Unless you’re working from home, you have to make a commute – whether you do it by foot, bike, bus or motor vehicle.
So, what happens if you’re injured on your way to work? Or, what if you’re injured on your way home? Will workers’ compensation cover you and make sure you get the medical care you need and some replacement income while you recover?
Probably not, unless you happen to meet one of the exceptions to the “going and coming” rule.
Your employer doesn’t control the risk to you on your commute
Generally speaking, the “going and coming” rule says that your employer isn’t responsible for your injuries if they happen on your commute to and from your job. Sure, merely stepping outside your door in the morning exposes you to a certain amount of risk, but that isn’t under your employer’s control.
However, like most rules in the law, there are some exceptions. Your injuries could still be covered by workers’ comp when:
- You were traveling as part of your job. For example, you may have to make regular calls to customers’ homes for your contractor boss. If you’re injured on the way back from one of those business calls, that would still likely fall under workers’ compensation.
- Your employer controls the space where you were injured. For example, your injuries might qualify for workers’ comp if you were hurt in a parking lot that’s owned by the company on your way to your car after work.
- You were traveling to benefit your employer. Maybe you were required to attend a business conference out of town when you were in an accident, or maybe your employer asked you to run a few errands for them on your way home. Either way, you could be eligible for workers’ comp.
What’s the key takeaway here? You need to be very careful if your employer says your injuries aren’t covered under workers’ comp because you weren’t actually inside the company building when they happened. You may have more rights to benefits and compensation than you know.