In New Jersey, to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must show two things: that you suffered an injury that keeps you from working or limits your ability to do your job; and that the injury was work-related, or sustained during the course of your employment. In most instances, when the injury happens during work hours or on company property, the issue is clear cut. But there are some situations where you may be uncertain whether your injury qualifies as work-related. In this blog, we’ll look at a couple such scenarios.
Injuries That Occur during a Scheduled Break
Under labor laws, employees are entitled to periodic breaks, including a meal break. What happens if you slip and fall on your way to the coffee machine or otherwise injure yourself in the company break room? What if you trip over something in the cafeteria or while out to lunch? You’re not actually doing your job, are you?
As a general rule, if you are injured on company property, you can file a workers’ compensation claim for injuries suffered, unless you are engaged in unauthorized horseplay or clearly in violation of company rules. That covers injuries sustained in the company break room and the company dining facility. However, the rule is different if you leave company premises for a meal. In that case, you’re generally not covered once you leave your place of employment, unless you have been sent by a supervisor or other authorized person on an errand or to bring back food for others.
Injuries While Traveling for Work
First of all, there’s no coverage for injuries suffered on your way to or from work, unless you took a detour to handle some business for the company—to stop by the post office or pick up bagels for the staff. Any injury suffered on the detour would then be covered.
If your job requires that you travel—on a daily basis, on regular business trips or for an occasional meeting or conference—some injuries will be covered and some won’t. If you were engaged in an activity that was entirely personal—out at a fitness club or out to dinner—your injury won’t be covered. But if you took a client to the fitness club or dinner, it would probably be covered. In addition, any injuries suffered during your travel would likely be covered.
Contact Attorney Howard D. Popper
To learn your options when you have been injured because of the negligence or carelessness of another person, contact our office online or call attorney Popper at 973-993-8787. We have offices in Morristown and Newton, but will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary. There is no charge for your first consultation.
We handle all personal injury claims on a contingency basis. You won’t be charged any legal fees unless attorney Popper recovers compensation for your losses.