Your boss asked you to pick up an iced tea for her when you returned to the office following your lunch break. You got the tea, but it came with an injury from a rear-end collision.
Will the “going and coming” rule make you ineligible to file a claim for a work-related injury under workers’ compensation?
What it means
An injury does not have to occur at your place of employment to qualify as work-related. For example, if you break your wrist at a company outing to the zoo or at a restaurant during the company holiday party, you are still eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, injuries sustained during your commute to and from work when you are technically on your own time are not usually covered under the “going and coming” rule.
Exceptions to the rule
There are certain instances or even types of employment that are exceptions to the going and coming rule:
- Your job-related injury would likely qualify you for workers’ compensation benefits if traveling is part of your job responsibility. Examples of those covered are pilots, truck drivers and state troopers.
- If you are on a business trip, the entire time spent in travel is job-related and therefore covered under workers’ compensation.
- If you are commuting in a company car, or if you are using your personal vehicle to drive between various job sites and you suffer an injury, you likely qualify for coverage.
A special mission
As for bringing iced tea to your boss, this comes under the heading of a “special mission.” Although her request is not directly related to work, your employer will probably bear liability for your injury and you will qualify to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.