Slip and Fall Injury at Work: Premises Liability or Workers’ Comp?
With New Jersey expected to receive the trifecta of winter weather – sleet, snow, and freezing rain – you can expect icy sidewalks, snowy roadways, and lots of accidents. While many will be sitting at home watching football, some of us will have to deal with the wintry conditions.
Let’s say you are one of the lucky few who has to go into the office this weekend. The office complex’s owner has not plowed the parking lot since the last snowflake fell three hours ago. As you walk from your car to the office, you slip on a patch of snow and fall, breaking your hip. What now? Who is responsible? Is this a premises liability claim or a workers’ compensation claim?
Let’s find out.
Slip and Falls at Work: What You Should Know
According to New Jersey law, if the employee receives an injury as a result of “an accident arising out of and in the course of your employment,” that employee will receive workers’ compensation. You will need to show that the accident occurred at a specific time, place, and during an activity.
However, there is an exception to this law called the “going and coming rule.” Sometimes known as the “premises rule,” employees are excluded from workers’ compensation if the injury occurred during routine travel to and from your place of work. The rule assumes that your everyday commute neither yields a unique benefit to the employer nor is the employee exposed to any risk that may involve his/her employment.
The courts have ruled that the parking lot can fall under the going and coming rule. For example, in the case Hersh v. County of Morris, the plaintiff Cheryl Hersh was struck by a motor vehicle as she was walking from the parking garage to work. Hersh had brought a workers’ compensation claim against her employer, Morris County. Although the courts awarded her request, the County appealed the decision. The New Jersey Supreme Court agreed with the County and found that since the employer did not own or control the garage, dictate the path that she walked, and didn’t expose her to any hazards, her injuries were not compensable.
So in the case above, since your employer does not own the parking lot, this is not considered a workers’ compensation claim. It is, however, a premises liability claim.
Slip and Falls in a Parking Lot: Who is Responsible?
New Jersey law dictates that it is the responsibility of the property owner to keep the property clear of any hazards, including parking lots. Even if it is a weekend, the property owner is still responsible for clearing the snow in a timely fashion. In the scenario above, because time had passed since the storm had ended, there was plenty of time for the owner to clear the parking lot.
Remember, slip and falls can be quite tricky to prove. You will need the following to show the owner is responsible for your accident:
- Photos of the accident scene
- Witnesses accounts
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Even pictures of your sustained injuries
You will also need an excellent attorney to fight on your behalf. At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have been fighting for slip and fall victims’ rights throughout New Jersey for the past 30 years. We understand the complexities of these claims and will aggressively represent you in a court of law.
Don’t wait another second. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, contact Jersey City slip and fall accident attorney Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation or call us at:(201) 829-3805.