Many people throughout New Jersey have more than one job. Accordingly, when a person employed by multiple parties suffers a work-related injury, it may render the person unable to perform the duties of more than one position. Generally, a person who is hurt at work can recover workers’ compensation income lost as a result of the injury, regardless of whether the income was from one or multiple jobs, as discussed in a recent New Jersey case. If you were hurt while working, you may be owed income loss benefits and should talk to a knowledgeable New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney regarding your potential claims.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that in 2009, the plaintiff worked part-time for the defendant employer as a stadium usher and full-time as a stock clerk for a box store. She suffered a compensable injury while working at her part-time job. Specifically, she sustained a left femur fracture when the door of a freight elevator fell on her leg. She underwent surgery on her leg and was on medical leave from her full-time job for nine months. She then returned to her previous full-time position in a part-time capacity due to medical restrictions.

Allegedly, the box store refused to hold her full-time position, and she declined to accept a permanent part-time position, so she was terminated. She later re-applied for a full-time position but was not hired. She ultimately returned to her job with the defendant employer but lost the position due to reasons unrelated to her accident. The plaintiff applied for workers’ compensation benefits, and following a hearing, the judge found that she was not entitled to full-time benefits because she failed to prove she lacked the ability to work full-time. She then appealed.

Benefits Recoverable for Harm at a Part-Time Job

Under New Jersey law, if an employee suffers permanent harm while working in a part-time position, and the injury will permanently impair the employee’s ability to work full-time, the employee is entitled to income loss benefits as if the employee was employed full-time. The appellate court explained that the aim of the Workers’ Compensation Act is to fully compensate the most seriously injured workers.

Thus, the goal is met by permitting the benefit awards of permanently-harmed part-time employees to be calculated on the basis of a reconstructed work week. This allows the employee to enjoy compensation for the loss of earning capacity and diminution of earning power, now or in the future.

In the subject case, the plaintiff argued that the workers’ compensation judge erred in failing to calculate her income loss benefits based on a reconstructed work week. The appellate court disagreed, noting that the evidence presented during the hearing demonstrated that the plaintiff was able and willing to work but had not obtained a full-time position. Thus, the judge’s ruling was affirmed.

Meet with a Trusted New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Attorney

People who suffer work-related injuries are often entitled to income loss benefits, regardless if they are hurt while working at a part-time or full-time position. If you were harmed while working, it is advisable to consult an attorney regarding your rights. The trusted New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall could assist you in seeking an accurate calculation of lost wages to help you pursue the full amount of benefits you are owed. We can contact us via our online form or at 800-999-0897 to schedule a meeting.