Does Workers' Comp Cover Injuries During a Commute?

In general, injuries suffered by employees during work hours are covered by workers’ compensation. But what happens when an injury occurs while commuting to work? Are these situations covered as well?

According to a provision known as the “going and coming” rule, employees who are injured during their commute to and from work are not eligible for workers’ comp benefits. A work commute is not considered part of a worker’s job duties.

However, there are several exemptions, which include:

  • Business trips – Although driving from your home to your work—or vice versa—is not covered by workers’ compensation, traveling for job purposes may be covered. For instance, your employer sent you on a business trip and you get involved in a car accident on your way to a meeting with clients. Because your employer benefits from your trip, your injury during the commute to the meeting could be viewed as work-related.
  • Special missions – If you suffered an injury while performing a “special mission” for your employer, you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Special missions are considered tasks performed outside of normal work hours to benefit the employer. Common examples include getting coffee for your boss during your morning commute, pickup up food during your lunch break, or dropping off work-related items on your way home.
  • Accidents which occur on the worksite – Once you enter the premises of your job, workers’ compensation coverage will go into effect. This also includes sidewalks, parking lots, and areas with grass and shrubbery. If you suffered an injury in the parking lot during your commute to work or back home, you could be eligible for workers’ compensation.
  • Driving between multiple job sites – Whether it’s plumbing or delivering pizzas, if you use your personal vehicle to drive from one place to another for work purposes, an accident while commuting is covered by workers’ compensation.
  • Driving a company vehicle – If you commute to work using a company-owned vehicle, you could be covered by workers’ compensation. Keep in mind, some states only allow the company vehicle to be driven between the employee’s home and a fixed location.

In the event of a work-related car accident, it is wise to reach out to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to evaluate your case and determine your legal options to recover compensation.

For more information about workers’ compensation in New York State, contact our New York City personal injury attorneys at Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP today.