When you’ve been hurt at work in New Jersey, you have a right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits for any temporary or permanent disability, as well as medical expenses. There are only two requirements—you must have been hurt and your injury must have been work-related. When the accident happens while you are performing work-related tasks, it’s usually a pretty straightforward determination.
But what if you are injured at a work event—a team-building exercise, a holiday party or a golf outing? Does workers’ compensation cover those types of injuries? And what if your injuries are intentionally self-inflicted?
As a general rule, you can seek workers’ compensation benefits for injuries suffered during a work party or outing, whether attendance was mandatory or voluntary. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. If you were engaged in horseplay at the time, were in violation of well-established company policies, or your behavior was reckless or unreasonable, you may be denied benefits. For example, if you consumed a substantial quantity of alcohol at a company outing and had an accident because of your intoxication, you might not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, if your employer provided the alcohol, you may get a different result.
Because workers’ compensation is essentially a “no-fault” concept, you won’t be disqualified from receiving benefits, even if your own negligence caused or contributed to your injury. However, if you intentionally harmed yourself, you won’t be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
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