Are all Accidents at Work Compensable?
You fell at work while horsing around with another employee. Or, maybe your accident occurred when you came into work to pick up your paycheck. You were on your employer’s premises. Does this mean you can file a workers’ compensation claim? Interesting question. Are all accidents at work compensable?
Why Were You on Your Employer’s Premises?
This might seem like a rhetorical question. Most would quickly respond that they were obviously on company property to perform work related duties. However, what if you just stopped in to pick up your paycheck and fell while you were there? Should you receive benefits?
This type of scenario is a very real one considered by the New Jersey Appellate Division in their unpublished opinion, Miller v. Sakar ShopRite, A-3746-13T2 (App. Div. November 13, 2015). In short, the court ruled on whether an individual was in the scope of his employment when he came into work to get his paycheck.
Like many food chain workers, Robert Miller had an assigned shift. Although he was due into work at 4 pm, Robert decided to come in at 10 am to receive and cash his paycheck. He was actually in pajamas when he visited the store. While at the ShopRite, Robert stopped at the courtesy desk to pick up some lottery tickets. As Robert exited the store, he slipped and fell on a white powdery substance. Robert suffered a knee injury as a result of the fall.
Workers’ compensation law clearly refers to injuries “arising out of an in the course of employment.” The court ruled that Robert’s presence on his employer’s property was not related to his job duties.
Were You Hurt While “Playing Around?”
Of course, one person’s definition of “playing around” at work may be different than the next. This is a good reason for retaining experienced legal counsel if this becomes a reason that your workers’ compensation claim is denied. If you are injured while engaged in “horseplay”, your employer has an excuse for finding your actions not related to work. You do even need an accomplice to encounter this type of refusal for benefits. For example, a factory worker who decides to show off gymnastics skills and breaks a leg may find their claim denied.
These are just some examples of reasons why injured workers are denied benefits. At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have significant experience in pursuing workers’ compensation claims. There is no cost to speak with us and all fees are mandated by the court at the end of the case. Contact us for an appointment so that we may begin working on your behalf.