In a prior blog post here, we discussed how workers are able to obtain Workers’ Compensation benefits after being involved in a car accident. However, in that blog post, the accident occurred while strictly performing a duty of the job. So what happens if you are involved in a car accident while coming to or from work?
Generally, a worker is not entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits when traveling to or from the workplace. This is based on the comings and goings principle of Workers’ Compensation, which provides that an employer is generally not liable for the methods of transportation required by workers to get to the workplace. However, this answer can change depending on the situation and the nature of the employment. Previously, courts have ruled that where an employer creates the necessity for travel or supplies the means of transportation, a worker is eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits for injuries suffered.
Traveling Salesperson Exception
The traveling salesperson exception grants coverage for workers who have to travel as a part of their job. This means that a salesperson can receive Workers’ Compensation benefits for an injury that occurs on their trips. Additionally, these Workers’ Compensation benefits provide coverage for the worker, even if the worker is on the initial leg of the trip, such as traveling from their home to their first stop, or on the final leg of the trip, from their last stop to their home.
Special Errand Exception
Workers can also be covered under Workers’ Compensation insurance if they are engaged in a special errand while working. Some examples of this are: an office worker having to make a unplanned trip to the office supply store for more office supplies, a waiter going to the grocery store in order to get a an ingredient that a restaurant has ran out of, or a worker having to attend a required out-of-state conference.
Workers may also be able to collect Workers’ Compensation benefits for injuries that occur from accidents involving transportation to the workplace if they arise on the premises of the employer. This could be seen where a worker is involved in an accident in the parking lot of the employer, even though the worker had not yet arrived to their usual work station.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident while at work, you should Contact Us for a free Workers’ Compensation consultation. By contacting an experienced Worker’s Compensation attorney, you will receive valuable legal advice and an experienced guide through the complex Worker’s Compensation process.
James Minick is a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, NC and is the owner of Minick Law, P.C.