In January of 2010, a Morris County, New Jersey clerk named Cheryl Hersh was struck while crossing the street to work by a motor vehicle that ran a red light. Shortly before the incident occurred, Cheryl had parked in a nearby privately owned and maintained garage. Unfortunately for Ms. Hersh, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the county should take no responsibility for the incident because it occurred on a public street, and because Ms. Hersh had parked in a private garage. The court believed that the incident was not, by any means, within her employer’s control because the injuries were not work-related. Therefore, Ms. Hersh’s claim for worker’s compensation benefits was denied.
The case of Hersh vs. County of Morris inspired the New Jersey State Legislature to pass a law that increases the rights of workers who are injured in a work parking lot. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the bill into law on January 10, 2022. 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 would thereby qualify the victim for workers’ compensation.
Workers Who Commute:
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 parking lot law has given more injured NJ employees the right to workers’ compensation claims, but the approval process is still the same. Your application may still be denied, but fortunately you can always appeal.
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