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Are there exceptions to the going and coming rule?

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2024 | Serious and Catastrophic Injuries

On-the-job injuries are generally covered under workers’ compensation benefits – but when does “your” time become “your employer’s time?”

For this answer, you may have to look to the “going and coming” rule. This rule is the basic guideline that says injuries sustained during a worker’s commute are not covered because their commute is not within the scope of their employment. 

However, the going and coming rule has always been subject to some exceptions, so determining when an injury is compensable isn’t always straightforward. Consider these:

The special errand rule

What happens when your boss asks if you’ll stop and pick up some supplies for the office on your way to work and you slip and fall getting a box into your car? What if you’re asked to drop a deposit off at the bank on your way home and you get into a wreck in the process? 

Since you were on a special errand for your boss, your commute was no longer solely “your” time. It served a dual purpose, one of which was of benefit to your employer. You might then qualify for workers’ comp.

The traveling employee rule

There are all kinds of employees who travel as part of their job duties. You might expect a delivery driver to be covered under workers’ compensation if they’re injured while on duty, but you may not realize that you are also covered when you’re hurt on a business trip. Even though you aren’t technically “on the clock” during your whole business trip, you wouldn’t be there except for work, so your entire trip is considered work-related.

Similarly, if you have to make the occasional sales call or need to travel to a satellite office to check on a problem, that’s another exception to the going and coming rule.

If you think your injury should be covered under workers’ compensation but your employer disagrees, learning more about your legal options can help you fight for what you’re rightfully due.