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New jersey lawmakers pass bill that aids some work injury victims

Some New Jersey workers who are exposed to more potential hazards due to the nature of their jobs may now get a few more financial protections based on a bill that only awaits the signature of Governor Christie. Those who work as prison guards or provide other safety-related protections may soon be afforded more coverage in the event they suffer a work injury as the result of an attack. The measure has been several years in the making and may soon be a reality.

If the governor approves, the new law will ensure that state prison guards will be afforded more than the monetary help provided under workers' compensation. The bill includes protection for prison and jail security workers who are injured through riots or physical attack by inmates. While police officers and state troopers are already entitled to full pay when they suffer such an injury on the job, guards were not given the same coverage.

Under the new law, once enacted, workers' comp payments for corrections officers will be supplemented to ensure the injured worker receives full pay in these circumstances. The union and guards have been seeking these benefits for several years and are pleased that lawmakers have listened to their petitions to be treated the same as other law enforcement officials. The bill covers probation and parole officers, corrections officers, civilian employees working with inmates directly, as well as juvenile detention officers. 

The bill also covers some park patrol officers and those who provide security at medical and school campuses. It does not address those employed by private companies. New Jersey workers who suffer a work injury are still entitled to receive workers' compensation payments regardless of their profession. A workers' compensation attorney can offer assistance in pursuing a claim for all available benefits, including any necessary appeal from an initial denial of coverage.

Source: nj.com, "Benefits bill for corrections officers attacked on the job now in Christie's hands", S. P. Sullivan, March 14, 2017

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