Business Insurance reports that the decision by the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division in Jesse J. Cooper Sr. vs. Barnickel Enterprises Inc. upheld a Division of Workers’ Compensation finding that Cooper suffered 100% disability as a result of a February 2003 auto accident that caused compound fractures in both legs and his left arm. The employer appealed the judgment, arguing that the accident occurred while Cooper was on a personal errand unrelated to his work, irrespective of company authorization to use one of its vehicles.
The court said Cooper, who is an “off-site” employee, could not be expected to stay at a workplace for a period of time with nothing to do, particularly when there was no coffee available at the site. Accidents occurring during coffee breaks for off-site employees are equivalent to those suffered by on-site workers and “are minor deviations from employment which permit recovery of workers’ compensation benefits,” the court ruled, according to Business Insurance.
The accident occurred when Cooper left a union hall where he had gone to discuss an upcoming company project with a union instructor because the instructor was busy teaching a class.