Under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act, an employee is entitled to compensation for injuries that are sustained in the course and scope of employment. In other words, if you get injured at work, you should be able to recover compensation for those injuries. In this case, Petro Cohen, P.C. attorney Dan Rosenthal used a novel argument to establish that our client was, in fact, at work when his injury was sustained.
Long-established workers’ compensation case law has developed the “coming and going rule,” which precludes compensation for injuries sustained during routine travel to and from work. Further clarification is provided by the “premises rule,” which provides that employment starts when an employee arrives at the employer’s place of employment and ends when an employee leaves the workplace, excluding the areas not under control of the employer.
Questions we had to address in this case include: What happens when you get on the premises? What happens when an employer is a tenant in a multiplex? Do they only have control over their office space?
Mr. Rosenthal argued successfully that our client, who fell in the stairwell at the multi-tenant location on March 30, 2019, had arrived at work, despite the argument by his employer’s insurance company that he had not yet arrived at work. The employer leased office space in a multiplex that housed numerous separate businesses and argued that they did not have control over the common stairwell. Mr. Rosenthal countered that the premises rule can entail more than the four walls of an office. He cited applicable case law that defines the employer’s premises to include the concept of control within the NJ Legislature’s aim that the Workers’ Compensation Act be humane social legislation that is liberally construed to affording coverage for as many workers as possible.
Our client was a great employee with an excellent work ethic. His compensation was tied to performance incentives that included punctuality. He strove to arrive at work early and took the fastest route to his workstation to avoid tardiness, knowing he could earn more if he was seldom or never late.
Since it was a Saturday, our client had to use his employer-provided keycard to enter the building through an entrance that was locked to the public on weekends. Once inside, our client took the stairwell, which was the quickest route to get to his second-floor office. While ascending the stairs, he slipped and tried to grab the cap at the end of a railing to balance himself. The cap on the railing came off, causing Petitioner to lose his balance completely and fall onto his right side including his right hip and shoulder.
The Judge of Compensation ruled that our client’s injury occurred during the course and scope of his employment and that it is appropriate for his employer to provide for the treatment of his injuries.
Recently passed legislation and decisions in applicable case law may negate the ruling in the future, but Mr. Rosenthal’s novel argument resulted in a win for our client.
The attorneys at Petro Cohen, P.C. offer free consultations to determine whether you have a valid workers’ compensation claim. To ensure your case is heard by the Workers’ Compensation court and that you are properly compensated, contact us or fill out a consultation request form at PetroCohen.com.
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With exceptional legal credentials and experience, Petro Cohen, P.C. Attorneys at Law handle workers’ compensation, personal injury, and Social Security disability law claims. Dedicated to providing the highest quality of legal service available, the attorneys and staff share a passion for winning and an uncompromised commitment to every client. Recognized as a leading New Jersey law firm for workers’ compensation and personal injury, Petro Cohen, P.C. handles cases throughout southern and central New Jersey. For more information or an appointment at the Northfield, Cherry Hill, Hamilton, or Cape May, NJ offices, call (888) 675-7607 or visit PetroCohen.com