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N.J. bill would reduce some limitations on third-party claims

court money

New Jersey lawmakers introduced legislation that would modify limitations on attorneys fees in certain workers compensation lawsuits.

S.B. 2721, introduced Tuesday by Democratic Sen. Nicholas Scutari, would remove limitations on costs of lawsuits and attorneys fees from third-party liability claims in workers compensation cases. Current law limits expenses of a lawsuit in third-party liability workers comp claims to $750.

The bill also removes the limitation on attorneys fees, which are currently one-third of the award paid. The legislation would remove that percentage and instead allow for “reasonable” attorneys fees.

If signed into law, the legislation would take effect immediately. The bill has been referred to the Senate Labor Committee; a companion bill has been introduced in the New Jersey Assembly.

Sen. Scutari also introduced on Tuesday S.B. 2722, which would extend increases in workers compensation payouts for the loss of a hand or a foot to workers comp cases pending but not settled or those filed on or after Jan. 21, 2020 — the day a law increasing awards for losses of those body parts took effect. The law would not apply to cases that have been reopened to modify a formal award.

The legislation has been sent to the Senate’s Labor Committee.