Most employees in New Jersey have a regular commute to work. For some individuals this means hopping on the bus or even taking the train into New York, but the majority of New Jersey employees are driving to their jobs. In fact, across the United States over 85% of workers who commute go by automobile.
All of this rush hour traffic leads to multiple accidents on New Jersey roadways every day, and unsurprisingly, these accidents frequently result in injuries to employees who are going or coming from their workplace. The question often asked of a New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer is whether injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident going or coming from work qualify for workers’ compensation benefits?
What Does the Statute Say?
Essential to determining whether an injured commuter is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits is a section of the Workers’ Compensation Act. Section 34:15-7 states that workers’ compensation covers accidents, “arising out of and in the course of employment.”
The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act goes on to clarify that employment begins when an individual arrives at the employer’s place of business and ends when the employee departs from the workplace. This statement seems to explicitly eliminate the drives to and from work as under workers’ compensation, but the act and New Jersey courts have provided some clarification and exceptions.
How Have New Jersey Courts Interpreted the Workers’ Compensation Act?
In 2014 the New Jersey Supreme Court, in the case Hersh v. County of Morris…Read More