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Is Your Injury Work-Related? – Part One


Injuries Suffered on a Work Break | Injuries Suffered While Traveling

In New Jersey, when you have been injured on the job, you have a right to seek disability payments for any time lost from work, as well as reimbursement or payment of medical expenses resulting from the injury. The New Jersey workers’ compensation system is a “no-fault” based system. That means that you don’t have to show that your employer was negligent (see our earlier series on proving negligence). Instead, there are just two requirements to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey—that you were hurt and that the injury occurred while you were working.

In most instances, it’s pretty clear that you meet the tests. If you fell off a ladder or were hurt when a machine, tool or piece of equipment broke down, there’s little question that you were in the performance of your duties. But there are circumstances where that determination may not be as clear. In this three-part series of blogs, we will look at some of those gray areas.

Injuries Suffered While On a Break

Under state and federal labor laws, employees are generally entitled to periodic breaks, including some type of meal break. While you are on such a break, you’re not actually at your desk or machine. Does that mean that you’re not working?

As a general rule, the answer is no. If your injury occurs during the course of a regularly scheduled break, you typically don’t lose eligibility. For example, if you slip on a wet floor in the break room or are injured when a chair or table collapses, you’ll usually be covered. Exceptions may include when you are engaged in unauthorized horseplay or conduct that’s in violation of established company rules.

With a lunch break, the determining factor is typically whether or not you leave company premises. If you are injured in the company cafeteria or on company property while on a meal break, you are customarily still able to recover workers’ compensation. If you leave company property, though, you lose the right to file a workers’ compensation for any injury suffered once you leave the premises and until you re-enter company property. If, however, you are on company business while on a lunch break—getting food for others or performing some work-related function—you can still claim workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained.

Contact Attorney David J. Karbasian

Contact our office online or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is without cost or obligation. The sooner you call, the sooner you can move forward with your claim. We can accommodate evening or weekend meeting requests and will come to your home, if necessary.

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