other relevant resources, the Court found no mention of a possible retroactive application of the amendment. A phrase in the amendment that the law “shall take effect immediately” was interpreted by the Court to mean that the rights of the worker accrue on the date of death. If death occurred prior to the effective date, the right accruing did not include the increased benefits.

Considering a retroactive application, the Court reflected that: “In the absence of an unambiguous directive that the Legislature so intended, we cannot conclude that the amendment was expected to be applied in such an expansive fashion.”

Legal Quote of the Week:

There is no surer way to misread any document than to read it literally.

Learned Hand

 

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