Sometimes when you file a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey, things do not go the way you want them to. You may get a denial or have issues with your employer. The details of your accident may be up for debate or you may feel there is something wrong with the benefits you get. In any case, when your workers’ compensation claim does not go as you want, you do have some recourse, which includes formal and informal claims.

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development explains a formal claim, as the name suggests, is a more formal approach to disputing your workers’ compensation case than an informal claim. You file an informal claim with Workers’ Compensation. You will have a hearing in front of a judge within six months. You may settle the claim outside of court, though. If you do go to court, the judge’s ruling is final and binding.

With an informal claim, you still can go before a judge, but the judge only offers opinions and not a binding order. This type of claim is similar to mediation where you can present your objections and talk about the situation with the other side, either your employer or the insurance company. You always have the option of filing a formal claim if the informal claim process does not give you the desired results.

Informal claims usually cost less than formal claims. They also take less time. For these reasons, many people choose this option first. This information is for education and is not legal advice.