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Am I entitled to workers’ comp from an accident off the job?

As you know, workers’ compensation insurance exists to compensate you for your expenses and lost wages resulting from an accident you sustained at work. It is also in your employer’s best interests, as it protects New Jersey companies in most cases from litigation from an injured worker. However, what if you suffered an injury in a work-related accident that happened while you were off the clock or not at your workplace? Would you still be eligible to receive benefits?

Recently, your office ran out of printer paper and your supervisor sent you to the office supply store to purchase more. On the way there, you were in a car accident and received a minor injury. You were not at the office when the accident occurred, but because the injury happened while you were running a work-related errand, workers’ compensation should cover you.

There are other off-the-job accidents that may qualify for workers’ compensation insurance, despite seeming vague or unrelated to your employment. These could include the following:

  • You were working a trade convention for your company out of town and twisted your ankle, necessitating a trip to urgent care.
  • While having lunch with an important client, you caught the flu that your client was recovering from, which turned into bronchitis and required a doctor’s visit and antibiotics.
  • You were officially off the clock, but your boss asked if you would do him a favor and run a package to the post office on your way home. On your way inside, the door closed on your hand and you received a stress fracture.

The key element to remember in unusual job-related accidents is that the accident must have been sustained while you were involved in a work activity. Workers’ compensation would not apply if you were in an accident during your usual lunch break, clocked out and off the premises. Because workers’ compensation law may be complicated, speaking with an attorney might help.

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