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Worker Pursues Workers’ Compensation for Off-Duty Injury

July 26, 2017 |

work injuryIn Grawehr v. Twnshp. of E. Hanover, N.J. Super. App. Div., a respondent filed for benefits after slipping and falling due to ice in one of the parking lots at the appellant’s headquarters. This slip and fall accident resulted in shoulder injuries that were severe enough to require surgery. The appellant argued the injury did not arise out of his employment. As a result, the judge of compensation scheduled a trial for compensability only.

The judge decided the injury was compensable since the worker’s actions the day he slipped and fell were a “benefit to the employer.” This was the conclusion as the appellant received a benefit through the respondent maintaining files even on his day off. During the appeal, the court had to determine whether the injury was covered under the Workers’ Compensation Act since the injury occurred at his workplace but off duty.

The court affirmed that since the respondent was performing a function related to his job, the injuries sustained were part of his employment even without being actively on duty. The injuries were compensable under Workers’ Compensation because they fell under the premises rule set forth in N.J.S.A. 34:15-36. Under this rule, an employee being “off the clock” doesn’t automatically mean an injury is not compensable. Instead, participating in an activity related to work while on the premises is enough to qualify.

In similar cases, it has been ruled that injuries that happen in the parking lot before or after work are also covered for the same reason. An injury is seen to happen out of employment when it is more than likely the person would not have been injured had they been partaking in normal daily life outside of the job. The act covers times when the employee is not actively engaged in work at the time of incidents but they were acting because of the job.

In this specific case, the injuries qualified for the benefits because the respondent sustained the injury while performing a function that had benefits for both the respondent and the employer. However, had the respondent been on the property and was not performing a function that benefited the employer, his injury would not have been covered even though it happened on the premises.

If you have sustained an injury while performing a function for your employment and are facing difficulty in getting the compensation you deserve, contact our team today. At Malamut & Associates, we understand the specific laws and how they apply to work-related injuries.