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04/15/2013

John Carvelli Secures Dismissal of Case Based on "Premises Rule"

John Carvelli, a partner in our Mt Laurel, New Jersey office, recently secured a significant victory. Petitioner slipped and fell in the common elevator of the building where she worked. The fall resulted in significant injuries which ultimately necessitated a cervical fusion. The underlying claim was denied, thereby prompting litigation and, ultimately, a trial.

At trial, Mr. Carvelli established that Petitioner’s injury did not occur on the employer’s premises and as such, the Judge of Compensation dismissed the case with prejudice. Given the severity of Petitioner’s injuries, Mr. Carvelli’s successful defense enabled the employer to avoid six figure exposure. The victory was especially noteworthy because New Jersey worker’s compensation courts apply the “premises rule.” The rule states that employment begins when an employee arrives on the premises of his employer and ends when he leaves the premises. An employer’s premises is not limited to areas owned or leased by the employer. It also includes those areas it controls. The concept of control has been extended considerably. In light of the broad interpretation of what is considered to be the employer’s premises, arguing that the injury occurred off-premises can often be a difficult defense.

In addition to handling all aspects of the aforementioned trial, Mr. Carvellli was heavily involved prior to the litigation by offering ongoing recommendations and claims handling advice to the employer and the assigned adjuster.