Going and Coming Rule in Workers’ Compensation
Is it considered a work-related accident if you are injured when commuting to work? It depends. Workers’ compensation law covers this issue in what is known as the “going and coming” rule. The employer is not necessarily responsible for workers’ compensation benefits to employees on their way to work, or on their way home. However, the going and coming rule has exceptions that do not preclude workers’ compensation claims in certain instances.
Commuting to Work
In order to comprehend the going and coming rule, it is first important to understand when an employee is in the course of their employment. A review of NJSA 34:15-36 offers some crucial definitions as to when an employee has commenced the workday. A great many people make a daily commute to an office, store, or factory. Generally, they cannot make a claim for workers’ compensation related injuries until they arrive at work. For the most part, their workday will end when they leave the facility.
If the employer provides parking and is in control of the parking facility, injuries in the lot might be considered work-related. The same might be true if the employer provides a vehicle for carpooling purposes. It may be possible to make a workers’ compensation claim for injuries sustained in a car accident while discussing in a job related matter.
Exceptions to the Going and Coming Rule
There are many individuals who do not make a daily commute to a fixed location. Instead, they travel to individual job sites. This would include all types of employees, such as construction workers, sales people, and professional consultants. Their travel to and from these sites would fall under the auspices of workers’ compensation law. Those who drive a company car or are paid travel time are considered to be working when going and coming to work-related activities.
If the boss sends the employee out to the bank or the post office, the worker is deemed to be in the course of their employment. However, the workers’ compensation carrier may conduct an investigation to determine if any stops were made along the way. Therefore, if you were sent to the bank and stopped for lunch, there may be a question as to the timing of your accident.
Business trips may act as another exception to the going and coming rule. If an employee is injured while on the way to a convention or conference, their case will be considered work-related.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits are comprised of three major components. They include authorized medical care, reimbursement for lost wages and partial/total permanent disability benefits. In order to ensure that your bills are submitted to the correct insurance company, it is important to speak with an attorney to see if your accident is work-related.
Going and coming rules can be confusing to the layperson. Call our office to set up an appointment to discuss your case.