Lunchtime Work Accidents: Are You Entitled to Benefits?
More than likely, you have some idea as to what constitutes a work accident. In fact, New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws offer some insight as to what is considered an on-the-job injury. The first condition is that the accident must arise out of and in the course of employment. Equally important, is that it is not necessary to prove negligence to seek workers’ compensation benefits. With that in mind, you may wonder when it is feasible to make a claim for a lunchtime work accident.
Consider this scenario. Perhaps you are a legal secretary in any of the many law firms in downtown Jersey City. Papers need to be filed at the courthouse. Just as you’re about to leave on your lunch hour, the office manager stops you. Although your boss acknowledges that you are headed out for lunch, she’s hoping that you can lend a hand by delivering the documents.
As you cross over Newark Avenue, a vehicle pops out of nowhere and crashes into you. You are lucky to be alive. Meanwhile, auto-pedestrian accidents often result in severe injuries. Yours is no exception. Are you entitled to workers’ compensation benefits? After all, you were on your lunch hour.
Here’s where it pays to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Without question, you should pursue a claim against the driver that hit you. However, there’s also a strong possibility that you should expect some assistance from your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier. After all, you were filing the paperwork with the courts at your superior’s request.
Notwithstanding, some lunchtime work accidents are simply not compensable. For one, they do not meet the test as far as relating to the injured worker’s employment. And then, there is New Jersey’s going and coming rule as it pertains to workers’ compensation benefits.
Lunchtime Work Accidents: Going and Coming Rule
The going and coming rule is predicated on a few factors. The idea is that workers’ compensation benefits are not necessarily available just because an employee is on the way to or from work. Notwithstanding, that’s not always the case. Here are some critical considerations that pertain to the going and coming rule:
- Did the employee report to one location, such as an office or manufacturing plant?
- Was the injured worker scheduled to visit multiple job sites?
- Had the employee arrived at work when the accident occurred?
These questions are a simple summation of the going and coming rule. All things considered, they do not just apply to the start and end of the business day. For example, some companies have onsite cafeterias. What if you fall when you’re inside getting lunch? After all, you are still on your employer’s premises. Before you decide that you are not entitled to benefits because you are not in the course of your employment, you should speak with an attorney who understands workers’ compensation law.
We Can Help
Seeking compensation for workplace injuries can be confusing. At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we use our experience and knowledge to help injured workers. Please call us to see what we can do for you.