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Small Details: How Even the Position of a Bumper Can Determine a Workers’ Comp Case

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2014 | Auto Accident Injuries, Workers' Compensation

An interesting workers compensation decision handed down by a New Jersey appellate court panel demonstrates why an employee, in Florida and elsewhere, should not give up on a workers’ comp claim too easily. Workers’ compensation laws do vary to a degree from state to state, but the legal definition of “on the job” has been historically interpreted in ways that often favor workers.

Employee In Crash Departing From Work

In the New Jersey case, an employee of Harrah’s Atlantic City casino was pulling out of the casino’s parking garage and onto MGM Mirage Boulevard at about 10 p.m. when her vehicle was struck by another vehicle in traffic. The casino worker was injured in the crash.

A judge in the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation initially ruled on the May 2012 accident in May of 2013. The judge ordered Harrah’s to pay for the treatment of what were determined to be work-related injuries.

Surveillance Video Determinative

Harrah’s appealed the decision, as its lawyers pointed out that most of the employee’s vehicle was out in traffic on the public thoroughfare at the time of the collision. Survelliance video did confirm that most of the SUV was out on MGM Mirage Boulevard. However, the video also confirmed that the rear bumper of the vehicle had not yet crossed the property line that delineated Harrah’s private property from the public street.

Therefore, a two-judge appellate court panel ruled that the casino worker was, in fact, still on the job. As a result, her injuries were legally defined as work-related and her employer had to pay for her injuries through its workers compensation insurance policy.

Injuries incurred at an individual’s workplace are addressed by a state’s workers compensation laws. As this case illustrates, the legal definition of the workplace is not so readily determined. For more information, or to discuss your situation, please contact us.