Under New Jersey law, you must meet two requirements to successfully recover workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey: you must demonstrate that you were injured and that the injury occurred during the performance of normal duties of the job. Often, it’s not an issue. For example, if you are hurt when a machine malfunctioned at work or you slipped and fell while doing your job, if you can show injury resulting from repetitive stress or motion at work, or an illness caused by exposure to a toxic substance that led to an illness, you should qualify for benefits. But there are times when you’re hurt at a work-related function or while on the premises of your employer where the answer may not be so clear.
Injuries Suffered While on a Break
There are laws that require your employer to allow you to take periodic breaks, including meal breaks. What happens if you slip on the floor at the company cafeteria? Is it any different if you fall and hurt yourself at while at an offsite restaurant? Not surprisingly, “it depends.”
If you choose to leave your place of employment to get something to eat, any injuries you suffer on the way to, from or at the restaurant will generally not be covered under a workers’ compensation claim. However, if you were getting food for a company luncheon or your boss asked you to pick him up some lunch, you may successfully argue that you were on a work-related task when you were hurt.
If, on the other hand, the injury occurs at a dining facility on company property, you will probably have a valid workers’ compensation claim.
Injuries Suffered during Company-Related Travel
Injuries suffered on your drive to or from work are generally not covered, unless deviated from your normal route to perform some work-related task. For example, if your supervisor asks you to pick up donuts for the office, and you are hurt in a motor vehicle accident while on your way to or from the donut shop, you may have a claim.
If you are on a business trip and suffer an injury, you will probably be able to recover workers’ compensation, unless your employer can show that the activity you were engaged in had nothing to do with work or the trip. For example, if you are injured in a brawl at a nightclub while on a business trip, your employer will probably be able to successfully argue that you were involved in a personal activity (unless you were entertaining clients at the time).
Contact the Law Offices of Gregg A. Wisotsky
I offer a free phone consultation to every prospective client. For a complimentary evaluation of your case, contact my office online or call me at 973-898-0161. I will come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary. All major credit cards are accepted.