Appeals from workers’ compensation courts are directly to the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division. R. 2:2-3. The standard for review of a decision of a Judge of Compensation in most instances is governed by Close v. Kordulak Bros., 44 N.J. 589 (1965). In Kordulak, the Supreme Court held that the standard of review for decision rendered by the Division of Workers’ Compensation is:
whether the findings made could reaosnable have been reached on sufficient credible evidence present int he record, considering the proofs as whole, with due regard to the opportunity of the one who heard the witnesses to judge of their credibility and with due regard also to the agency’s expertise where such expertise is a pertinent factor.”
In 2015 employers reported 134,580 accidents in which employees suffered injury or occupational disease. In the same year, 34,500 new claim petitions were filed in the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation. An additional 6,250 re-opening claim petitions were filed in the same period. The vast majority of trials are resolved by the parties before testimony is completed and before a judge makes a final determination. Approximately 160 of those cases will be decided by the Division’s Judges after a complete trial.
Trial & Evidence
All workers’ compensation trials are decided solely by a Judge of Compensation: there is no jury. A judge is given wide latitude to decide cases. The standard of proof for a judge’s findings was outlined in the Supreme Court case of Close v. Kordulak. The court inquired “whether the findings made could have been reached on sufficient credible evidence in the record after giving due weight to (the judge’s) expertise in the field and his opportunity to hear and observe the witness.” See Close v. Kordulak, 44 N.J. 589, 599 (1965). Continue reading In brief: Trial of New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Cases→