Stepping out of the office is necessary for many employees, whether to run errands, meet with clients or attend conferences in different states. For some, it is a significant aspect of their job. However, accidents can happen outside the office environment, prompting the crucial question: will workers’ compensation cover the resulting medical expenses and lost wages?
When does workers’ compensation apply?
Workers’ comp covers the medical bills and lost wages of employees who sustain illnesses and injuries while fulfilling their duties. Its scope applies to occupational injuries arising out of and during employment, regardless of the location.
For example, workers who suffer a fracture because of faulty company equipment are eligible for benefits. Similarly, those who get into an accident while driving to a meeting may also recover compensation. This is because they were traveling for the employer’s benefit during the incident.
However, workers’ comp does not apply to all travel injuries.
How does the coming-and-going rule affect workers’ comp?
Under the coming-and-going rule, traveling to and from the workplace is a personal activity. This is because the employee is not providing a service to the company while commuting.
Exceptions apply only when an injury is related to the employee’s job duties or if they were undertaking an activity that benefitted the employer. These exceptions include:
- Performing a special errand or mission: Injuries sustained while performing a task outside the workplace at the employer’s request are work-related. Examples of special errands include picking up supplies before getting to the office or going on a business trip.
- Traveling as a major part of job duties: There are occupations where traveling is essential, such as pilots or truck drivers. If injured, these employees should be eligible for workers’ comp if they were performing their primary duties at the time of the accident.
- Driving company-provided vehicles: Employees involved in an accident while driving a company car may be eligible for compensation, depending on the circumstances. These vehicles, often used for accomplishing job duties or as moving advertisements for the company, are typically for the employer’s benefit.
For many workers, traveling is an integral part of the job. But these trips are no stranger to accidents. After sustaining an injury, facing the complex process of filing a workers’ compensation claim can be frustrating.
From resolving conflicts to meeting tight deadlines, legal support may help workers pursue the benefits they deserve.