Under the New Jersey workers’ compensation laws, you must prove two things to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits—that you were injured and that your injury was work-related. In Part One of this series, we looked at injuries suffered while you were on a legitimate work break. Another situation where your employer may argue that your injury was not work-related is when it occurred while you were traveling.
As a general rule, injuries suffered on your commute to or from work will not be covered by workers’ compensation. There are, however, exceptions. If, for example, you deviate from your route to work to perform any work-related function at the request of a superior, injuries sustained on that detour will be compensable. If you went to the post office or picked up food, for example, you can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if you were in a motor vehicle accident or otherwise injured. In addition, if you work primarily or exclusively away from the main office—as a traveling salesperson, for example—you may be eligible for workers’ compensation if you traveled directly from your home to a customer’s office.
If you attend offsite sales meetings, conferences, conventions or other similar events, you may qualify for workers’ compensation for injuries suffered while attending them. As a general rule, whether you qualify depends on whether you were engaged in a primarily personal act when you were hurt, or whether it was part of the event. For example, if you slip and fall in a hotel while attending a convention, you’ll likely be covered. However, if you choose to go to the gym while at a conference and are injured when weights fall on you, you probably won’t qualify.
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