Can you qualify to submit a claim for workers’ compensation benefits if you sustain an injury in a vehicle accident during the workday?
That depends. The “going and coming” rule may play a role in determining your eligibility for coverage in this situation.
What it is
Workers’ compensation covers a great many work-related injuries and you do not have to be in an office or on a job site to qualify for benefits. You might, for instance, suffer an injury during the annual company picnic in a public park. However, workers’ compensation does not cover the commute to and from your place of employment. Therefore, if you suffer an injury in a traffic accident on your way to work in the morning, you are not eligible to file a claim for benefits under the going and coming rule.
Exceptions to the rule
On the other hand, if injured while driving a company vehicle or while using your own to travel between job sites, you can indeed file a workers’ compensation claim. Additionally, you are eligible if traveling is a major part of your job description. This would apply to truck drivers, bus drivers, pilots, state troopers and others with qualifying occupations.
Traveling for business
If you sustain an injury while traveling on business, you will likely qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Coverage does not only pertain to the hours you spend in a business meeting or seminar. It includes your entire travel time for the business trip.
The special mission
One caveat about the commute to and from work: if your employer asks you to pick up a designer coffee on your way in and you suffer a slip and fall injury, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer’s request constitutes a “special mission,” which is allowed under the going and coming rule.