Although many people are working from home now due to the Coronavirus, there are still plenty of New Yorkers who need to travel to and from work every day. Most employees are covered for injuries that occur at work and in the scope of employment. But what about injuries that occur during the daily commute?
Unfortunately, these injuries are not generally covered under New York’s workers’ compensation laws. Under the “going and coming rule” (which exists in most states), injuries that occur during a commute are typically ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Like all rules, however, there are some important exceptions, which we’ll discuss in this post.
Exceptions for Injuries While Traveling Outside the Workplace
There are five situations in which your travel-related injuries would be covered as an exception to the going and coming rule:
Going on a business trip: The entire time that you are away from home and on the trip is usually considered work-related. Therefore, even if you were injured during your walk from your hotel room to the conference room in the same hotel, you would likely be eligible for benefits.
Driving as a main or primary job duty: If you are a commercial driver, an auto accident would almost certainly be considered work-related. That being said, if you take a personal vehicle to and from work, then switch to a commercial vehicle, your travel to and from work may not be covered.
Traveling between job sites: Let’s say you work construction and must travel to three different job sites in a day. If you were to get into an accident while traveling between sites, the injuries would likely be covered under workers’ compensation.
Running an errand for your boss: Your supervisor sends you out for coffee during the day or asks you to pick up coffee on your way into work. Since you are performing work on behalf of a supervisor or the company, any accidents that occur during these times would likely be covered.
Commuting in a company car: If you were given a company car to get to and from work, an accident in said car would likely be covered, even though you are off the clock.
Questions About Your Own Injuries?
If you’ve suffered injuries and are wondering whether or not they are work-related and compensable, please discuss your options with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.