Does Workers’ Comp Cover You For an Accident Going To or From Work?
People spend a lot of time commuting to and from work. Even if a person spends just 25 minutes each way, that’s nearly an hour a day. Over the course of a year, that equates to about nine full days spent in traffic. All that time on the road means there’s an increased chance of getting into an accident. Many people that find themselves in this situation wonder if workers’ compensation covers them for the accident. After all, they were only on the road because they had to go to work.
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as clear-cut as that. As with most legal situations, the answer will depend on your specific situation.
Why Workers’ Comp Might Not Cover Your Accident
There are two criteria that must be met in a workers’ comp claim. These are that the employee must have been providing the employer with a benefit at the time of the accident, and the accident must have occurred within the scope of employment. These criteria make it difficult to file a workers’ comp claim for an accident that occurred on your way to or from work.
In 2013 the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled on Mansfield Bros. Painting vs. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board. They ruled in favor of the Board. The court determined that an employee traveling to work was not providing a direct benefit to the employer. Essentially, the employer is not concerned with how an employee gets to work.
Additionally, the court also determined that driving to work was not within the scope of employment. It is not necessary to drive to work and is not an essential component of the job. Therefore, workers’ compensation does not apply.
However, there are exceptions to this general rule.
Why Workers’ Comp Might Cover Your Accident
If you are on your employer’s premises, workers’ compensation may cover your accident. For example, if you were walking from the parking lot to the building and a vehicle hit you, your employer’s insurance company may be liable for damages.
Another situation in which workers’ compensation may cover you is if you were traveling for work. A courier that got into an accident while delivering packages, for example, will likely be covered under workers’ compensation. By the same token, if an employer asked you to run a work-related errand on your way into work and you got into an accident while on that errand, workers’ comp will likely cover you.
In some instances, such as in the 2005 case of Wachs vs. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, an employee contract may state travel to and from work is a provision of employment. When this is the case, workers’ compensation will cover any accidents that occur during a commute.
Contact a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Help With Your Claim
So, how do you know if workers’ compensation will cover you for an accident that happened on your way to or from work? You ask a Scranton workers’ compensation lawyer.
At Haggerty, Hinton & Cosgrove, LLP, we can review your case and determine if your accident should be covered under workers’ compensation. If not, we will determine if you can pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. In either case, we can help you claim any compensation you may be entitled to. Call us today at 570-344-9845 or contact us online so we can start reviewing your case.