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No work comp benefits for carjacking injuries

There is no question that a strong workers' compensation defense requires an assertive, even aggressive approach. When evaluating a work comp claim, attorneys must be prepared to examine every aspect of the alleged accident, including dissecting the medical file and deciphering how the accident occurred. Such an approach can ultimately help save employers both time and money.

In fact, a recent case out of New Jersey illustrates how strong case preparation by work comp defense attorneys helped uncover an otherwise undeserving claim.

In the case, an account executive with a Garden State information technology consulting company was claiming that he suffered work-related injuries in a carjacking and was therefore entitled to work comp benefits.

Specifically, the executive claimed that he was on his way to dinner at a local restaurant to meet a prospective client when he decided to stop to purchase a bottle of water.

After purchasing the water and returning to his car, an unknown man entered the car on the passenger side and beat the executive until he was unconscious. Fortunately, the executive regained consciousness shortly thereafter and was able to exit the car before the unknown man sped away in his car -- with his work files and computer.

The executive went to the office the next day and informed his employer of what transpired. He was eventually terminated from his position and sought to secure work comp benefits for injuries associated with the carjacking, a move that his employer challenged.

In an unpublished opinion, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court ruled that the executive was not entitled to work comp benefits because the evidence clearly undermined his claim that the injury occurred during the course and scope of his employment.

Specifically, the court found the following evidence to be persuasive:

  • According to the company's CFO, whenever an employee enters an appointment into their laptop calendar, it is uploaded to the company's primary server. Here, the server had no record of the executive having any meetings on the day of the carjacking.
  • The executive's immediate supervisor indicated that any dinner meetings with prospective clients required his prior approval. Here, the executive sought no such approval.
  • The executive's immediate supervisor indicated that the prospective client that executive claimed to be meeting for dinner was already a client and that the executive did not handle this account.
  • A co-worker indicated that the executive had told him that he was carjacked on his way to a dinner date with friends
  • The executive made conflicting statements regarding the carjacking

Stay tuned for further developments from our workers' compensation defense blog ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


Risk & Insurance, "Executive's failure to log appointment nixes benefits for carjacking" Jan. 26, 2012

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