Court Assesses Which State Has Jurisdiction Over a Workers’ Compensation Claim

It is not uncommon for an employee to live in New Jersey and work in Pennsylvania, or, to be engaged in work activities in both states. Thus, if the employee suffers an injury, it may not immediately be apparent which state’s workers’ compensation laws apply. Recently, a New Jersey court discussed the grounds for determining the applicability of a state’s compensation act in a case in which a resident of New Jersey who was injured while working in Pennsylvania filed claims with the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation division. If you were hurt at work, you might be owed benefits, and it is prudent to consult a skillful New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney regarding your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the claimant, who lives in New Jersey, filed two claims petitions with the Division of Workers’ Compensation (the Division) seeking benefits from his employer. The first claim alleged that the claimant suffered an injury to his hip while working for his employer in Philadelphia in 2015. The second claim alleged that the claimant suffered an occupational injury to his hip due to repetitive motions while he was performing his job duties from 1986 to the present, at the employer’s site in Philadelphia.

It is reported that the employer moved to have both petitions dismissed due to a lack of jurisdiction. Specifically, it argued the claimant did not work in New Jersey, the accident did not occur there, and the employer did not have any contact with the state. Following a hearing, a judge granted the defendant’s motion. The plaintiff then appealed.

Determining Which State’s Workers’ Compensation Act Applies

Under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), an injury is compensable only if it arises in the course of and out of the scope of employment. Further, the Division’s jurisdiction is limited to the jurisdiction granted by law, and it cannot be enlarged by consent, waiver, estoppel, or judicial inclination. The court noted, however, that the Act does not address the issue of injuries that occur in other states. As such, in determining whether the Division has jurisdiction over a matter requires an evaluation of the unique facts of the case.

The court went on to explain that as jurisdiction over an out-of-state claim requires a choice of law analysis, any state that has more than a slight interest in an injury can apply its act to that injury without violating the duty to grant full faith and credit to acts of other states that also have an interest in the matter. Ultimately, the court ruled that the claimant’s claims would be compensable under New Jersey law if the claimant’s job duties implemented the localized business of the employer in New Jersey to a substantial degree. As they did not, the court affirmed the dismissal of the claimant’s petitions.

Confer with a Knowledgeable New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Employees that are injured at work may be owed benefits, but in some instances determining which state’s workers’ compensation act applies can be difficult. If you suffered a workplace injury you might be owed benefits, and it is in your best interest to confer with a lawyer. The knowledgeable New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can advise you of your options and aid you in seeking any benefits you may be owed from your employer. We can be reached through the form online or at 800-999-0897 to schedule a conference.

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