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Can I Claim Worker's Compensation for an Accident on the Way to Work?

When you get injured on the job, worker's compensation covers your medical bills and lost wages. While worker's compensation seems more important for those who work jobs that involve physical labor, office workers can also get injured, especially when traveling in the car. So what happens when you get into a car accident on the way to work?

While it seems like you may be eligible for worker's comp since you wouldn't be on the road except for the fact that you are going to work, there are a few notable exceptions for accident compensation. The "going or coming" rule means that employees are not covered when they are on their way to or on their way home from work. However, there are some exceptions for this rule.

  • Performing work duties away from work. If you are doing something that benefits your employer, like running work errands on your way to or from work, going to a client dinner, or traveling for business, then you would be eligible for worker's compensation even though you were not at your physical workplace.
  • Diverting for employer errands. When your commute is interrupted to run an errand or perform a work duty, then the moment you interrupt your route to redirect, you are covered until you arrive at your final destination. This is called the special mission exception.
  • On employer property. If you get into an accident or injure your self in the employee parking lot or on a sidewalk upon arriving at work, you are covered by worker's compensation.
  • Outside regular business hours. If you have duties that fall outside regular business hours, then you are covered while carrying out those duties. This could include taking calls or going somewhere to do something.
  • After-hours visits to the workplace. If your employer is aware that you are making trips to the office after hours, then whether or not those visits are work-related or not, your workplace is responsible for any injury that happens on the workplace property even if you are not there for work purposes.

It's important to note that insurance companies are going to deny most claims whether they are legitimate or not. Denial is the number one way they can try to avoid paying a claim. By knowing your rights as an employee and consulting with a personal injury attorney, you can get the compensation you are owed.

At Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C., our attorneys have more than 40 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. If you or a loved one has been injured and is seeking a qualified personal injury attorney, contact our Huntington, West Virginia office to speak with an attorney about your case, or call 304-523-8451.

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