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    :: Friday, April 11, 2008 ::

    Contractor must 'tough it out' for 7 years - Posted by John P. Martin, The Star-Ledger, NJ
    Established by many states after World Wars I and II to encourage companies to hire disabled veterans, such funds created pools of money for workers who endured injuries at their new jobs. State officials administer the funds and finance them with a surcharge on employers.

    In New Jersey, about 2,000 cases are transferred into the fund each year and have become among the most complex and often-challenged. Union laborers, for instance, might work at dozens of job sites in a single year; recalling where an initial injury occurred and how much it contributed to a worker's overall disability can be complicated.

    'It's the one case where the insurance company runs the risk of paying for the rest of the person's life,' said Ray Farrington, who retired last year after two decades as a workers' compensation judge. 'So the Second Injury Fund heightens the reason for the insurance company to delay the case.'

    According to statistics compiled by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Second Injury Fund cases that closed during the first 10 months of last year took an average of 39.7 months to resolve -- the slowest pace in eight years.
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