In the event of an injury while performing job duties, you can receive payments for medical expenses, lost wages, disability, and even vocational training, according to Oklahoma workers’ compensation laws. But what happens if you suffer an injury when you’re commuting to work? Are you still covered?
Unfortunately, the answer is often “no.” Workers’ compensation benefits are not awarded to injuries sustained during a morning or even commute due to the “going and coming” rule. While you could argue that your commute is part of your routine work duties, this rule has been continuously applied to limit such duties within the worksite or while performing employer-requested tasks on the clock.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule, which include the following:
- You were on a “special mission” – If your boss asked to pick up coffee for the office during your morning commute or drop off a package when you’re heading home after work, these situations are considered special missions that are tasks requested by an employer to be conducted outside regular work hours. If you have been involved in an accident while performing a special mission for your employer, any injuries will be covered by workers’ compensation.
- You were on a business trip – You can’t obtain workers’ comp benefits for injuries suffered when driving between your home and your job site, but you can if you get hurt while traveling for work-related purposes—as long as the activity was for the benefit of your employer. For example, your employer asks you to travel to another state to meet with a client and you get hurt in a collision while you are on your way to the meeting from your hotel. Since the meeting benefits your employer, your injury during the commute between the hotel and the meeting location could be viewed as a work-related injury.
- You were still on company property – Along with your work building, company property also includes parking lots, sidewalks, and even areas occupied by grass and vegetation. If you are injured in an accident in the parking lot while entering or leaving the workplace, or if you were struck on the sidewalk while walking, your injuries could be covered by workers’ compensation benefits.
- You were traveling between job sites – Employees such as salespeople, plumbers, or traveling nurses who are constantly on the road are exempt from the going-and-coming rule since they may not have a fixed office.
- You were driving a company vehicle – If you commute using a company-owned vehicle and end up in an accident resulting in injury, you could still receive workers’ comp benefits. However, there are some companies which only allow the employee to drive the vehicle to and from certain fixed locations.
If you believe you were performing work-related duties before suffering a serious injury in a collision during your commute in Oklahoma, contact our Oklahoma City workers’ compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of Dan Davis and request a free consultation today.