Here at the Law Offices of Marc Francis, we receive calls from workers injured in Santa Rosa and the greater Sonoma County area who ask whether their injury while traveling to a work assignment qualifies for medical treatment and/or disability benefits. The answer, as with so many legal questions, is “Itdepends!”
In most work injury cases employers and their workers compensation insurance carriers are responsible to provide medical treatment and disability benefits to the injured employee. But under the “going and coming rule” workers are not considered to be in the course and scope of their employment while they are commuting to and from the workplace. However, there are a number of important exceptions to the “going and coming rule” and one of them may apply in your case. If so, the employer and insurance carrier will be held responsible for workers compensation benefits to assist on your recovery and help get you back to work.
- The “Special Mission”Exception
Under the Special Mission exception to the going and coming rule your work injury while traveling to and from work, or during your lunch break, for example, may be covered for purposes of workers compensation benefits. Suppose your boss asks you to stop on the way to work and pick up some supplies or asks you to stop and pick her up a sandwich on your way back from lunch,and in doing so you are involved in a vehicle collision.
Since, you were performing a ‘special mission’ for your boss, the injury would most likely be covered by workers compensation.
- Traveling to Another WorkSite
If your job requires you to travel from one job site to another, perhaps in your personal vehicle, an injury while doing so is probably work-related and your employer and their insurance carrier would be required to provide medical care and disability benefits if necessary. This often happens in cases of home care providers or other workers who work at multiple locations during a single shift.
- The “Commercial Traveler” Rule
Injured while traveling for work, such as to a meeting, convention, or training session? In most cases the entire trip, from door to door, would be covered under this exception to the ‘going and coming’rule.
- Travel in Company Vehicle
Your injury in a motor vehicle owned or provided by the employer is probably a work- related injury. This is especially true if the vehicle has a company name or logo. In one of our cases the employer provided regular transportation to a distant job site in a truck marked with the name and contact information of the employer. This exception to the‘going and coming’ rule may also apply if the employer pays for transportation provided by another.
- Travel as Part of RegularWork
Workers who drive a car or truck as a regular part of their job are almost always covered if they are injured, so, as long as they were performing work duties and not simply driving to and from work in their personal vehicles.
There are many more examples of exceptions to the ‘going and coming’ rule, and one of them may apply in your case. Call the Law Offices of Marc Francis for a free consultation today! Our workers compensation attorney in Sonoma County and Santa Rosa can help take the mystery out of whether you are entitled to medical care or disability benefits while traveling in connection with your job.