If you sustain a work-related injury as the result of a vehicle accident while on your way to the office, are you covered by workers’ compensation? The answer is perhaps.
To understand what your employer’s workers’ compensation policy does and does not while you are on the job but away from your usual work environment, you must understand the “Going and Coming” rule.
According to the Going and Coming rule, you cannot claim a work-related injury if it happens while you are driving your own vehicle to or from work. However, you would likely qualify to file a claim for workers’ compensation if you were driving a company car. In fact, if the car bears the company logo, it might fall under the category of “moving advertisement” and is therefore always in work-related use.
Your required travel
You may have a job that requires traveling. For example, you could be a truck driver, bus driver, pilot or state trooper. You will therefore qualify for workers’ compensation coverage if you suffer an injury as part of your job responsibilities.
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance also covers you if you use your own vehicle to travel between job sites or office buildings because you are not in the process of commuting and the Going and Coming rule does not apply.
In addition, all the time you spend on a business trip is work-related — not just the conference itself, but the entire time you spend traveling, as well.
Your employer’s “special mission”
Your employer is usually liable if you suffer an injury while on a “special mission.” You could trip and fall while walking your employer’s poodle or burn your hand with the hot coffee your boss asked you to pick up for her on your way to work in the morning.
Remember that you may qualify to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits for any work-related injury you sustain outside of the Going and Coming rule. First, visit a doctor and obtain treatment, then inform your supervisor of your injury so that the claim process can get under way.