Is it Possible to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits in New Jersey if the Accident is Your Fault?
In New Jersey, workers’ compensation rules are designed to provide benefits to employees in the event of a work-related injury or illness. One of the main reasons workers’ compensation benefits exist is so that employers do not have to worry about facing lawsuits from employees. Usually, a worker is awarded workers’ compensation benefits, and in exchange, they give up their right to sue their employer for their personal injuries. These benefits cover most job-related injuries, and most employers in NJ are required to provide their employees with workers’ compensation coverage.
What if your injury is your fault? In such a situation, can you still recover workers’ compensation benefits? Below is what you need to know.
The Workers’ Compensation System is a No-fault System
In New Jersey, workers’ compensation benefits are available to injured employees on a “no-fault” basis. This means that an employer is required to pay benefits to an employee regardless of fault. In fact, it is not even necessary for you to prove fault when seeking workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey. So, yes, it is possible for you to receive workers’ compensation benefits in NJ if the accident that caused your injuries was your fault. Even if the accident was fully your fault, you might still be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits.
However, there are some exceptions to this general rule. There are situations where an employee may not be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits. Below are two of these situations.
Horseplay and Fighting
If an injured worker was engaging in horseplay or fighting at the time they were hurt, they might not be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits. But, in a situation where an employee was hurt as an innocent bystander while other employees engaged in fighting, the injured employee may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits.
Intoxication or Substance Abuse
If a worker suffered injuries because of their intoxication or because they were under the influence of drugs, they may not be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits. This would include a case where a worker was drinking or using drugs while on the job or a case where alcohol or drugs were found in the worker’s system through testing. Indeed, courts generally forbid random drug testing of most employees, but a workplace incident may give an employer cause to carry out a drug test.
In New Jersey, if you file a workers’ compensation claim, you are barred from suing your employer. However, you are not barred from suing a third party that contributed to your accident and recovering compensation from them. A claim filed against a third party after a work-related injury is known as a personal injury claim. Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury claim requires proof that the third party was at fault. In a New Jersey personal injury claim, if the plaintiff was also at fault for their accident, they may be barred from recovering compensation.
Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation
The skilled and dedicated employment lawyer at The Trabosh Law Firm understands the intricacies of New Jersey’s complex workers’ compensation laws. If you suffered a job-related injury or developed a work-related illness, or if your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, contact The Trabosh Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.