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Jones v. New Jersey Manufacturers Casualty Insurance Co.

Decided: January 17, 1962.

WILLIAM J. JONES, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF DAVID J. JONES, SR., OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, WILLIAM J. JONES, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF LILLIAN A. JONES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NEW JERSEY MANUFACTURERS CASUALTY INSURANCE CO., DEFENDANT



Masucci, J.c.c.

Masucci

[71 NJSuper Page 513] This matter comes before the court on an order to show cause why defendant New Jersey Manufacturers Casualty Insurance Company should not pay to plaintiff William J. Jones, general administrator of the estate of Lillian A. Jones, the remaining payments due under an award of the Workmen's Compensation Bureau.

The material facts are not disputed and are as follows:

One David J. Jones suffered an accident during the course of his employment. A formal petition to recover compensation was filed by him, but prior to the entry of the award he died from causes unrelated to the aforementioned accident. The Bureau entered an award in the net amount of $5,830 for permanent and temporary disability. Apparently by virtue of the provisions of N.J.S.A. 34:15-12(e) the award provided that all payments thereunder were to be made to Lillian A. Jones, "the widow and sole legal dependent of David J. Jones."

Thereafter, pursuant to said award Lillian A. Jones received payments until her death on March 5, 1961. If Lillian A. Jones had survived, she would have been entitled to continued further monthly payments pursuant to the award in the total amount of $1,962. Plaintiff contends that he, as the administrator of the estate of Lillian A. Jones, is entitled to these remaining payments. The sole issue for determination is whether an administrator of the estate of a deceased dependent is entitled to those payments which such dependent would have received had she lived, where the original award to such dependent was for permanent disability suffered by the dependent's spouse.

It must first be noted that the rights and remedies provided by the Workmen's Compensation Act are exclusive of and preclude any other remedies for claims coming within its provisions.

N.J.S.A. 34:15-8 provides for a surrender of rights to any method, form or amount of compensation other than as provided by the act, and the same "shall bind the employee himself * * * his personal representatives, his widow and next of kin * * *." Geraghty v. Lehigh Valley R.R. Co. , 83 F.2d 738 (2 Cir. 1936); New Amsterdam Casualty Co. v. Popovich , 18 N.J. 218 (1955).

The rights of the parties must therefore be adjudicated by an interpretation of the pertinent provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act, bearing in mind its scope and purpose

to provide weekly compensation in lieu of wages to the injured employee during the period of his disability or to his dependents in the event of his death. King v. Western Electric Co. , 122 N.J.L. 442 (Sup. Ct. 1939).

With this expressed policy in mind two provisions of the act are to be considered.

N.J.S.A. 34:15-12(e) provides that in case of death of the employee from any cause other than accident or occupational disease during the period of payments for permanent injury, the remaining payments shall be paid to such dependents as are included in N.J.S.A. 34:15-13, or, if no dependents, the remaining amount due but not exceeding $400 shall be paid to the proper person for funeral expenses. Said section then continues: "* * * but no compensation shall be due any other person than the injured employee on account of compensation being paid in excess of 450 weeks on account of disability total in character and permanent in quality * * *."

N.J.S.A. 34:15-13(g) after defining dependents, provides that "Should any dependent of a deceased employee die during the period covered by such weekly payments the right of such dependent to ...


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