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(c) 2018 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Verbal Notice to Supervisor Satisfies Notice Requirement - Unpublished Decision

A police officer who provided verbal notices to an injury to his supervisor the evening of the accident was held to ratify the notice requirement under the Workers’ Compensation statute and deem the accident compensable. In an unpublished shed decision*, the NJ Appellate division ruled that the employer was responsible for benefits even though treatment was not sought for three weeks following the accident.

The Trial Court held, “There is no proof of another injury or incident and I believe Petitioner that he thought it was minor in nature at the time and would resolve itself….. I make this finding based upon the credibility of the witnesses and the totality of the factual circumstances in this case. Regardless of the timing of it being reported or Police Department Policy, I find that an incident involving petitioner’s left foot occurred while petitioner was on the job.”

The Appellate Division affirmed, "The judge made credibility findings and cited the evidence that supported his factual findings. The only discrepancy in the witnesses’ testimony was the conversation petitioner claimed to have had with Brescia about the injury at the time it occurred. Brescia, however, only testified that he did not recall a conversation. The judge did not find that testimony sufficient to compel a determination that no injury had occurred. There were no other proofs presented to refute petitioner's testimony as to the origin of his foot injury nor was there any testimony of a preexisting condition or prior injury to the foot."

Analysis:
The NJ Workers’ Compensation provides that, “Notice may be an actual or inferred comment to the employer by the employee of a work-related event.” Gelman, Jon L, Workers Compensation Law, 38 NJPRAC 11.6 (Thomson-Reuters 2017).

BRIAN MCLAUGHLIN, Petitioner-Respondent, v. TOWNSHIP OF UNION, Respondent-Appellant. DOCKET NO. A-0606-16T3, Submitted November 15, 2017, Decided December 12, 2017, 2017 WL 6398850 Unpublished Decision

*This opinion shall not "constitute precedent or be binding upon any court." Although it is posted on the internet, this opinion is binding only on the parties in the case and its use in other cases is limited. R.1:36-3.

1:36-3. Unpublished Opinions No unpublished opinion shall constitute precedent or be binding upon any court. Except for appellate opinions not approved for publication that have been reported in an authorized administrative law reporter, and except to the extent required by res judicata, collateral estoppel, the single controversy doctrine or any other similar principle of law, no unpublished opinion shall be cited by any court. No unpublished opinion shall be cited to any court by counsel unless the court and all other parties are served with a copy of the opinion and of all contrary unpublished opinions known to counsel.

Note: Adopted July 16, 1981, to be effective September 14, 1981; caption and rule amended July 13, 1994, to be effective September 1, 1994; amended July 12, 2002, to be effective September 3, 2002; amended July 23, 2010, to be effective September 1, 2010.



Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters).
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