The "Going and Coming" Rule
Determining responsibility and liability after a car accident can get very tricky. In many states various standards and rules are in place to help make things a little clearer.
One such rule is the “going and coming" rule, which helps draw a line indicating where employers are and are not responsible for injuries or damages suffered by employees during car crashes on their commutes.
What Is the “Going & Coming" Rule?
The “going and coming" rule applies to situations in which an employee gets in an accident and/or is injured commuting either to or from work. The rule exempts the employer from paying the employee workers' compensation since the employee was not technically performing a work-related task.
Application of the “Going & Coming" Rule
The “going and coming" rule is applied when an employee suffers damages while commuting to or from work.
For example, you're driving home from work and happen to get in a car crash that breaks your arm. Your injury would prevent you from performing your job's duties, and your car needs repairs. Due to the “coming and going" rule, however, you would NOT receive workers' compensation for your injuries, damages to your car, or time missed at work.
Exceptions to the Rule
There are some exceptions to the “going and coming" rule. In such cases, car accident damages were caused by travel or requests directly related to the employer. The exceptions include:
- Driving the company car.
- Major job duties that revolve around travel.
- For example, if you work as a truck driver, airplane pilot, bus driver, or police officer.
- Visiting multiple job sites in your personal vehicle throughout the work day.
- Business trips.
- Most state laws consider all of the time spent on business trips (including travel, hotel, and down time) as part of a work-related task.
- Special errands and missions.
- i.e. Extra responsibilities assigned to you by your employer, like getting them coffee or picking up their dry cleaning.
If you are not sure whether your personal experience applies to the exceptions, you should speak with your employer's workers' compensation representatives.