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New law expands where you can suffer a work injury

You might remember an incident from 2010 when a New Jersey woman was hit by a vehicle while walking to her job as a clerk for Morris County. Her workers’ compensation claim reached the state supreme court, which ruled against her. The court reasoned that since the woman was struck while crossing a public street that was out of her employer’s control, her injuries were not work-related, and she was not entitled to workers’ comp benefits.

This case inspired the New Jersey State Legislature to pass a law that increases the rights of workers who get hurt in a parking lot. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill into law in January. Under the new law, a worker who parks in an area that their employer “provides or designates” as the place to leave their vehicle is considered to have started their work duties. That means that any injuries they suffer from that point on can be potentially work-related and therefore can qualify the victim for workers’ compensation.

What this means for workers who commute

This should be welcome news for anyone who drives to get to and from work in Phillipsburg. Many businesses require their workforce to park offsite, perhaps at a lot or ramp owned by a third party. This shows a level of control over the worker’s actions that reasonably indicates that the workday has started once the worker pulls into the designated parking area.

The new law opens the door to more workers’ comp claims, but it does not make getting approved any simpler. Your application might still get denied. Fortunately, you can always appeal.

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