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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Accidents Caused by Fatiguing Employment Require a Remedy

Employees sometimes are directed to work long and stressful hours and then if they become injured they are left without a remedy.  A Court recently held that even though an employee who was killed as a result of fatigue related accident while driving home after working  22 hours straight on "Black Friday" for Wal-Mart was without a remedy.

The Court reasoned that the law barred any recovery. The Workers' Compensation Act is not an available remedy the Court held since the injured occurred off the premises of the employer and not under the employers control. Also a civil action was barred by the deceased's estate against Wal-Mart since the Court reasoned that, "...The imposition of a duty upon an employer for injuries sustained by an employee, arguably arising out of the fatiguing conditions of employment, yet occurring outside of the course of employment would alter the necessary balance struck by the New Jersey legislature when defining the scope of compensable injuries." 

Despite the changing economic times, the laws should keep pace with the growing momentum of making the workplace safer. Regressive employment practices are not the solution for a healthier workplace. It is more important than ever that the Legislature revisit working conditions and strike a balance to provide a regulatory response to injuries and accident caused by such adverse situations.

See: Aylward v Wal-Mart Stores Inc., CA No. 10-4799, 2011 WL 2357762 (D.N.J.) Decided June 9, 2011

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900 have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

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