The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act provides that every employer is liable to pay compensation in every case of personal injury or death of an employee, arising out of and in the course of employment without regard to the question of negligence.
The “without regard to the question of negligence” part is often a surprise to those unfamiliar with workers’ compensation law. For example, if you slipped and injured yourself in a store, in order to have a potential lawsuit you would have to prove some kind of negligence on the store owner’s part. It could be that they left the floor wet or stacked a number of items precariously or something similar that could cause injury.
3 Things That Render You Eligible For Workers’ Compensation Benefits
With workers’ compensation, there is no fault. As an injured worker, you only have to prove three things.
- That you suffered an injury, illness or some sort of occupational disease.
- That the injury, illness or occupational disease arose out of the employment.
- That the injury, illness or occupational disease occurred in the course of employment.
As long as you can prove those three things, then you do not have to prove negligence on behalf of your employer.
Workers’ compensation laws serve to streamline the normal litigation process, thereby enabling injured workers to obtain medical and financial benefits more quickly. Consequently, all states have a Workers’ Compensation Act or something similar to New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act.
How to Know if You Qualify as an Employee for Workers’ Compensation
Firstly, as long as you were injured while working under a clear employer-employee arrangement, you should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits as an employee. Generally, the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act does not cover groups where a clear employer-employee relationship does not exist, such as interns, volunteer workers, and independent contractors.
In some cases, however, your employer may have misclassified you as an independent contractor which can cause you to be denied workers’ compensation benefits. If you suspect that this is the case, you may need to hire an experienced workers compensation lawyer to help you appeal the denial of your claim.
Secondly, your injury must have been sustained during or as a result of performing your duties under this employer-employee relationship. So for example, if you are hurt in a car accident while out making deliveries for your employer, this would qualify as a work-related injury and be covered under workers’ compensation.
On the other hand, if you were injured in a car accident while running personal errands on your lunch break, you may not qualify for worker’s compensation benefits, unless these errands were somehow for the benefit of your employer as well.
What you need to remember is that as long as you were hurt on the job or during the course of performing your duties as an employee, you will be entitled to benefits. If you were on a break of some kind, or you were doing some personal business that took you out of the course and scope of your employment, then it would not be covered. Typically, this will only apply if you actually leave the building on your break and are not on work premises when you suffer your injury.
However, there are other situations where injuries need not occur on the job in order to be considered work-related and covered under workers’ compensation. For example, if you are treated for a work-related injury, and suffer further injury as a result. Perhaps because you contracted some sort of staph infection as a result of having surgery. This condition would also be considered a work-related injury because it arose as a consequence of your initial work-related injury.
For more information regarding your eligibility to receive benefits under New Jersey Workers’ Compensation contact an experienced New Jersey workers compensation lawyer.