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One foot makes the difference in workers' comp appeal

An injured casino worker is likely celebrating the ruling handed down by a New Jersey appellate court regarding her workers’ compensation claim. The court ruled that her employer, Harrah’s Casino, would be responsible for the cost of her injuries pursuant to her claim. She was injured as she was leaving the casino parking garage. She was turning onto a street from the garage when her SUV was hit by another car.

After initially submitting her claim, the casino denied it; saying that it was not liable since the accident occurred off of its property. However, the worker claimed that she had not yet left the property as the rear of her vehicle, approximately one foot of it, was still in the parking lot when the crash occurred. Footage from a security camera confirmed this. An administrative law judge with the Division of Workers’ Compensation agreed.

Harrah’s then appealed to the Court of Appeals and a two-judge panel affirmed the decision; explaining that the worker was “considered to be on the job until they leave their place of employment.” This ostensibly includes the parking lot that runs into the street.

In California, the workers’ compensation code is designed to protect employees for injuries suffered during the course of their employment. In doing so, injured workers can receive benefits for medical treatment, disability compensation as well as wage replacement. While all employers are responsible for paying into the workers’ comp fund, there are some employees who will try to game the system for personal gain. In these instances, a workers’ compensation defense attorney is helpful in making sure that everyone plays by the rules. 

Source: USA Today.com “Casino dealer wins workers’ compensation fight by a foot,” Jim Walsh, Jan. 22, 2014

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