For many, the daily commute to work is a major part of the workday. Because of the inherent risk of being involved in a car accident at any given time, many workers wonder whether they can recover workers’ compensation for injuries sustained in car accidents while going to and from work.
The general rule of thumb in Pennsylvania is that workers cannot recover workers’ compensation for injuries occurring during their commutes (known as the “coming and going” rule). This is because the act of driving to and from work is generally not considered as beneficial to the employer.
Exceptions to the rule
Although the coming and going rule prevents most workers that are injured while they are going to and from their workplaces from recovering workers’ compensation, there are several exceptions to the rule. For example, if the employee is required to be away from the workplace for a job duty, the employee is considered to be on a “special mission” for the employer and can recover workers’ compensation if injured while traveling offsite.
Likewise, employees may be able to recover for injuries while traveling if the employee has no fixed place of work (e.g. a cable installer or plumber).
Finally, workers’ compensation benefits are available in special circumstances where the employee is traveling in furtherance of the business of their employer. The advent of smartphones and other mobile devices has blurred the lines of when work begins and ends, as they allow workers to complete work for their employer while commuting. Because of this fact, employees that are on client calls or speaking with work colleagues about a project while on the way to or from the office may potentially be able to recover workers’ compensation for any injuries that occur during this time.
Speak with an attorney
Because the laws surrounding recovery of workers’ compensation benefits while outside the office are not clear-cut, it is vital to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the accident. An attorney can review your unique situation and advise you further on your eligibility for benefits.