Reading Room

Court Chips Away at Workers' Comp Exclusivity

Workers' Compensation

Jon 10798

The New Jersey Supreme Court, in a landmark decision that was a year in the making, has taken a big step toward dismantling the exclusivity doctrine of the Workers’ Compensation Act, which immunizes employers from tort liability. The 3-2 decision last Wednesday came in the case of a laborer for a nonunion shop who died when he was run over by a dump truck driven by a worker from a union shop owned by the same principals. The justices said the laborer’s widow can sue the shop that loaned the truck driver even though he is immunized from suit. 

An Occupational Heart Condition is Compensble in Workers' Compensation

NJ Supreme Court Review 1993-1994

Jon 4418

During the 1993-1994 court term, the attention of the New Jersey Supreme Court was on evidential issues, while the Appellate Division addressed an entire spectrum of issues arising before the Division of Workers' Compensation. Those issues included conflict of law questions, further definition of the coming and going rule, and apportionment of traumatic and occupational disease claims [as well as issues of credibility. The court also addressed such perennially important issues as dependency benefits, the "fellow servant" rule, casual employment, and psychiatric illness]. The court term marked further reiteration by the reviewing tribunals that permanent disability can be recognized at minimal levels and that a cause of action exists for an occupationally-induced cardiovascular condition.

Psychological Disability Claims

NJ Supreme Court Review 1992-1993

Jon 4868

The 1992-93 court term produced a group of decisions that focused on novel issues now being presented before the Division of Workers' Compensation. Judicial forums had an opportunity to review many aspects of the law, including employment status, psychiatric disability, apportionment of disability in traumatic disease claims among multiple respondents, [the "safety net," the "coming and going rule," liens, the scope of spousal dependency, evidential concerns,] and the scope of the availability of a pension offset for employees of interstate agencies. 

Temporary Benefits While on "Light Duty"

NJ Supreme Court Review 1989-1990

Jon 9610

The court sought to focus on major issues confronting workers' compensation law, including the concepts of "light duty," the existence of the "coming and going rule," concerns over what risks are incidental to employment, the problem of the employee who is perceived to be working for multiple employers simultaneously, and other major issues such as [the "Fireman's Rule," the Falcon Doctrine, the Second Injury Fund, pension offsets, third party matters, medical treatment, and] what remedies are available to the employer where benefits appear to have been overpaid. 

Fraudulent Concealment Does Not Bar A Claim

NJ Supreme Court Review 1988-1989

Jon 5384

The 1988-1989 court term has resulted in significant developments in the New Jersey Division of Workers' Compensation. The court has continued to define the scope of employment and the parameters under which remedies are available for the injured employee under the Workers' Compensation Act. It confirmed the right of employees to obtain relief from employers where fraudulent concealment is an issue.