Nearly every state requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance offers critical benefits for those who receive injuries at work, whether they are minor wounds or catastrophic injuries. However, it is not always clear which injuries qualify for workers’ compensation. For example, you might feel that, if you have an accident during your commute to and from work, you should receive workers’ comp benefits.
In most cases, if you are hurt on the job, you can expect coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation services and other benefits related to the injury. Workers’ comp also provides death benefits for the families of those who suffer fatal injuries, and this can bring great relief to surviving loved ones. Do those benefits extend to motor vehicle accidents that occur when you are driving to or from the job? In some cases, the answer is yes.
Exceptions to the rule
Generally, workers’ compensation insurance does not cover car accidents that involve an employee driving to work or on the way home. This is the “going and coming” rule, and it applies to workers’ comp benefits in most states. While you can argue that your commute to work is job-related, the law says otherwise. However, there are a number of exceptions to the “going and coming” rule that might qualify for workers’ compensation benefits:
- You are driving a company car at the time of the accident.
- The accident occurs while you are traveling from one job site to another.
- Your employer has sent you on a special mission, even if it is not job-related.
- Traveling is a major part of your job, such as driving a bus or truck, and the accident occurs in the course of your duties.
- You have an accident while on a business trip.
In fact, business trips are quite comprehensive when it comes to workers’ compensation coverage. In many cases, if you suffer an injury on a work-related trip, you will be covered for the entire duration of your trip, not just the normal eight-hour workday.
Getting the benefits you need
A workplace injury can be devastating to a family or individual. Lost wages, medical bills and a prolonged recovery are stressful. Workers’ compensation strives to relieve some of the stress, but it is not always easy to obtain the benefits you need and deserve. If you are uncertain whether your situation qualifies for workers’ comp benefits, you would be wise to seek legal advice as early as possible following your injury.