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NJ Workers’ Compensation Law – Are You Eligible for Benefits if Injured During Horseplay?

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New Jersey workers injured while at work can make workers’ compensation claims and receive certain benefits, such as medical care and lost wages. The injury must occur while the worker was at work. For example, a roofer who falls from a building while fixing a roof receives workers’ comp benefits because the accident happened while he was performing his job.

Many injured workers may believe that if the injury is not work related, they are not eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, this is not the case. Using the above example, if the roofer was injured because he tripped and fell over a cord while walking to the bathroom at a work site, he is also eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits even though he was not actually performing his job duties when the accident occurred. Therefore, the work accidents do not have to be related to the workers’ actual jobs.

This is even true for injuries sustained by workers while engaging in horseplay in certain situations. A certain amount of horseplay is expected in any workplace regardless of the occupation or work conditions. For example, a worker who falls and gets injured after another worker playfully pushes him during a conversation may receive workers’ compensation benefits.

This type of work injury is set out in N.J.S.A. 34:15-7.1, which provides,

Horseplay or skylarking on part of fellow employees. An accident to an employee causing his injury or death, suffered while engaged in his employment but resulting from horseplay or skylarking on the part of a fellow employee, not instigated or taken part in by the employee who suffers the accident, shall be construed to have arisen out of and in the course of the employment of such employee and shall be compensable under the act hereby supplemented accordingly.

In other words, the person who does not instigate or take part in the horseplay can receive workers’ compensation benefits. Employers cannot use horseplay as a defense to deny workers’ compensation benefits. However, if the horseplay is determined to be a major deviation from the person’s work duties, then the injured worker may not be able to receive workers’ comp benefits.

We will address what is a major deviation from a worker’s job duties in a later article.

Injured workers in New Jersey are eligible to receive the following workers’ compensation benefits:

Injured at Work in NJ? You are Eligible to Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits

If you were injured while at work in NJ, you may receive workers’ comp benefits. Call Philip T. Ciprietti, Esq. to schedule a FREE case evaluation. Mr. Ciprietti is an experienced workers’ comp lawyer and has helped many injured workers in NJ. 800.281.8695

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