Single Act Meets WC Bar

A New Jersey Appellate Court ruled on August 30, 2010 that a single, intentional act by an employer can satisfy the “intentional wrong” exception to the Workers’ Compensation bar. Typically, an employee is barred from bringing a third party action against his or her employer under general negligence principles. However, in certain, rare instances, such a claim can be made.

The controlling New Jersey Supreme Court case that addresses this issue is Laidlow v. Hariton Machine Co. Inc. In this case a guardrail was removed from a saw to enable an employee to work faster. The August 30, 2010 Appellate Court ruling in the case entitled Van Dunk v. Reckson Associates, A-3548-08T2 holds that a willful violation of OSHA regulations can be considered by a Judge in determining if an intentional wrong can allow an employee to sue an employer. In the Van Dunk case an employee was seriously injured when a trench collapsed while the employee was attempting to relocate a dewatering sump. Also, in Van Dunk it was established that safety was disregarded to increase speed and profitability.

If you have been injured on the job, in addition to basic workers’ compensation benefits, you may also be entitled to pursue a third party claim for additional compensation. Contact an attorney at the Princeton, New Jersey law firm of Lependorf & Silverstein for a free initial consultation to learn more about your rights as an employee in the state of New Jersey. The Princeton, New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein can assist you.