Coming and Going, Going and Coming
The going and coming rule often goes by a number of different ways. Don’t be surprised if someone asks what is the coming and going rule of workers compensation or whether they call it the going and coming rule, as it’s all the same concept just with a slightly different name. In fact, answering the question as to what is the public policy that supports the coming and going rule gives the same answer, no matter what it’s called.
The answer to the public policy question behind the rule is that it’s necessary to help in determining both liability and responsibility for injuries sustained by employees. In this case, what the going and coming rule does is make it easier to determine this liability and responsibility when it comes to employees traveling either to or from work.
Exactly What Is the Going and Coming Rule — and What It Isn’t
The going and coming rule is narrowly interpreted by jurisdictions where it’s valid. It’s only relevant in workers compensation claims, and it’s specifically meant to limit the ability of an injured worker from claiming workers compensation under certain circumstances. The idea is that, even though a worker was traveling either to work or from work, this activity (going and coming) isn’t a work-related task. This means you can’t claim workers compensation in such a situation.
The going and coming rule is only applicable in a handful of situations because of the requirements that need to be met. First, the driver needs to be commuting either to work or from work, the driver needs to be involved in a car accident while commuting, and the injuries the driver receives in the accident need to interfere with the driver’s ability to work in the future.
When the Going and Coming Rule Doesn’t ApplyIn most cases, you’re on your own if you’re injured in a car accident while driving either to or from work. However, there are a number of instances where the going and coming rule does not apply, and this means that your employer may be responsible for paying you workers compensation in the wake of these events. These instances include the following examples:
- Driving a company car. If you were driving a vehicle issued to you by the company and not your personal car, you may be eligible for workers compensation.
- Job-related travel duties. If your job revolves around travel because you’re a bus driver, truck driver, or a police officer, workers compensation is on your side almost all of that time.
- Using your personal vehicle to visit multiple job sites in the course of a single workday. Time spent driving between sites, or between the office and a site, is considered a work activity.
- A business trip. In most jurisdictions, the entirety of your business trip is a work-related task. That includes time spent traveling, staying overnight in hotels, or even just downtime between meetings.
- Running special errands. Did your employer send you on a coffee run? Ask you to pick up their dry cleaning? Congratulations — that’s a work-related activity.
Getting Professional Help
Figuring out whether the going and coming rule can be a complex task. If you have questions about the rule and your own accident, you need to ask a qualified lawyer what is the going and coming rule, how it might apply to your case, and what can be done about claiming compensation from anyone who might be responsible for your injuries.
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