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Workers' Compensation

New Jersey: Temporary Disability Benefits Ordered for Unemployed Volunteer Firefighter

Reversing a decision by a lower court, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that a volunteer firefighter, injured in the line of duty, need not show that she actually lost wages due to the injury in order to qualify for temporary disability benefits. While the Court acknowledged a lack of clarity in the statute [N.J.S.A. 34:15-75], it stressed the statute's legislative history was clear in its intention to provide strong benefits for volunteer firefighters, even those who had no outside income. The Court indicated that under the Township's reading of the statute, a volunteer firefighter who had a part-time job that paid virtually nothing—say, $5 per week —would enjoy temporary disability benefits of $855 weekly, while claimant, who had ceased work to assist her ailing father, would receive nothing.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Kocanowski v. Township of Bridgewater, 2019 N.J. LEXIS 264 (Feb. 19, 2019)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 93.01.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see