When an employee is injured on the job, his employer is obligated to provide him with workers’ compensation benefits to pay his medical bills and lost wages. However, this can be more complicated when a worker is injured off-site or in a motor vehicle accident. The issue becomes whether or not the worker was injured during the course of his employment and how the going and coming rule affects his claim.
What Is the Going and Coming Rule?
Under the going and coming rule, an employee is not considered on the clock at work when he is coming and going to his job. This means that a worker is not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits when he is injured in a vehicle or other accident while traveling from his home to his job or returning home at the end of his shift. In addition, he would not be entitled to benefits if he did a personal errand on his lunch hour. This rule is fairly clear cut for workers who go to a fixed employment location where they remain during work hours.
However, other employees do not work at a fixed location or have other job duties that require them to travel, and this makes determining their entitlement to benefits more complex. Some of these workers include:
- Construction workers
- Taxicab, shuttle, and other vehicle drivers
- Delivery people, like those who deliver goods and food to people’s homes
- Supervisors of more than one location
- Home health care workers
- Truck drivers
- Police, fire, and other emergency workers
What Are Exceptions to the Going and Coming Rule?
There are a number of exceptions to the going and coming rule that allow workers who are injured when not directly at their place of employment to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Some situations where workers can receive benefits include:
- Commuting in a company car. If an employee is commuting in a company car, especially if it has the company’s logo on it, he may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if hurt in a car crash. However, eligibility for benefits will depend on the specific facts surrounding the injury.
- Traveling as part of job duties. When workers such as truck drivers, police officers, and delivery drivers are injured when performing their major job duty off-site, this should be a work-related injury entitling them to benefits.
- Commuting between job sites. If employees—for example, construction workers—must travel between sites as part of their job, an accident while driving to a work site would be an exception to the going and coming rule.
- Traveling for business. When a worker must travel to a conference or to another city on a business trip, his injury would be considered in the course of his employment. If he must stay overnight in another city while on a business trip, even accidents that happen when the workday is over could be job-related.
- Going on special missions. If an employer sends an employee on an errand or to pick up supplies, the worker would be performing a special mission for his employer. This is true even if the employer had him do a personal errand rather than one for his company. Under these situations, he should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Sidewalks and parking lots. Normally an employee is only covered under workers’ compensation laws when he has arrived at his place of employment. What happens if he slips and falls in the parking lot or on a sidewalk when going from his vehicle to his employer’s property? Whether the employer will be responsible will depend on whether the employer or a third party controls the parking lot or sidewalk.
If you were hurt in one of these unique workplace accidents, you need the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can determine whether your injury was caused during the course of your employment. In addition, in many of these cases, a third party, such as a negligent driver, may also face liability for compensating you for your injuries. By pursuing a claim against all responsible parties, you increase the likelihood that you will receive the full amount of compensation you deserve.
If you were hurt in a workplace accident, contact us online or call us directly at 888.795.6261 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.