In any statutory scheme for the delivery of social benefits, the controlling authority is the legislative intent as expressed by statute. In New Jersey, the delivery of benefits in the form of payment of medical expense for workers’ compensation injuries is set forth in N.J.S.A. 34:15-15, which describes the obligation of the employer or its workers’ compensation carrier for the providing of medical care and its expense. It is the employer who is required to furnish the medical and hospital care in order to cure or restore the petitioner to his pre-accident condition. Consequently, it is the employer or its carrier that has the sole right to choose the treating physician and the facility which will provide that care. The employer is not liable for the cost of unauthorized medical treatment unless it is aware of the need for treatment or has been asked by the employee to furnish same and the employer refuses or neglects to do so.
In New Jersey, there are three types of disability: