Many injuries occur while people are either coming to work or going home from work. Where the accident occurs will determine whether or not the injuries arising out of that accident are compensable. Generally speaking, motor vehicle accidents while driving to work in the morning or from work in the evening are not compensable. However, if your job duties require you to drive as part of your work, an accident occurring in the direct performance of your job duties is considered work related. Accidents occurring once you have arrived in the parking lot, but have not yet arrived at your work space are much more controversial.
The New Jersey Supreme Court recently decided a case, Cheryl Hersh v. County of Morris, (A-59-12) (071433), which addresses this issue. Ms. Hersh worked for Morris County. She did not have sonority to park in the lot next to her building, but was provided with a parking pass to park in a public garage a couple of blocks away. Her employer paid for the parking and she was directed to park level three, however, she was not given an assigned parking spot. Ms. Hersh was injured while crossing the public street between the garage and her workplace. Because her employer did not control the parking lot, her route between the garage and her office building, or the public street the Court found that her injuries did not fall under workers’ compensation.
The mere fact that the employer pays for parking, does not necessarily result in a compensable injury. Injuries that might be covered between parking and arriving at your work space might include a fall in the parking lot where you have an assigned parking spot, a fall in the parking lot where the employer maintains and controls the parking area (such as reserving the spots near the entrance of the building for customers) or where the injury occurs where the employee is directed to use only one way entering or leaving the building.
If you have questions about an injury occurring on your way to work or while leaving for the day, we would be happy to assist you. Please call Stark & Stark’s experienced attorneys today for your confidential no obligation consultation toady.