I was injured while going to lunch on my public sector job and will not be able to return to the job in the future. Am I entitled to Accidental Disability Benefits?

I fell in the parking lot at work before I clock in for the day at my public sector job.  i would not have been in the parking lot, but for going to work.  Am I entitled to Accidental Disability Benefits??

Submitted by New Jersey Slip and Fall Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.

In these two virtually identical New Jersey Appellate Division decisions, which have been approved for publication, the appellate courts have been asked to determine if the time and location of a public sector worker’s injury is considered part and parcel or instrumental to the job which would en†i†led the employee to accidental disability pension benefits. If the mechanics of the injury and the reason for the injury or related to the employment the employee will be absolutely be entitled to collect Worker’s Compensation benefits, and be if the injury is significant Ito cause total disability then accidental disability permanent pension benefits as well.

The first case deals with an employee who arrive to work prior to his shift. He slipped and fell in the parking lot prior to entering the building and clocking in. In this case the courts determine that he was not in the course of his employment and him being in the parking lot was not part and parcel to his employment obligations prior to his shift starting. As a result he was denied disability pension benefit.

The second case concerns a female state worker who was required to work a double shift. Without clocking out, she went out to the car to retrieve personal feminine hygiene items, and then was supposed to head to the bathroom. While in the parking lot she slipped and fell causing significant injury. In this case the court granted accidental disability benefits because the employee’s going to the car to retrieve personal feminine hygiene products was identical to going to the bathroom which is part and parcel to her employment obligations. But for being at the job during our shift she would have already been entitled to a bathroom break. Accordingly, her injury in the parking lot was absolutely covered and she was absolutely entitled to the accidental disability benefits.

It appears that these decisions, given the fact that both state employees injured themselves when they slipped and fell in the parking lot causing significant injury, are identical. However one took place before work started and before the state employee clocked in, while the other took place between a mandatory shift when the state employee was merely taking essentially “a bathroom break.”

In other words, every set of facts and circumstances of every case is different, however the legal evaluation is the same.  Meaning, often ultimate outcomes hinge on the very specific facts of each particular case. A good attorney interview in the beginning of the case and solidifying what the actual facts are is really important to a successful handling of your Worker’s Compensation, personal injury, or accidental disability claim. At Hark and Hark we have good knowledge skill and ability to handle these claims on your behalf. If you have any questions please fill out the attached questionnaire or reach out to our office directly.

Jeffrey S. Hark, Esq.
609-471-1959. Cell
856-354-0050 Office fits


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Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

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