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New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law – Denial of Benefits due to Major Deviation from Work

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New Jersey workers may get injured while they are at work or performing their job duties. Some jobs involve a higher risk of injury than others. For example, a NJ heavy equipment operator at a NJ construction site faces a higher risk of injury than a NJ accountant working in an office.

Workers who are injured while at work in New Jersey are eligible to receive NJ workers’ compensation benefits. The accident does not necessarily have to be related to the job itself, such as an electrician getting electrocuted while installing wires in a new house. The accident can have no correlation to the NJ worker’s job, such as a computer programmer tripping over a step while walking to his desk. Both types of accidents are compensable by workers’ comp if the workers sustain injuries.

However, there are certain situations where NJ workers may not receive workers’ comp benefits. One of those limited situations is if workers are injured due to major deviations from work activities.

Major Deviation from Work – Injured While on Lunch Breaks

New Jersey law does not provide what activities are major deviations from work activities. Therefore, we must look to New Jersey case law for guidance. There is a fine line between a major deviation and minor deviation from work activities, and each case has to be analyzed carefully.

Many workers run errands during their lunch times. Generally, workers who are injured while running personal errands during their lunch breaks are not eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Running errands while on a lunch break is a major deviation from work.

However, an employee who was asked by her boss to make a deposit at a bank on her way back from lunch may be eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits if she tripped and fell on the sidewalk on her way to the bank. Even though the employee was on a lunch break, she was asked to do something by her boss for work. Therefore, the worker is eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits.

What if a worker is injured while taking a coffee break? Does it matter if the employee is injured while in the office or outside the office taking a coffee break? Is getting coffee a major deviation from work? Click here to read an article which discusses whether taking a coffee break is a major deviation from work.

Injured at work in New Jersey? Call workers’ compensation lawyer, Philip T. Ciprietti, to schedule a FREE initial consultation.  800-281-8695

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