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The Going and Coming Rule

Rose Legal

Workers’ compensation is there to cover you for injuries you may get while on the job, be it at your typical workplace or any other location you may be for work-related reasons. However, the “going and coming” rule dictates that workers’ compensation may not cover injuries sustained during your everyday commute. That said, there are exceptions to this rule:

Traveling Employees

Not all workers have a set job site, and may be “on the clock” as soon as they hit the road. Service technicians, landscaping employees, sales representatives, delivery drivers, and so on travel from place to place for their work, and thus may be exempt from the going and coming rule. Note that travel-intensive jobs may still follow the going and coming rule. For example, workers’ compensation could cover a bus driver when injured while driving a bus, but not when injured while driving their car to the bus garage.

Special Assignments and Dual-Purpose Trips

If an employer assigns some errand to run while the employee is going to work (or while coming home from work), workers’ compensation may cover an injury sustained during that commute—even if the task isn’t specifically related to the employee’s job. Similarly, an employee who takes a detour to fulfill some work-related task may have a case if injured during what would have otherwise been a regular commute.

Transportation a Part of an Employment Contract

Some employers prescribe a set method of transport for workers, or provide a work vehicle such as a company car. Workers’ compensation might cover injuries sustained while traveling in a company car during any use of the vehicle. Or it might cover injuries solely for trips to and from a set job site (if that is the vehicle’s only intended use). The going and coming rule also might not apply if the employer covers the cost of workers’ daily commutes. Their employment contracts should detail this.

Business Trips

Typically all the time spent on a business trip is considered work-related—not only the time spent at an arranged meeting or conference. In these instances, the employer has requested the worker journey to and from some specified location. This overrides the usual limitations imposed by the going and coming rule.

On the Employer’s Premises

In a case decided by the Utah Supreme Court, an employee of Intercontinental Hotels Group tripped and fell in a parking lot while heading to work. IHG denied the worker’s benefits claim, citing the going and coming rule. Upon review of her claim, however, the court concluded that she should receive benefits under the “premises” rule that covers injuries sustained on the employer’s property. In this instance, the court considered the adjacent parking lot was part of the employer’s premises.

While the going and coming rule serves as a general guideline for determining workers’ compensation eligibility regarding commuting injuries, there are plenty of exceptions and interpretations of the rule. If you are injured while going to work or coming home from work, a lawyer who specializes in workers’ compensation can help ensure you receive your entitled benefits and support. Reach out to our team at 801-810-7673 to learn more.

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