Although not necessarily “new”, an often overlooked provision in the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation Act provides for all of the benefits available under the Act for volunteers injured in the exercise of providing public first aid or rescue duties.
The clear public benefit provided by volunteerism particulary in fire fighting and responding to calls for first aid prompted the Legislature to adopt section 43 of the Act. In our opinion, the invaluable service provided by our community volunteers warrants AT LEAST that and more.
If you are a volunteer firefighter or EMT injured in the line of duty, you are entitled to medical treatment at zero cost to you. If in the opinion of the treating doctor, you are unable to work, you will receive maximum rate workers compensation temporary disability benefits for the period of temporary disability. Further, if your injury is permanent and able to be established by objective medical evidence (MRI, EMG, CT SCAN, XRAY) you will be entitled to an award of money. Finally, you will have the right to future benefits in the event your condition(s) worsens and you need additional medical treatment.