Many employees are already familiar with the concept of workers’ compensation: if you are injured on the job, you may be entitled to benefits that can include medical care, monetary payments for permanent damages and lost wages, or even ongoing treatment such as hearing aids. What some workers do not know, however, is that they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even when the injury is caused by the negligence or misconduct of a colleague or other associate. Workers’ compensation is not limited to situations in which the injury is caused by an accident, a boss’ mistake, or an employer’s carelessness.
Coworker negligence can come in many forms, including common problems like inattention or failure to follow safety protocols. When employees depend on each other to operate machinery or use dangerous equipment safely, any mistake can result in serious injury for which workers’ compensation can be claimed. At the same time, coworker misconduct can also cover serious violations like coworker drinking, drug use, and intoxication while at work.
In fact, New Jersey law (N.J.S.A. 34:15-8) states that workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy that prohibits an injured employee from taking any other legal action to recover damages for an on-the-job injury caused by a fellow employee also in the course of his or her employment. For instance, in the case of McDaniel v. Man Wai Lee, Jeffrey McDaniel was rear-ended in a multiple car collision while working. McDaniel received workers’ compensation benefits for his injuries, but he also tried to bring a lawsuit against the coworker who was driving directly behind him. The New Jersey Appellate Division found that this law prohibited McDaniel from bringing a civil personal injury lawsuit against his coworker.
The only exception to this rule involves certain situations when the coworker’s actions are intentional, but even that is determined on a case-by-case basis. An example of an intentional action is assault, wherein one worker hits another while they are both working. New Jersey courts have found that workers’ compensation can cover the assault when the job is a contributing cause to the attack, such as when one worker punches another over a workplace disagreement. At the same time, workers’ compensation does not apply when the incident is motivated by a personal situation that has nothing to do with the job, even when if the violence occurs at the workplace. Therefore, if you are injured by a coworker while on the job, you will want to discuss your situation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can help determine what benefits or remedies are available to you.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Shebell & Shebell Get Results For People Injured on the Job
If you or someone you love has been injured at the work place, regardless of whose fault it is, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Shebell & Shebell can help. We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County, including Howell, Freehold, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Wall, Union Beach and Neptune. For a free consultation, call us at 732-532-2011 or contact us online today.