Do You Have to Show Carelessness by Your Employer?
As a general rule, in personal injury claims, the injured party is required to show that the defendant “breached the duty of care.” Essentially, that means that the at-fault party did not act “as a reasonable person would,” given the circumstances. Under personal injury law, as it has evolved over the centuries, all persons in society are expected to behave prudently or reasonably in all situations, whether driving a car, maintaining property or manufacturing a product.
That principle, however, does not apply to work-related accidents. Workers’ compensation laws, including those in New Jersey, are considered to be “strict liability” measures. Under the concept of strict liability, there’s no requirement that an injured party prove negligence or carelessness. Instead, to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, an injury person need only show that he or she was injured, and that the injury occurred during the course of employment.
When Is an Injury Work-Related?
The guiding principle, then, when determining eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits, is the determination of whether or not the accident occurred while the victim was on the job. In many situations, the answer is indisputable. An employee injured while operating a machine, lifting or carrying objects or otherwise engaging in duties specifically related to his or her job, will likely qualify for benefits. There are, however, situations where the determination may not be so clear:
- Injuries sustained on a break—In most instances, injuries suffered on a regularly scheduled break will be covered by workers’ compensation, unless the worker leaves the premises to conduct personal business.
- Injuries suffered while traveling—Injuries that occur on a commute (to or from work) are generally not covered, unless the worker makes a detour to conduct work-related activities. Injuries suffered while traveling for work are typically covered, unless the employee was engaged in a wholly or primarily personal activity.
- Injuries at golf outings or other non-work company events—These are generally covered, with a limited number of exceptions (the employee consumed too much alcohol and got hurt, for example)
Contact Our Office
At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we bring more than 14 years of experience individuals who have suffered any type of personal injury, including physical injuries in a work-related accident. To set up an appointment, contact our office at 201-791-1333 or 917-494-5695 or send us an e-mail.