There are millions of car accidents in the United States every year, leading to tens of thousands of fatal accidents and hundreds of thousands of injuries. In this sense, one of the most dangerous things that a worker will ever do is simply driving through their daily commute as they head to and from work.
As a result, it is common for workers to get into car accidents during these commutes and to suffer serious injuries. Do they qualify for workers’ comp benefits through your company’s workers’ compensation insurance if this happens?
The coming and going rule
The general rule that is used in cases like this is often referred to as the coming and going rule. It essentially says that workers are covered when they are injured on the job, but they are not covered when they’re coming to work or going home at the end of the day. That commute is still their own time, and they are not on the clock, even though they clearly have to carry out the commute simply to get to work.
This can lead to some confusion. For one thing, workers may argue that they wouldn’t have been driving if they didn’t have a job, so they should still be covered. A worker may also claim that they were running errands for work before they clocked in, but you may say that they were simply driving to work and shouldn’t have been doing anything official yet.
In a situation like this, it’s very important to understand exactly what workers’ comp covers, what your company needs to do and what rights the workers have. Employees don’t always understand exactly when they’re covered or what benefits they’re entitled to, so you may have to carefully consider all of your legal options if the two sides don’t see eye-to-eye.