New Proposed Legislation in NJ Expands Workers Comp in Employer Parking Lots
According to an article by Louise Esola of BusinessInsurance.com, new legislation that changes the compensability in regards to employee slips, falls, and trips in parking lots has passed the New Jersey Senate on January 11, 2021 and remains in the hands of the Assembly Labor Committee. Esola notes, “The bill states that if an employer provides or designates a parking area for employees, their employment commences when they arrive at the area and ends when they leave it.”
Ioannis S. Anthanasopoulos, partner of Goldberg Segalla LLP located in Newark, NJ, note that current standards rely heavily on details, like whether the employee was leaving for a work-related task, also noted that the proposal “goes against a commonly accepted standard in workers comp law – the comings-and-goings rule that states accidents while one is arriving or leaving work are typically not compensable.”
In other words, if the bill is passed, it can open up opportunities of misuse, fraud, litigation, increase in claims, employees lying about where and when they fell, non-work-related injuries, especially for employers who have parking lots elsewhere and not on site or are maintained by outside entities.
Additionally, it is not uncommon for other states to pick up similar legislation once gaining traction.
The article highlights that, “Parking lot injuries are ‘an open question in a lot of states, and New Jersey is trying to make it clearer,’ said Howard Wexler, partner in the employment practice at Seyfarth Shaw LLP in New York. ‘In the Northeast this time of year there are lots of times when employees slip and fall in the parking lot. There would definitely be an uptick in the amount of (accepted) workers comp claims’ if the bill becomes law.”
We will be monitoring the progress.