New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney explains how injuries must arise out of the scope and in the course of employment
At the Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg, we advise our clients that to collect workers’ compensation benefits, their injury must be job related, though it’s not always clear what job related means. Courts have held that the injury must “arise out of your employment” and occur “in the scope” and “in the course” of employment. Do the circumstances of your injury fit this technical language?
Arising out of employment — This means that work-related activity must be a major contributing factor, such as lifting boxes causing a back strain or typing triggering carpal tunnel syndrome.
In the scope — The activity that was the contributing factor in your injury has to be something that an employee with your job would be expected to do. A receptionist who shoots herself with a nail gun must explain how that activity fits her job description.
In the course — The injury must occur while you are working. Break time injuries fall into a gray area. Regularly scheduled breaks in designated areas are generally covered.
Common challenges to proving an injury was job related
At the Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg, we encounter many injury scenarios that test the limits of the definition of “work related.” Examples include:
Social events — Company-sponsored social events are tricky, because the employer would argue that parties and softball games convey no benefit on the company and are strictly for the benefit of the employees. Employees, however, tend to think that attendance is expected, so these events are part of the job.
Commuting — Your travel from home to work is generally not covered by workers’ comp, because that activity conveys no benefit on your employer, but there are several exceptions. Travel from your regular workplace for an off-site meeting is covered, as are errands for the boss on the way to or from work.
Traveling — Business trips are covered; however, if you’re a traveling salesperson with no true worksite, you are covered when traveling directly to or from a sales call, but not for time spent deviating from the direct route.
Prohibited conduct — You may still collect workers’ comp benefits for your injuries even if your own misconduct was a contributing factor. The decision may ride on whether your employer knew of the misconduct prior to your accident and, though it was technically against the rules, did not discourage or discipline employees who participated.
Pre-existing conditions — If you have a pre-existing condition, and can prove that your regular job activities worsened it, you may be covered. The key may be to show that the previous injury had cleared up and your work activity caused a recurrence.
If your case falls into any of these gray areas, you truly need capable representation from an experienced workers’ comp attorney. The Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg provides diligent care whether you’re filing a claim for the first time, appealing a denial or trying to reach a disability settlement.
Contact our experienced workers’ comp attorneys to discuss your job-related injury
Act now to protect your rights to workers’ comp benefits for your job-related injuries. The Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg assists injured workers in Bergen County and throughout northern New Jersey. To schedule a free consultation, contact our dedicated and compassionate attorneys online or by calling 201.371.5276. Se habla español.