Case name: Floyd v. Neudeck, No. A-3855-10T2 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 06/12/12, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division held that a worker's suit against a coworker was barred by the exclusive remedy provision of workers' compensation.
What it means: In New Jersey, a worker's accident can be within the course of employment if it occurred when she arrived at her place of employment to begin her workday.
Summary: A worker drove her car to work and parked in her employer's parking lot. She shut off her car's engine and removed her seat belt, but remained in the car, listening to the radio and drinking coffee. A coworker entered the parking lot and struck her car. The worker claimed that she suffered injuries to her head, neck, shoulder, back, knees, and toes. She briefly lost consciousness and was treated in a hospital. She sued the coworker. The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division held that the worker's suit was barred by the exclusive remedy provision of workers' compensation.
The worker admitted that she and the coworker had parked in the employer's parking lot "in order to proceed into work" and that the employer controlled the area where the accident occurred. The court explained that the premises rule analyzes whether a worker's accident occurred during the course of employment. Under the rule, the employment begins when a worker arrives at the employer's place of employment to report for work.
The court concluded that the parking lot incident involving two coworkers was subject to the exclusive remedies provided by workers' compensation. A causal connection between the accident and the worker's employment was established. It was "inconsequential" that the worker arrived early to drink her morning coffee and ease into her workday before performing job functions.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
August 13, 2012
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