Worker wins comp for accident while walking from garage to work
Case name: Hersh v. County of Morris, No. A-1442-10T4 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 07/24/12).
Ruling: The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division held that a worker was entitled to benefits for her injuries after being struck by a car while walking to work from her assigned parking garage.
What it means: In New Jersey, employment is deemed to commence when the worker arrives at the employer's place of employment, including parking lots used by the employer for employee parking, to report for work.
Summary: A worker for a county was assigned free parking at a private parking garage located two blocks from her workplace. She received a scan card to enter the garage and was instructed to park on the third level. She was not given an assigned parking space. More senior employees of the county were assigned free parking in a county-owned garage adjacent to the building where she worked. The worker parked her car in the designated area of her assigned garage and proceeded to walk to her workplace. As she was crossing the street, she was hit by a car and severely injured. She sought workers' compensation benefits. The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division held that she was entitled to benefits.
The court rejected the county's argument that the accident did not arise out of the worker's employment. The court explained that although the parking garage and the sidewalk en route to the workplace were not part of the county's property, it exercised control over the areas by designating the third floor of the garage for employees who did not have seniority for a parking space in the county-owned lot. The court found that when the worker parked her car in the assigned garage, she had arrived at work.
The court rejected the county's argument that the worker could have chosen to pay for parking elsewhere or gone to another county-owned lot further from her workplace.
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September 20, 2012
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