When applying for workers compensation, it may seem like commuting is a gray area. After all, while you are not actively at the work site during your commute, a commute is definitely work-related.
There is a special rule that covers this, and it is the “coming and going” rule. According to FindLaw, the coming and going rule states that workers compensation does not apply to commuting, with few exceptions.
What are exceptions to this rule?
In the majority of states, commuting in a company car is an exception to the going and coming rule. In many cases, the company car must be going to or from specific fixed locations in order to qualify for an exception.
Another exception is if your job involves traveling as part of normal duty. For example, bus drivers, pilots, state troopers and truck drivers would have a potential exemption to the coming and going rule. In order for the exemption to apply, it must take place during major work duties. For instance, sustaining an injury as a bus driver driving a bus would qualify as an exemption, while a bus driver commuting to work in a personal car would not.
What about if my boss asks me to run errands?
In the majority of cases, if your boss gives you money and tells you to go pick up coffee and you sustain injury, this is an exception to the coming and going rule. Even if the task is completely unrelated to work (such as you taking care of an employer’s pets), the law generally considers these “special missions” and the law exempts these from the coming and going rule.