Switch back to WCC classic look

WorkCompCentral – Workers' Compensation Education, Courses, News and Information

Call or email us anytime
(805) 484-0333
Search Guide
Today is Wednesday, October 18, 2017 -


Gelman: Accelerated Justice Is Problematic on Appeal

  • State: New Jersey

Workers' compensation matters were intended by the Legislature to be summary and remedial actions. Accelerated justice does have its consequences on appeal, and should be implemented prudently.

Jon Gelman

Jon Gelman

In an effort to move case dockets at a quicker pace, New Jersey implemented an accelerated award procedure, "a trial on reports," that allowed for the disposition of cases at the pre-trial conference stage. It was to be utilized either by the consent of the parties where the only issue presented was the nature and extent of permanent disability.

"If the parties waive all issues except the nature and extent of disability, and if the right of cross-examination has not been or is not asserted, then a judge of compensation may enter a judgment as to the nature and extent of disability at the time of the pre-trial conference."  — Jon Gelman, Workers Compensation Law, 39 NJ Practice Series 25.4.

One of the adverse consequences of such a proceeding is a very limited record on review. Litigation usually provides the opportunity of cross-examination. The use of an "trial on reports" results in the waiver of the opportunity to cross-examine medical exports. 

In a recent unreported case, the Appellate Court reviewing the record on a "trial on reports" was limited to the record, petitioner's testimony, petitioner's medical reports and the parties' expert reports.

On appeal, the petitioner appeared, pro se. The decision in Sondhi v. Tropicana Hotel and Casino was affirmed. 

The court opined:

"We have considered petitioner's arguments in light of the hearing record, including the documentary exhibits and applicable legal principles. Our review leads us to conclude the judge of compensation's decision is supported by sufficient credible evidence on the record as a whole. Petitioner's arguments are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion."

Many other jurisdictions provide the opportunity to take the depositions of the medical experts and to utilize the transcripts as evidence at the time of the trial. Perhaps, while the rules permit their use in New Jersey, such evidence should be a key factor in preparation of a case for trial, even if the only issue is merely "the nature and extent of permanent disability."

Jon Gelman is a New Jersey claimants’ attorney and frequent blogger on workers’ compensation topics.

No Comments

Log in to post a comment


Do not post libelous remarks. You are solely responsible for the postings you input. By posting here you agree to hold harmless and indemnify WorkCompCentral for any damages and actions your post may cause.

Featured Video

Upcoming Events

  • Oct 18-19, 2017

    AWCC 2017 Educational Conferen

    Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission 33rd Annual Educational Conference October 18 &19, 20 …

  • Oct 18-19, 2017

    Nebraska Symposium

    The Nebraska Symposium is a two-day conference hosted jointly between the Workers’ Compensation …

  • Oct 19-20, 2017

    PartnerSource 2017 Conference

    PartnerSource is proud to host one of the largest risk management events in the Southwest U.S. eac …

Workers' Compensation Events

Social Media Links

WorkCompCentral Workers' Compensation
News and Education
4081 Mission Oaks Blvd
Camarillo, CA 93012
(805) 484-0333