Most workers know that if you are injured on the job you can collect workers compensation benefits. However, a lot of folks are unclear about whether or not you can make a claim if you are hurt at work while doing something other than your actual job.

A client once asked the following question, which illustrates this nicely: I dislocated my elbow playing Santa Claus at my company Christmas party when the platform, set up by my co-workers, collapsed and now my boss is telling me that I can not get Workers’ Compensation because playing Santa is not part of my regular job and it was a party. Is this true?

In short, no it is not true. Under New Jersey law, you are entitled Workers’ Compensation benefits if you are injured while in the scope of your employment and the Courts have ruled that scope of employment is not limited to a definite list of job duties but is whatever tasks you are reasonably asked to do. This includes volunteering for the duties not normally in your job description; however, these types of situations are fact sensitive, so I advise you to see an attorney as soon as possible to determine if you qualify for Workers’ Compensation because if you do, Workers’ Compensation should pay for your medical treatment and you should be paid for the time you miss from work, if any.