In the recent case of Hersh v. County of Morris, the New Jersey Supreme Court considered the issues of whether a plaintiff who was injured while crossing a public street as he walked from a private garage, where she had employer-paid parking, to her office a few blocks away was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The lower courts granted her petition for benefits; however, the Supreme Court reversed.
According to the trial judge, the plaintiff’s injuries were compensable because parking lots provided or designated for employee use are part of the employer’s “premises” for purposes of workers’ compensation, even if those parking lots are not owned or controlled by the employer. Therefore, even though the garage and the sidewalk en route to the employer’s building were not part of the workplace in the property sense, the employer exercised control over them by designating a floor on the garage for parking by its employees.
The Supreme Court disagreed. According to the Supreme Court, where an employer does not control a parking lot, the route of ingress and egress from the parking lot to the place of employment, and does not expose an employee to any special or additional hazards, injuries occurring outside of the employers premises are not compensable.