On February 3, 2020, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that Medical Providers have a six year statute of limitations to file a collection action against a Respondent Insurance Carrier in the Workers’ Compensation Division. The Court issued its Decision affirming entirely the Appellate Division ruling in Plastic Surgery Center, PA. v. Malouf Chevrolet-Cadillac, Inc., 457 N.J. Super. 565 (App. Div. 2019).
Prior to 2012, Medical Providers seeking to resolve a payment dispute for services provided in a Workers’ Compensation claim could file a collection action in New Jersey Superior Court. The Medical Provider had six years from the date of service to file the claim. N.J.S.A 2A:14-1. This changed in 2012 when the Legislature provided the Division of Workers’ Compensation with exclusive jurisdiction over all Medical Provider claims. N.J.S.A 34:15-15. In New Jersey, Workers’ Compensation claims must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. N.J.S.A 34:15-51. It was resultantly ambiguous whether a Medical Provider had two or six years to file their claim.
The Appellate Division addressed the issue in the 2018 Decision, Plastic Surgery Center, PA. v. Malouf Chevrolet-Cadillac, Inc. Five separate cases with identical factual scenarios were consolidated. In each case, the Medical Provider sought reimbursement for services provided to an injured employee. They filed their claim more than two years from the date of service, but less than six years. The Respondent Insurance Carriers successfully argued that the Providers’ claims were barred by the two year statute of limitations, and the cases were resultantly dismissed. The Medical Providers appealed. They asserted that the statute of limitations was six years from the date of the medical services provided in accordance with N.J.S.A 2A:14-1. The Providers argued that medical services are not subject to the two year requirement in N.J.S.A 34:15-51.
The Appellate Division agreed. It determined that the intent of the Legislature was to maintain a six-year statute of limitations for Medical Providers to bring a collection action against Respondent Insurance Carriers; the two-year statute of limitations provided for Petitioners in N.J.S.A 34:15-51 does not apply to claims brought by Medical Providers.
The Supreme Court, in its short written decision, upheld the Appellate Division’s ruling and adopted its reasoning entirely. As such, it is, and continues to be, the law of this State that Medical Providers have six-year from the date the medical services are provided to file collection actions in the Workers’ Compensation Division.
Although it does not alter the current status quo, the Supreme Court Decision is win a for Medical Providers. The Decision only encourages the rise in Medical Providers Claims that has been seen throughout the Workers Compensation Division in the last few years. Unfortunately, these claims will continue to remain open far longer while Respondents and Medical Providers resolve their disputes.
 Catherine M. Shiels, Esq. is a Shareholder in GRSLBG&B’s Workers’ Compensation Department. She defends employers, insurers, and third party administrators against workers’ compensation claims in New Jersey and New York. Catherine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Yi Zhu, Esq. is an Associate in GRSLBG&B’s Workers’ Compensation Department. He represents insurance companies and self-insured employers in the defense of workers’ compensation claims in New Jersey. Yi can be reached at email@example.com.