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New Jersey Court Denies Workers' Compensation Claim for Off Premise Harm


In New Jersey, a person that suffers an injury at work may be eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are certain factors that determine whether a person may be awarded benefits, such as whether the person is an employee or an independent contractor and whether the person was engaged in the scope and course of his or her work. As discussed in a recent New Jersey case, generally, an employee that suffers an injury while traveling to or from work is not considered to be engaged in work-related activity and cannot recover benefits. If you suffered an injury while working, it is prudent to meet with a knowledgeable New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney to discuss whether you may be owed benefits.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Injury

It is reported that the plaintiff, a nurse, parked her car in the parking lot across the street from the hospital in which she worked. She was crossing the street to go to work when she was struck by a vehicle. She suffered a concussion, multiple fractures, and other injuries. She subsequently filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Her employer denied her claim, and a judge of compensation ultimately ruled that her injuries did not arise in the course and scope of her employment. The plaintiff appealed, but on appeal, the appellate court affirmed the dismissal of her claims.

Benefits for Injuries Suffered While Traveling To or From Work

Pursuant to New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), employees that suffer injuries while they are in the course of their employment have the right to recover workers’ compensation benefits. While the general law previously provided that injuries incurred while traveling to or from work were not compensable, there were numerous exceptions. Thus, the legislature enacted what is known as the premises rule.

The premises rule explicitly states that employment begins when an employee arrives at the employer’s place of business to report for work and ends when the employee leaves the place of business, with the caveat that areas that are not under the employer’s control are excluded. As such, in assessing whether an employee is owed benefits under the premises rule, the court must determine where the accident occurred and whether the employer had control over the location where the employee was injured.

In the subject case, the plaintiff was injured while walking in a crosswalk on a public street. The appellate court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the position that the employer did not have control over the lot where the plaintiff parked her vehicle or over the street where the injury occurred. As such, the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims.

Discuss Your Injury with a Trusted New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Attorney

For an injury suffered at work to be compensable under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act, the injury must be work-related. If you were hurt while traveling to or from your workplace, the trusted New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can assess the circumstances surrounding your injury and advise you of what benefits you may be owed. We can be contacted through our form online or at (934) 200-5372 to set up a conference.