Under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law, employees have a right to recover for injuries sustained while at work or on the job in accidents. In exchange for this right, New Jersey workers do not have the ability to sue their employers for the employer’s negligence. So, in the vast majority of cases, an employee will be able to make a workers’ compensation claim. However, many employees ask whether they can make a claim even though they may bear fault. In limited cases, the employee might not be able to recover, where he or she engaged in the following:
- a deliberate act or deliberate failure to act,
- conduct which shows a reckless indifference to safety,
- intoxication which is the proximate cause of the injury, or
- illegal use of drugs or illegal substances.
The employer bears the burden of showing that the employee was willfully negligent, which means that the employer has to present sufficient evidence that the accident was the fault of the employee due to willful negligence. This may be difficult to do absent actual evidence of intoxication, such as a blood test or testimony from a fellow employee. Without such evidence, employers may have a hard time proving that an employee engaged in willful negligence.
Also, employees can recover for injuries sustained in an accident which occurred because a fellow employee was playing around or engaging in horseplay. Section 34:15-7.1 provides:
“Horseplay or skylarking on part of fellow employees. An accident to an employee causing his injury or death, suffered while engaged in his employment but resulting from horseplay or skylarking on the part of a fellow employee, not instigated or taken part in by the employee who suffers the accident, shall be construed to have arisen out of and in the course of the employment of such employee and shall be compensable under the act hereby supplemented accordingly.”
Related Legal Article: Workplace Accidents in New Jersey – Suing an Employer
New Jersey workers’ compensation laws are very complex and it is important be represented by a lawyer who concentrates on injury and workers’ compensation cases.
To speak to one of our workers’ compensation lawyers, call 215.925.4451.
The workers’ compensation and injury lawyers at Schwartz & Blackman handle cases in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area, including:
- NJ: Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Camden, Cherry Hill, New Jersey shore cities
- PA: Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Norristown, Philadelphia
*This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is important to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
Published: June 6, 2012