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Court Discusses Eligibility for New Jersey Workers' Compensation Benefits


In New Jersey, a person who suffers injuries while working may be eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits but only if he or she meets the requirements set forth under New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Law (the Law). Specifically, in order to recover benefits a person must demonstrate not only that he or she suffered an injury during the course and scope of work, but also that he or she had an employee-employer relationship with the entity for whom he or she was working at the time of the injury. Thus, if a person cannot prove that he or she was an employee at the time the harm occurred, his or her claim for benefits will be denied, as shown in a recent New Jersey workers’ compensation case. If you were injured while working, it is wise to speak to a seasoned New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to examine whether you may be eligible to recover benefits.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Work

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a workers’ compensation petition, seeking benefits for an injury to his right hand that he allegedly sustained while he was working for the defendant. The defendant contested the plaintiff’s petition, arguing that the plaintiff was not his employee when the injury occurred. During a hearing, the parties presented conflicting testimony regarding when the plaintiff was hired and the extent of his job duties.

Allegedly, following the hearing, the judge found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded the plaintiff workers’ compensation benefits. The defendant filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that the workers’ compensation judge failed to articulate any basis for finding the plaintiff was an employee. The appellate court agreed with the defendant’s reasoning and reversed the judge’s order and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

In New Jersey, the Law provides the sole remedy for injuries that occur while a person is in the course and scope of his or her employment. The Law further defines an employee as any natural person who performs services for an employer in exchange for some form of consideration. However, independent contractors are not considered employees under the Law and are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained in the workplace.

To assess whether a person is an employee for purposes of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits, a court must weigh twelve different factors, such as whether the employer had the right to control the person’s performance, whether the person was supervised, and who provided the work tools and workplace. The court must also assess how long the person worked for the employer, how the person was paid, whether the person was granted benefits or paid social security taxes, and the intentions of the parties.

In the subject case, the appellate court found that the evidence of record was insufficient to support a finding that the plaintiff was the employee of the defendant at the time he was injured. Thus, the appellate court vacated the workers’ compensation award and remanded the case for reconsideration.

Confer with a Diligent New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you were injured while working, you may be owed workers’ compensation benefits and should confer with an attorney regarding the circumstances surrounding your harm. The diligent New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can advise you of your claim eligibility and assist you in pursuing any benefits you may be eligible to recover. You can reach us through our online form or at (934) 200-5372 to schedule a consultation.