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Is horseplay a defense to a workers’ compensation claim?

Horseplay is not a general defense to a workers’ compensation claim. Some amount of horseplay can be expected in the workplace. How much horseplay is considered normal may vary depending on the work environment. A defense may exist if the horseplay resulting in an injury is so extreme that the injured employee is no longer considered as acting within the scope of their employment.

New Jersey has a statute providing that if an employee does not instigate or take part in horseplay, they can recover workers’ compensation benefits for an injury arising out of the horseplay.

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