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NJ Worker Injured While Working in Another State - September 13th 2017

There are many situations in which an individual employed in New Jersey must perform some or all of his work in another state.  For example, a truck driver employed by a NJ-based company may be tasked with transporting goods to neighboring states -- or – a NJ-based contractor may be hired to perform work in another state.  In those types of employment relationships, where is an employee to look for workers’ compensation benefits in the event of a work-related accident/injury that occurs outside of New Jersey?  

Each state has its own Workers’ Compensation Law which outlines the benefits an injured employee may be entitled to in the event of a work-related accident/injury.  The issue of jurisdiction (a Court’s authority to make legal decisions and judgments) will often surface when an employee of one state is injured while working in another state.     

Relevant case law establishes the general principal that New Jersey Courts will assert jurisdiction and apply its Act when New Jersey has a substantial interest in the accident/injury or treatment of its resident employee.  More specifically, Jurisdiction for an accidental injury can be laid in the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation when:

  1. The injury occurs in New Jersey, or
  2. New Jersey is the place of contract of hire, or
  3. The employee resides in New Jersey, and there are some employment contacts in New Jersey.

Number two on that list was recently brought into question in Williams v. Raymours Furniture[i].  That case involved a New Jersey resident who filled out an online application for employment with Respondent, Raymours Furniture, a New York company.  Respondent called Williams at his home in New Jersey to offer him a job as a warehouse worker.  Williams accepted the position (via phone in NJ) and began working exclusively at Respondent’s facility in New York.  He was later injured in the course and scope of his employment with Raymours Furniture which led him to file a Claim Petition in New Jersey seeking permanency benefits under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act.  

The Workers’ Compensation Judge initially held that the NJ Division of Workers’ Compensation was without jurisdiction to consider Williams’ claim.  Williams filed a timely appeal and his case was heard by the NJ Appellate Division. The Appellate Division ultimately held that the NJ Division of Workers’ Compensation did have jurisdiction to adjudicate Williams’ claim due to the fact that he accepted Respondent’s offer of employment while in New Jersey, thus establishing New Jersey as the place the contract was created. 

It has yet to be seen whether Respondent will apply to the New Jersey Supreme Court for review of the Appellate Division ruling, but we will definitely keep an eye out for any related updates and/or determinations. 

If you have been involved in a work-related accident while working in another state, you may be able to take advantage from the benefits payable under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act.  The workers’ compensation lawyers at Hyberg, White & Mann are here to help and will walk you through the process to obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free legal consultation at 609-407-1000.

[i] Williams v. Raymours Furniture, 449 N.J. Super. 559 (App. Div. 2017).

   

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