Every workday, you wake up with your alarm and then fight traffic on the way to the office. When you get out at the end of the day, you get to join rush-hour traffic and fight it again all the way back home. This can be stressful and chaotic, and rush hour is well known to cause numerous accidents.
If you get injured in one of these accidents during your commute, you may begin to wonder if you’re covered by workers’ comp benefits. The whole reason for your commute is to get to your place of employment. You never would have been driving on that road, at that time, if you weren’t employed, so you would not have been involved in the crash. Your injuries may be expensive and may keep you out of work. Can you seek workers’ compensation benefits for a portion of those lost wages and the medical bills that you have incurred?
The going-and-coming rule
In most cases, the answer is no. Workers are not covered during their commute. The going-and-coming rule establishes that a worker is only covered once they are on the clock.
There are some situations in which a commute can become part of your job. For example, maybe your boss asks you to do something before you come in. They want you to make a delivery or a pickup and then head into the office. Once you have this special task or assignment, then you should qualify for workers’ comp benefits while you are driving. But if you do not have any sort of work-related duties to perform, then your commute technically happens on your own time and you can’t seek benefits.
It’s clear that workers’ comp can get fairly complicated. Those who have been injured on the job must know what steps to take.