A firefighter who had suffered a skull fracture, traumatic brain injury and multiple hemorrhages has been denied workers’ compensation for an altercation that occurred in a parking lot with another firefighter. A state appellate court ruled on Monday that the firefighter would not receive workers’ compensation because the injuries occurred in the parking lot of the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy in Hillsborough.
The firefighters were in the parking lot before they were to attend their class at the academy when a fight between two other volunteer firefighters broke out. The victim sought out workers’ compensation for injuries related to the incident stating that the incident occurred “in the direct performance of duties”. However, this claim was rejected by a workers’ compensation judge as the appellate court found that the victim “was not injured in the scope of his duties”.
The altercation was described as “roughhousing” as the fight itself did not seem violent. The victim stated that he attempted to intervene in an effort to enforce the academy’s rule against roughhousing. The appellate court decided that the actions the victim took as well as the injury were “personal activity” rather than related to duties assigned from his employer.
While the victim did not get workers’ compensation, there was an out-of-court settlement by the county in the amount of $150,000.
Every year, thousands of people are severely injured or killed in the workplace or while performing work-related duty. In many cases, insurance companies and workers’ compensation claims tend to be a smooth process. But for situations that are out of the workplace or out of the ordinary, fighting for workers’ compensation can be difficult – hiring an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer could help.
If you or someone you know has been injured in the workplace and are fighting for workers’ compensation, contact the law offices of Begelman & Orlow today to schedule your case evaluation.
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