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When Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Injuries Sustained on Commute?

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2018 | Workers' Compensation

People commute to and from work each day. For some workers, they rarely ever visit their home office as their job demands that they stay on the road frequently. They constantly move from one work site to another to do their job. Sometimes, the road is the job, like working in the commercial trucking industry. Of course, most injuries sustained at your work site or office are covered by workers’ compensation. However, if you are injured during the commute to your normal work site, you won’t be eligible for workers’ compensation. Often if you are not on the work site or clocked in, your injuries won’t be covered. This is called the “coming and going rule”.

However, exceptions to the rule always exist. Unfortunately, work comp insurance adjusters don’t often know the nuances or exceptions to the rule. You can qualify for workers’ compensation if you are commuting, but only in the case of these exceptions:

Exceptions to the the Coming and Going Rule for Commutes

  • If the employer provides the employee with transportation to and from the place of work and the employee was injured while being transported.
  • When the employee is travelling between two work locations. This covers cases where the employee is driving heavy machinery or other work vehicles, but it can also extend to private vehicles too.
  • When the employee performs part of their job at home and then is injured while travelling between their place of employment and the employee’s home.
  • Commercial truckers performing their normal over the road job duties. Intoxication may prevent recovery if the intoxication caused the accident.
  • When an Employee travels for work and commutes from a hotel or other place of lodging to the work location. This represents the “portal to portal” exception.
  • When an Employee is commuting from home to an off-site location for a meeting or the performance of some assigned task.

Despite these exceptions, the majority of injuries sustained in commute will probably not qualify for workers’ compensation. However, when trying to decide if your commute injury will be covered by work comp, there are two factors to keep in mind: were you on the clock and was the commute necessary for work? Those two questions are often the biggest determining factors.

Even if you run an errand while on the clock, the accident may not be covered if you deviate from that task to run a personal errand. If you are driving somewhere at the direction of your employer, and not just making your daily commute, any accident that occurs while driving to perform that errand will likely be covered by workers’ compensation. The rules relating to entitlement to workers’ compensation while commuting are complex. Unfortunately, the many exceptions cloud when commuting injuries become compensable. Because these exceptions are complex, a claims adjusters might try ardently to convince you that you don’t possess a claim when you may actually have one.

It is the claims adjuster’s job to keep costs low and that means shutting down as many workers’ compensation claims as possible. Fortunately, it is not your job to have to know every little minute loophole of workers’ compensation law. It is the job of lawyers like those at the Law Office of Joshua Borken. If you were hurt during a commute while on the clock for work or in any of the other exceptions above, you might qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, no matter what a claims adjuster tries to tell you. If you were injured at work and think you are entitled to workers’ compensation, contact us today. The right lawyer should be willing to fight for you to make sure that your injuries are taken care of.