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Accident Crossing Busy Street To Work Site Is Compensable Where County Paid For Parking And Designated Parking Spot

By on July 30, 2012 in Compensability with 2 Comments

In Hersh v. County of Morris, A-1442-10T4 (App. Div. July 24, 2012), the Appellate Division affirmed an award for claimant,Cheryl Hersh, who worked for Morris County.  For the first two years she worked for the County beginning in 2002, the County paid for parking at a private lot located behind her work site at the Administration Building.  Then the County assigned her free parking at a private garage on Cattano Avenue, two blocks from the Administration Building.

The County did not own or control the lot on Cattano Avenue.  But it paid for 65 designated spots for its employees and gave petitioner a scan card for entrance to the garage and advised her to park in one of the 65 spots on the third floor.  Petitioner was not senior enough to have a parking spot directly behind the Administration Building.

The petitioner was injured on January 29, 2010.  She parked in the third floor lot and exited on Cattano Avenue and walked one block to Washington Street, which she had to cross to get to the Court Street entrance to the Administration Building. While crossing Washington Street she was hit by a car and suffered serious injuries.

The County denied her workers’ compensation claim contending that she had not arrived at a place owned or controlled by the employer at the time of her injury.  The Judge of Compensation ruled for petitioner, and the Appellate Division affirmed.  The court relied on case law that stands for the proposition that if an employer can control where an employee parks, the employee is covered from the point of arrival at that location.  Livingstone v. Abraham & Strauss, 111 N.J. 89 (1988).  The Court also relied on Bradley v. State of New Jersey, 344 N.J. Super. 568 (App.Div. 2001) which involved similar facts (the State provided free parking for its employees at a County-owned parking lot where the petitioner was injured).

This case addresses a fairly common situation. If the employer pays for parking off site for an employee and designates an area to park, the employee will be deemed to have arrived at work for purposes of workers’ compensation when he or she gets to the approved parking location.

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About the Author

About the Author:

John H. Geaney, a shareholder and co-chair of Capehart Scatchard's Workers' Compensation department, began an email newsletter entitled Currents in Workers’ Compensation, ADA and FMLA in 2001 in order to keep clients and readers informed on leading developments in these three areas of law. Since that time he has written over 500 newsletter updates.

Mr. Geaney is the author of Geaney’s New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Manual for Practitioners, Adjusters & Employers. The manual is distributed by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE). He also authored an ADA and FMLA manual as distributed by NJICLE. If you are interested in purchasing the manual, please contact NJICLE at 732-214-8500 or visit their website at www.njicle.com.

Mr. Geaney represents employers in the defense of workers’ compensation, ADA and FMLA matters. He is a Fellow of the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers of the American Bar Association and is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a workers’ compensation law attorney. He is one of two firm representatives to the National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network. He has served on the Executive Committee of Capehart Scatchard for over ten (10) years.

A graduate of Holy Cross College summa cum laude, Mr. Geaney obtained his law degree from Boston College Law School. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by his peers and Law and Politics. He serves as Vice President of the Friends of MEND, the fundraising arm of a local charitable organization devoted to promoting affordable housing.

Capehart Scatchard is a full service law firm with offices in Mt. Laurel and Trenton, New Jersey. The firm represents employers and businesses in a wide variety of areas, including workers’ compensation, civil litigation, labor, environmental, business, estates and governmental affairs.

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There Are 2 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Vane says:

    It’s good the judge had case law to work with in this case. It’s still unfortunate the petitioner was hit by a car. The award is probably just.

  2. Maria says:

    What if the employer did not have parking on premises and employees are left to find spots on streets near the place of employment. Spots are free, but employees are not provided with parking on the employers premise. EE crossing intersection and is struck by automobile. Thoughts as to compensability? I say compensable.

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