Collecting Workers Comp for Car & Travel Injuries –
Workers Comp Lawyers Explain “Going & Coming Rule” (Part 2):
This is PART 2 of an article by our Long Beach Workers Comp lawyers, addressing injuries sustained by employees while driving to and from work, while driving a company car, or while traveling for work. For PART 1, CLICK HERE.
As previously discussed, there are several factors that must be considered in determining whether California Workers Comp will cover an injury incurred while travelling. In California there is a “going and coming rule” that states that when an employee is engaged in their commute, that employee is not considered to be rendering any service to the employer. So, as a general rule injuries sustained during a commute do not qualify for Workers Comp under California law.
However, this article continues the discussion of important EXCEPTIONS to the “going and coming rule”. These are situations where Workers Comp CAN be collected, when an injury occurs during a commute or travel.
(3.) Vehicle used at work:
This is a very common exception to the “going and coming rule” that works in favor of an injured employee. Under this exception, if an employer “requires an employee to drive to and from the workplace so that the vehicle is available for the employer’s business, then the drive to and from work is within the scope of employment”.
In other words, if the employer requires the employee to always have a car at work – say for emergency deliveries to customers, or for on-site client visits – then the employer IS liable for Workers Comp claims that arise from injuries sustained during a commute. This is true even if the employee’s actual use of the vehicle for work-related purposes is infrequent.
(4.) Employer control during commute:
The most common example of this exception would be a police officer, EMT or firefighter who is required to wear a uniform and render emergency assistance while driving to or from work. If he or she stops to “render aid” – even though their shift hasn’t started – and they are injured, they will likely qualify for workers’ Comp benefits.
In this case, where the employer puts certain conditions or restrictions on an employee’s commute, the employer is responsible to pay Workers Comp for any injuries received while commuting – even if the injuries were not directly related to an incident in which the employee was performing actual work duties.
(5.) Employer pays for commute:
If the employer compensates an employee for travel time to and from work, then the general “going and coming” rule does not apply, and the employer is responsible for workers Comp claims arising out of accidents or injury during the commute.
(6.) Job activity was a foreseeable & substantial factor in causing the accident during a commute:
Under this exception, if the employer does something that contributes to the accident they may be held liable to pay Workers Comp for an injury or accident that happened during the commute.
For example, if the employer serves alcohol at a party at the office, and the intoxicated employee while driving home gets in an accident, the going and coming rule typically will not apply and the employer will have to pay workers compensation. Or, similarly, if a carbon monoxide leak in a building caused an employee to become drowsy and be in an accident, he or she would also be covered by Workers Comp.
There are other exceptions to the “coming and going rule”, as well. If you were injured while commuting to or from work, only an experienced Workers Comp Lawyer can evaluate your case to determine if you can or cannot collect Workers Compensation for your injuries under California’s “coming and going” rule.
Whether or not the “going and coming” rule or its exceptions apply is depends of the unique facts and circumstances of each case. A number of cases fall within the “gray area” – in which case an experienced Workers Comp lawyer can help present the best case and fight for your right.
Workers Comp Going & Coming Rule: CLICK HERE FOR PART 1
If you have been injured in a work related car or truck accident CLICK HERE for a Free Consultation. Our experienced lawyers will help you understand your situation & help you get the maximum compensation for which you qualify.