Perhaps you were on your way to work when you stopped to pick up a designer coffee your supervisor requested.
You tripped and fell, injuring your shoulder. Are you covered for workers’ compensation benefits under the “going and coming” rule?
Understanding the rule
Under the going and coming rule, workers’ compensation benefits do not normally apply to injuries you sustain while driving to and from work. Most courts do not recognize the commute as being part of your workday. On the other hand, you may have coverage if you suffer an injury during the commute while driving the company car.
Traveling in your work
If traveling is a major part of your job, you will probably have workers’ compensation coverage in the event of an injury. Examples of employees who qualify include truck drivers, bus drivers, state troopers, pilots and flight attendants. In addition, if you are taking a trip on company business, to a seminar, for instance, you should qualify for coverage during the entire time you spend traveling.
Driving to different job sites
You can also expect to receive workers’ compensation benefits if you suffer an injury while driving between job sites during your workday. This applies even if you are using your own personal vehicle.
Undertaking the special mission
The stop for coffee at the request of your supervisor is categorized as a “special mission.” Other such missions might include walking her dog or picking up her dry cleaning. Your employer is liable for any injury you receive while completing a special mission and you can expect workers’ compensation coverage under the going and coming rule.