What is the Coming and Going Rule in Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ Comp Coming and Going Rule: How it Affects Your Claim
Workers’ compensation is insurance that provides financial aid to employees to cover the medical expenses and lost wages due to work-related illnesses, diseases, and injuries. The Pennsylvania Workmen’s (Workers’) Compensation Act was enacted in 1915 and is mandatory for most employers across the state. The insurance is meant to benefit both the employee and the employer, protecting the employee in cases of illness and injury on the job, and the employer from being sued for such cases. Compensation is roughly 66% of the employee’s average weekly wage.
There is an exception, however, to workers’ comp. It’s called the Going and Coming Rule.
What is the Going and Coming Rule?
According to DMV.ORG, the Going and Coming Rule is when an employee gets into an accident and/or is injured commuting either to or from work. It exempts the employer from paying workers’ comp since the injuries didn’t take place doing a work-related task or in the physical workspace. For example, if an employee is in a car accident on the way to work and suffers an injury, the employer is not required to pay workers’ comp to that employee. According to the Going and Coming Rule, the injury happened outside the workplace and outside the scope of the employee’s job. Therefore, that injury would not be protected under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Exceptions to the Going and Coming Rule
There are noted exceptions to the going and coming rule that may move a workers’ claim forward despite injury happening during travel. The exceptions are as follows:
- Traveling Employees: This exception to the going and coming rule was established in The Holler Decision where a cable technician, who traveled via company car to customers’ homes and businesses throughout the workday, was involved in a car accident on his way to the company’s office. Because the technician’s entire job consisted of traveling to various locations on behalf of the employer, it was deemed that he had no “fixed workplace.” He was awarded compensation for lost wages and for the medical expenses accrued from the accident. This case set the precedent for Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claims moving forward: without a set workplace, the going and coming rule may not be applicable to traveling employees going to and from work.
- Company Vehicles: Another exception to the going and coming rule is when an employee is driving a company-owned vehicle and has a contract with the employer that states the vehicle is to be taken to and from work. For example, if the employee is driving the company-owned vehicle from the workspace directly home, or to the workspace directly from home, and is involved in an accident, the employee may file a workers’ compensation claim for injuries and wage loss. However, if the employee is driving the company vehicle for personal reasons outside of the terms of the contract, and is involved in an accident, a workers’ compensation claim would most likely be denied.
- Special Assignments: The last exception to the going and coming rule is if the employee is involved in an accident while on special assignment for the employer. An example of this exception is if the employee leaves work to go home, but is asked by the employer to run an errand on the way. If the employee is involved in an accident while running the errand for the employer, the going and coming rule would not apply and a workers’ compensation claim could be filed.
Does the going and coming rule affect my case?
Each workers’ compensation claim is unique and worth investigating. You should contact a workers’ compensation attorney with proven success to discuss the details of your claim. The attorney will be able to decipher if you may be eligible for benefits.
Other options if you’ve been in a car accident on your way to work
In situations where a workers’ compensation claim is denied, there are other options that can be explored to recover lost wages and medical expenses. According to Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, the most common causes of car accidents are:
- Distracted Driving: In the age of 24/7 access to technology, distracted driving is the culprit of many car accidents. It happens when a driver’s primary focus is taken off driving the vehicle and directed towards something else, such as a cell phone, other passengers in the vehicle, and eating.
- Drowsy Driving: As commuting is a normal part of many people’s workday, a poor night’s sleep can be dangerous. Driving while drowsy affects judgment and reaction times, which can easily lead to a collision with another vehicle.
- Drunk Driving: This is a well-known serious offense that has stringent penalties under Pennsylvania law. If there is any indication the driver of the other vehicle was driving under the influence, an investigation needs to take place immediately.
- Speeding and Aggressive Driving: This is another unfortunate common practice among drivers. Exceeding the speed limit, weaving in and out of lanes, and tailgating put other drivers at serious risk.
- Poor Weather Conditions: Bad weather increases the chances of car accidents. Drivers must take care to slow their speed and be aware of their surroundings. Safety precautions must be put into place by each individual driver to ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road.
These five causes of car accidents have one commonality: negligence. Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys offers experienced car accident lawyers who have recovered millions for their clients. If you’ve been in an accident and believe the other driver’s negligence played a role, you should contact a lawyer immediately to secure an advocate for your case.
Steps to take after a work-related car crash
There are actions to take as soon as possible after any workplace injury occurs. Here are six steps to take:
- Report the injury to your manager: In Pennsylvania, you have 7-10 days to report the injury to your manager. Injuries must be reported within 21 days of the accident in order to receive retroactive benefits.
- Seek medical care immediately: It’s important to seek medical care in order to properly heal from injuries and/or illnesses. Prompt medical care will lessen the risks of ongoing illnesses or injuries. It also serves as evidence in a workers’ compensation claim. If an employee does not seek medical care after an injury, the company could argue that the injury/illness was not that serious.
- Vet your doctor: You must see an insurance-provided doctor for treatment for the first 90 days after the workplace injury. However, after those 90 days are up and you feel you aren’t receiving proper treatment, you may seek treatment elsewhere.
- Know your rights: Research the workers’ compensation program in Pennsylvania to understand what is expected of you and what you should expect from your employer.
- Keep your records: Any and all records from the injury and subsequent medical visits will be used in your case. Keep detailed records of everything.
- Contact a lawyer: It is important to have an advocate who understands the granular details of Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws and can serve as a guide through the process as you focus on healing completely.
Dealing with injury and/or illness alone is extremely taxing – emotionally, mentally, financially, and physically. Adding a legal case on top of that can be grueling. Remember, it’s a step-by-step process that is first and foremost about a full recovery. Knowledge and information are power, and someone on your side, fighting for your rights will most certainly be beneficial. Claimants with a lawyer on their side typically win more than three times the compensation than do those who go it alone. The consultation is free, so there is no risk in learning about your legal rights and options.
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Posted in Car Accidents, Workers' Compensation.