In New Jersey, to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must show two things: that you suffered an injury and that the injury during the performance of the normal or customary duties of your job. With respect to most workers’ compensation claims, that’s not an issue. If you were exposed to toxic substances, suffered a broken bone in a workplace accident or can show that the repetitive movements required by your job caused you some type of injury, you’ll likely receive benefits. Was your injury work-related? There are some situations where your rights can be unclear.
Injuries Sustained While Off Company Premises
You cannot seek workers’ compensation benefits for any injuries you suffer while traveling to and from work, unless a supervisor asks you to make a detour for company business and you are injured on the detour. Any injury incurred while you are traveling for your job—a car accident, a slip and fall at a meeting or conference—may qualify you for workers’ compensation. However, if you travel for work, but are injured while engaged in a wholly personal act, your claim will probably be denied. For example, if you go to a multi-day conference in the mountains and opt to go for a hike through the woods on your off time, you won’t have a workers’ compensation claim for injuries suffered in a fall on the hike.
Injuries Suffered during a Break
Under federal labor laws, employees are entitled to intermittent breaks, as well as the opportunity to take time away for lunch. If you suffer an injury while on a break, you may or may not be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if you leave the premises to go to a nearby restaurant, you may have difficulty getting workers’ compensation benefits. But if you slip and fall in the company lunchroom, you’ll probably have a claim. The same applies if your boss asks you to leave company property to buy lunch for other employees.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of the carelessness or negligence of another person, our personal injury attorneys can help protect your rights. For a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our offices, in New Brunswick at 732-247-3600 or in Somerville at 908-448-2560.