If you sustain a shoulder injury in a vehicle collision on your way to work, will you qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits?
The “going and coming” rule may apply. Sometimes an injury you suffer during a commute to work is not covered. However, there are exceptions.
Understanding the rule
You do not necessarily have to sustain an injury in the office or at the job site to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. For example, an injury might occur while you are attending the company picnic. Although this is an offsite event, it is work-related, and you can expect workers’ compensation coverage. However, a workers’ comp insurer will likely not consider a commute to and from the office in your personal car to be a work-related activity. On the other hand, if you suffer an injury in a commute while driving a company vehicle, the situation changes. In this case, you probably do qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
If traveling is part of your job, you can expect workers’ compensation coverage. For instance, if you are a truck driver, a state trooper or an airline pilot and an injury occurs during your job-related duties, you should qualify for benefits. In addition, if you travel on business, coverage extends to the entire time you spend traveling, not just the hours you put into attending a seminar.
Looking at the “special mission” exception
Another exception to the going-and-coming rule concerns the “special mission.” Perhaps your supervisor asks you to pick up her dry cleaning on your way to work. You slip, fall and hurt your knee. Even though this is not work-related, your employer is likely liable for the special mission injury that occurred during your commute. You, therefore, qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.