Traveling on the highways, you always run the risk of an accident, whether you make a mistake behind the wheel or someone else does. If you are traveling to or from work, you may wonder whether any injuries you suffer are covered under workers’ compensation. Under Pennsylvania law, the answer is probably no due to what is known as the “Coming and Going Rule.”
Under the law, if you are driving into work or traveling from work, you are not actually working or on the clock. Although it is part of your personal work day, you are not performing your actual job duties. The same is true if you are in an accident on your lunch hour as most companies do not consider your lunch break as part of your workday.
Like with many laws, there are exceptions to the Coming and Going Rule. The four typical exceptions include:
If your job is such that you have no fixed location to call your workplace, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation when commuting as part of your job. This is often the case for traveling employees, like salesmen, visiting nurses and construction workers. This means that your vehicle could be considered your office and if you are involved in an accident on your way to or from an appointment or job site, you may be eligible for compensation.
If your company provides you with a vehicle, you may be eligible for compensation if you are involved in an accident in that vehicle, even if you were on your way to an office. A repairman who is driving a truck with the company logo on the side that he cannot use for any purpose other than work, may be eligible for compensation for injuries sustained in an accident while on his way to his first job or to the office. However, there must be a contract regarding use of the vehicle and if the repairman was using the vehicle for any other purpose, or if there was a distinct break in the duties of the employee, a workers’ compensation claim may be denied.
If your boss asks you to stop and pick up donuts for the staff meeting, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation if you are involved in an accident. If you are involved in an accident on the way home to eat dinner before attending an evening meeting that is work related, you may also qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
The final exception is much more complicated than the others. In the case of the repairman who is driving a vehicle with the company logo, it could be argued that he is furthering the business of the employer simply by driving his truck, especially if the truck is only permitted to be used for work. However, if the repairman stops at the store to pick up an item for dinner on his way home from work and is involved in an accident, even though he is in a work vehicle he may not be eligible for workers’ compensation because the stop at the store was a break in his employment duties.
Workers’ compensation laws can be extremely complicated. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident going to or from work, contact Lundy Law to learn what rights you may have. You may arrange for an initial consultation by calling 1-800-Lundy Law or by completing the simple form online.