Intoxication Must Be Sole Cause of Accident to Bar Workers’ Comp Claim – Tlumac v. High Bridge Stone

This morning’s Supreme Court decision in Tlumac v. High Bridge Stone stands for the proposition that when intoxication is raised as a defense to a workers’ compensation claim, in order to prevail, the defense must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the resulting injury or death was solely attributable to the intoxication.

The plaintiff in this case operated a work vehicle during the course of his employment while intoxicated. He was involved in a serious accident and sustained debilitating injuries. Thereafter he filed a comp claim. The defense asserted NJSA 34:15-7, which bars comp claims when intoxication directly caused the injury or death associated with the claim.

The Supreme Court ruled that there was sufficient evidence in the record to demonstrate that other factors, in addition to the level of intoxication, in this cases contributed to the cause of the accident. As a result, the comp claim was not barred by NJSA 34:15-7.

Download a copy of Tlumac v. High Bridge Stone

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