In New Jersey, when you have been hurt in the workplace, you must demonstrate only two things to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits—you must show that you were hurt and that the injury was suffered during the course of your employment. If you have been injured because of the carelessness of a fellow employee, or the breakdown of work equipment, there’s little question as to whether the injury was work-related. There are, however, specific situations where that conclusion may not be as clear. Here are a few of those instances and how they are treated by the workers’ compensation laws in New Jersey.
Injuries Sustained on a Break
According to federal labor laws, you are entitled to regular breaks, including meal breaks. What happens if you suffer an injury on one of those breaks? Technically, you’re not working—will you still be able to recover for your losses?
The answer, as with most things, is that “it depends.” In most instances, where you take a break and stay on company premises, you will be able to seek benefits for any work-related injury. For example, if you slip and fall in the break room at work, or are hurt when a chair in the lunch room collapses, you’ll be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits for any disability or medical expenses. This applies whether you are taking a regularly scheduled break or a lunch break. If, however, you leave the premises to go to lunch and suffer an injury while at an offsite location, you likely won’t be able to pursue workers’ compensation benefits unless you specifically went to the restaurant or other location at the request of a supervisor.
Injuries Incurred While Traveling for Work
First things first—there’s no coverage for injuries suffered on your way to or from work, unless you made a detour at the request of a supervisor and were injured while on that detour. If your job description requires that you travel, or if you attend a conference or visit clients out of town, you’ll usually be covered for injuries unless you were engaged in a wholly personal activity at the time of the injury. For example, if you travel to another city for a work conference, but are hurt in the exercise gym at the hotel, you will likely be ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits for that injury. Injuries sustained on your way to or from dinner, though, will likely be covered, because you must eat.
At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we offer more than 14 years of experience to people in New Jersey facing a broad array of legal challenges. Contact our office online or call us at 201-791-1333 or (201) 535-0323 to set up an appointment.