Feb 162015

As discussed in the firm’s  NJ workers’ comp legal articles, injured employees are eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits if they were injured during the course of their employment.

What if an employee is injured while going to work or leaving work? The general rule is that workers’ comp benefits do not apply if an employee is injured in a car accident or a pedestrian accident while going to work or going home because the employee was not injured while working. However, workers’ comp benefits will apply if an employee is injured in a car accident while working, i.e., making a delivery to a client for work or running an errand for the benefit of the employer’s business (depositing a check at a bank).

Related: Injured at Work? Benefits You May Receive Under NJ’s Workers’ Compensation Act

Premises Rule

There are instances where workers’ comp will apply even if the worker is not working anymore, but is injured while in the office building or an area under the employer’s control. For these types of situations, the premises rule applies, which states:

employment shall be deemed to commence when an employee arrives at the employer’s place of employment to report for work and shall terminate when the employee leaves the employer’s place of employment, excluding areas not under the control of the employer.

In other words, an injury that happens when going to or coming from work arises out of and in the course of employment if the injury takes place on the employer’s premises.

For instance, a waiter going to work at a restaurant pulls into the parking lot behind the restaurant. This parking lot is for customers and employees. The parking lot is maintained and controlled by the restaurant. As the waiter drives through the parking lot, a customer pulls out of a spot and hits the waiter’s car from the side, causing the waiter’s car to veer and hit a concrete barrier. As a result, the waiter tears a tendon in his shoulder and requires shoulder surgery.

In this situation, the waiter’s medical expenses are covered by workers’ comp benefits. Because the accident happened in a parking lot controlled by the employer and because the waiter was reporting to work, he is eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits.

However, if the waiter was in a car accident at an intersection 2 blocks away from the restaurant, then workers’ comp benefits are not available because work has not deemed to commence.

What happens if the waiter was pulling out of the parking lot and half of his car was in the parking lot and the other half in the street when he was violently hit by another car? Do workers’ comp benefits apply in this situation? According to a recent NJ workers’ comp case, the answer is yes. Stay tuned for another article which will discuss NJ workers’ comp benefits in this recent court case.

If you were injured while working, whether on-premises or off-premises, it is important to talk to an experienced workers’ comp lawyer to properly evaluate your case. Call Philip T. Ciprietti, Esq. to schedule a FREE consultation.  856.983.8695


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