Part One—Injuries on Breaks
In New Jersey, as in all states, when you have suffered an injury on the job, you have a right to seek benefits through the state’s workers’ compensation system. To collect workers’ compensation in New Jersey, you don’t need to demonstrate that your employer or a co-worker was careless or negligent. There are only two requirements for eligibility for work comp payments in New Jersey—you must have been injured and the injury must have occurred during the course of your employment.
Injuries Sustained While on a Break
Under state and federal labor laws, you are entitled to meal breaks and to take periodic breaks based on the length of your shift. In most instances, you won’t be performing any job-related tasks while on a break. That begs the question—can you recover workers’ compensation benefits for injuries suffered while on break? What if you slip and fall in the break room or get cut on broken glass in the company cafeteria?
As a general rule, all injuries suffered while on a legitimate work break are covered, provided you take the break on company property. Accordingly, if you leave the premises to have lunch, you won’t be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits for injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident, unless you can show that you were conducting some work-related task while off premises. For example, if your boss asks you to stop by the post office or pick up lunch for others, you will probably be able to get workers’ compensation for injuries suffered while away from company property.
There are some other exceptions—you generally can’t recover workers’ compensation for injuries that are intentionally self-inflicted, and you may have a claim denied if you were engaging in behavior or activity that was clearly contrary to company rules or policies.
Contact Gregg A. Wisotsky, Partner at Javerbaum, Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, PC
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 973-241-7468. I will come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary. All major credit cards are accepted.