If you are injured in a traffic accident on your way to work, can you submit a claim for workers’ compensation benefits?
The answer is maybe. It depends on the circumstances, and this is where you need to know about the “going and coming” rule.
Understanding the rule
If you have a work-related injury, you likely qualify for workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. This kind of injury does not necessarily have to happen in the workplace or at the job site. If you suffer an injury at a company-related function, such as a group picnic or a bowling alley outing, you are probably still covered. However, if an injury occurs while you are in your personal vehicle on your way to or from work, the “going and coming” rule kicks in because the commute is not considered job-related.
Looking at exceptions
If your job requires traveling, such as work as a commercial truck driver, a pilot or a state trooper, an injury would be job-related and you could file a workers’ compensation claim. You would also qualify to receive benefits for an injury that occurs while you are driving a company vehicle. In fact, an exception would apply even if you were to use your personal car to travel between different job sites.
Filing a special mission claim
If your supervisor asks you to pick up a coffee for her on your way to work, you may have a legitimate reason to file a workers’ compensation claim if, for example, you suffer a trip and fall incident. Her request comes under the heading of “special mission” and the company you both work for may be liable for your injuries.