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New Jersey Supreme Court to Decide Question of Jurisdiction in Workers’ Compensation Case

In New Jersey, there are several procedural and factual barriers that an injured employee must overcome to have a successful workers’ compensation claim. There include providing proper notification of an injury, filing a claim within the required period of time, and bringing a case in the state with proper jurisdiction to determine an outcome. All of these procedural requirements must be met before an injured worker even gets a hearing date.

An upcoming case before the New Jersey Supreme Court takes a look at the parameters and requirements for one of these procedural requirements – jurisdiction. 

The Facts of Williams v. Raymours Furniture Co Inc

In August the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Keith Williams v. Raymours Furniture Co Inc. It is a case that began when Mr. Williams accepted a job back in 2014. Williams lived in New Jersey, and it is from his home in the state that he accepted a position at a warehouse in Suffern, New York. This is where Mr. Williams exclusively worked for Raymours Furniture.

During the course of his employment at the warehouse, Mr. Williams tripped and fractured his elbow. It was a serious injury that left Williams unable to work, and the New York Workers’ Compensation Board readily approved his application filing for medical treatment and indemnity benefits.

The New York workers’ compensation benefits eventually ended. At this time, Mr. Williams filed a claim with the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation for partial permanent disability due to the injury. His employer, Raymours Furniture, opposed the claim based on lack of jurisdiction by the NJ Division of Workers’ Compensation. The employer’s argument was the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation didn’t have the authority to decide the claim because the place of employment, work, and injury were all located in New York.

Deciding Jurisdiction for NJ Workers’ Compensation Cases

In the United States, a court is only allowed to hear those cases that fall under its jurisdiction. This is the right to hear and decide cases and is an extremely important concept for the fairness of the legal system. When it comes to workers’ compensation, each state has its own workers’ compensation laws and process, and the division or department of workers’ compensation only have jurisdiction over the incidents and accidents that particular state.

For example, New Jersey’s Division of Workers’ Compensation considers claims for injuries and accidents involving New Jersey workers and employers. If the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation doesn’t have jurisdiction over a case then it must dismiss the claim without making any determination of the validity.

In most instances, a worker will file a workers’ compensation in the state where he worked and was injured. The case of Keith Williams v. Raymours Furniture Co Inc presented a unique situation, in which Mr. Williams lived in one state, but was injured working in another.

The NJ Division of Workers’ Compensation Judge determined the Division didn’t have jurisdiction because the employee, employment, and injury all took place in New York. However, the appellate court disagreed. The court of appeals considered Mr. Williams place of residency and his acceptance of employment while in New Jersey to decide that these were enough connections with the state for the Division of Workers’ Compensation to hear the case.

When Raymours Furniture again appealed this decision by the New Jersey Superior Court, the highest court in the state agreed to hear arguments and issue a final decision. The outcome will be decided as part of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s 2017 – 2018 schedule.

Why Is the Outcome of the Williams Case Important?

Work environments across the United States are changing rapidly. Many employees are working in shared spaces, from home, and even on a remote basis. This means employers and employees may not be located in the same state. If an employee is injured during a work-related activity, but in a location far from the employer’s offices and operations, where should that person file a workers’ compensation claim?

Keith Williams v. Raymours Furniture Co Inc will provide the framework for the spans of jurisdiction in workers’ compensation cases in New Jersey. But the decision is also a starting point for how New Jersey workers’ compensation, and other states, will handle these non-traditional work environments.

Ask a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you have questions regarding jurisdiction or other procedural requirements for a workers’ compensation claim, The Law Office of Albert J. Talone can provide answers. Our workers’ compensation services are backed by years of experience and in-depth knowledge of workers’ compensation in Southern New Jersey. To speak with attorney AJ Talone, call our Moorestown, New Jersey office at (856)-234-4023.



The information in this blog post (“Post”) is provided for general informational purposes only. This information may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this Post should be construed as legal advice from The Law Office of Albert J. Talone or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.

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