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When an Employee’s Commute is Covered by Worker’s Compensation in Minnesota

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2018 | Workers' Compensation

When it comes to coverage under Minnesota worker’s compensation law, many workers know at least one thing – coverage only comes from injuries that occurred while on the job. Unfortunately, while this scope seems broad, it is actually particularly narrow. There are many small loopholes in which your employer’s insurance may deny you and hope you won’t challenge it. An employer and their insurance can try to deny claims for just about any reasons, but many can be argued. However, when it comes to injuries coming or going to work in a commute, in many cases they are in the right to deny the claim, but not always.

For example, if you were hurt in a car crash that was not your fault on the morning commute, you cannot receive worker’s compensation for those injuries in most cases. However, you can pursue a personal injury suit against the other driver or seek coverage from auto insurance provider.

Yet, what many don’t know is that while commuting to or from work is generally not covered by worker’s compensation, there are a few exceptions in which you may get coverage during a commute. These specific situations include:

  • The employer furnishes transportation to the employee and was injured during that company transportation.
  • The employee is injured while traveling between two different work sites while on the clock.
  • The employee works partially at home, but was injured while commuting between the premises and the employer’s premises.

All of the above situations are very specific and often still difficult to get compensation for. The most common would be traveling between work sites. However, usually, whether you were on the clock at the time makes a difference. If you were getting paid to drive between these work sites, then you will have a stronger case for worker’s compensation if injured.

In cases of worker’s compensation for commute injuries, the case of Kahn V. State can often help set a precedent. In this case, a woman was helping a colleague at the University of Minnesota create a research grant proposal. While the woman was pregnant and worked from home, she frequently had to travel to campus and hospitals to gather the data she needed. On one such occasion, her car was struck from behind and she was left paralyzed from the neck down. It took three appeals, but she eventually received worker’s compensation coverage for her accident. Even though the accident happened while she was running errands and then commuting to a hospital for a financial document, she still was able to get the accident covered.

If nothing else, the case of Kahn V. State should inspire you to not give up. When it comes to getting compensation for a commute, even if you were hurt in a clear case of any of the three exceptions above, the filing will still be difficult. Worker’s compensation law is very clear that injuries can only be covered “in the course of employment” and many employers don’t believe the commute falls under this scope. Often you will find that after filing the claim will be denied, but you should never take a denial and just forget about the case. Always remember the Kahn case. She appealed it three times and eventually received worker’s compensation.

If you are Minnesota and were hurt in a commute to work or at work in general, contact us today to let us help you with the worker’s compensation process. The Law Office of Joshua Borken is dedicated to helping the injured workers of Minnesota in order to help them get compensation for valid injuries, even if their employer’s insurance denied their claim.