New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has vetoed legislation that would have changed the presumption for the cause of public safety workers’ injuries within the workers’ compensation system. Christie claimed the veto was necessary to prevent the bill from altering the balance of how the system determines if claim presents a valid workplace injury.
The bill from the New Jersey legislature, S.B. 1776, would have created what is known as a rebuttable presumption. Legally, this would mean that an injury to a worker would be presumed to have been work related, unless “clear and convincing” evidence exists that it was unrelated to the worker’s job.
A presumption like this would make it easier for a public safety worker to obtain workers’ compensation benefits, as it moves the burden of proof to the employer to show that the injury was not work related. Christie appeared to be concerned that the new standard would encompass potentially non-work related injuries.
Christie pointed to a lack of a fiscal analysis of the potential impact this new presumption would have on state and local government budgets as another justification for the veto.
Presumptions are important, as they can make certain conditions easy to make a claim for, or virtually impossible.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident in New Jersey, speak with a workers’ compensation attorney, who can help examine your claim and decide if your facts present a viable case.
They can also determine if additional compensation may be available for your injuries if they were the result of negligence by employees of other employers.
Source: Risk & Insurance, “New Jersey governor rejects rebuttable presumption for emergency workers,” August 30, 2013