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Are employee parking-lot injuries eligible for workers’ comp?

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2020 | Firm News |

Employees injured in areas reserved for company parking have raised issues of workers’ comp eligibility. As reported by Business Insurance, legislation under consideration by New Jersey’s lawmakers may remove the uncertainty regarding coverage for employee parking-lot injuries. 

A proposed change to the premises rule of New Jersey’s workers’ comp code may define arriving at and leaving employer-designated parking areas as the start and end of a workday. Senate Bill 818, part of the legislation under consideration at the start of 2020, would also redefine what reflects an employer’s premises. The bill would include an area designated for employee parking even if it is “separate from the place of employment.” 

Court denies workers’ comp claim from employee injured walking to a designated parking lot 

If S.B. 818 were to become part of the New Jersey workers’ comp code, it could change the outcome of cases such as the one decided by an appeals court in October 2019. As reported by Safety News Alert, a vehicle struck and injured a nurse walking to her car after completing her shift at a Jersey City hospital. Her injuries included a concussion and pelvic fractures. Denied her initial claim for workers’ comp benefits, she appealed and once again received a claim denial. 

The appeals court denied the nurse’s claim based on the existing interpretation of the premises rule. The designated employee parking area was at a location separated from the hospital by a public street that she was crossing when struck. The designated parking area was also under the control of a third party rather than the hospital. 

S.B. 818 could allow approval of claims such as the Jersey City nurse’s filing 

If S.B. 818 amends the existing premises rule, an employee may receive benefits for injuries incurred while walking to and from his or her vehicle if parked in an employer-designated parking area. A designated parking area separate from his or her place of employment would not serve to disqualify a claim.