Personal Injury and Minors, Part One: Workers’ Compensation
Minors who sustain injuries are protected under the law. What about minors and workplace injuries? Anyone injured at work have basic rights under workers’ compensation law. Generally speaking, these are summed up as authorized medical treatment, reimbursement of a portion of lost wages, and the prospect of some degree of a permanent disability award. However, are minors treated the same as adults when it comes to workers’ compensation?
First, it is important to know that New Jersey has specific laws concerning anyone employed under the age of 18. They come under the guidelines of New Jersey’s child labor laws. These rules and regulations are summarized in this abstract issued by the state:
- Employers may only hire minors for certain jobs
- The underage employees may only work a specified number of hours and times that are excluded from minors to work
- Certain employers are prohibited from designating underage workers to perform a variety of jobs
What is the difference in workers’ compensation benefits for adults and for minors? There are none — minors who are injured on the job are entitled to the same benefits available to their adult colleagues. However, it is important to understand the child labor laws. If the minor’s employment violates the guidelines, the underage employee will be entitled to double the amount normally available to the adult counterpart. For example, an adult injured in a qualified accident earns $500 for a full workweek. If the authorized treating doctor indicated that the injuries justify the employee to stay out of work for three weeks, the employee is entitled to 70 percent wage reimbursement. This equates to $350 weekly for lost wages. An illegally employed minor would be paid double that amount. The money would come directly from the employer, rather than its insurance carrier.
Another important exception acts as a distinction between workers’ compensation cases for adults and minors. It is a rare exception when an adult can bring a civil case against his/her employer. (We will go over this in a subsequent article.) However, the workers’ compensation statute states that nothing in the law shall “deprive an infant under the age of 18 of the right or rights now existing to recover damages in a common law or other appropriate action or proceeding for injuries received by reason of the negligence of his or her master.”
If your child was injured at work, it is important that you seek competent legal advice. The Law Office of Anthony Carbone is fully familiar with workers’ compensation law. Contact us to discuss your case and how to proceed on behalf of your minor.