In most cases, a worker is not be covered by workers’ comp laws during their commute. This is due to the going-and-coming rule. It stipulates that a worker is not covered because they are not performing work-related duties during their commute. Their employer doesn’t require that they arrive at the office in any particular way, so their employer’s “fingerprints” aren’t on their commute. As a result, a worker who is injured in a crash during their commute may be entitled to personal injury damages but isn’t generally in a position to seek workers’ comp benefits.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. As such, there are some ways in which workers who are injured during their commute may qualify for workers’ comp benefits. Below are four examples of such exceptions.
Driving to a job site
Some workers go in to the office and then commute again to get to their eventual job site. Construction workers may all pile into a work truck or van with their tools, for example, even though they personally commuted to the central office individually. If the work vehicle is involved in an accident, injuries sustained on the way to the job site would be covered.
Moving between job sites
Similarly, some workers have to go to multiple job sites on the same day. An example of this could be a house-painting crew with multiple projects. When commuting between job sites, employees are engaging in work-related activities and are, therefore, covered by workers’ comp.
Running an errand before work
This is sometimes called a “special mission”. It happens when a boss gives an employee a mission that they need to carry out before they get to the office and clock in, such as picking up a cup of coffee. That employee may still be covered because they were given a task to complete during their commute. They are officially acting as an employee while going out of their way, so they likely qualify for benefits if they get injured while doing so.
Driving for work
Of course, there are also many people who have to drive as part of their job. If your job duties include driving, then you are covered by workers’ comp laws when you’re driving for work or operating a work-related vehicle for non-personal/work-related uses.
Have you been injured?
Transportation accidents are very common and many are subject to workers’ comp laws. If you have been injured in a commute-related accident, strongly consider exploring your legal options before making any hard determinations about what courses of action you will and will not take in the wake of sustaining harm.