Workers’ comp benefits can very important for employees, especially when they work in dangerous industries. But it’s also true that workers can get injured in office buildings, stores, restaurants, hospitals and in any other occupational situations that you can imagine. Injured workers count on compensation to pay their medical bills and cover some of the cost of their lost wages in the event that they suffer work-related harm.
But for many people, especially those working in office jobs and other careers that are not traditionally thought of as dangerous, the greatest occupational risk they may face regularly might occur on their way to or from work. Every day, they may have to commute into the office and back home again using a personal motor vehicle. Every year, roughly 40,000 Americans die in car accidents and many more people suffer life-altering injuries and many of these harms occur during commuting hours.
Naturally, a worker wouldn’t be commuting and wouldn’t even be on the road if they didn’t have a job. Does this mean that injuries suffered in a car accident on the way to work are covered by workers’ comp?
The coming-and-going rule
Workers’ comp has been established to only cover activities that happen in service of someone’s job-related duties. The coming-and-going rule stipulates that, if a driver is not engaged in work-related activities (such as picking up inventory or running an errand for a boss) during their commute, they are not covered by workers’ comp on the way to work or on the way home at night.
With that said, the circumstances that can surround work-related harm can be complicated. As a result, workers who may have reason to file a claim should strongly consider exploring their legal options before throwing their hands up. In the event of a commute-related accident, for example, a personal injury lawsuit may be warranted, even if a workers’ comp benefits claim would not succeed.