Does Worker's Comp Cover Injuries During The Commute To Work Or During Lunch And Breaks?

Law Articles

If you were injured on your way to work or when you ran out for lunch, you may have been told by well-meaning friends that you cannot claim it under worker's comp. Under most circumstances this is true, but there are exceptions to the rule. Find out if your injuries qualify as work-related and fall under the umbrella of worker's comp.

The Coming and Going Rule

The coming and going rule applies to employees who travel to and from work every day. Under normal circumstances this falls under your personal responsibility, and your commute is not covered under worker's compensation insurance. This is true if you work at the same location every day and report to work according to a schedule. But there are times when this doesn't apply. If any of the following are true for you, you may be able to claim the injury on worker's comp.

  • You work in more than one location and do not have a fixed job site. For example, teachers or school personnel who provide services at several schools, but do not have a classroom or permanent office at any one site may qualify if they are injured on the way to one of the job locations. Likewise, construction workers who report to work at different locations each day may be covered by worker's comp if they sustain an injury on the way to or from work.
  • You perform part of your job duties from home. If you are traveling home and will continue to perform work related tasks from home, you may be covered under worker's compensation insurance during your commute. This typically applies if your boss compensates you for your time for working from home. Salaried employees who choose to take work home may not qualify under this exception.
  • You are on a special assignment. If your employer requests that you go to a workshop, report to another work site or otherwise alter your regular commute to or from work you may also be covered by worker's comp for any injuries you sustain in the process. For example, if your boss asks you to pick up another employee, to stop by another office to pick up paperwork or to stop for supplies on your way to work, you may also be exempt from the coming and going rule.
  • Away on Assignment: If your employer requires you to attend conferences, workshops, trainings or participate in other business trips, you are generally considered acting in the scope of your job and will be covered by worker's compensation for the duration of the trip.

Lunch or Break Time

It is not uncommon for employees to leave the job site during their breaks and lunch hour.  If you are injured during this time you generally are not covered by worker's comp; however, there are exceptions. If your employer asks you to do any of the following and you sustain an injury, you may be covered.

  • Pick Up Lunch: If your employer asks you to pick up lunch for other employees, you may be covered under the special assignment rule. But beware. If you pick up lunch for co-workers without being asked by your boss, you are likely responsible for any injuries yourself.
  • Run Errands: If your boss requests that you run errands, such as dropping off mail at the post office or picking up supplies while you are at the store, you may be covered by worker's comp if you are injured in the process.

Worker's compensation rules vary from state to state. For example, some states will allow a worker's comp claim for injuries that occur before you arrive at work in the morning or after you leave the office if you are discussing work-related issues with a co-worker (or client) during the commute, or if you make a call to a client on your cell phone while traveling. If you have questions about the worker's compensation regulations in your state, contact your state worker's compensation official or a worker's comp lawyer from a firm like Prediletto, Halpin, Scharnikow & Nelson, P.S.


18 May 2016

Dealing with Estate Planning When You're Single

Too many single people assume they don't need to plan their estate. My brother fell into this category, and his unexpected passing left our entire family struggling to deal with his home, belongings, and financial accounts. It took nearly three years for the courts to set up a deal because he left no paperwork detailing how he wanted his estate divided. The situation immediately convinced me to work on my own estate, even though I'm still in my early 30's and don't have children or a spouse to worry about. Since it's a little harder to pick beneficiaries and estate managers when you're single, I collected the resources I used for making my own decisions and decided to publish them here on my blog. Use these resources before talking to an estate planning attorney so you're prepared for making hard decisions.