Workers’ Compensation Claims: Back to the Basics – No Fault/Negligence Required

Rispoli & Borneo P.C.

Elizabeth NJ Personal Injury Lawyer | Elizabeth NJ Workers Compensation Lawyer

Elizabeth NJ Personal Injury Lawyer | Elizabeth NJ Workers Compensation LawyerAs an Elizabeth, NJ Personal Injury Lawyer, I have met with hundreds of potential clients.  One question that comes up often is do I have to prove my employer was at fault to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.  The answer is no.

To pursue a workers’ compensation claim, an employee must establish he/she was employed on the date of the accident and the injury “arose out of and in the course of employment.”  The law in New Jersey does not require an injured worker to prove his/her employer was at fault for the accident or injury.  In other words, an injured worker does not have to prove his/her employer was negligent to recover workers compensation benefits.  In fact, the accident could be the fault of someone other than the employer, or event the employee, and a viable workers compensation claim may exist.  The best way to understand this concept is by way of an example.

Mr. Smith is employed by the ABC Delivery Company in Elizabeth, NJ.  His job requires him to work in the company warehouse and deliver items in the company pickup truck.  If Mr. Smith injures his back while picking up a heavy item in the warehouse, he is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Why? Because he was employed by the company on the date of the accident and the back injury arose out of and in the course of his employment.

What happens if we change the fact pattern?  Mr. Smith is injured in a motor vehicle accident in the middle of Elizabeth, NJ, while driving the company pickup truck.  The accident is caused by Mr. Smith when he runs a stop sign and strikes another vehicle.  In this scenario, Mr. Smith has a viable workers’ compensation claim.  He is entitled to temporary benefits (lost wages), medical benefits and a permanency award.  Clearly, company did nothing to cause the motor vehicle accident or Mr. Smith’s injuries.   In fact, it was Mr. Smith who caused the accident and who was negligent.   However, Mr. Smith was employed on the date of the accident, and the injuries arose out of and in the course of his employment – delivering items for the company.  Accordingly, he has a viable workers compensation claim.

If an employee is injured and he/she is in anyway involved with work activities at the time, the employer should be put on notice of a potential workers’ compensation claim.  Then, the employee should contact an experienced Elizabeth NJ Personal Injury Lawyer to determine if there is a viable claim.  The answer may turn out to be “no.”  But more often than not, the answer is “yes”.

If you think you might be eligible for a workers compensation claim, contact our Elizabeth, NJ workers compensation lawyer for a free consultation today!