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RESOLVING VICTIMS OF CRIME COMPENSATION, STATE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIMS, AND FEDERAL EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION ACT LIENS IN PERSONAL INJURY CASES

by Thomas D. Begley, Jr., CELA

 

Victims of Crime Compensation

In New Jersey, certain victims of crime are entitled to compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act of 1971.[1] The Act covers individuals injured or killed by any act or omission of any other person, which is within the description of offenses listed within the Act.[2] The state has a right of subrogation against the person responsible for personal injury or death, and a lien after entry of judgment.[3]

State Workers’ Compensation Claims

When there is a state Workers’ Compensation (WC) claim and also a third party liability case, and the third-party liability case settles, there is a WC lien against the third-party liability proceeds.[4] Frequently, the WC lien is negotiable, because the WC carrier may be motivated to get the plaintiff off its books.

If the amount recovered from the third party is greater than the WC lien, no attorneys’ fees or costs are permitted. If the sum recovered against the third party is less than the WC lien, there is a pro rata reduction for attorneys’ fees and costs.[5] Expenses shall not exceed $750 and attorneys’ fees shall not exceed 33⅓%.[6]

Federal Employee Compensation Act

The Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA) is the federal equivalent of the state Workers’ Compensation law.[7] The United States has a statutory lien for recovery against the third party liability case.[8] The lien attaches to the entire recovery.

 

[1] N.J.S.A. 52:4B-1.

[2] N.J.S.A. 52:4B-10.

[3] N.J.S.A. 52:4B-20.

[4] N.J.S.A. 34:15-40.

[5] N.J.S.A. 34:15-40(b) and (c).

[6] N.J.S.A. 34:15-40(e).

[7] 5 U.S.C. §§ 8131 and 8132; 20 C.F.R. § 10.705-719.

[8] 5 U.S.C. § 8132.

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