If you sustain a work-related injury, it usually occurs at an office or on a company job site and you probably qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
But what if you suffer an injury in a traffic accident on your way to work or when running an errand for your employer? Does the “going and coming” rule allow you to file a WC claim?
About the rule
“Going and coming” refers to your commute to and from work. Under the worker’s compensation rule, you are on your own time during the commute. Therefore, if you sustain injuries in a vehicle crash, you are not eligible to apply for benefits. However, there are exemptions. For example, you are eligible if you are driving your personal vehicle from one job site or company building to another because you are performing a work-related task on company time.
If traveling is part of your job, you will likely qualify for WC benefits if you sustain a work-related injury. This includes pilots, bus drivers, firefighters, police officers, salespeople and others who travel for a living. However, if an injury occurs during your commute to the airport or fire station, for example, the going and coming rule kicks in.
The special mission exemption
Your boss might ask you to stop and pick up coffee for him when you are on your way to work or drop his dry cleaning off on your way home. These are “special missions” and your employer is usually liable for any injury you might incur in the performance of these tasks.
If you sustain an injury connected to your job but have questions about your eligibility for WC benefits, an advocate experienced with the process can help. Remember that there are certain exemptions to the going and coming rule.