Drinking on the Job: Workers’ Compensation Benefits Eligibility When Alcohol is in Play
By Michael Gorny, Esq.
In New Jersey, Workers' Compensation benefits are generally provided for injuries sustained while on the job, regardless of fault. This practice of awarding benefits despite any fault is based on the original purpose of Workers’ Compensation benefits – to provide compensation for injured workers without having to sue their own employer or prove that someone else caused their injuries. As a trade-off, the state establishes award amounts, which are often much less than would be awarded in a lawsuit.
As with most laws, there are exceptions to the “no-fault” rule for New Jersey Workers’ Compensation benefits. Under the current law, if alcohol is the only reason for the injury, the injured worker is not entitled to benefits. This is often very hard to prove, as typically alcohol is a contributing factor to accidents and injuries. Proposed legislation, by New Jersey Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove, would change the law, barring any benefits for an accident in which alcohol is a contributing factor.
When a worker is injured on the job, it is important that they understand their rights to Workers’ Compensation benefits. Even when a New Jersey worker may think they caused their own injuries, they are most likely entitled to benefits and should consult with an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer to discuss their rights.
Contact us today to review your rights with a NJ Workers’ Compensation Attorney. Call for your free consultation 800-709-1131.